pale saints guitar sound/tone

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i am interested in creating a similar sound to Graeme Naysmith's guitar from The Pale Saints

i am using Guitar Rig 2 and garageband to record.

would love any input.


pram (pram), Tuesday, 6 June 2006 15:54 (sixteen years ago) link

Set your guitar to the "chinlessly twee" setting.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Tuesday, 6 June 2006 16:42 (sixteen years ago) link

Actually, I quite like the Pale Saints. But couldn't resist, `cos I've having that type of day.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Tuesday, 6 June 2006 16:43 (sixteen years ago) link


Two words: Re Verb.

harmonic generator, haircuts are for losers (kate), Tuesday, 6 June 2006 16:44 (sixteen years ago) link

He also uses tons and tons of chorus for that watery effect on so many of the tracks

rentboy (rentboy), Tuesday, 6 June 2006 16:52 (sixteen years ago) link

twee? i thought pale saints were more Industrial. hmmm... :)

actually what i am trying to acheive is a nice melodic, distorted tone. in other words, pushed to the point of subtle feedback, still picking up some nice mids and highs, but with a sharp edgy distortion. kinda like willie nelson.

i can't seem to find the right combination without things getting muddier than i prefer.

*Alex, you city dudes are always bitter. too much emo?

pram (pram), Tuesday, 6 June 2006 17:09 (sixteen years ago) link

I've listened both to Pale Saints and to Willie Nelson and I never once thought the guitar sounded alike. (?!)

You want a solid state amp, bridge pickup selected, really heavy chorus, and distortion set between %50-60.

Johnny Fever (johnny fever), Tuesday, 6 June 2006 20:49 (sixteen years ago) link

Note also: things sound muddy at a lower volume. I have a feeling that when Graeme Naysmith recorded those songs, he was shaking the walls. Playing in your living room is always going to sound different.

Johnny Fever (johnny fever), Tuesday, 6 June 2006 20:51 (sixteen years ago) link


yeah, well the willie nelson thing was sarcasm. as was the industrial comment. i was fu*cking with alex of NYC :) sorry. thanks for the input. i actually use Guitar Rig, and listen to the sound through decent studio headphones. compared to similar types of music, listening on same headphones, i get frustrated. i will give your comments a try though.


pram (pram), Tuesday, 6 June 2006 23:13 (sixteen years ago) link

four years pass...

(posting this here as it's the first (only) result for 'pale saints')

ian auctioning off the copy of the Barging demos that the band sent to themselves for copyright purposes at the same time they sent them to 4ad. proceeds to japan earthquake fund.

koogs, Tuesday, 22 March 2011 09:41 (twelve years ago) link

They had so many amazing guitar sounds. The first thing that came to mind was "Baby Maker".

Spencer Chow, Tuesday, 22 March 2011 18:12 (twelve years ago) link

xp: does that work, legally?

i have a hot bagel waiting for me in my bed so ill say this: (kkvgz), Tuesday, 22 March 2011 19:05 (twelve years ago) link

(it's the cheapest / easiest way that people recommend. send it registered mail, don't open it on arrival, then at least the post office has a record of something being sent. you should probably get something notarised though)

koogs, Wednesday, 23 March 2011 18:50 (twelve years ago) link

two years pass...
one year passes...

is this the only pale saints thread on ilm? and what a stupid thread this is as if blind people were talking about the sun. an amazing band with a unique otherworldly feel. "in ribbons" has aged astonishingly well. the only other bands i can think of right now who have created a similar heavenly sound are the cocteau twins and mbv.

it's the distortion, stupid! (alex in mainhattan), Friday, 7 August 2015 20:18 (seven years ago) link

agreed, "In Ribbons" might be my favorite album of that era. tho I think the rhythm section keeps the sound a little ways from heavenly.

geoffreyess, Saturday, 8 August 2015 01:18 (seven years ago) link

whooo, Pale Saints how ironic.

i have not listened to this band in forever, i hung out at my friends house on Tuesday and he was playing drums. he started playing songs from The Comforts of Madness and i was blown away. they sounded so good and the drummer is out of his mind on some of the tracks. that and the Mrs. Dolphin comp were fucking great. didn't like In Ribbons as much at the time as Ian Masters sort of took a back seat, they were his band and it showed on those early cuts.

Bee OK, Saturday, 8 August 2015 02:09 (seven years ago) link

i am just listening to "comforts of madness" for the first time. the drums are pretty impressive, often extremely fast and mixed into the foreground, you are absolutely right. but pale saints - to me at least - are not about drums. they haven't yet found their magic sound on "comforts". and it also lacks in the tunes. the band is still on the search. on "in ribbons" they have reached their peak, they have created a masterpiece. when i first listened to it 23 years ago i found ian masters voice a little thin but in hindsight it fits perfectly to the rather subdued, introspective music. it is the kind of backgroundish music you get totally hooked to when you hear it first. a reason might also be that it is pretty quiet music which demands from the listener to open up his ears if he wants to hear something.

it's the distortion, stupid! (alex in mainhattan), Saturday, 8 August 2015 20:03 (seven years ago) link

My favorite was always "flesh balloon". A couple of their best songs (best-sounding, at least), a pleasantly baggy instrumental and that gorgeous Nancy Sinatra cover.

Plasmon, Sunday, 9 August 2015 05:49 (seven years ago) link

> they were his band and it showed on those early cuts.

i think they were more of a symbiosis - judging by how the band sounded after he'd left and how he sounded on his later works (spoonfed hybrid, esp summer, sore and steel, friendly science...). they were a lot more ordinary, he was maybe too esoteric.

i prefer in ribbons as an lp over comforts despite comforts having better songs. ribbons is more mixed, and the way comforts is all sequed together makes it awkward in these days of shuffle. (it's also very quiet - it's been normalised as one long track and there's a loud bass note on one of the tracks that just means everything else is too quiet).

koogs, Sunday, 9 August 2015 11:05 (seven years ago) link

four weeks pass...

I find nothing particularly original or unique about PS but they are very enjoyable!

calstars, Sunday, 6 September 2015 03:01 (seven years ago) link

one year passes...

Pale Saints never got the proper respect, they were one of the best from the era. Moka brought this up in her thread and got me to remember this. love the drums, with that wonderful bass line and then add the guitar.

Bee OK, Sunday, 25 June 2017 05:04 (five years ago) link

in ribbons is a goddam masterpiece, comforts of madness is p good too

brimstead, Monday, 26 June 2017 23:11 (five years ago) link

madness >>> ribbons

attention vampire (MatthewK), Tuesday, 27 June 2017 12:31 (five years ago) link

i even liked their third and last album Slow Buildings even though their heart and soul member Ian Masters quit. Meriel Barham (also of Lush) took over vocals but she was around so it didn't feel like a replacement. they went for a more pop sound and it sort of worked.

Bee OK, Thursday, 29 June 2017 00:33 (five years ago) link

It was nice, but it wasn't Pale Saints to me.

attention vampire (MatthewK), Thursday, 29 June 2017 01:57 (five years ago) link

one month passes...

this band is so fucking criminally underrated, this is inspiring me to run the Shoegazer poll very soon.

Sea of Sound:

Bee OK, Saturday, 12 August 2017 02:48 (five years ago) link

Bee OK, Saturday, 12 August 2017 02:50 (five years ago) link

Bee OK, Saturday, 12 August 2017 02:56 (five years ago) link

that drumming is for the gods!

Bee OK, Saturday, 12 August 2017 03:01 (five years ago) link

then they turned into this, which i happen to also love:

Bee OK, Saturday, 12 August 2017 03:01 (five years ago) link

A Thousand Stars Burst Open

Bee OK, Saturday, 12 August 2017 03:06 (five years ago) link

Bee OK, Saturday, 12 August 2017 03:14 (five years ago) link

i will close with this (again the drumming):

Bee OK, Saturday, 12 August 2017 03:27 (five years ago) link

what a band, i haven't listen to them like this in a very long time. they did not disappoint in the least. ILM just happened to be the forum tonight.

Bee OK, Saturday, 12 August 2017 03:28 (five years ago) link

now i want to hear Moose.

Bee OK, Saturday, 12 August 2017 03:28 (five years ago) link

drinking again tonight and went off on the drumming yet again but the Pale Saints are all about the guitar sound.

Bee OK, Saturday, 12 August 2017 04:00 (five years ago) link

Fantastic band, really liked that Dum Dum Girls cover. Ian Masters post-Pale Saints work is well worth your time as well.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Saturday, 12 August 2017 13:58 (five years ago) link

Time Thief is one of my favourite shoegaze songs. Pale Saints should do a reunion tour every other shoegaze band has by now. See See Rider can support them

Colonel Poo, Saturday, 12 August 2017 19:12 (five years ago) link

one year passes...

Relistening to Comforts of Madness tonight for the first time in ages. It's brilliant.

the salacious inaudible (Nasty, Brutish & Short), Friday, 8 February 2019 22:30 (four years ago) link

Seems like a band that has faded away for anyone who wasn't there. A lack of reissues is probably part of the reason.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Saturday, 9 February 2019 04:03 (four years ago) link

I see a lot of movies, and read a ton of books, that I really like, but can't remember a single thing about them a month later. I wished it worked this way with music, and Comforts of Madness is one of those records I'd like to forget about, so I can enjoy hearing it anew every so often.

I rocked Mrs. Dolphin yesterday. I play that one maybe once every 3 months or so, without fail.

henry s, Saturday, 9 February 2019 04:14 (four years ago) link

In Ribbons is positively classic 90s dreamy British rock. I want to say Hugh Jones is a huge part of the thick guitar sound there. Comforts sounds so thin to me, not a big fan really

brimstead, Saturday, 9 February 2019 07:31 (four years ago) link

"Hunted" is my favorite. So so great.

brimstead, Saturday, 9 February 2019 07:32 (four years ago) link

Comforts of Madness is easily my favorite non-MBV shoegaze album. It's so propulsive and varied (Opal cover! Cat cover star sample at the end). Its only flaw is that the re-recorded "Sight of You" is slightly inferior to the raw-er sounding EP version. Ironically the lusher EP version of "Baby Maker" is far superior to the In Ribbons version which sounds like a demo. I'm actually not a fan of that album at all. It just makes me want to put on the earlier stuff.

Spencer Chow, Saturday, 9 February 2019 08:19 (four years ago) link

I'm with you, Spencer

an incoherent crustacean (MatthewK), Saturday, 9 February 2019 08:51 (four years ago) link

I bought In Ribbons and remember being slightly disappointed by it at the time, but now I can’t really remember much about the tracks on it that hadn’t already come out on EPs. Throwing Back The Apple was good and there was one with Meriel singing something like ‘between the (?) you should hold someone’ but everything else has been wiped from my memory. Whereas I remember every detail of Comforts of Madness.

the salacious inaudible (Nasty, Brutish & Short), Saturday, 9 February 2019 19:00 (four years ago) link

I discovered them via Throw Back the Apple (from 120 minutes play I guess). Got the album and felt massively disappointed. Didn’t bother with them after that until 10 years ago or so. I’ve liked the stuff I heard since but I guess I would need to read up on them to better understand their discography

licorice oratorio (baaderonixx), Sunday, 10 February 2019 13:53 (four years ago) link

i love in ribbons so much. it is divine, an album without fault and quite varied. that misty shoegazing sound will always remind me of my late youth (late twenties). maybe it helped that i was there.

i never got into comfort of madness. which i heard about at least 20 years later.

Ich bin kein Berliner (alex in mainhattan), Thursday, 14 February 2019 22:17 (four years ago) link

people talking abut the Pail Saints makes me happy, i had the chance to see them two times.

1. The Comforts of Madness
2. Mrs. Dolphin
3. In Ribbons
4. Kinky Love EP
5. Slow Buildings

tho at the time i still believed in Slow Buildings. it really was a let down after Ian Masters left the band however.

Bee OK, Saturday, 16 February 2019 02:43 (four years ago) link

Stupid auto correct Pale...

The Comfort of Madness is their master piece. Might rank it

Bee OK, Saturday, 16 February 2019 02:58 (four years ago) link

...above Giant Steps

Bee OK, Saturday, 16 February 2019 02:59 (four years ago) link

nine months pass...

excellent, they could do with a comprehensive singles comp too

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Friday, 6 December 2019 16:45 (three years ago) link

Such a great album. I was pretty disappointed with everything else that came after, it was probably down to the Hugh Jones production. He seemed to have a knack for softening the rough (interesting) edges of a lot of 4AD and 4AD-like bands (see also Heidi Berry, Ultra Vivid Scene, Kitchens of Distinction, Frazier Chorus) of that era.

henry s, Tuesday, 10 December 2019 20:26 (three years ago) link

Hugh Jones did In Ribbons too!
i've said my peace (piece?) re comforts of madness

brimstead, Tuesday, 10 December 2019 20:29 (three years ago) link

That's what made me think of him! Just more a fan of the rough edges, I suppose. Not in general but def as far as the 4AD sound goes...

henry s, Tuesday, 10 December 2019 20:32 (three years ago) link

In Ribbons sounds pretty great right now. I thought it slightly tepid at the time, but like it a more with the passage of years. I marginally prefer "Babymaker" here, I think, though that EP might even be their high-water mark overall.

Nag! Nag! Nag!, Wednesday, 11 December 2019 06:19 (three years ago) link

Speaking of which, I notice 4AD has recently uploaded this nauseating video at better resolution than I've seen it before. Bless.

Nag! Nag! Nag!, Wednesday, 11 December 2019 06:24 (three years ago) link

one month passes...

demos sound pretty tight, like they'd been practicing them a while. and they have starts and ends, unlike the lp versions.

that second side, from language of flowers to the end, is still quite a rush.

koogs, Thursday, 23 January 2020 13:07 (three years ago) link

nothing new-new though, no new songs. and i'd've liked the diamonds and porcupines version of Sight of You on there somewhere.

koogs, Thursday, 23 January 2020 13:32 (three years ago) link

The Peel sessions are good to hear, too.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Thursday, 23 January 2020 16:11 (three years ago) link

Is it me or is this running ink-jet missing cat notice reminiscent of something?

never knowingly otm (Noel Emits), Thursday, 23 January 2020 16:22 (three years ago) link

7.6 on Pitchfork today is the funniest thing they've done since 8.8 for Cosmo's Factory.

Skrot Montague, Thursday, 23 January 2020 16:29 (three years ago) link

Because it's too high or too low?

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Thursday, 23 January 2020 18:50 (three years ago) link

Too low. For my money, they're both classics and should be in the high 9s (probably 10 for Cosmo's). I hate the whole rating system anyway, though, for exactly this reason - it puts a somewhat arbitrary number on a highly personal experience.

Skrot Montague, Thursday, 23 January 2020 19:44 (three years ago) link

three weeks pass...

i heard the "Sight of You" last night for the first time in may, many years. it sounded so wonderful. i think it's time to listen to The Comforts of Madness again. love this band to death!

Bee OK, Saturday, 15 February 2020 00:51 (three years ago) link

so i had to listen, this is one of the great albums, "Insubstantial" is blowing my mind all over again and remembering why this band was so good and criminally underrated.

Bee OK, Saturday, 15 February 2020 01:11 (three years ago) link

i had such a good time listening to this album again. i know this band is all about the shoegaze guitar sound but the drummer they had is so good. it's under all the textures of the music but man is he great. such an amazing band and made my night after a fucked day.

What Can I Do?
What Can I say?
The World Was Large
And I felt Very Small

Bee OK, Saturday, 15 February 2020 01:27 (three years ago) link

the reissue is pretty nice, the remaster sounds good... louder, but not brickwalled, works pretty well for their sound

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Saturday, 15 February 2020 02:34 (three years ago) link

Yep. I bought it and I must have listened to this album more times in the last couple of weeks than at any time since 1990. Love it. 'You Tear The World In Two' is my favourite. The second CD is interesting as the songs hadn't been completely worked out at that point so there are things that just seem 'wrong' (e.g. the riff that opens 'Insubstantial' isn't there, or the clanging guitar sound at the start of each verse of 'Time Thief' is just one note instead of two. Plus Ian Masters' vocals sound much weaker without the reverb and harmonies.

the salacious inaudible (Nasty, Brutish & Short), Monday, 17 February 2020 18:25 (three years ago) link

one year passes...

I will never get over how underrated in ribbons is, I really don’t understand it. It’s absolutely perfect. Please don’t say any mean things about it.

brimstead, Tuesday, 6 April 2021 03:33 (one year ago) link

eleven months pass...

The Spoonfed Hybrid album sounding magnificent tonight. Grim but partly prompted by reading "Boys In Zinc".

djh, Tuesday, 15 March 2022 20:15 (one year ago) link

one year passes...

So Ian's newest collaboration Isolated Gate has a full new album out and it's lovely!

Ned Raggett, Friday, 17 March 2023 18:08 (two weeks ago) link

Now that's an intense illustration

Evan, Friday, 17 March 2023 18:28 (two weeks ago) link

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