"You Are Emmanuel" - Contemporary Christian

My good friend Chris Springer produced this track for the Voices of Mobile, an incredible vocal group from the University of Mobile. I believe they used this track for their live shows this past year.

I've known and worked with Chris for several years, so he typically gives me lots of freedom to create the parts that I think would sound best. That was the case with this track.

Most of the time I'll record with minimal time based effects like reverb and delay. However, for this track I went ahead and recorded with delays and reverbs for two reasons...a dotted 8th delay is a signature part of the sound I was going for with one track, plus I knew the track was on a tight deadline.

Track Breakdown

Below you can hear the final mix, the guitar stems in isolation, and the synthy pad part from verse 3.

1. Acoustic Guitar

  • Guitar - Collings D2H, LR Baggs Anthem pickup
  • Signal Chain - Guitar > LR Baggs Anthem pickup > Fractal Audio Axe FX 2 > mono out to Apogee Duet > Logic Pro 9
  • Tone/Amp/Effects - I used the Axe FX as a preamp/DI. I also added a bit of compression, a tube preamp sim, and some room reverb to add depth and make it sound less like a DI acoustic.
  • Thought Process/Approach - This track provides the shimmery texture that only a strummed acoustic can provide. I laid out on verse 1 to create a sense of growth later in the tune.

    2. Rhythm Electric 1

  • Guitar - Gibson Les Paul Standard
  • Signal Chain - Guitar > Fractal Audio Axe FX 2 > mono out to Apogee Duet > Logic Pro 9
  • Tone/Amp/Effects - Bridge pickup. I played through a Bogner Ecstasy amp sim in the Axe FX. As far as effects, I added was a little bit of compression to even out the tone, a quarter note analog delay and some room reverb.
  • Thought Process/Approach - The primary role of this track is to provide some electric guitar texture and backbone throughout the tune. Rhythms are sparse with lots of diamonds. This allows plenty of space for the other guitars and keyboard tracks. The voicings I used are all standard 4 and 5 string open position voicings, but with a capo so I could use shapes relative to the key of G.

    3. Rhythm Electric 2 (Delay)

  • Guitar - Thinline Tele
  • Signal Chain - Guitar > Fractal Audio Axe FX 2 > mono out to Apogee Duet > Logic Pro 9
  • Tone/Amp/Effects - Bridge pickup, Bogner Ecstasy amp sim, dotted 8th digital delay, medium room reverb
  • Thought Process/Approach - This is your standard "Edge" dotted 8th delay part that's super common in contemporary Christian music. This part shows up in the channel sections and the choruses. I never played voicings denser than 2 notes to keep things tight and tidy sounding. I played a single note idea in chorus 1, then played a part based on triad shapes higher up the neck for the later choruses. Again, the idea is to create a sense of momentum and growth throughout the tune.

    4. Lead Guitar

  • Guitar - Gibson Les Paul Standard
  • Signal Chain - Guitar > Fractal Audio Axe FX 2 > mono out to Apogee Duet > Logic Pro 9
  • Tone/Amp/Effects - Bridge pickup, Bogner Ecstasy amp sim, compression, BB preamp overdrive, stacked delays - quarter note analog delay going into a quad-tap delay, cavernous reverb
  • Thought Process/Approach - I wanted something melodic to grab hold of in the channel sections so I came up with this part. Melodically, it's based around a perfect 5th interval...the most royal and regal sounding interval of them all. What could be more appropriate for a tune called "You Are Emmanuel"? The part varies with each occurence. Partly to keep things interesting, party because I probably couldn't remember exactly how I had played it before :)

    5. Synthy Pad

  • Guitar - Gibson Les Paul Standard
  • Signal Chain - Guitar > Fractal Audio Axe FX 2 > mono out to Apogee Duet > Logic Pro 9
  • Tone/Amp/Effects - Bridge pickup, Bogner Ecstasy amp sim, compression, wah (attached to an 8 step sequencer at 16th notes), tremelo, lots of reverb
  • Thought Process/Approach - This part only shows up in verse 3. I took my cue from Tim Pierce who frequently adds a unique tone or part to verse 2 or verse 3. It's similar to a tone that Michael Thompson might use where it's hard to tell if it's a guitar or a synth.


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