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The All 57 Song
"Head Over Heels" written, recorded and performed by Kelly McGuire

Editorial Forward: I published an article, Why Don't My Recordings Sound Pro?, and in it I concentrated mostly on the idea that the road to getting a "pro sound" had more to do with making a good working arrangement, and less about needing a $3000 microphone. I also thought it was important that we sometimes try to see the forest for the trees by de-emphasizing "the gear" that we all lust after. Because, in the end, the gear doesn't make the music.

If I had a dime for every time I'd seen someone write something along the lines of [ imagine this an Eddy Murphy "Coming to America" barbershop scene voice ], "George Massenburg or Ed Cherney could make a whole LP record album and only use some fity seb'm microphones and a Porta-Studio, and it would sound like it was made in a pro studio like Electric Ladyland." Well, George and Ed probably have better things to do, but the idea behind it is powerful. And the concept really hits home when you realize you don't have to be a Grammy-winning engineer to pull it off. Kelly McGuire shows us that the proof is in the pudding. Kelly had been wanting to do an entire recording using only 57's as a challenge. The result is an excellent recording and performance of an original song by Kelly, "Head Over Heels". Keep this recording around as an acid test [ and email the link to this article to all your friends with studios ] when you get to feeling that if you only just had that one more piece of gear that you could really start making great music. Because the fact of the matter is that talent can go quite a long way using some very simple tools.

Dan Richards - "Dot"
Editor, Pro Studio Reviews

Shure SM57

Below are Kelly's notes about the recording, which was done quickly with no muss or fuss in three and a half hours using only Shure SM57's as microphones, and the stock preamps on a Roland VS-2480 DAW.

"OK, I talked about it a while ago and decided to do one today. Took me 3 & 1/2 hours to do all the tracks."

How I did it: "3 SM57s on the drums; kick snare and one OH. I stuck one in the kick, no particular place (a guess). I hit record on the 2480 and ran to the other room, shut the door, sat down and played, humming the song arrangement. One take. Then I overdubbed a couple acoustics, again one take limit. Bass direct. Did a simple and rather poor Rhodes track. Sang it in one take. added harmonies. shaker & tamborine. POD quickie solos and fills. Mixed in about 15 minutes. No mastering. Stock preamps. might be a little dark and quiet. turn it up"

Disclaimers: "I'm not the best drummer and I could only find what seemed to be .05b sticks at Fender(think glorified chopsticks)..and I like heavy sticks. I lost my place a couple times humming the arrangement. I just went with it. I'm pretty mediocre on keyboards. What I lack in talent I make up for with ineptness. This was a good phlegm buster after a couple weeks of the flu/bronchitus. You can hear it a couple times.

"It was fun. with a little TLC and perhaps substituting a similar value condensor and kick mic the drums and acoustic G. would probably be a bit better. It sounds pretty nice right off the 2480. Mastering would probably sweeten things up too...and a better drums, bass and keyboard player... I suppose it shows that you can do something pretty nice without much stuff."



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