As I started thinking about this EP I’m working on, I pondered over the approach I would take when recording guitar parts. I’m a guitar player first and a singer second, and as such I probably pay more attention to getting good guitar tones and writing interesting/melodic guitar lines than I do vocal production. This is something I need to work on since if there is a vocal in the song, it is instantly and justifiably the focal point. I’ll need to spend as much if not more time ensuring that the vocal performance is solid. 

 

But this isn’t exactly what I want to talk about. The title of this post alludes to how I’m approaching my guitar parts. So for the old school…I’m using an all tube Panama Fuego X amp to record one of my rhythm guitar parts. Why is this news? Well, up until a year ago, I had never owned much less played through a tube amp! This is kinda backwards since tube amps have been at the center of nearly every guitar player’s rig for decades…I’m just a tad late to the game. Now for the new school…I’ve always been a fan of technology and have used it extensively in the past and will continue to do so in the future. I’ll be using my Line 6 Helix for the other rhythm guitar along with my lead tones. 

 

The idea deal is to marry the old school with the new school as I’m incorporating guitar parts that help paint the sonic lands I’m creating. It’s not a groundbreaking idea to be sure, but it’s one I’ve never tackled. It makes me happy to use the best of both worlds. 

 

    

 

I’m making good progress on the first EP I’ll be releasing this year. Right now I have four songs that will make the cut and depending on time, I may add a fifth…we’ll see.

 

Now about the title of this post…I happily enter the studio ready to comp my acoustic guitar line. I’ve recorded the part three times and I will go through each take, find the best parts, and glue it all together to make one super take! Modern technology allows us to do this and it’s an efficient way to get the best performance. I fire up Cubase and dig in only to find that something ‘feels’ off. For this particular song, I programmed the tempo of the drums to follow 100 BPM (beats per minute for non-musical folk), and I recorded the acoustic guitar part at 100 BPM. 

 

I mentioned that the song felt off, so I sing along with the drums and guitars and I find the problem…this tune is dragging!!! Not good. It’s easy enough to change the temp of the song and my drum program, Superior Drummer 3; it will follow along no problemo. I upped the tempo to 103 BPM and now the song feels much better. The acoustic guitar however…well…since it’s actual audio that I recorded and not a sample based instrument, I had to re-record it. NOT a big deal since I know the song like the back of my hand, but a minor inconvenience. 

 

I erased the acoustic parts (ouch) and re-recorded them at 103 BPM. I was feeling inspired so I went ahead and wrote and recorded the bass line too…progress. By adding three stinking beats per minute, this tune feels good to me and ready to keep on working!

 

So last weekend I wake up, get some breakfast, and I’m charged up! It’s ‘Studio Saturday’ and I’m ready to get some work done. I’ve got it all planned out…I’m going to record the acoustic guitar part for a song called ‘And I Go’. I get everything set up…two microphones (a condenser and a ribbon) and I’m plugged in direct. I will blend these three signals to capture the sound from my lovely Breedlove koa acoustic.

 

Cubase is fired up and ready to accept whatever I send to it, be it sloppy or perfect playing. It oftentimes results in the former  🙂  I hit the record button waiting to hear the drums samples from Superior Drummer 3…I know they will sound amazing and help me nail this part with a sweet groove that I’ve programmed…with a sweet groove that I’ve programmed…with a swee…nothing…it’s quiet!

 

Well BALLS!!!  There is no drum track! It’s become glaringly apparent that I didn’t program the track like I thought  My initial mojo is gone and I stare at my computer screen. Acoustic guitar WILL be recorded today!!! So I buckle down, get my drums programmed (which is fun), and record my guitar line.

 

I should’ve made some kind of list that allows me to keep track of what’s been done. As Creatives, we often have our heads in the clouds and lose track of where we are in our projects. Lesson learned…I have created a spreadsheet complete with a song list and its respective parts. Fool me once…

 

Happy New Year!!!  2018 is here and with it comes new beginnings, ideas, dreams, and fresh starts. For many of us it’s time to get those resolutions in place and make the changes that will create a better life for ourselves. 

 

Well…I don’t do resolutions! As a matter of fact, I’ve kinda pooh-pooh’d the whole idea and just ignored it altogether. This year, something is different. I feel the need to actually speak (or type in this case) some words out into the ether in an effort to make them tangible…solid.  That said, I still don’t do resolutions, but I HAVE created some goals that I want achieve. Listing them where they can be seen and read will not only give them power, but it will also add a level of accountability that I have flippantly ignored. Here we go:

 

  1. I WILL release two EPs of original music. My tentative plan is for one in the Spring and one in the Fall.
  2. I WILL blog more. I have this site and have been lazy about using it…I’ll write something at least once a week.
  3. I WILL do something musical every day. Playing guitar, singing, learning production techniques, etc.
  4. I WILL meditate every day. It’s important for me to just stop the world for a moment and focus.
  5. I WILL play more tennis and be more active.

 

Those are my big 5. I’ll probably have a few others pop up as the year progresses, these goals WILL be met…I owe it to myself.