You ever get excited because you got a new thing that would make this other thing better and then you spend all afternoon setting up the new thing only to find that something ain’t quite right with the new thing and the old thing together? Yeah…that. That was my day…blech. Maybe I could explain that a little better.

I bought some new equipment for the studio which will make my workflow easier and more efficient. After everything was installed and configured, I was raring to go…I’m recording some 12 string guitar parts for this song I’m working on and am excited to see how the parts I wrote will fit together. I open the song, set levels, and start playing. Freeze!!! My DAW (digital audio workstation) freezes and I’m only mildly annoyed. It’s no big…nothing that a quick reboot won’t fix. Reboot complete! Let’s do this! Freeze…again. OK…a little more annoyed at this point. Reboot. Reconfigure new equipment…Freeze!

At this point I’m getting pretty irritated, but I go through the proper troubleshooting steps in an effort to figure out WHAT is causing the error. Long story short, I’d hooked everything up properly, configured everything properly, and in the last place I thought to look…BAM! Turns out the song file itself became corrupted somehow. Yay, because I found the problem…Boo, because I’ll have to start this song over. It’s ok…my plan for today took a slight detour, but I will bend like a reed in the wind (Dune reference) and check my inconvenience at the door. Tomorrow is another day.

Today was just one of those days. It’s ‘Studio Saturday’ and it was time to get some work done. I’d been working on this guitar part, both writing it and creating a guitar tone that would fit the song. The writing part came easy (knock on wood), but the guitar sound actually took a little longer.

 

I might’ve mentioned this before, but I love technology. As musicians, we are able to produce and distribute our music for pennies on the dollar compared to what it used to cost. Having a home studio is a simple as having a laptop and an audio interface…we can create pro level music sitting in a recliner at home…it’s amazing.

 

Back to the lack of motivation today…it just wasn’t there. I went into the studio with the idea that asses would be kicked and names would be taken. I ‘did’ get some work done however. I recorded my guitar part and did a rough mix of what I had so far…it’s ok. Not my best work, and I will probably wind up re-recording some of what I did. The takeaway? Despite my lackluster feelings about working on music today, things did get done…I buckled down and got to a place that will be easy to pick up next time I’m working on the song.

 

We all want inspiration and desire to be there when we want it, but that’s not the way it works. Sometimes ya gotta force it a little bit, and putting in the hard yards when you don’t want to demonstrates to yourself that you’re committed…that’s a good thing!

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!