by Stefan Wyeth | 1,7 / 5,0 | Approximate reading time: 5 Minutes
Sound Like Queens Of The Stone Age

How To Sound Like Queens Of The Stone Age  ·  Source: Queens Of The Stone Age

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Queens Of The Stone Age is a band that defied musical trends, rising to notoriety at a time when rock was on its way out. We discuss how they have retained such a distinctive sound to this day, and check out some interesting gear choices.

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Although Queens was founded in Seattle, Washington, the band has its roots in Southern California’s Palm Desert music scene. The desert aesthetic and cultural diversity of California is deeply imprinted within the music, one way or another.

The band’s lineup varied constantly over the years, both in studio and on stage with constant collaboration remaining at the forefront of their creativity throughout.

The Queens Of The Stone Age sound

From the beginning, the QOTSA songwriting and recording processes took the roads less traveled. Luckily enough, there were engineers and producers both open-minded and skilled enough to realize the band’s vision.

Josh Homme’s approach has always been to sound unique. So pawn-shop guitars and amps, as well as obscure recording techniques like Dave Grohl‘s cymbal overdubs all played a part in creating the sound we know and love.

Quad Eight Console

The use of Quad Eight and Electrodyne consoles is an integral piece of American recording history. So it’s no surprise that Eric Valentine decides to use the vintage Quad Eight board he acquired for the recording of Songs For The Deaf.

Quad Eight preamps and EQ units are also a preferred choice of Joe Barresi, who was a regular Queens collaborator from the very beginning.

There’s no cheap way to get the vintage American console and tape sound, but with The Box II from APi, you get an incredible level of routing versatility in a very compact format. Perhaps a pair of RND 542 modules can get you there more affordably.

Quad Eight Console

Quad Eight Console

API Audio The Box II

API Audio The Box II

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Ovation Ultra GP

Originally a $400 guitar that Ovation designed to offer an improvement on the Gibson Les Paul, the Ultra GP had a mahogany neck, a double cut-away body, and a blended neck heel. So, the makeup of the guitar did differ slightly.

However, the controls and pickups were laid out in Les Paul fashion, with 2 DiMarzio DP-104 Super-2 humbuckers and Schaller or Grover chrome hardware. It may have been another one of Josh’s obscure choices, but less than 1000 Ultra GPs were ever made.

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Even the Eastwood reissue was discontinued back in 2012, but the Ibanez AR420 does a good job of providing a similar playing experience, without spending too much.

Ovation Ultra GP

Ovation Ultra GP

Ibanez AR420-VLS

Ibanez AR420-VLS

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Tube Works RT-2100 Mosvalve

After spending ages creating guitar tones with outlandish amp choices such as the Ampeg VM-4, Ampeg VT-40 2 x 12, and the vintage Peavey Standard series, Josh decided to fetch his old Tube Works RT-2100 which he played growing up.

This became a turning point in the recording of Songs For The Deaf, as it provided the perfect contrast to the other amp setups. The attempts at creating the sound with mic techniques were equally extensive, and eventually, they settled with 2 amp sources and a room mic.

As an alternative, the Bugera 6262 Infinium offers a similar level of power and tone control while still remaining relatively budget-friendly.

Tube Works RT-2100 Mosvalve

Tube Works RT-2100 Mosvalve

Bugera 6262 Infinium

Bugera 6262 Infinium

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Peavey Decade

The bulk of the distinctive chunky bass tone that Nick Oliveri used on No One Knows was actually recorded with a Peavey Decade practice amp mic’d up with a Coles ribbon mic.

The setup also involved an Ampeg SVT turned all the way up with 2 inward facing 2 x 15 cabinets blasting away, as well as a vintage Acoustic 360 amp. Surprisingly, the gentle Decade provided a balanced overall tone, with a punchy low-end.

The Roland Cube-10GX is a similar size to the now way overpriced vintage Peavey Decade, and it offers plenty of tone-shaping capabilities as well as amp modeling.

Peavey Decade

Peavey Decade

Roland Cube-10GX

Roland Cube-10GX

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Brauner VM1

Josh’s cleaner vocals on Lullabies To Paralyze were captured using the multiple award-winning Brauner VM1 tube microphone, although Barresi also used mics like the SM57, the Neumann M49, and the KSM44.

The VM1 provides the level of transparency and detail needed to cut through those dense QOTSA mixes and it became one of the tools that led to the resurgence of tube mics in the late-1990s and early-2000s.

If you’re in search of tube warmth at a more affordable price point, the Rode K2 is a tried and tested option that works on a wide range of voices and vocal styles.

Brauner VM1

Brauner VM1

Rode K2 Bundle

Rode K2 Bundle

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Which of your favourite artists would you like to see in our sound-alike series? Please let us know in the comments below!

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Image Sources:
  • Quad Eight Console: Vintage King
  • Ovation Ultra GP: Equipboard
  • Tube Works RT-2100 Mosvalve: eBay
  • Peavey Decade: Elderly Instruments
  • Brauner VM1: Brauner
Sound Like Queens Of The Stone Age

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2 responses to “This is Bat Country: How To Sound Like Queens Of The Stone Age”

    David says:
    -1

    Would love a sound-alike on LTJ Bukem or Roni Size.

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