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Steal the Sound – Christmas Edition!

30/11/2022

Don’t let the music end this Christmas. Steal the sound of your favourite Xmas songs with this easy guide.

At Gear4music, you can get all the gear you need to sound like some of your favourite Christmas songs. From the duelling guitars of “Don’t Let The Bells End” to the twin saxophones of “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day” – there’s something for everybody here.

So strap into your sleigh; we’re about to go on the steal-the-sound ride of your life.

The Darkness – “Don’t Let The Bells End”

Marshall SV20H Studio Vintage Valve HeadThe Darkness released “Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End)” in December 2003. It has a classic rock style – as many of their songs do – with soaring guitars, exciting drums, and the signature falsetto vocals of Justin Hawkins.

It also has a great music video, where you can see a lot of the gear that they use first-hand. And the electric guitars are particularly impressive.

But what guitars do they use?

Both Justin and Dan Hawkins – the guitarists – use different Gibson Les Pauls.

Justin goes for the Gibson Les Paul Custom with an Alpine White finish – perfect for the snowy season. This features premium humbucker pickups, a sculpted mahogany neck, and a solid ebony fingerboard.

He plugs it into the Marshall 1959HW Plexi Handwired Reissue Valve Head which boasts boutique hand-wired circuitry, providing a vintage tone that can be driven ridiculously loud.

Dan’s guitar is the Gibson Les Paul Standard 60s with an Iced Tea finish. Its 61 Burstbucker pickups produce those classic rock tones, and with its slim-taper ’60s-style neck, you can play as effortlessly as Dan does. He uses this with a Marshall SV20H Studio Vintage Valve Head that has iconic Marshall aesthetics and EQ.

Dan also plays the Gibson SJ-200 Studio Rosewood acoustic in the video. This guitar is beautiful in both appearance and sound – with its large body creating an ultra-resonant tone that will cut through any room.

And of course, who could forget the Gibson Custom EDS-1275 Double Neck Dan and Justin shred together in the music video? This is a double-neck guitar, where one neck has twelve strings and one has six strings. So in a single guitar, you get two very distinct sounds. Or you can just be like Dan and Justin and play it lovingly together.

Queen – “Thank God It’s Christmas”

Brian May Special, Antique CherryQueen are known for their stadium rock anthems like “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “We Will Rock You” – but did you know they wrote a brilliant Christmas song too?

“Thank God It’s Christmas” captures the quintessential hope at Christmastime. Whilst being anthemic in the usual Queen way, it also has a more delicate side to it.

Released in 1984, the song is well into Queen’s more synth-driven era, but it still features the guitar of Brian May later on in the track.

And what guitar does he use, I hear you ask?

His own custom guitar that he built with his dad out of an old wardrobe, of course! But you might be thinking: I don’t have Brian May’s wardrobe – what can I do?

Now, don’t be dismayed – Brian has made his classic guitar available to everyone!

The Brian May Special is a faithful recreation of the Queen legend’s iconic guitar.  So it’s not hard for you to look and sound just like Brian May!

And if you want to take it all the way, Brian uses a sixpence as a guitar pick – a bit unusual but worth trying if you can get your hands on one.

He plugs into a Vox AC30C2 Custom Combo, which is based on the heritage 1960s Vox blueprint with authentic tones and an all-tube design. And when paired with Brian’s classic guitar, it sounds amazing.

So this Christmas, get that guitar, get that amp, play “Thank God It’s Christmas”, and think to yourself, well, thank God it’s Christmas.

Wizzard – “I Wish it Could be Christmas Everyday”

Stagg TS215S Tenor SaxophoneDo you wish it could be Christmas every day? Yes? No? Well, Wizzard did and that’s all that matters here.

Their hit song “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday” is a certified Christmas classic. And instead of looking at guitars, this time we’re going to look at saxes!

There are two types of sax played in this song, with Roy Wood picking up the soprano and Mike Burney picking up the tenor.

While it might take years of practice to get as good as them, picking up one of these lovely instruments this Christmas is sure to get you into the festive spirit.

If you’ve never seen a soprano saxophone, they look a bit like a mix between a clarinet and an alto/tenor saxophone.

A great beginner option is the Stagg SS2155 Soprano Saxophone. It’s made from yellow brass for a rounded, balanced sound. And its leather pads and metal resonators will ensure you always have a clear and precise tone.

If you want a step up from this, and you’re playing Wizzard at a more professional level, the Yamaha YSS475II Bb Soprano Saxophone is an excellent option. It has exceptional playability with a range of articulate tones at your fingertips. Because of its long-lasting quality, you won’t ever need another soprano saxophone in your life!

Well, how about tenor saxophones, like the one Mike Burney played? A fantastic beginner model is the Stagg TS215S Tenor Saxophone, which has a wonderful tone and all the extra accessories you need for playing in the future.

If you’re after a more premium sax, the Buffet 400 Series Tenor is the one. The premium lacquer finish, combined with the high-quality build, results in a sax that looks and sounds amazing.

So with any of these saxophones, you’ll be getting into the Christmas spirit and playing Christmas songs every single day for the rest of your life.

Other Christmas sounds

What if you just want to get some generic Christmas sounds? Well, we’ve got lots of instruments to make your music more Christmassy.

Sleigh bells are always a good option to make a track more Christmassy. Even the heaviest metal will sound festive if you add a bit of these. Why not try it?

Any bells, actually, can make a song sound seasonal. Why not get the Tuned Hand Bells Carousel by Gear4music? It will add an instant sparkle to any track.

If you want an extra visual element for your Christmas show, a snow machine is a great choice. While this won’t add any sound, you can recreate the music videos of the Darkness, Wizzard, and other festive scenes with it.

We hope you have fun recreating these Christmas hits!

 

Content Editor - Live Sound

Rowan Evans writes and edits live sound content for Gear4Music. He has a degree in audio technology and has engineered for everything from musicals to country bands. He also loves writing music, making noise in all corners of York on most nights of the week.

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