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Nick Drake - info

04 Nov 04 - 01:17 PM (#1316640)
From: chris nightbird childs

Is it true that he used a classical guitar exclusively? I'm still trying to get my guitar to sound like that! Amazing, an underrated picker too...

04 Nov 04 - 01:47 PM (#1316676)
From: Wesley S

Chris - I copied the information below from the website at acoustic guitar magazine -

The only steel-string acoustic guitar Nick Drake ever recorded with was a small-bodied Guild M-20. It is pictured on the cover of Bryter Layter. The M stands for mahogany (back and sides), and the top was burgundy-stained spruce. The advantage of smaller-bodied acoustics (as opposed to dreadnoughts) is that they're generally easier to record, with a nice balance across the tonal spectrum. Drake's guitar never required compression in the recording studio. He also recorded several pieces with a nylon-string guitar, but its identity is unknown. Most likely it was a borrowed guitar. He accompanied himself on piano on one recorded song: "Saturday Sun" (Five Leaves Left).

All of Drake's sessions were recorded at an eight-track studio in London called Sound Techniques and engineered by John Wood. Five Leaves Left and Bryter Layter were produced by Joe Boyd, Pink Moon was produced by John Wood, and Time of No Reply was produced (after Drake's death) by Frank Kornelessun and Joe Boyd. In a BBC radio special broadcast in June 1998, "Fruit Tree: The Nick Drake Story," Wood commented that after Drake's death, scores of acoustic guitarists asked him to engineer their recording sessions in the hopes of duplicating Drake's sound. Each of them would leave the session frustrated. As Wood said, the best mic in the world is not going to make you sound a better guitarist than you are. Drake had all the talent and ability, and reproducing his "sound" was quite easy. It all came from Drake.

04 Nov 04 - 01:52 PM (#1316684)
From: chris nightbird childs

Yes, no one could actually acquire his sound. It was all him. We can only try to get near what he did. I know he also played piano... "Pink Moon" is the piano track most people remember.

05 Nov 04 - 03:32 AM (#1317362)
From: Bonnie Shaljean

He also devised unusual tunings. Someone managed to de-code a couple of them, which were not the standard DADGAD or anything like it. Can't remember where I saw this, or what the retunings were, but one of them had both bottom E and A tuned down lower and to the same note.

05 Nov 04 - 06:54 AM (#1317520)
From: muppitz

I saw something of that nature too Bonnie in an edition of "Guitarist" magazine. It was a countdown of the 50 greatest guitarists, or something like that, I think he was in the top 20 somewhere.
If I can hunt down the magazine again (it was my Mum's other half's) I will be able to add to this post!

muppitz x

05 Nov 04 - 11:08 AM (#1317775)
From: Chris Green

I know the tuning he used for "Black Eyed Dog" was GGDGBD, although you only actually play the three bass strings. I used to have a tab for it - if I can dig it out I'll post it!

06 Nov 05 - 04:27 PM (#1598841)
From: number 6

Was introduced to the late Nick Drake's music last week .... beautiful artist he was. He left us too soon.


06 Nov 05 - 05:00 PM (#1598850)
From: Richard Bridge

I had never heard any Nick Drake, although I had heard much of him.

I bought a CD the other day of him with stupendous other players on it, and was hugely disappointed. Beautifully played schmaltz.

06 Nov 05 - 06:01 PM (#1598884)
From: Matt_R

I love Nick Drake.

Place to be.

06 Nov 05 - 06:49 PM (#1598903)
From: number 6

"Beautifully played schmaltz." ... some (and I repeat 'some') of his recordings I have heard were smaltz and slightly overproduced at that, I agree. There were also some cuts that were pretty clear and void of smaltz that portrayed an outstanding musician. Even with the smaltzy ones, if you peel that smaltz away you will find an artist in command of his craft. He died at the age of 26; if he had survived I believe he would certainly have found a more direct route he was trying to find and he would have achieved the accolades and respect he deserved.


06 Nov 05 - 07:56 PM (#1598949)
From: mooman


"Pink Moon" is the real rat's pyjamas... better than the others.


Richard (moo)

06 Nov 05 - 08:20 PM (#1598965)
Subject: RE: Nick Drake
From: number 6

"Pink Moon" is good .... also "Harvest Breed", "Cello Song" and "Horn".


07 Nov 05 - 01:59 AM (#1599088)
Subject: RE: Nick Drake
From: chris nightbird childs

A huge influence on me...

Pink Moon is my favourite. Just him and the guitar.
Wonderful songs!

07 Nov 05 - 04:16 AM (#1599138)
Subject: RE: Nick Drake
From: Stu

Chime of A City Clock. One of the greatest tracks ever committed to tape. If this is schmaltz, bring it on.

07 Nov 05 - 07:49 AM (#1599233)
Subject: RE: Nick Drake
From: GUEST,BazT

What I love about Nick's tone on the Pink Moon album is that his guitar sounds like it's made of wood....know what I mean? I personally don't like overly-bright spangly aocustic tones, and Nick has a really nice organic sound. The best way I can imitate it myself is by using a farily heavy set of strings (phosphor bronze 13's), and playing in the low tunings Nick used. For example, "Man in a shed" is played by tuning BEBEBE, (so is Harvest Breed if I remember rightly), and I think quite a few other of his songs tune the low E down to a B. "Three hours" is one that springs to mind.

He's just a lovley tasteful musician, and certainly a real inspiration to my own playing.

07 Nov 05 - 10:49 AM (#1599353)
Subject: RE: Nick Drake
From: chris nightbird childs

Three Hours is one of my favs of his. Both versions!

07 Nov 05 - 02:47 PM (#1599459)
Subject: RE: Nick Drake
From: Lancashire Lad

"schmaltz"?... Do me a favour re-listen or try ear drops


09 Nov 05 - 03:51 AM (#1600481)
Subject: RE: Nick Drake
From: Dave Masterson

Keith James specialises in the songs of Nick Drake, saw him at the Hazlitt in Maidstone last year. A lovely evening and the next best thing to hearing Nick Drake himself. Website has dates