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MP3 Jay Graydon with Sherwood Ball - Crank Sinatra

A modern arrangement of a Frank Sinatra song with all the brass, sax and horn parts played by Jay Graydon on guitars, with the amazing Sherwood Ball on lead vocals.

1 MP3 Songs in this album (2:29) !
Related styles: JAZZ: Jazz-Pop, EASY LISTENING: Crooners/Vocals

People who are interested in Frank Sinatra Jay Graydon Freddie Green should consider this download.

Crank Sinatra - The Concept

So around the middle of 2008, I happened to watch a Frank Sinatra TV special filmed in the mid 1960’s. The opening song is Day In – Day Out. As always, Frank sang great and the Nelson Riddle arrangement was perfect for the era! What a great team they were!

I dug the musicality so much I watched over and over and then began thinking what it would sound like to play the horn parts on guitar playing one part at a time as an experiment. With that in mind, I decided to take on the task of being a one-man band. The experiment turned out to be much fun and the result is a sound of guitars I had not heard before.

The above is the short version. Now for complete details (if you give a shit. ).

The Arrangement
Step one was to kind of transcribe the arrangement, keeping in mind the horn parts need to be at least kind of friendly when played on guitar.

As to writing out the arrangement, keep in mind the audio I was listening to, originated from a TV show in the early 60’s. Ironically, the audio was in stereo (mono TV in that era) but not a wide stereo as so much mic leakage. It was difficult to hear some of the horn parts so the “Amazing Slow Downer” was the prefect tool as always as to figure out lines and voicings.

As to the piano, bass, and rhythm guitar parts, I just used the basic chord structures and modified in a big way.

The Track
The next move was to record the basic track for the Piano, Bass, and Drums. Since just an experiment at the time, I played all parts into a sequencer using sample programs friendly to the sound of the concept. The track (Piano, Bass and Drums) is kind of stiff since again, an experiment but I did my best to offset the swing factor past a standard Triplet time by hand. (Using 960 ticks per beat, the triplet tilt is typically 640 and I extended to 664 ticks as the average for more of a swing tilt,)

Guitar Sounds - Freddie Green Style
Yea, the arrangement wants that sound! I love playing 4’s rhythm in the classical big band style. My 1932 Gibson L5 was perfect for the application!!! The tone of this guitar is outstanding!!! Man, too much fun playing that part — chunking 4’s playing little 3 note chords is like a kid in a candy store!!!

The Brass Parts Guitar Sound
During the early stages of the process, I thought about the approach as to emulating horn sounds on guitar. As we know, forte brass has a very bright spike on the front of the note and then sustains into a bright tone.

I asked my pals Dean Parks and David Hungate what they might do as to emulate. Dean mentioned using a Mutron type filter so I performed some experiments and realized the Mutron type filter for the brass sound was too much like an effect.

Dean also mentioned using a volume pedal for the Forte/piano/forte (attack leading to a quick fade in volume and then the volume rises as a typical horn part that would be written for that effect. I had thought of the same but since Dean mentioned as well, a good starting place for that concept.

A experiment was performed and the guitar level to the amp on the volume pull down back to full volume caused the guitar amp to loose it’s buzzing sustain. (Opps, getting ahead of how the final sound came about.) I decided to do the forte/piano/forte after playing the parts riding levels in Pro Tools.

OK, the next move was to simply use a sweet distorted guitar sound that has “bite” at attack. Well, a distorted sound is saturated at attack so no ‘Snap” to the attack. The next idea was to use two amps — one with a clean sound for the attack and one with a sweet distorted sound blended evenly.

I bought an active guitar signal splitter with two outputs. (Note an active signal splitter is needed versus using a “Y” cord to split off the signal as the “Y” cord routing would drop the signal -6 dB along with other problems such as a ground problem.)

So one amp was set to a total clean sound with major “Bite” and the other was set to a sweet distortion sound.

Let’s regress for a moment as the guitar of choice for the Brass needed a rear pickup that is bright but extremely musical allowing some sweet mids. My Eddie Van Halen Music Man was my first choice and ended up being the guitar used. The rear pickup on this guitar is outstanding that allows a sweet mid range tone along with a nice bright centered tone. The guitar rear pickup has great definition in distortion land, (Note that guitar is no longer manufactured but there is another Music Man guitar with a very similar pickup).

Ok, that problem solved so I recorded the parts.

The Sax Parts Guitar Sound
I asked Dudley Gimple (Music Man guitar designer) for advice and he stated he had an old Maestro effect that was used to emulate a sax sound. I knew of the unit from my Don Ellis days (the sax players used the effect when playing through amps on a few songs). I remembered the effect though the tone was not what I needed. After serious thought, all I could come up with was to use an arch top jazz guitar. I used my early 80’s George Benson small body. A great defined jazz tone. Yea, not a sax family sound but it worked as totally different from the brass sound.

The Horn Parts Layout
As to the brass, I play 4 trumpet parts and 4 trombone parts. As to the saxes, I played 4 sax parts. I would have included a 5th baritone part of the sound I used was more transparent.

The Vocal
I was going to sing the song myself but I wanted an aggressive vocal as to match with the aggressive guitars. I asked Sherwood Ball if he would like to sing the song and he was into doing the gig! Sherwood did a great job as always!!!

The Project Name
So why Crank Sinatra? Well, in guitar land, I cranked up the guitar amp volume for the brass sound hence Crank Sinatra.

The Rap Up
I had so much fun recording the stuff!!! I hope you enjoy the experiment.

Jay Graydon

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