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Top 5: John Feldmann

John Feldmann is a man of many talents. As a musician he is the ongoing lead vocalist and guitarist of SoCal punk rockers Goldfinger. As a respected mixer/producer he has worked with the likes of The Used, 311, Korn, Avril Lavigne, Godsmack, and 5 Seconds of Summer. AT recently sat down with Feldmann to discuss his five essential studio tools.


7 November 2022


This is probably the most important piece of gear that I have at the studio. The first thing I do in the morning is fire that thing up. It automatically grinds the beans (Stumptown’s Hair Bender blend) and pours a double shot. I shoot it back and my brain starts firing up with ideas. Typically, I’ll start a session like this, and then I can begin pitching a song idea (or whatever) to an artist. My coffee machine is definitely what matters most.


It’s an incredible piece of gear — it sounds so creamy, and it’s like a dream to play too. I have recorded every acoustic guitar track with that guitar, so it’s been used on everything from All Time Low, and The Used, and all the way through to the track “Avalanche” on the new Avril Lavigne album ‘Love Sux’.

Everything I’ve ever recorded has been done on this guitar. It is my guitar. I’ve even cracked the neck and had it fixed. If anyone ever took it from me, it would be an incredible loss, that’s for sure. Just the charm of that guitar, with its own magical tone — it’s what the ring is to Gollum. It is very precious to me.


The Manley is such an imperative mic for my productions. Again, I use it on everything, including the new Avril Lavigne album. It has this great top end which captures her bright, angsty voice so well. I could hear all of the midrange and sibilance that I needed, which was important when making this record with her.

I love microphones, and I feel that each has its own personality — especially when it comes to recording female vocals. I recently recorded Leah Kate using the same mic, and again the way the mic handled this sibilance was fantastic. I’ll pretty much always use the Manley when working with any female artist as it’s not too bright, and is best suited to most of their vocal tones. My guess is that Manley probably modelled it after the C12, but I could be wrong. It’s got that familiar shape and the capsule looks kind of similar, especially the VR reissue that AKG produced.


As I’ve mentioned I love mics, and the Shure SM7B is another awesome, versatile mic. Just last week I drove my Tesla to Brentwood and picked up Yungblud on my way downtown. During the drive — armed with a MacBook Pro, an SM7B, and a small bus-powered interface — we recorded two songs. With the SM7B we captured the lead vocals, background vocals, and harmonies. It was incredible.

I know that Anthony Kiedis and Queens of The Stone Age love this mic too. A lot of people use it because it’s an inexpensive option. I don’t know if people really think about it much, but they should because it’s an absolutely fantastic mic.


As a pitchy vocalist myself, I turn to EFX+ and get great results. I can record live with little to no latency and because I can hear it in my headphones, I’ll focus on the performance more than I will on the pitch. When I’m in the studio recording my own vocals, I love Auto-Tune. It makes me a more confident singer because I’m not worried about the shit that I can fix later, so I can go for it with attitude. There are singers I’ve worked with who don’t need autotune at all, but just having the option there means that I don’t have to focus on every little inflection — it’s just one thing that I can let go of.

When you’re writing intense lyrics in the studio and they have you feeling raw in the vocal booth, you want these emotions to translate to tape. EFX+ takes the performance worry away, leaving you to concentrate on capturing the essence of the lyrics, the melody, and the song.


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