Raining Blood, please help as I don't get it

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by Chrome, Feb 10, 2015.

  1. Chrome

    Chrome Member

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    Can someone please explain how Slayer recorded the first 30 seconds of the song on their guitars (before the famous riff kicks in)? I have looked over the internet non-stop to find a cover of the first 30 seconds or a tab that would perhaps explain what happens, but could not find anything that represented what the original recording sounded like. Everywhere I looked, people just said it was guitar feedback and nothing more.

    If you listen to the recording, it doesn't sound like random guitar noise/feedback. It sounds like natural harmonics are played, because you can hear distinct notes in a pattern, but above which frets are the harmonics played? So the section begins on a standard Eb powerchord, but what happens next?

    Please listen to the below clip from 0:00 to 0:33. For example, you can hear three distinct notes between 0:11 to 0:13. That sounds too specific for guitar feedback as most tabs/covers suggest it is. I am willing to donate for good explanations of what is played there (or tabs if possible). Thank you.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8ZqFlw6hYg
     
  2. Chrome Dinette

    Chrome Dinette Silver Supporting Member

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    It's multiple guitars feeding back. I am not sure they are playing natural harmonics, but if you listen closely or loop the section in a daw, you should be able to find the pitches.
     
  3. stealthtastic

    stealthtastic Supporting Member

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    Yeah this was my impression too.
     
  4. JonR

    JonR Member

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    The notes aren't "too specific for guitar feedback". Certain harmonics (identifiable pitches) do tend to come through strongly in feedback. However, the notes here aren't fixed: there's some swooping up or down from pitch to pitch, which suggests (minimal) use of a whammy bar.

    E.g., at around 0:07-08 there's a high G which seems to swoop down to F.
    G is the 5x harmonic of Eb, but not the open 6th string; it's an octave above that. In theory it could be the 10x harmonic of 6th string, but I suspect it's the 5x harmonic of the 2nd fret on 4th string. If you fret that note, you can get the right pitch with an artificial (or pinch) harmonic with a node at 18th fret. And then the swoop would be a slight leaning on the whammy. (As suggested above, it's probably multiple guitars, maybe overdubs, which explains why the chord doesn't drop too.)
    Then again, maybe the G is just blending with an F harmonic on another string (9x harmonic of low Eb, node on fret 14), or another guitar?

    The low steady note at 0:10 is Bb, either the open 2nd string, or an easy 3x harmonic of the low Eb (node fret 7 or 19).
    The high note at 0:11 is Ab, which is not a harmonic of any of the notes of an Eb chord- but that blends into a high Eb (0:12), which obviously is.
    Then there's a high D which could be 7x harmonic of the 4th string fret 2 (node roughly above 12th fret) - but it steadily descends by around a whole step; more whammy bar?

    IOW, it sounds to me like some random messing around with pinch or tap harmonics, combined with some subtle whammy bar use. I doubt very much they aimed for the actual notes you're hearing; although they could have done several takes of this intro, with varying harmonic effects, and kept their favourite.
     
  5. Chrome

    Chrome Member

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    Thanks for this, it is really helpful.

    Is there any chance you could please tell me which frets all those harmonics are being played above during that intro? I don't need anything perfect like whammy specifics or feedback positions, but just something I can play over a backing track in that intro that sounds reflective of the song. I'm guessing you're not a fan of tabbing stuff out given your musical knowledge, but if you could point out the approximate harmonics I would very much appreciate it.
     
  6. JonR

    JonR Member

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    I did mention the fret numbers, but to repeat a little more clearly (hopefully ;)):

    It's useful when you want specific notes from harmonics (rather than just random squeals from pinch harmonics) to understand the physics.
    Harmonics are a result of the string vibrating in fractions: halves, thirds, quarters, etc.
    1/2 = octave above main note
    1/3 = 12th (octave plus 5th) above main note
    1/4 = 2 octaves above main note
    1/5 = 2 octaves plus major 3rd above main note
    1/7 = 2 octaves plus minor 7th (slightly flat) above main note
    1/9 = 3 octaves plus major 2nd above main note

    (1/6 is an octave above 1/3, and 1/8 is 2 octaves above 1/2. I.e., odd numbers always give new notes, while even numbers give octaves of lower notes or harmonics.)

    Fret positions for the nodes (touch points) are as follows. For open strings, these are the fret numbers, for fretted notes (artificial harmonics) you need to to count this number of frets above the fret you're playing.
    Remember you touch at this point, and pick to one side. (Or if you have enough gain you can probably just touch, once the string is ringing.)

    1/2 = 12
    1/3 = 7, 19
    1/4 = 5 (or 24 if you have 24 frets)
    1/5 = 4, 9, 16
    1/7 = 10 (roughly)
    1/9 = 2, 14
    The last 2 are difficult to tease out - you need to be very precise with where you touch.

    Eg, if you're holding an open E chord shape, then the octave harmonic points for each string will be an E shape at 12th fret (12-14-14-13-12-12).
    If you wanted a high G#, say, you could touch over fret 4, 9 or 16 on the open 6th string, or over frets 6, 11 or 18 on the 4th string (because you're fretting at 2).

    To get the sound of this intro, remember you will need masses of gain and/or compression and distortion, and turn up that reverb too! Then just play around with touch points at the above numbers of frets above the played notes.
    As I said, I don't suppose Slayer aimed deliberately for the notes you're hearing. I'd be surprised if, when they play this track live, they get the exact same sounds.
    IOW, it would be more useful to you to know the exact guitar/FX/amp setups (and studio effects, overdubs etc) they were using, than to know the specifics of pitches and harmonic points. You will probably never get close to that sound with just one guitar... ;)
     
  7. Chrome

    Chrome Member

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    Thanks again. I have a tone that closely replicates Slayer's on the original recording and understand harmonics from a general musical perspective, but I'm just confused on how to find the natural harmonic that corresponds to the sound in that intro. Do I just need to experiment around, or is this something you could assist me with if it's not too much to ask?

    I've worked out the tuning is E flat on this song and that the section commences with an Eb powerchord (Open note 6th string, second fret 5th string). But that first sound that comes in at 0:07 - what on earth is that? I can tell the whammy is used there and plays around with the note, but where does that note originate from. Which harmonic is it? It would be great to have a starting point on all these notes up until 0:33 and then play around with effects to see what sounds good.
     
  8. DamianL

    DamianL Member

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    It doesn't have to be a harmonic...it likely sounds that way to a lot of folk because they don't play at natural feedback volumes...

    If you crank an amp enough to get feedback you can get it from any fretted note...you don't have to just let the open strings ring...pick a note...hold it down, play it gently/strongly enough to generate feedback and use your volume knob and/or whammy bar to bring the note in and out...
     
  9. fenderlead

    fenderlead Member

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    Check out the Slayer live clips.

    The guitarists face the amps and are using feedback and some tremolo rocking effects.

    They don't play it exactly the same way for each performance as it's really just messing around with feedback and leading into the main riff, so looking for the exact pitches is not really the way to go.

    This is loud metal and feedback is pretty easy to get.
     
  10. JonR

    JonR Member

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    Hard to know what more I can say...
    OK, it's a high G. To repeat what I said above:

    "G is the 5x harmonic of Eb, but not the open 6th string; it's an octave above that. In theory it could be the 10x harmonic of 6th string, but I suspect it's the 5x harmonic of the 2nd fret on 4th string. If you fret that note, you can get the right pitch with an artificial (or pinch) harmonic with a node at 18th fret."

    OK, you don't need the jargon ;).
    For technical detail: Hold a normal E shape, 022100 (Eb tuned down of course), touch the 4th string above the 18th fret (or 6th or 11th) with a fingertip (or thumb), and pick the string to one side. That should give you the same high G.
    Alternatively, hit the chord (what plenty of gain/distortion/compression/ sustain), and just touch the string above 18th fret.
    Or - if you're good with pinch harmonics (I'm not ;)) - 18th fret is where you brush your thumb, taking care to pick to one side of it.
    Remember there are other harmonics on frets either side ;).

    fenderlead is right about how they achieve it through feedback facing the amp. If you're loud enough, all kinds of frequencies can come back at you, and leaning on the whammy just a little can make strings move in the saddle, exciting more vibration in that string. Your distance from the amp, and your angle to it, will also make a difference as to which frequencies dominate. The idea is simply that huge wash of sound, with little random overtones occasionally emerging from the mush. (You shouldn't need to touch the nodes at all...)

    Watch and learn :)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3ESWQOAJ5I
    (note brief clip of whammy bar use at 0:54)
    More:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izK5MdjbWkk
    You'll notice they're not getting the exact same notes they got in the studio recording. Do they care? Do they f***! :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2015
  11. Chrome

    Chrome Member

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    I really appreciate the time you've put into your responses, but I'm still really confused. I went to my amp before, struck that first Eb powerchord and then tried a variety of the harmonics you suggested to see which one fit the sound at 0:07 without the whammy effect. I played the natural harmonic above the 2nd fret on the D string as suggested, then tried both a natural and artificial at the 18th fret also on the D string. Neither note sounded much like that sound to be honest. Am I doing something wrong?

    Even if you guys are correct about this just being feedback, then there still needs to be an origin for the sound being created. You still need to push a string against a fret, which in order words is playing a "note". Sliding your fingers across the fretboard or smashing the whammy whilst standing in front of an amp isn't going to produce that sound by itself. Those sounds have a specific pitch, but it seems impossible to figure out.

    I completely understand that Slayer don't play it like that live, but do you not find that a bit concerning? It seems like no-one and nothing can replicate the sound on that original recording. There is not a tab out there that shows how to play it, not a single YouTube cover that replicates it, and not even Slayer themselves can do what they did on that recording again. It's very bedazzling, and it is the reason I'm desperately seeking answers. For the first time in all my years of playing, it appears I've seen a guitar passage that cannot be replicated somehow, and I'm stunned.
     
  12. fenderlead

    fenderlead Member

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    Studio stuff is studio stuff with editing and particular rooms and recording setups etc etc.

    A lot of bands and players sound different and even play different things in a live situation.

    With something like feedback a lot of variables are involved so replicating feedback exactly isn't the usual aim, but if someone wants to then they could work out some sort of system for getting close to replicating it.


     
  13. Chrome Dinette

    Chrome Dinette Silver Supporting Member

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    Not necessarily. Feedback is very dependent on the specific set of circumstances of its creation. The amp, the speaker cab, the guitar, the room, the pickups, the positions of the guitar and amp in the room, etc. Was the player facing the amp or facing away? Was the feedback strictly between guitar cab and guitar or was it gotten through the studio monitors?




    You don't necessarily have to fret anything or pluck a harmonic to get feedback. Open strings will do it and sometimes(often really) the feedback pitch may not be the fundamental, but a different partial.

    It shouldn't be impossible to figure out the pitches with some effort, and it looks like JonR has done it.



    It may be possible to replicate it, but it could take an awful lot of work to arrive at a repeatable method for playing it.

    One doesn't see a lot(or any) transcriptions of Takayanagi's work or things like Free Form Guitar(Terry Kath), either.
     
  14. JonR

    JonR Member

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    That's not what I suggested.

    You play the whole Eb chord, 0-2-2-1-0-0.
    Then while you're holding the chord ;), you touch the node (with your pick hand) above 18th fret on 4th string. You're fretting the 2nd fret, so the node gives you the 5th harmonic (3/5 of the way along the string from fret to bridge)). (6th fret is 1/5, 11th fret is 2/5 - from the 2nd fret remember, not the open string, all giving the same harmonic.)
    4th string 2nd fret is Eb, so the harmonic is a high G. (I have tried it myself, so I know it gives the right note.)

    If you want to experiment with the sound of the 5th harmonic, take the open 6th string and play a natural harmonic over frets 4, 9 or 16. On a low Eb, that will give you a G an octave below the one on the track.
    When playing from a fretted note ("artificial" harmonic), you need to add that number of frets above the one you're fretting. So from the Eb on the 4th string, the notes are over frets 6, 11, 18.

    BTW, if you check your tuner (chromatic setting), it will tell you that G is out of tune. If the Eb is perfectly in tune, it will read the 5th harmonic as 14 cents flat. It's still a sweet major 3rd, but it's the reason that power chords are used with distorted guitars. When you play the full major chord, that harmonic of Eb is unpleasantly out of tune with octave harmonics of the fretted 3rd (G, on 3rd string).

    In fact, there's another interesting experiment you can do. Holding down that same Eb major chord, try an artificial harmonic at fret 6 of the 3rd string (you'e holding down 1st fret, remember). That's 2 octaves above the fretted note, and your tuner should tell you it's in tune.
    Now compare that with the artificial harmonic over fret 6 of the 4th string (that you're holding down on fret 2, right?). If your guitar is perfectly in tune, you should hear a fast beating between those two notes (around 6 throbs per second), because - although they're both "G" - they're two different Gs: a pure one and a tempered one.
    (If you like, I can give you the relevant math for this, but I'll spare you for now ;).)

    Without distortion, you're not generally aware of that discrepancy. But distortion enhances all the overtones, and can make a major chord sound muddy, because of those two major 3rds fighting among the overtones. Simple solution - omit the (tempered, fretted) major 3rd from the chord, and allow the pure 5x harmnic of the root to take its place. Result: power chord! :)
    Have you tried it? Have you played at sufficient volume in front of a big enough amp? (At home, I doubt it... ;))
    No offence, but I think you have the wrong attitude, personally :). If Slayer don't care, why should you?

    As you can see in those videos, they get plenty of similar sounds live, just not the precise same ones. This is what music performance - ideally! - is all about. Not recreating a studio performance in every tiny detail. That's a deadly thing to do, as any band will tell you. Live is never going to be identical to studio, and one may as well enjoy that. (Studio performance is designed to create a recording that can be listened to again and again. Live is a one-off. Different criteria apply.)

    I do understand your curiosity. (Which is why I'm responding at such length, and investigated it myself.)
    I hope I've explained how those sounds might have occurred: a mixture of feedback and accidental harmonics (maybe teased out by touching nodes, maybe not).
    As I said, quite probably they made several takes of that intro, perhaps a lot longer than the 30 seconds you hear - and then chose to keep the bits they liked, maybe editing together bits of different takes. What they would not have said or done (I will bet) is "hey that bit's great, let's work out how we did that so we can repeat those exact notes live". They just liked that "monster mush" :)D), and liked the randomness of the sounds it can produce.
    That's the secret here. Those notes are not part of a composition; they're an accidental by-product of a deliberate process. The process is what matters. I mean, they want the by-products, but don't care which ones emerge.
    Embrace the random! That's the beauty of this. They're surfing a wave, and - even with the best control of their boards - can't possibly predict how it will turn out. IMO, that's what makes this sound so appealing - in another analogy it's like some huge beast they're barely in control of; it's on a leash, but it's a long leash..... It's not some cute pet you can make do the same party trick every time.
     
  15. Chrome

    Chrome Member

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    Thanks again, I must have to refine my technique for artificial harmonics then, because I can't seem to produce any sound simply by tapping the 18th fret quickly while holding the chord. It just cancels out the ringing note. I'll work on fixing that.

    Just to clarify, do you mean in that other paragraph that there are no natural harmonics that correspond to these sounds because the sounds are an octave higher, and I have to use either an artificial or pinch harmonic to get in the ballpark? Also do you mean that the frets at 4, 9 and 16 on the open 6th string have the same natural harmonic?
     
  16. JonR

    JonR Member

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    You need a hell of a lot of gain for a simple tap to work.

    I can get the artificial harmonic (touching with RH fingertip, picking behind with the thumb) even on an acoustic guitar, but it's tricky, as are all higher harmonics. You need to be absolutely precise about where you touch - right over the fretwire, not to one side. And it will still be a quiet note.
    Yes. At least for that initial high G. It's an octave higher than the natural 5x harmonic of the low E, or the natural 2x harmonic of the fretted G. In normal circumstances, those lower natural harmonics would be the first to emerge, if (say) a certain feedback resonance encouraged a G note.
    The fact it's that high G suggests to me some kind of artificial harmonic action by the player. (Unless maybe he was actually playing an Eb barre chord on 12th fret? ;))
    The following F, however, could be the natural 9x harmonic of the 6th string - but still unlikely to be so clear unless played as an AH; another tough one to tease out (even tougher than the 5x harmonic), node on fret 14 (or fret 2).
    Yes, an octave lower.
    Those frets on the 6th string will give you the same note as fret 4 on the 1st string - except the harmonic will be 14 cents flat, as I said. (So don't use this harmonic to tune your guitar!)
    The G in question here is the same pitch as fret 16 on the 1st string.

    In fact, a node for that high G can be found on the open 6th (Eb) string, but it's really close to the 9x harmonic (F).
    If you really want to practice your harmonic techniques, you could start by trying to get those higher natural harmonics on the 6th string.
    You probably know the 2x and 3x harmonics (frets 12 and 7), and maybe the 4x (fret 5).
    But with care you should be able to find at least the first few of the following (I'm using approximate decimal places for positions between frets, and assuming you're tuned to Eb):
    5x harmonic = fret 4 (or 3.9) = G (14 cents flat)
    6x harmonic = fret 3.2 = Bb/A# (2 cents sharp)
    7x harmonic = fret 2.8 = Db/C# (32 cents flat)
    8x harmonic = fret 2.3 = Eb (exact)
    9x harmonic = fret 2 = F (4 cents sharp)
    10x harmonic = fret 1.8 = G (14 cents flat)
    11x harmonic = fret 1.7 = in between Ab and A.
    There are higher ones, but increasingly difficult to get - and you'll have trouble even with the last few of those. Make sure you pick the string really close to the bridge; ideally half the distance from the bridge that the node is from the nut, so you're picking in the middle of the vibrating fraction of the string (same fraction as the harmonic number). Alternatively, pick the string right up at the nut end, between nut and node - then you'll be sure to get the right part of the string.

    The (mildly) interesting points here (for a theorist) are that the 7x harmonic corresponds to the b7 of the Eb chord or scale, and the 9x harmonic corresponds to the 9th. And the 11x harmonic is exactly in between the perfect 11th and #11. As far as I can tell, this is coincidence! (The 3x and 5x harmonic represent the opposite chord tones.)
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2015
  17. Chrome

    Chrome Member

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    Thanks again, I must be really bad at artificial harmonics. I placed my index finger on the 18th fret on the D string, picked with my thumb nearby, and immediately let go of the string, but I still could not get it to sound. I'll keep at it.

    You mentioned before I could achieve these sounds with pinch harmonics by applying them to the same fret (in this case, 18th fret on the D), is that correct? Is there any chance you could please tell me the pinch harmonics I need to play from 0:00 to 0:33 in that song to get in the ballpark (if that's not too much to ask)?
     
  18. JonR

    JonR Member

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    Well, pinch harmonics work on the same principle - stopping a string at a node point, but making it vibrate in fractions either side - they're just technically more difficult - IMO, that is: I can't do pinch harmonics reliably at all, but I can do artificial "harp" harmonics relatively easily.

    The way most pinch harmonics are played is random: players turn the gain way up, which means harmonics are easier to tease out (because the sound is compressed, bringing normally quiet overtones into audibility), and can emerge by accident at various places on the string when the player happens to brush the right point with the side of their thumb while picking. I doubt any PH player actually aims for specific pitches at specific times.

    Artificial or harp (or fretted) harmonics are always precisely planned, from a knowledge of the node positions, and the notes they'll produce. So - because you want a precise note (and Slayer didn't), I'm recommending a technique they most certainly didn't use! It's more reliable than pinch harmonics, because it's easier to target.

    The method - as with natural harmonics - is to touch the node very lightly, as if muting the string - not fretting it. It's important you don't press the string down. Its also important that (with most harmonics) you touch right over the fretwire, not behind where you'd normally fret.
    If you can get natural harmonics (NH) easily enough, you ought to be able to do AHs.
    The difficulty is - of course - you're both touching and picking with the same hand. I don't use a pick when doing this. I touch with a fingertip (index or middle), and pick to one side with the thumb - either on the bridge side (underneath my hand), or on the nut side (changing the angle of my hand as necessary).

    Here's justin:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QLPZ4KEtzw
    He's playing octave (2x) harmonics, because they are the easiest to get. But you get a really good close up of the right-hand technique from 2:45.
    The other point to remember is that he is holding an E-shape chord at fret 5 (frets 5-7-7-6-5-5), so the node points are 12 frets higher: 17-19-19-18-17-17. (halfway between the chord and the bridge)

    Your 5x harmonic is tougher, because you're having to make the string vibrate in 5 parts, not just 2. The smaller the fraction of the string you need, the more precise you need to be with that node point; a couple of mm either way you may not get it. You need to touch very lightly, while picking firmly, to force the string into that 5x movement either side of the node.

    But doing it on distorted electric rather than acoustic should make it easier because it enhances the quieter overtones.

    If you still want guidance on pinch harmonics, I'm sure there are plenty of youtubes on that. I haven't researched those: that's your job... ;)
     
  19. Chrome

    Chrome Member

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    I'm going to attempt a pinch harmonic tomorrow on the 18th fret on the D and slide down to imitate a whammy effect. If that doesn't sound like 0:07 in the original recording, I'm going to cry, give up and bow my head in shame.

    But seriously, thanks for your help. I guess it is what it is.
     
  20. JonR

    JonR Member

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    Don't forget you have to be fretting 2nd fret! (as in an E chord shape);) You're aiming for an overtone of E, not D. (Eb if tuned down of course)
     

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