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Handy Man: Gear & Tone


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Handy Man

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"Handy Man" features two guitars in the original recording. Since the guitars are playing similar parts, we are able to easily combine them into one guitar for this tutorial. This production technique is really common and helps the guitar stick out a lot more over the rhythm section in the mix.

I am using a Taylor 614CE acoustic guitar with medium strings and no pick. We will be using our fingers for this one, playing a combination of finger picking and strumming. The heavier strings help with keeping the notes nice and present and retaining a good balance between strumming and picking. The key to this song is play with the dynamics of the band, which move up and down and it's super important that the acoustic stays with those.

For this tutorial, I am running my acoustic through a Radial Tone Bone PZ Pre Amp, which has an independent EQ and allows me to dial in the tone a little better. This is then running through a RADIAL JP1 Direct Box which helps shape the tone a little more, giving me a nice clean acoustic tone to teach this song.

Remember, the key to this song is dynamics and having a good feel. The tendency is to play the acoustic with the same dynamic the whole time but you really want to follow along with the song and the story of the lyrics, and play accordingly. This gives you a great introduction to Taylor's technique, along with some new ways you can experiment with open chords you may already know.