DIY — Trouble and Turmoil

As promised, I’ve re-recorded (digitally!) my song “Trouble and Turmoil.”

It was a fun learning experience. First, I had to practice playing with the click track. I’ve never played this song with a metronome before, so the discipline of not skipping a beat or two at the turn and never been enforced upon me before. I didn’t even realize I was doing it until I played with the click track.

Speaking of time, this is a reasonably fast song. I ended up playing it here at 139 BPM. After I finished recording it, I found that my original version was faster yet. Still, I think the new version is fast enough to get the feel I want.

Initially, I recorded it with a simultaneous vocal and guitar performance. I wasn’t entirely happy with the vocal performance, but I could have kept the guitar performance if I had been happier with the tone. I had bought a sound hole pick up specifically for this purpose. I couldn’t figure out how to change the tone without re-recording it, so I spend a good deal of time playing with the effects and nothing satisfied me, so I wound up recording the guitar with a mic instead.

Since the acoustic guitar part never varies (except for the two-beat pick up to kick it off), I tried looping it, but wasn’t happy with the way the verses spliced together, so I did record the track straight through as one performance. The problem, though, since I wasn’t singing along, is that I lost track of how many verses I recorded and wound up with an extra verse at the end. I just kept it.

I then recorded the vocal a few times, trying to get a performance I could be satisfied with — mainly trying to cut down on the pops and overdrives.

Finally, I layered on the lead guitar. The BR-532‘s punch-in/punch-out feature proved especially effective for this, especially on the last part of the lead, which I altered slightly from my original recording to sneak in a couple of more notes.

This Boss portable studio is really marvelous. Since I bought at a demo, it didn’t come with a manual, but yesterday, at another guitar store, I picked up the video manual for it, which was just the ideal tool to teach me how to use this “bad boy” (as the instructor kept referring to it). Once you understand it, it’s really easy to use, from using effects, to multi-tracking and fixing mistakes to mixing down the file recording. The one thing it lacks, which the better Boss recorders have, is an on-board EQ. Instead of being able to EQ each track, I had to EQ the entire mix on my computer.

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