Comparing three clean guitar sounds – Once Upon a Time in the West – Solo cover

For my latest Youtube video I recorded three different lead guitars over a self-produced backing track with the chords and groove of the Dire Straits classic Once Upon a Time in the West.

The three guitars – a ‘normal’ Strat, a Schecter Dream Machine replica, and a Suhr – are similar to what Mark Knopfler played in the 70ies, 80ies, and in the 90ies. I tried to create a sound similar to his, not trying to replicate 1:1 a particular recording but the typical sound from these periods.

The Guitars

The red one is a real ‘part-o-caster’. The neck is Fender, a Japanese body from the 70ies, and the other hardware mostly from a vintage 80ies Squier. I replaced the zinc tremolo block with a steel block, and I put two MK61 pickups plus a VFS-1 pickup into it.

The second guitar is one I built myself. The mahogani body and birds-eye maple neck are shaped with templates from a Schecter Van Nuys era Dream Machine Strat. The hardware is a brass Dream Machine tremolo, and a loaded ‘Alchemy’ pickguard with Seymour Duncan SSL1 pickups. It is not finished yet but in an ‘experimental’ status. This is why it appears so rough, it is not even fully sanded. Something hopefully coming soon…

The Suhr is one with the EMG pickups (85, SA, SA). It has a neck made of maple like Knopfler’s Pensa Suhr MK1. It does not have bindings but the ‘scraped binding’ on the body which looks similar.

Amp and Effects

I did not use a real amp for this video. Instead I directly plugged the guitars into a Soundcraft UI24R didgital mixing desk, and I used the Digitech amp simulation and all effects from this device. For clean sounds this is much easier than messing around with microphones on an amp.

I used EQ, compression, reverb, and delay on all three guitars. Check out the screenshots that show the setting of these.

 AmpEQCompressionSend FX


2 thoughts on “Comparing three clean guitar sounds – Once Upon a Time in the West – Solo cover

  1. Dear Ingo
    I loved your Youtube post and whaw, what a technique. I’m jealous!! Just a question: I have hearing issues, a lot of buzzing in my ears, so I can’t use a regular amplifier as this is too violent for my ears. So I’m really curious of your devices to produce a great sound through a computer.
    I have a Zoom3030 device, maybe you are familiar with this. I can connect this to my computer, but this is old technology (20+ years) and sounds not that great.
    Could you give some more details on the exact device you use for the effects? As I understood you get a kind of computer app where you can do all the detailed setup, right?
    Kind Regards

    1. I use a soundcraft UI24R. A digital mixing desk. It is connected to the PC via USB. You can plug your guitar or mics into it, and all the mixing, amps, and effects is done on this device in realtime. You can control the settings from any PC or mobile via WLAN (the mixer provides his own WLAN network, you and all the band members can adjust their instrument themselves). Therer are two smaller versions available with less channels.

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