Zabukowski and friends have recorded an exciting new song inspired by the technique and music of guitarist Eric Johnson. S-GEAR was used for all guitar tracks. We get some insight from Franci Zabukovec…


Tell us about the song?

"This song is rather different than most of the stuff i've done before, at least I see it that way. I've tried to soften my hard & heavy roots musically and sound wise, so I've spent a lot of time to get the right feel and sound, which I've had in my mind. My main inspiration here was Eric Johnson (song title says it all), with his incredible, out of this world feeling, technique and sound, but soon the song went its own »Zabukowski« way."

And the band?

"They are all awesome musicians, who have enormously contributed to the final result. For live drums, I've worked with Boštjan exclusively for some time now (he was playing drums on '57 Guns also). Awesome live and studio musician. Also a member of Zabukowski project team and our latest acoustic "ex-YU pop/rock" project called "Dugme u čorbi".

Matej is one of the top bass players around and I'm always stunned with his performance - real virtuoso. He is a member of many bands (Metal Steel, King Foo etc), and also has his own solo album, which is really good.

The keyboard player Peter is awesome musician as well, with great ideas, musical taste and playing skills. A keyboard player every guitar player should have in a band. He is a member of Zabukowski project and several other bands like ShadowIcon, Divine Illusion etc.

I am really happy to have these guys around. Beside our friendship, we have very similar musical taste and background, so we really musically understand each other without much talking."

How did you use S-GEAR on this song?

"I almost always use S-Gear's factory sounds, which are incredibly good and obviously made with a great sense of good taste and musicality in mind. For a starting point in this song, I've chosen Clean Duke (Duke amp) for clean sounds and JB Blues (Stealer amp) for gain sounds.

I don't like to tweak the guitar amp too much (neither real amp or plug-in) – you know, if it doesn't sound good out of the box then something isn't right - we've seen (and heard) that before. I've said it many times and I'll say it again: S-Gear sounds 'right' out of the box and one must try very hard to get a 'wrong' sound from it :)

To get closer to the 'Zabukowski EJ' sound I wanted, I experimented a bit further. For gain tracks, I've put a fuzz plug-in in the front of S-Gear. Like when you put your fuzz, overdrive/distortion stomp box in front of your guitar amp to get an extra something (Greg Koch would call it 'gristle'). You can feel how the stomp box is pushing the amp to reveal and emphasize its additional qualities. Well, this is the same, except we are doing it in the digital domain. I don't say this is really necessary with S-Gear, because the amps have enough of juice on their own. In my case, this was simply a creative decision."

What guitars were used?

"I had to choose the right guitar for the task – USA G&L George Fullerton Signature model, which has bridge single-coil pickup replaced with Seymour Duncan SJBJ-1B single-coil sized humbucker. Because of this, the guitar sounds fatter and warmer, but still sweet and soft enough, as a strat-type guitar should sound."

Did you also mix and engineer this track yourself?

"Yes, most of the recording (except for the drums), mix & mastering was done by myself. Paying attention all the time to preserve the feeling and detail of the musical performance as much as possible. During the mix, guitar sounds were additionally processed with EQ and compression."

Thanks to:

Peter Smrdel ... keyboards
Matej Sušnik ... bass
Boštjan Vajs ... drums
Franci Zabukovec - Zabukowski ... guitars

Franci Zabukovec is an eminent Slovenian guitarist and producer based in Ljubljana. Franci is also a software programmer and creator of the powerful Nebula Man and Nebula Setups tools which work with the Acoustica Audio Nebula processor. When not recording guitar or creating software, you might find Franci tearing down a Slovenian mountain on his bike.