Achieving Your Perfect Sound Pt. 1


Half of a P-Bass pickup capturing sound from the bottom E and A strings.

Scott Lucas, guitarist (and to an extent, bassist) of Local H runs a pretty interesting set up in order to achieve his signature sound. This article on Music Radar includes an interview with Lucas, as well as a video that demonstrates what he describes. I recommend checking the article out for yourself, rather than reading my rehashed version. But I will focus on one quote:

"Actually, there’s still trial and error. I know there’s things I can do to get this setup to sound even better than it does now. The goal has always been to make it sound like there’s four people in the band. I’m always trying new effects and figuring out ways to split the signal. -Scott Lucas to Music Radar

I love the fact that Lucas openly describes his sound as trial and error. For a group that has released seven albums using this unique set up, knowing that  it is still considered a process is very inspirational. 

I’ve always been of the opinion that you never perfect your sound - on record, live or otherwise - you merely improve upon it. There have been plenty of moments where I’ve thought, “THIS is the bass sound I’ve had in my head. This is perfect!”only to find some aspect that’s needed improving shortly after. This constant tweaking should be seen as progress. Of course, you can go overboard and buy every guitar pedal under the sun and turn knobs for hours and hours, only to curse the gods of rock & roll for not allowing you to sound like ________ guitarist/bassist from _________ group, but the key is to strike a balance.

This balance is achieved by doing the following:

  1. Finding a sound of your own
  2. Never settling
  3. Continuous experimentation within proper context

I’m going to put these thoughts out there and get feedback from our fellow musicians as to how they achieve or chase their perfect sound and include them in my follow up blog next Thursday.

Picture Atlantic supports Local H at Bottom of the Hill, Sunday, April 14. 21+, 8:30pm doors. Tickets are on sale now and available here.