Today’s PedalsAndEffects Song Dissection is nothing short of legendary! Every single member of Led Zeppelin were innovators of their instrument, having blazed a trail for musicians to follow and cementing their legacy in the upper echelon of musical history. Both Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones are known for their creative sounds on guitar and bass respectively. Jimmy Page used effects pedals sparingly, not really commanding a huge pedalboard. Jimmy Page really only used fuzz, a wah pedal and an Echoplex tape delay for his theremin (and don’t forget his violin bow solos!). All things considered, for only using three or four effects, Jimmy Page revolutionized how the guitar is approached as an instrument. The same goes for John Paul Jones! Being the multi-instrumentalist he is, he applied a very wet flanger to his keys in the song “No Quarter” at a time when built in flange wasn’t readily available in keyboards. One thing we seldom talk about here at PedalsAndEffects are effects on drum kits! And that is what today’s Song Dissection is all about! Our disclaimer: some bands/artists are very protective about their sonic secrets so some of these dissections are based solely on our own knowledge of the capabilities of effects pedals, a little internet research and of course the songs themselves. So let’s not delay as we take a look at John Bonham’s huge drum sound in the song “Kashmir” from their double album Physical Graffiti.
An effect on drums isn’t something that is widely talked about, but it’s something that everyone at one point has heard. While mainly done in post production, some bands and artists will run their drum mics through effects before going back to the front of house and out through the PA. Often heard with echo, or delay, lots of reggae or dub artists like to heavily effect their drums. In the case of Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham, his drums would sometimes have subtle flange or was very heavily phased out. In Kashmir, the song opens up with John Bonham’s huge drum sound, but if you pay attention there is a very subtle rising and falling circular phase to his kit adding to his already larger than life sound.
Photo credit: eventide
This was achieved by running his drum mics into an Eventide Clockworks PS101 Instant Phaser. The Eventide PS101 is a rack mounted phaser that you can run XLR (mic) cables through in addition to your standard ¼’instrument cable. The PS101 has simple envelope controls as well as the ability to switch between oscillation and envelope phases. You can achieve a similar effect if you have your mic placement “out of phase” in stereo when recording, or you could achieve a lo-fi version by running XLR/1/4′ converters into effects pedals such as a MXR Phase 90.
In the case of “Kashmir”, the very subtle phase adds a lot of character to compliment Bonham’s legendary playing. The phase would envelope his machine gun snare drumming adding more depth and dynamics! While mainly used in the studio, Bonham would also employ the PS101 for his lengthy (often 20 minute long) drum solos and live for the song “In the Evening.”
Photo credit: eBay
Adding effects to instruments that normally aren’t associated with effects are a great way of breaking the status quo and pushing innovation as Led Zeppelin did for so many aspects of music.
Really dissecting a bands or artists sound is a good way to attempt to figure out their songwriting mentality and apply it to your own. If there’s a song you can’t quite figure the effect out and want us to try dissecting what pedals are being used, feel free to email us at email@example.com Until next time!