Here’s a quick look at how I made this Police influenced beat. I’m a big fan of Andy Summers’ guitar playing with the Police and I thought it would be fun to try an idea that started on the guitar and was inspired by some of his sound.
Behind The Beat
Guitar Part Processing
I started on my guitar and began by finding a patch on Guitar Rig obviously influenced by Andy Summers called ‘Andy in A Bottle’. This sound has a compressor going into a Marshall amp with some Chorus and Delay and a spring reverb.
With this sound bringing the sonic inspiration I came up with the first riff which follows these chords:
Although I liked the sound I was getting on the Guitar Rig patch it felt like it didn’t quite have the modern punch and consistency that I was looking for. With the drums and bass sound that I knew I wanted to add, I felt the guitars needed a bit more consistency before going into Guitar Rig. To do this I added a Vocal Rider and RAxx plugin to each of the main riff guitars before the Native Instruments Guitar Rig.
The other move I made with the guitar part was the classic doubled and hard panned technique. I recorded a double of the Telecaster part and panned the pair opposite hard left and right and then grouped them into a bus.
With the guitars in place I then put the beat down with the help of my friend Chris. The main part that we worked on was the syncopated hi hats.
I used the following samples for the beat:
The bass was a combination of my Moog Little Phatty and a VST.
I then used a Reveal Sound Spire patch layered on top of the Moog for a bit more grit and some stereo imaging.
After this I fed all the bass sounds through a compressor to glue them together and then a second compressor to sidechain them off the Kick. Finally in the bass group I also used the Triple D plugin from Waves to remove some mid range buildup on certain notes.
Bass Guitar Layer
To add some real instrument life to the bass I overdubbed myself playing real bass doubling the synth bass parts. Because the synths were taking care of most of the low end, I treated this bass part more as a ‘mid bass’ layer. Mid bass is a common technique employed to add more grit and make the bass more audible on smaller speakers.
To even out the bass recording quickly I used the bass rider plugin (similar to vocal rider) from Waves.
Bass Rider was a quick way of evening out the bass notes. I might have sculpted this sound more if it was the main bass part in which I wanted a more dynamic performance, but for this layer bass rider worked great.
I then high passed the bass guitar at about 150Hz and then fed the remaining bass sound into a guitar amp. This was to further add mid range grit and help it punch through as a mid bass sound.
To enhance the main guitar part I added some stabs on the Nord 2X which I then fed into an SPL transient designer. This helped reduce the sustain on some of the synth notes so that they followed the envelope of the guitar part a bit more closely.
The final layer I added was a vocal pad that spelled out an 1/8th note rhythm underneath the other instruments. For the sound I used a choir patch in Omnisphere:
Some of you might recognise the above sound which I believe Hudson Mohawke used famously on the Kanye track ‘Waves’ on Life of Pablo. I love Hudmo and so was desperate to try and use this sound in a beat at some point. Check out his new album ‘Cry Sugar’ now.
For more on recording and sidechaining guitars check out this post. I hope you enjoyed this quick look at how I made this Police influenced beat. Let me know what you think of it and any questions in the comments.