As you may have learned from Pete Celi’s recent article in Premier Guitar, many of today’s most common guitar effects (chorus, echo, flanging) were born out of experimentation with double-tracking in the tape recording studios of the ’50s and ’60s. With this in mind, we thought it would be cool to show you what creating a flanging effect with reel-to-reel tape decks actually looks like.
As you’ll see in these videos by Omega Studios and David Goodermuth, a certain portion of a song is double-tracked using a tape machine. Then, an engineer carefully speeds up and slows down the tape machine to slightly vary the speeds between the two recordings. By recording the separate outputs to two different tracks and playing these tracks on top of one another in the final mix, the subtle differences in timing between the two tracks creates a sweeping flange effect.
We’d encourage you all to try this at home, but, nowadays, the tape decks you would need for the double-tracking process are pretty tough to round up!