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Author Topic: Relative Newbie - tracking question to getting a reference track down  (Read 256 times)

John Marsden

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Tracking advice
New to self recording
Few years doing live sound
I am after advice regarding  the best order for recording a song.
it will be essentially solo artist, vox and accoustic guitar- and then some lead fills, ambient synth pads etc way in the background.
I will be doing the lot.
Should I lay down a referenc track with click track in my ear of the whole song. one take vox and guitar. then use that to re-record all the parts. In the past when I've tried this it can takes a long time to get a good take. Or do I just start recording just the guitar part. This does my head in as its hard to know where you're up to with no reference. Or do I record just sections at a time. Then put them together in daws.
As you see I would value advice on how to initially get going.
Advice gratefully received
Thank you
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Fletcher

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Re: Relative Newbie - tracking question to getting a reference track down
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2017, 05:57:10 pm »

All due respect, this is an unanswerable question as its a highly individual thing.  FWIW, if I were "producing" the session I'd have you lay it down with vocals and guitar until you got a tempo / feel you liked for the song... then add drums, bass, other guitars backing vocals, etc. etc., etc.

Never be afraid to go back and change stuff... and never be afraid to say "ya know what... I'm going to start over" after you've lived with the song in its various iterations over time.  You have to realize that you're under no time constraint / budget restrictions to get this done... so take your time and build a product you're going to be psyched to play in your car for the rest of your life [which is how I've approached every project in my career... I need to love the outcome... if anyone else does and happen to buy it -- well then, it appears we're on the bonus plan].

I hope this is of some assistance.

Peace
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CN Fletcher

mwagener wrote on Sat, 11 September 2004 14:33
We are selling emotions, there are no emotions in a grid


"Recording engineers are an arrogant bunch
If you've spent most of your life with a few thousand dollars worth of musicians in the studio, making a decision every second and a half... and you and  they are going to have to live with it for the rest of your lives, you'll get pretty arrogant too.  It takes a certain amount of balls to do that... something around three"
Malcolm Chisholm

John Marsden

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Re: Relative Newbie - tracking question to getting a reference track down
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2017, 06:51:17 pm »

Thank you Fletcher.  Great advice.
I write songs very much like that, with multiple revisions that  get me lots of gentle ribbing from my fellow musicians. So it makes sense to record the same way. 
Cheers
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Fletcher

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Re: Relative Newbie - tracking question to getting a reference track down
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2017, 01:53:55 am »

Do what comes naturally and you will hardly ever go wrong.

Peace
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CN Fletcher

mwagener wrote on Sat, 11 September 2004 14:33
We are selling emotions, there are no emotions in a grid


"Recording engineers are an arrogant bunch
If you've spent most of your life with a few thousand dollars worth of musicians in the studio, making a decision every second and a half... and you and  they are going to have to live with it for the rest of your lives, you'll get pretty arrogant too.  It takes a certain amount of balls to do that... something around three"
Malcolm Chisholm

Vertig07

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Re: Relative Newbie - tracking question to getting a reference track down
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2017, 12:15:07 pm »

I'm currently in the same situation - working on my own solo material and playing all of the instruments myself. Some tips based on my own experience (YMMV):

  • Start with the click and whichever instrument(s) you're most proficient in, or whichever instrument(s) you feel best provide the basis of the song.
  • Take a bit of time to make sure that the tempo of your click is "right". Also try A/Bing between quarter and eighth note clicks at the same tempo - one will usually "feel" better than the other. If it feels good, it is good.
  • Once you've got your "main riffs" recorded, go crazy and let the ideas flow. If it sounds good keep it. if it doesn't sound good, let it go and move on.
  • Unless you're A/Bing tracks for comparison, try to avoid the mute button. It's important to keep your eyes on the forest, without getting too caught up in the trees. I also find this a good rule to follow when mixing.
  • Speaking of A/B comparisons, if you have to A/B more than two or three times, the difference probably doesn't matter. Think of it as an eye exam - you're not going to spend half an hour going back and forth between two lenses. The image will shift into focus or it won't. If you find yourself in the latter situation, ditch the track and try something else. Also a good rule to follow when tracking.
  • Try doubling your riffs using different instruments. See how they sound in comparison, and together. Try them summed together, and panned wide. You never know what interesting things will pop out.
  • When composing my own material, I like to borrow from the "First Rule of Reggae" -- no two instruments ever play the same part. If I'm doubling a guitar part, I'll try the chords in different positions on the neck, variations of the chords, harmonies, and as many tonal variations as I can until it "fits". If you get this right, it can add an enormous amount of space and depth to your songs.
  • When your composition hits a dead end (can't find the the right part/transition/etc), walk away from it and get it out of your head entirely. If it persists as an earworm, replace that earworm with anything you can (pop songs, jingles, TV show themes -- whatever it takes). I find that once I've managed to get the song out of my head for a while, the answer usually jumps out of no-where after a few days.

Good luck with your tracking and composition!

-Lance
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Fletcher

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Re: Relative Newbie - tracking question to getting a reference track down
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2017, 05:45:39 pm »

In with "doubling your riffs", you might want to try doing backing guitar / keyboard tracks using different chord voicing [or with guitars, open tunings as well as voicing] -- often that can help make the presentation sound HUGE without sacrificing "mix space".

Peace
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CN Fletcher

mwagener wrote on Sat, 11 September 2004 14:33
We are selling emotions, there are no emotions in a grid


"Recording engineers are an arrogant bunch
If you've spent most of your life with a few thousand dollars worth of musicians in the studio, making a decision every second and a half... and you and  they are going to have to live with it for the rest of your lives, you'll get pretty arrogant too.  It takes a certain amount of balls to do that... something around three"
Malcolm Chisholm

John Marsden

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Re: Relative Newbie - tracking question to getting a reference track down
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2017, 12:17:12 am »

Thank you Lance great advice.
Thank you for sharing. There are so many things you can do its hard to know when to stop...

Thanks Fletcher - I shall bear this in mind too.
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