By Damian Fanelli
Earlier this month, a YouTube user known as “brainwave” posted a YouTube video called “PRS Guitars: Instruments Made Out of Instruments.”
It shows how the raw materials from a custom-made PRS Guitars Modern Eagle II (with a lovely 305 single-coil middle pickup) are slowly removed from the guitar and turned into—or at least used as—other musical instruments.
During the video, more and more parts (aka “instruments”) are added to the mix. The fusion of sound was developed through a series of creative looping and layering techniques, and—as you’ll see—the tune covers a suprising amount of tonal range, with an emphasis on percussion and bass (and a touch of guitar, of course).
Anyway, the video caused something of a stir among PRS fans, and last week, the gang at PRS Guitars posted a Q&A that answers a host of questions inspired by the clip.
Check out the video below, followed by a portion of PRS’s Q&A with brainwave.
For the remainder of the Q&A, step in this general direction. Enjoy!
What inspired the “Instruments Made Out of Instruments” video?
I’ve always been interested in how random objects sounded and how instruments could be played outside of the conventional approaches. A while back, Paul Smith sent me a box of raw wood to check out before he built me a guitar. I opened up the box and started tapping and knocking on the different pieces of wood just to hear what they sounded like in their natural form. Each slab was very resonant and musical sounding. At that moment, the idea occurred to me to create a track by only using sounds generated from the parts of the guitar.
How long did it take to create the video, and what was the recording process like to get the layered sounds?
The video was about 18 hours of shooting and editing spread over the course of a few days. Capturing the sound samples was very simple and fast. I just tossed up a mic, hit record, and starting tracking the organic taps, clacks, and knocks. After that, I edited and arranged the different sounds into rhythmic patterns and stacked from there. I recorded another round of samples after the guitar was built. I didn’t use any amps or pedals. Everything you hear in the video is solely comprised of the organic sounds. Overall, it was a quick process. I avoid getting lured into the technical rabbit holes of endless possibility. I keep the objective in sight and head directly for the finish line.
How many layers of tracks made up the final mix?
There are over 30 tracks in the mix. All of them are playing simultaneously beginning at the 1:33 marker in the video.