Cover: Bohemian Rhapsody

Hey everyone!

I’d like to submit a song for bashing. As the title said, it’s a cover of the well-known Queen’ song Bohemian Rhapsody, but two tones lower.

The purpose of the entry is to get some feedbacks on both mixing and production.

Disclaimer: I’m not the guy who did everything. @Lophophora did and it’s one of his numerous projects.
By the way, I only played bass guitar and some guitar parts. Another guitar player did other guitar parts. @Lophophora played and sang everything else.

Enjoy listening and happy bashing!!

Yep, thanks ncls. This cover was really time-consuming and challenging but I learned a lot while making it. At one point I had more than 200 tracks in my DAW so I spent a lot of time sorting and grouping tracks and subgroups in order to actually be able to do the mixing in the end, while replicating the original song’s mixing and production choices.

It had to be 2 tones lower than the original because I just can’t reach the high notes, particularly in the opera section. So that was also some hassle for my fellow guitar players who had to deal with that.

Now I’m ready for some serious bashing, such an iconic song is always a daring gamble to cover because everyone has such accurate memories of the original… and I’m nowhere near as good a singer as Freddy, of course. But I am eager to learn and improve, particularly on the mixing part, so come on people, let it all out!

Wow, this was brave to try and pull this off :slight_smile: sounds great to these ears. I was a little fearful because trying to go up that original vocal was almost unimaginable. This is done very well however including the vocals. I can’t imagine how much time you have put into this??? You can be proud of your efforts, because it is done VERY well. My only deal is that I don’t really understand covers in general. It’s like, been there done that. I have heard on some TV commercial lately some great covers, so I am now getting it.
I can’t hear any negatives at all. Congrats to all



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Thanks for your nice comment Paul. Yes it took some time, but not necessarily on what you’d expect at first. For instance, you can find most of the original stems on the internet which made the learning part a breeze. What actually took me the longest time was organizing the very numerous audio files in my DAW, all the mix preparation phase.

About the “cover” thing, I totally hear you. I love doing covers of great songs that I discovered as a teenager and influenced my whole musician life, and many of my music friends often tell me I should spend more time on songwriting than covering stuff. The thing is that besides loving to do it, it also helps me learn a whole lot about music, producing and mixing. But I also have a few tunes of my own and I also cover songs in a more personal and creative way.


I see doing covers like this as a really really good learning experience when it comes to arrangement and performance.

As far as this version, unfortunately, there’s really no way to win this battle. Nobody will ever be able to listen to this without comparing it to the original. There’s just no way around it. Everything about this version is far cleaner than the original, which makes it feel less aggressive. It’s what I would imagine the song would sound like if Styx originally made it.

Personally, I’d try to get more aggression out of it. I think there’s a place for super clean recordings, but I don’t see this song as being that kind of place.

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to take this song on at all is a massive achievement!
sounds great…
but it just makes me want to listen to the origional.
great production though.
but yeah a little clean sounding.
cool though.
vocals ang guitar need more balls though.
it kind of sounds like a male voice choir is covering it rather than a rock band.

hats off for trying though but i dont brew Guinness because i cant brew it to taste like Guinness, it just tastes like a dark beer trying to be Guinness.

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Please dont get me wrong, your performace and mixing is great! Truely

Its just like boz said though, im comparing it to the origional sorry

You’re right. I knew that from the beginning too, just as I knew it certainly wasn’t going to sound as good. But My goal was to 1) do something enjoyable and rewarding and 2) learn from imitation. And I figured it could be nice to listen for music lovers, as I myself enjoy listening to covers when they are done meticulously.

Everything about this version is far cleaner than the original, which makes it feel less aggressive. It’s what I would imagine the song would sound like if Styx originally made it.
Personally, I’d try to get more aggression out of it. I think there’s a place for super clean recordings, but I don’t see this song as being that kind of place.

Now that’s an interesting comment. It makes me realize that we do not all have the same perception of the music we hear. When I was young (and not yet a musician), listening to this song made me think “wow those vocals are super clean, those guys are incredibly talented”. And I think this feeling stuck with me for all those years, because even though I know now that this song is not at all clean by today’s standards, I still consider this record to be clean. I guess this almost unconscious feeling guided me as I made this cover, which is one of the reasons why it sounds “too clean”.

Now that leads me to the next question: how do you make it sound more agressive and less “sanitized”? Is it even possible to do this at the mix stage or is it just a matter of original performance?

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No worries LazyE, your earnest comments are useful and I take them as such.

Actually the guitars and drums were my main concern for this cover. I chose to use direct, clean guitar takes and apply amp sims. But having little experience in electric guitar playing and mixing, I was afraid to do a poor job. In the end it sounded ok to me, not great but just ok. I didn’t try to do fancy things because I was afraid to do worse… Do you have any advice or guidelines on how to give more balls to the guitars in this mix?

And about the drums, most of the time I do not have access to a good drummer and an acoustic drum set in a decent room so I use EZDrummer.

Thanks for your comment.
You got details from the original author :blush:

I could not agree more!
The silly question “how did they do that?” could be very tricky on some songs and I learnt a lot doing it.
Plus sometimes I guessed “why the hell did they record that track that way?” until I try to reach the same result without it and… it doens’t work :smile:

Thanks for your comment by the way, very spot on IMO.

Thanks for your reply, I see that you’re active here as you were on RR :wink:
I listened to Clockwork Clown mixed by ColdRoomStudio and I still found really nice!

Thanks for your tips and feedbacks!

I think youve done a great job dont be disheartened. A far better job that i could probably do.
But yeah vmby balls i mean more attitude in the origional recording.
"Mama just killed a man, pit a gun against his head pulled my trigger now he’s dead "
All the lyrics in the song are dark, emotional and passionate. Freddie managed to capture the essense of the story with his vocals. Its a talent.
Very hard to do.
The guitars need to be more edgy.
Brian may uses a coinas a plectrum that maybe gives it a more edgy sound.
Your version is excellent it really is a great cover!
But its a lot to stand up to one of the best songs of all time so dont worry


To me, it’s more on the performance side, it lacks some guts from the singer.
As a matter of example, this cover is far from perfect, has some technical flaws but give me more pleasure to listen to.
I hope it could help (or at least give some ideas).

[quote=“Lophophora, post:8, topic:995, full:true”]

I got the same impression when I first heard the cover. I don’t think that “clean” is a good word to try to explain this though. It’s about as effective as “warm” can be at times. :open_mouth:
There was probably a certain clean/pure/pretty tone to Freddie’s vocals and the BGV’s, and Brian’s guitar was rarely very distorted, in comparison to other hard Rock music at the time. But I think there’s more to the story. While you had a lot of vocal tracks, the original had them in spades … probably a record number of vocal tracks. Even though lots of harmonies sound “pretty”, the individual voices can have some bite or scream to them that adds character. Roger’s high operatic peaks (higher than Freddie’s IIRC) had some bite to them. And the guitars were also a wonder of record numbers of overdubs by Brian. Probably some were more distorted than others, but so many tracks harmonized sounds very pretty for electric guitar. I think it’s in the details so it’s hard to generalize about it.

100% agree. This is exactly what I thought too. That very same vocal line, I was thinking “where is the drama and emotion?” He later says “I sometimes wish I’d never been born at all” and so it’s clear the emotion of the song is [U]deep existential crisis[/U]. 1) He killed somebody. 2) He has to tell his mama he killed somebody. 3) Life had just begun and now he’s thrown it all way. 4) He didn’t mean to make mama cry. 5) He sometimes wished he’d never been born at all.
Shall I continue? :grimacing:

So while you’ll get the comparison’s and there’s virtually no way to reach that bar, the vocals during those more extreme passages could have been “dirtier” and angst-ridden to convey the story more.
Also agree the guitars could be more edgy. Especially lead guitar. I don’t know what Brian did, but he really dug in on the solo and let it rip. Again, very raw emotion. Those heavily overdubbed rhythm parts also sounded very edgy even though if you could hear the original multitrack they may not have seemed that way.

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Thanks a lot for your comment, very detailled! :smiley:

Brian May use a special guitar with 6 switches: 3 to turn on or off each single-coil mic and 3 to switch the phase.
He use a Vox AC30 plus a treble boost before and that’s it.
For guitar chords, I should say that I recorded my guitar with the lowest E string dropped down to C#… it was challenging to get a sound without lot of annoying noises :smile: And I could not strum the guitar the way it should.
A 7-strings guitar or some other strings would do a better job.

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Its not so much the guitar but the playing. More emotional content needed. Dig in and feel the notes, express them.
Pretty big fish to fry though the biggest wueen song ever so i’d just leave it as a good cover and move on.
You have nothing to be dissapointed about


Yeah I see what you mean and I totally agree. Actually, as you know I had made a first try for the lead vocals that I didn’t even want to keep so I started all over again a couple weeks later, and what you hear on this cover is the result of many takes comped together, I am really at my maximum here as far as guts is concerned so there’s nothing i can do about it.

And yes in the other cover the guy has definitely a more agressive/rock’n roll voice, that I don’t have. I am not at all bitter about it, I am happy I did my best. I really like what he does on the bass too, although it sounds a little out of context sometimes. There’s another similar cover, by another guy from somewhere in South America (those guys really rock!). I think I actually prefer this one, especially for the guitars sound.

Thanks for all those comments, that was useful. I am somewhat surprised no one has anything to say about the mix though… Could it be just fine?

I guess its kinda hard to emulate this guys playing, espacially cause its one of the few or maybe the only player that uses a nickle as a pick. Even if every one uses the same pick, guitar and strings, its gonna sound different. You CAN practice to emulate some one’s playing, but even if you get close, you’re probably not gonna use the same gear so :slight_smile: especially that pick.
So I would just focus on working with the groove. Try to really accentuate the attack of the pick/stroke (make it very aggressive at first, really exaggerate to get a feel for what I’m going for here, and adjust it later) , while pulling on the groove, that is gonna give you that feeling you are missing here. Try to pick the notes almost to late.

Very nice effort to this cover though! was a bit scared about what I was about to hear, but its a good try! I’d love to get in on that :slight_smile:

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Great work
I like a lot this song, it’s very difficult to forget the original version when I hear yours.
It’s a real challenge to sing it.
Maybe the voice, the guitar and the piano are not enough punchy in your version, but it sounds good, I really like what you did!

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