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Doubting James - Stop B!tching Around!

Artist Name:
Doubting Tomas   Title: Stop Bitch’n Around   Genre: Rock  Rating:


DAW – Logic Pro; Interface – Focusrite Scarlett 2i4; Microphones – Shure SM57 (guitar cab) and Neumann TLM 102 (vocals); Guitar – Gibson Voodoo Les Paul; Amp – Marshall JCM900 with 1960 4×12 cab; Monitors – RCF AYRA PRO5; Headphones – beyerdynamic DT 700 ProX; Whirlwind instrument cables for guitar and bass


Stop Bitch’n Around” is a rock song written by William Brewster and performed by Doubting Tomas. The band is William Brewster on guitars, with vocalist Alex VanTrue, Drummer Jeff Rose and Sergio Unzueta on bass.

The track was produced and mixed by Eddie Kramer, a name that should be familiar to most RECORDING Magazine readers, given that Eddie engineered or produced albums by Traffic, Small Faces, the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Kiss, Led Zeppelin, Anthrax, Whitesnake, Humble Pie, Peter Frampton and a host of others.

Note: Check out our podcast with Eddie Kramer

Review By Dave Martin

Stop Bitch’n Around” is a hard rock record, so I’m pleased to note that the guitars were recorded through a Marshall JCM900 with a 4×12 cabinet and miked with an SM57—you can’t go wrong with this combination.

There are quite a number of touches that put me in mind of 80s and 90s rock, from the harmony vocals on the intro and choruses to the added 16th note rhythm guitar pattern that shows up in the second verse, and even the drum groove changing to a half time feel at the end of the choruses. These all fit within the context of this style of music.

Listening to the track on a bit more granular level, I decided that the single (well, doubled) guitar note on measures 4, 8 and 12 of each chorus was both interesting and effective.

Vocalist Alex VanTrue has a strong voice, especially in his upper range, and delivers a fine performance on this track; the Neumann TLM 102 seems to fit his voice well. And finally, I enjoyed hearing the guitar solo as an actual part rather than simply a race to put in as many notes as possible.

Dave’s Suggestions

The levels of electric guitar in the mix of a hard rock song can depend on a number of variables, like the speakers on which the song was mixed. Monitors with a reasonably forward midrange can result in a slightly lower level. In comparison, those with a less pronounced midrange can result in a somewhat higher guitar level when compared to the rest of the rhythm section and the vocal.

The guitar levels can also be affected by where in the recording process those guitars were recorded. If you save the final guitar parts until the vocals and the rhythm section are finished, it’s typical that you will listen to the guitars at a louder level while recording them so that you can make decisions about the guitarist’s performance—and your mix can reflect the way that you’ve gotten used to listening to the track, with the guitars turned up. 

The genre of the music can also influence the guitar levels, along with the changing/evolving styles of mixing over the years. There have been times when the vocals were the loudest thing on the record and times when mixers treated the vocals as simply another texture, one that could be buried in the track. 

Stop Bitch’n Around” is guitar-driven, like most hard rock, so the tendency might be to make sure that all of the guitars are heard. However, on future mixes, I would advise that the band first make sure that all the words can be understood; I had some trouble understanding the lyrics. And that’s a darned shame because I think there’s some good stuff there.

I understand that the mix I heard may completely capture the artist’s (and the producer’s) vision of the tune and if so, I will apologize for not understanding that vision. Nevertheless, the dominance of the guitars made me wish I could hear more details in the bass and drums, as well as more of the lead vocals.


A cool guitar riff and a good singer—that’s what make a hard rock song work for me! Well done!


Dave Martin is a producer, engineer and bassist. Dave owned Nashville’s Java Jive Studio for close to 25 years. Dave has recorded, produced and/or played with symphony orchestras, rock and roll icons and country music legends ranging from the Old Crow Medicine Show, The Dead Pickers Society, Porter Wagoner, Robben Ford, Billy Cobham, The Box Tops, Carl Verheyen, Richie Faulkner (Judas Priest), Adrian Belew, Rick Nielsen (Cheap Trick), Eric Johnson, Robbie Fulks, Steve Vai, The Coasters and others. Dave is also a member of the Western Swing Hall of Fame.


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