Ewan Dobson: Left Hand Of Doom

Ewan Dobson featuring Zack B. – “Autumn Red” – Acoustic Metal


If you haven’t noticed by now, look at Ewan’s left hand.

It’s not only giant, but extremely coordinated.

And look at the pinky. It’s sick if you ask me.

He’s playing in positions and in a key that is not possible for most guitarists (yea, I can play this song but, need a capo to do it in this key).

Ewan of course is no slouch with his right hand either.

I’ve seen a lot of his videos where he is primarily fingerpicking, but in this one he’s using a flatpick for both parts…

You will also notice that he is “sweep picking” the ascending and descending lines which is a far more economical technique rather than the usual down up down method.

Now in this video, Ewan is joined by drummer Zack B who does a fine job here. And although I’m always told that a drum kit and an acoustic guitar (especially lead and melody work) don’t mix, Ewan and Zack pull it off no problem.

I have two other comments….

1. Ewan’s compositions seem to be very repetitive in nature, with a lot of chord pickings rather than line playing. Yea, it does drive the song- very distinctive but almost robotic after hearing a few of his pieces. Certainly not a knock because he’s the only guitarist I know that could pull off his songs with such control and drive. He’d make one heck of a banjo player if he ever tried it.

2. Looking at the microphone placement, I got to wonder whose idea it was to aim two mics at the same sound source. I see this done all the time and I will tell you that’s not the proper way to get a stereo sound out of a guitar (you will notice the recording is very mono with regard to the guitar). First, the two mics are picking up the same sound source which will cause phase cancellation. Two proper ways to record a guitar (or any acoustic instrument) is either employ the 3 to 1 rule or use the 110 degree angle method. For the 3 to 1, for every foot you are away from the sound source, the mics need to be spread 3 feet away. This would most often apply to drum overheads but can also work for guitar. With the 110 degree angle method, the mics can be close but aimed so as not to pick up the same sound source of the guitar. So one example of this move would be to have one mic aimed at the hand or bridge and the other at the 12th fret, angled at 110 pointed away from each other. Now if you look here at the two mics pointed at the sound hole, what do you think is gonna happen? Well, if you put both of them up at the same volume, the rumble from the sound hole is gonna get cancelled out along with other frequencies. There’s also phase cancellation with the pickup that’s in the sound hole and mics as well. Now I’m not saying that Ewan’s guitar sounds bad but, wouldn’t it be great to hear this piece with a more stereo sounding guitar?