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How do you record?


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#1 OFFLINE   Father Goose

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Posted 14 August 2009 - 09:50 PM

I’m stuck with a long and tedious BT that I’d like to record on. If you could provide your thoughts on this.....

When recording, do you record a section at a time and then put them together?
For example: record the intro to 1st verse, then record the 2nd verse, then the 3rd …and so on and put them together later.

Or record everything from start to finish at one go? Like a 'live' band.
90% of the time, i do it this way.

And is there a ‘proper’ way? (proper = non-cheating) :dunno:
I hope that make sense.

#2 OFFLINE   starsailor

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Posted 15 August 2009 - 04:00 AM

I'm definitely not the most qualified for this but here's my opinion, hope this helps a bit Father Goose. Most of the tracks in collaborations are done by putting smaller tracks together with tracks flying all over the world from members and, a vocal here, guitar there etc. and then one member mixes it, the majority of tracks are recorded this way now, the producer has a bank of tracks and messes around with them until everything fits together, does take time but it does mean you can put it down and pick it up again. The draw back in a one take is all the band have to be on the ball, if your singer has a sore throat or a few of the players had a few too many drinks the night before, you may get a great track from the some of the band but the singer might hit a bum note or the guitarist might screw up a riff so it's easier to do them seperately, you've highlighted the problem of doing things all at once which is time, if the track is quite long it can get boring trying to get things right, you might start off fine but might get interrupted or in most cases just plain tired and end up frustrated because you can't get some parts right, doing seperate tracks allows a player to stay fresh. One drawback I've seen pointed out though is environment and set up, the situation has to be the same for each recording, so if you start off doing a track in the Kitchen best to do all the sessions in there for that track, if you move to the bedroom for another track it will sound different to the previous one so best to record everything in the same place, this is of course a common problem with collaborations, everything's recorded in a different place so can be a draw back, this is usually overcome by everyone doing raw tracks and then the mixer sorts it out.
Does take more time doing seperate tracks and a does take skill to put them together but it does mean you can take your time and it's pretty much the norm these days.
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#3 OFFLINE   carol m

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Posted 15 August 2009 - 07:06 AM

Hi Chris. When you record a track in bits and then put them together, what is the best way to get a smooth transition at the joins? I find cut and paste is hard to get just right without little pops or clicks. Say it's a guitar track you record in 3 or 4 bits. Do you keep each bit on its own track and then mix down into one track before doing the vocal, drums and whatever else? That way it's hard to get the drum beat in sync with the guitar, and if you record the drums first its hard to join the guitar bits smoothly and still on the beat.

Maybe you record the drums as the top track and record your guitar bits on say track 2,3,4 and let the last note of the first bit ring on so the first note of the second 'bit' is covered with the sustain from the first bit? - then add the vocal, do all your effects/eq etc and then mixdown/export as a single track? That uses up a lot of tracks on the screen and it's hard to keep track of your tracks.:huh:
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#4 OFFLINE   Tekker

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Posted 15 August 2009 - 07:26 AM

Father Goose,

I don't think there is such a thing as "cheating" these days. When you look at all the editing, pitch shifting, and quantizing that goes on in professional studios to fix the performances of professional musicians and singers who are making mega cash in their field and shouldn't need to rely on editing to fix their crummy performances, I don't think anything is off limits for the home recordest who is simply making music for fun. ;)


Carol,

Do you use crossfades when you edit? These are the ticket for smooth transitions. I keep the guitar takes on the same track and use crossfades when editing the parts together.

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#5 OFFLINE   starsailor

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Posted 15 August 2009 - 02:19 PM

carol m said:

Hi Chris. When you record a track in bits and then put them together, what is the best way to get a smooth transition at the joins? I find cut and paste is hard to get just right without little pops or clicks. Say it's a guitar track you record in 3 or 4 bits. Do you keep each bit on its own track and then mix down into one track before doing the vocal, drums and whatever else? That way it's hard to get the drum beat in sync with the guitar, and if you record the drums first its hard to join the guitar bits smoothly and still on the beat.

Maybe you record the drums as the top track and record your guitar bits on say track 2,3,4 and let the last note of the first bit ring on so the first note of the second 'bit' is covered with the sustain from the first bit? - then add the vocal, do all your effects/eq etc and then mixdown/export as a single track? That uses up a lot of tracks on the screen and it's hard to keep track of your tracks.:huh:

Tekker said:

Father Goose,

I don't think there is such a thing as "cheating" these days. When you look at all the editing, pitch shifting, and quantizing that goes on in professional studios to fix the performances of professional musicians and singers who are making mega cash in their field and shouldn't need to rely on editing to fix their crummy performances, I don't think anything is off limits for the home recordest who is simply making music for fun. ;)


Carol,

Do you use crossfades when you edit? These are the ticket for smooth transitions. I keep the guitar takes on the same track and use crossfades when editing the parts together.

-tkr

I haven't really done a lot of this on my own tracks Carol, done it on some with various results, done a fair bit with vocals and some with guitar on a few tracks, if I'm doing vocals on a collaboration, I lay down a dummy track then do it again one verse at a time until I'm happy with it, don't think I've ever done one with a drum track, do more of the mixing with loops, a lot of it's timing, other members here like Eddiez, Kenny (X4StringDrive), Johnnydoxx, Rockerbob and Annette (Nutty) etc. would be able to give a deeper explanation, when I do it I do the same as Tekker, using crossfades Mixcraft Cross Fade Tutorial

A lot of the DJs in the Clubs do it this way to blend tracks together it is a skill to get them lined up though, a guy in the UK has just invented a way of doing this where the join is undetectable don't know if he's going to make that available to all be cool though, I line the wave forms up on tracks too, you can overlap a track pull it in line then pull it back down to a seperate track so you can adjust volumes or add effects, another thing I've messed around with, with loops is putting part of the piece together mixing it in WAV then bringing the track back and adding more tracks the most I've done this with is 14 tracks. I think playing with loop banks is a good way to practice mixing don't know if others agree but it's good fun:yes:
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#6 OFFLINE   Rockerbob

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Posted 15 August 2009 - 06:48 PM

I prefer to record linearly. I overdub a lot, but I try to play each part all the way through.

#7 OFFLINE   Lcjones

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Posted 15 August 2009 - 11:03 PM

Rockerbob said:

I prefer to record linearly. I overdub a lot, but I try to play each part all the way through.

Ditto....


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#8 OFFLINE   Ian McAllister

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 12:16 PM

Believe it or not... so do I. I have mixed different takes together, or copied a bit and replaced a previous mistake with it, but most of my stuff is supposed to sound like six or seven people playing together, so I like to pretend I'm in a band when I'm recording. This can involve getting dressed up in stage gear, or even arguing myself...
Ian:burst:

#9 OFFLINE   eddiez152

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 01:45 PM

If I am working with a bt or music file, I put the original file in track 1
then I play along on track 2 with the guitar, next track maybe a keyboard track, next maybe an accordion track etc. I may want to add the drum track to follow along. WELL NOW, Non of this is the right way by the way.
So after a few conversations and lessons from people in the know (ROCKERBOB) I have changed my recording efforts into, Listen to a cover I want to do, get as close to the timing as I can figure out.

Now create or find a drum track that works well. Be it on cardboard boxes, floor, drum track files, or must Handsonic 10 drum machine.
Then record a bass track.
Next a guitar track or tracks.
Perhaps some other instrumental tracks.
Finally the vocal track.

The mix what seems forever. If after 20-50 tries I end up with something then post it.
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#10 OFFLINE   mantablueraider

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 02:07 PM

eddiez152 said:

If I am working with a bt or music file, I put the original file in track 1
then I play along on track 2 with the guitar, next track maybe a keyboard track, next maybe an accordion track etc. I may want to add the drum track to follow along. WELL NOW, Non of this is the right way by the way.
So after a few conversations and lessons from people in the know (ROCKERBOB) I have changed my recording efforts into, Listen to a cover I want to do, get as close to the timing as I can figure out.

Now create or find a drum track that works well. Be it on cardboard boxes, floor, drum track files, or must Handsonic 10 drum machine.
Then record a bass track.
Next a guitar track or tracks.
Perhaps some other instrumental tracks.
Finally the vocal track.

The mix what seems forever. If after 20-50 tries I end up with something then post it.

yeah, one of the tough things i have is getting drums and bass to sound right with want i want to play. unless your expert with drum simulators or actually play the drums this is very restricting and frustrating. maybe a set of cardboard boxes are in my future...:dunno:

#11 OFFLINE   johnnydoxx

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 09:05 PM

Here's a long response. Recording is not a slam dunk for me, takes a lot of concentration and repeated perseverence.

When I first started recording, it was two tracks, axe and croon, but now I have gone off the deep end, it's usually 7 or 8.
Here's how I do it, not that it's all that perfect, but it works.

First I find a rhythm on my keyboard that fits what I want, and set it to the tempo that I like. I record that on track 8. (At final mix I will silence or override this track.)

At the same time I record the rhythm guitar on track 1. Tracks 1 and 8 are the basis for the rest of the recording effort, they are how I keep it all coordinated.
This takes anywhere from 1 to 50 attempts, depending on the degree of difficulty of the chord changes and how good I'm doing that day on the axe. I do this as one continuous thing, any attempts to cut/paste leave the gaps, clicks, etc. that Carol mentioned.

Then I record the bass (keybass on my keyboard) on track 7. This makes a nice bottom for when I sing the vocals. I usually get this in a few tries, but I can almost always stop (if I make a mistake) and 'punch in', there's enough gap between notes to do that.

Then I record the lead vocals on track 2. Again there are usually enough gaps to punch in, I do that a lot. I think the vocals are the most important to get right for me, because that's my strong suit. Maybe 3 to 20 tries, counting punch ins.

Then I record the drums on track 5. Usually 2 takes, just because I sometimes forget the arrangement a bit on the first attempt. As a lot of you know I am originally a drummer so there is no problem making the drum part. Now admittedly I keep it simple for recording, more simple that I would play it live, I think it clutters the recording to add a lot of nuance from the drums.

Then I record any keyboard chords on track 6. Usually 3 - 10 takes, again lots of places to punch in, because I rarely play the entire song with keyboard chords, I use them to embellish the chorus, and maybe the intro and outro, and other places that I feel they add some interest to.
Side note - I have found that it sounds best a lot of times to play the chords inverted, for example, in the key of E, play the E chord straight up E G# B, but go to the A as E A C# and the B as D# F# B. Just doing 1-3-5 for all chords sounds sorta like chords 101. I'm getting good at playing in E with its 4 sharps.

Then I record keyboard lead on track 4. Usually 3 - 10 takes, lots of punch in opportunities, because I only add keyboard solo here and there during the song.

Then I record axe lead on track 3. This is the most difficult for me to get correct, at my current axe level of prowess. Many attempts, more than 100 on some songs, lots of punch in.

So at this stage, usually now I have all the tracks with something on them.

If there is more to add, I erase track 8, otherwise I just silence it for mixing. But I may put more stuff on 8, like maracas, guitar backup, whatever hits me. Lately sometimes I've been chording on my electric as an embellishment, to add some rounding to my acoustic strumming.

If I do harmony singing, I find a place, usually on 3 or 4, where there is no lead - sometimes I use 3, 4 and 8 for three part harmony.

A non-complicated song takes a morning (3 hours), a tough one takes days. It mainly depends on how long it takes to get the axe parts correct.

As you guys know, playing in public allows a lot of latitude, but recording needs a lot more 'perfection'. If I 'clunk' a chord on stage, or play the wrong one, I move to the next chord, it almost is never noticed. If I clunk or play 'A diminished augmented 6th minor' on a recording instead of A, it stinks the joint up and I need to start again.

At my levels of prowess on all the instruments I play, in any recording there is a compromise, where perhaps I hear a chord a bit off, or a lead note somewhat muted, etc. I have to finally give up and make a call: that's the best I can do for this one. I can't get it perfect, I ain't that great a player at all those instruments.

Phew!!

#12 OFFLINE   Father Goose

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 02:59 AM

Tks for all the input. I didn’t realize that some will go on up to 50 takes or more just to get things right.
I’m all 'motivated' now LOLz!

I prefer to record a track (eg. gtr) from start to finish without leaving any gaps in between and I think this is what I need to change.

Overdubs / punch-ins / cut & paste are something I stay away from and can’t get myself to employ them although the appeal is there. My self-imposed ‘ethics of recording’ if you’d like to call it that. I'd need to change this mindset now that almost evryone does it. :winkthumb:

Sometimes a few seconds into the take or at the end, I’d mess up. And it’ll happen like that the next ten times and more. Just one little slip-up and I will do the track all over again, from start to finish.

The BT I’m working on is ‘Hotel California’. It has drums, bass & the chick-a-chick gtr tracks on it. All I want to do is record ALL the other gtr tracks.

Sounds pretty simple right?
NOT:brickwall:

#13 OFFLINE   johnnydoxx

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 06:49 AM

A few more thoughts:

One reason to record the initial rhythm and then discard it is: if there are breaks in the song, then the rhythm plays thru the breaks, that helps the other tracks resume in unison, they can hear when to resume. Not sure how to handle this with a BT with breaks.

I record each background track (organ chords, drums, even lead axe) at a higher volume than the final mix. That way I can hear that track clearly during the record/playback iterations. When all tracks are laid down, then I try to set all the volumes at the start of mixing, then don't do much else in making the final version. If I need to use one track for several things, then I may need to move the slider as each thing gets its turn.

Some guys are real skilled and artistic at mixing etc., and put more into it than I do - Rockerbob and EddieZ are two of them. I am not that skilled nor perseverent, so my recordings IMHO sound less polished.

Johnny

#14 OFFLINE   michaelcreese

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 10:33 AM

Its been very interesting to hear from some of the people whose recordings I admire for the clean and proffessional result as much as for the music. Like father goose, I did not really think that many people would repeat for fifty takes, but its good because right now I am working at a simple piece and I should think I have gone beyond fifty and still cant get the arpeggios clean. I have come to realise though, there is no rush. If I peg out before its finished, it wont matter much.

#15 OFFLINE   hb

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Posted 04 October 2009 - 10:14 PM

I would think that if you're not making a recording for monetary gain, but just recording to expose your ability, that cutting and pasting and slowing down a track and playing to it and then speeding it back up and the likes of this, would, in my opinion, not be presenting a recording that was actually your playing, but would be your take on your ability to alter sound.
I will agree that all of the above is fun to do and it has it's good points....it makes one sound good and encourages one to really play that good, but if I send something to someone and say, "hey, listen to me!" , I want it to really be me, and not something that I've used technology to change.
Hope I haven't offended anyone....just my take on this.
hb

#16 OFFLINE   carol m

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 01:48 AM

I agree with you, hb, in theory, but some of us (eg me) need a bit of technology to help out, although I don't do the slow down, record, speed up thing - not a bad idea though. :)
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#17 OFFLINE   solidwalnut

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 11:56 AM

Yah, there's certainly no 'right way'. There's a big learning curve as far as really producing what you want to come out in the end, but everything's subjective.

I prefer that most things are recorded at once, but that depends on the instrument. One main consideration is mic set-up. Unless you mark placement of them, you risk a different tonality if you walk away with the intent of doing punch-ins later.

Live drums are hard to do punch-ins, and trying cut and paste editing on them takes some really good skills.

Bass guitar can be punched in pretty easily without altering performances.

Guitars are tricky, if you want to do punch-ins, for the same mic placement reasons. Rhythm guitars are best in the same take. Lead guitar parts can be spliced together ok if that's what you want. But I'm with RB and LC, I'd rather do one take.

Me, personally, I'll practice the lead until I can record the lead in one take. Playing lead guitar is not my strong suit, so it takes me a little more time to get the exact part I want, where as I can play rhythms like walking.

Keys are recorded direct, mostly, but are better in one take.

The old saying, 'you can't polish crap' comes in mind. If it doesn't sound good to you in the beginning, there's nothing you can really do to make it sound great just by technology. There's no substitute for practicing until almost perfect.

Here's a good creation tip, though: Record 'scratch' takes and see how they sound together and see if you want to change an instrument's part here or there to help the overall production.

Steve
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#18 OFFLINE   Tekker

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 07:50 PM

solidwalnut said:

The old saying, 'you can't polish crap' comes in mind. If it doesn't sound good to you in the beginning, there's nothing you can really do to make it sound great just by technology.
I don't know about that.... :isaynothing:
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#19 OFFLINE   johnnydoxx

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 08:30 PM

HA! Tekker that's a goodie.

#20 OFFLINE   carol m

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 09:23 PM

That's really encouraging! Now all I need is a plastic surgeon and a time machine.
One good thing about music is that when it hits you, you feel no pain - Bob Marley





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