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#482764 - 03/17/04 09:13 PM When you play all the instruments, how do you track?
foodforthemoon7 Offline
Planeteer/Artist # 182
Planeteer


Registered: 06/13/03
Posts: 255
Loc: Ashland, OR
Just wanting to catch a feel for how everybody else does things, who is doing similar stuff to what I am doing. I write a lot of stuff, but have not had the luxery of being in a band for over a year, as I have been living in a pretty small part of the country with not to much to pull from in the way of other musicians. So when I record my stuff, I pretty much play everything, from the bass to the Rthm guitar to the lead guitar to the drums to the piano or banjo to the vocals, and was wondering if anyone else out there was doing this kind of thing, and if so, if you minded taking a moment to share what works well for you when creating a song this way.

I like to get the rythm tracks down first, and then color, and then sing. I usually have a hard time getting a good bass sound right away, so I might come back and redo that track, or the rythm guitar track. Lately I have begun to venture into the other nobs around comprssion besides just ratio, which was all I used for about my first 6 months recording, and this has really transformed my sound a great deal. It is getting to be more fun again, where-as for a while I was always frustrated because I could not get even close to the kind of sound I was looking for. Nowadays, things are beggining to click. I just formatted the drive to open a whole new chapter in my music, as my skills have really improved, and thought I would put this post out to see if anyone had any jewells regarding tracking to share. Thanks.

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#482765 - 03/17/04 10:26 PM Re: When you play all the instruments, how do you track?
B# Offline
Planeteer


Registered: 03/03/04
Posts: 5528
Loc: Concord, NC
Food.....I'm kinda new into this also, but have been working with digital for bout a year now. I start with some syncopated beat - drums, then lay a guitar or bass track down, maybe a scratch vocal at his point, then I begin to "color" as you put it with additonal guitar/lead work.........good luck & hope that helps !
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#482766 - 03/17/04 10:45 PM Re: When you play all the instruments, how do you track?
Riversong Offline
Planeteer


Registered: 06/11/03
Posts: 95
Loc: York, ME
On my first CD (The Road Ahead) I played most of the instruments (guitars, mandolin, harmonica, vocals, bass, percussion, keyboards) myself. I usually started w/the main tempo of the song, using either a drum machine (with the VS as the midi master) or software such as "Band In A Box" where you can select various "styles" (blues, shuffle, etc) in order to set the beat. Then I would add rhythm guitar, bass, keyboards, and other instruments. I also usually started w/a scratch vocal track until the end, and then replaced the vocals.

One downside to doing all the tracking this way is losing the "feel/groove" of the song, versus having all the instruments recorded at the same time. It's subtle, but it's real. One other thing I do when I go back and record the "final" vocals is that I often still strap on my guitar, and even play some "air chops" while singing. I find that there is more emotion when I sing/play guitar at the same time. But since I want to keep the vocal tracks as clean as possible (ie. without the sound of the guitar being picked up), I find that this is a good alternative.

For my next CD, I'm planning on bringing in some other studio musicians, who are true "experts" on their particular instrument. Although I have taught myself to play the various instruments I listed, I don't consider myself an expert on them all by any means. I also believe that with different musicians playing on the songs, they will end up being a bit richer, with different ideas and creativity coming through that I wouldn't be able to do alone.

Anyway, hope this helps.

-Tom
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Riversong Studios

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#482767 - 03/17/04 10:54 PM Re: When you play all the instruments, how do you track?
kavish Offline
Planeteer


Registered: 05/12/02
Posts: 3002
Loc: the home of KrispyKreme and C...
Here's my approach, I do basically the same things with my client's songs, too:

I write on guitar most of the time, so I usually have a rhythm guitar part and vocal to begin with.

I usually record the guitar(electric or acoustic) and a scratch vocal(essentially making a rough demo).

If the song is basically acoustic-oriented, or drums/percussion are just going to play a small part in the arrangement, or I totally nailed the tempo on the demo, I'll use the demo guitar track version and build the final version of the song around it.

If the song is going to feature drums, I follow the tempo changes of the demo version to create a tempo accurate click track/drum part. Then I record the drums to 2480 tracks via outboard preamps/comps/eq. I use a Roland R-8 which has 10(!) individual analog outputs, so I can record any signal to it's own track, which gives me a lot of flexibility.

With the drum tracks(or click track) recorded, I lay down rhythm guitars next, then melody guitars, keyboards, live percussion, then finally bass, which is usually the last rhythm instrument I record before starting on vocals and lead instruments.
Bass was my first instrument and the one I'm probably the nimblest on, and I've found I end up with a better and more creative bassline if I wait till most of the other rhythm parts are there(hell, sometimes I do bass after the vocals) before working out the bass. There are exceptions, of course, sometimes I write on the bass or a song is based around a bassline.

Then I do lead vocals & lead vocal doubles, bkg vocals & bkg vocal doubles, then lead instruments if they are not already done, then whatever "sprinkles", as Dr. Dre would say, I think of adding, the last touches like extra percussion, keyboards, sound fx, extra vocals, etc.

I totally edit, tweak, add fx and mix as I go, so by the time I'm recording vocals the mix is already starting to get there.
Then it's serious mixing/editing/tweeking time!

I'm wrapping up two client CDs as well as my own right now, so I'll have some tunage for you guys to check out really soon. \:\)
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kavish

Check out my band on our MySpace page:
http://www.myspace.com/kavish13

And check out my studio at the Subterranean Spider MySpace page:
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#482768 - 03/18/04 12:38 AM Re: When you play all the instruments, how do you track?
satanisabigredmeanguy Offline
Planeteer


Registered: 01/11/04
Posts: 490
Loc: The River
Most of the time I write on the bass, so that's what I usually end up recording first, although I have on occasion written stuff on guitar and even drums.
I really like playing odd meter stuff and I find writing on the bass to be particularly conducive to that. When I play guitar I usually end up playing in 4/4, whereas on the bass I never even think of time signatures until I have a song. I think it's because I don't focus on chord changes while playing bass, so I end up playing more linearly, which usually results in grooves in 13/16 or 17/16 or some god forsaken time signature. That often makes for tough times when figuring out drum parts though.
I'll record a scratch bass part without a click, and then use what I played to create a tempo map that follows my time and tempo shifts. After that I'll record a keeper track to my tempo map. I really like little pushes and pulls in the tempo, and this method gives me those while also allowing me to play drums to a click. After I have the bass part, I'll track drums and percussion. If I end up with rythm section parts that can stand on their own without any other instrumentation, then I'll put in the effort to write parts for other instruments. I sometimes write lyrics, but have yet to incorporate them into my music. I like instrumentals and don't want to sully them with words that I don't feel are very important. Maybe that's why I give my songs away instead of trying to sell them.
Sometimes, after recording drums and percussion, the bass will end up wanting to go off in an entirely different direction, which I will generally allow to happen. I often spend quite a bit of time re-recording rythm section parts to reflect what I feel has been dictated by the last part that I recorded. Things can morph rather drastically when I take this approach.
Generally, I'm always going for keeper tracks, but they're always just scratch tracks until I'm satisfied that I can't improve upon them. That's probably why I have songs that I have been actively working on for over a year.
Blah, blah, blah.....

btw: How are things in Ashland? I've been there quite a few times and it's definitely one of my favorite places to visit south of the border.

My songs
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#482769 - 03/18/04 10:35 AM Re: When you play all the instruments, how do you track?
Jazzooo Online   content
Loquacious Planeteer


Registered: 05/18/02
Posts: 50140
Loc: San Miguel de Allende, Mexico ...
I usually start with a drum track, either acoustic to a click, acoustic to no click if I'm confident of my time, or sometimes a simple midi drum track.

Then I'll lay down a simple piano or keyboard part to frame the form of the song.

Then I'll lay down a scratch bass part.

Next, I re-do the piano part with more feeling and complexity.

Then, I'll re-do the bass part to match the piano part.

At this point, I either start to add guitars and vocals, or I go back and re-do the acoustic drums to better match the piano and bass parts.

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#482770 - 03/18/04 11:10 AM Re: When you play all the instruments, how do you track?
axeman Offline
Planeteer


Registered: 04/01/01
Posts: 3441
Loc: 2480's mother board
I write on guitar and start with that melody. During that process I may use a basic drum track for direction.

When finished I write a complete drum track, record, and tweak until I am satisfied. This is the only track I almost never go back to!

Next is usually a throw away guitar track, although sometimes I do keep it. The purpose is to get ready for the bass track which will be a final.

Then, back to the main rhythm guitar track for a final.

After that it varies. Scratch vocal, guitar harmonies, keys, etc. The song and ideas kinda direct me at this point. The very last is my guitar solo.
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#482771 - 03/18/04 12:23 PM Re: When you play all the instruments, how do you track?
Johnneecat Offline
Planeteer


Registered: 08/29/99
Posts: 2345
Loc: Lake Balboa, CA, USA
One thing I do to make it feel a little more 'live' is, after I set a groove with a drum maching and a tempo map, then I do a scratch accoustic guitar/vocal, even if I won't be using an accoustic guitar in the song. Then I start building tracks around that, because it has the real feel of the song. And I replace the vocals pretty early on, because I like to track color instruments around the vocal. If I do color instruments first, I may come up with really cool parts, but they have a tendency to cover up the vocals.
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#482772 - 03/18/04 02:03 PM Re: When you play all the instruments, how do you track?
Vito1 Offline
Planeteer


Registered: 07/29/02
Posts: 7944
Loc: Florida, USA
I usualy start out with a scratch drum part or tempo meter ...
Then add Melody from guitar ...
Add rythm
Then Bass
Then Vocals
Then I throw it all out, drums , rythem guitar, lead guitar, the bass but not the vocalist, and the recorder ... And then I start the whole process all over again when I have a new song and repurchaced all the equipment to start again.
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#482773 - 03/18/04 03:00 PM Re: When you play all the instruments, how do you track?
Gothbin Offline
Planeteer


Registered: 11/13/02
Posts: 725
Loc: The Netherlands
Basicly, most ideas came on guitar or keyboards. I'll play around the ideas to the 2480. On some songs, I know exactly what kind of drums/rythem I want and either make them on my Yamaha RM1x or in Cubase 5X.

Most of the time, I have only a hint for myself how drums should be for a particular song, so I then have play around with stuff until I like it.

Then I put a basic drumtrack, mostly one mono track on my 2480, and add the rest of the song, with vocals and leadlines as the last parts.

After that, I sync either Cubase or the RM1x to the 2480 again, and start editing on the drumparts again to make nice syncopated parts and fills/thrills.

After that, the bass gets redone again to fit the drum parts better. A rough mix gets to a cdr here, and will be played for a week or so to listen to the strong and the weak points, and re-record whats weak again.

My working method will change soon, as I have been teaming up again with a drummer. So the rough mixes will go to him, and he will play the drumparts with a miked up kit, to add (much) more feel and realism (I hope....LOL).

I have to say, that I like working alone, in my own time and space, as this lowers conflicts, and brings out the best of myself. Nowadays I write, engineer, produce, play guitar/bassguitar/keyboards, program the rythemparts and do all vocal stuff. Not bad for what used to be a bassplayer or what? LOL.

I think it all depends on what kinda stuff one plays, him/her abilities, confidence and gear around. I own like 20 instruments, and microphones from Shure SM57 to Neumann, so I have a lot to choose from. This luxary cost me 20 years of build up time.........

Whatever path one chooses: music should be fun, and a way for feelings, being it to listen to, write it or perform it.

Good luck everyone, have much inspiration and fun being around in studio life.

Robin Homepage/Miyaru Music

\:D \:D \:D

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#482774 - 03/18/04 08:21 PM Re: When you play all the instruments, how do you track?
EnglishMajor Offline
Planeteer


Registered: 11/29/03
Posts: 67
Loc: Bergen County, New Jersey
at this point, i'm recording everything, with the exception of an occassional bass track, on my own.

to start tracking, i'll first record a click track, play a scratch guitar and vox over the click.

then i'll usually go the drums and start figuring out a pattern that seems to work and lay down what will be a rough drum track.

next will be bass.

at this point i have a rough idea of what direction the song is going in. only at this point do i really start going for tracks i'm going to keep.

one thing that i've really come to appreciate recording in this manner is how critical it is that all tracks are locked in rhythmically. i'm not talking mechanical perfection necessarily, but you do have to find your own personal line in the sand between "loose and alive" versus just flat out sloppy.

... also, since i'm layering parts one at a time, i've noticed a kind of two steps forward, one step back approach: i'll lay down drums that are ok. lay down a bass track, then realize i should REALLY do the drums over again.

i think you've got to be a bit obsessive compulsive to find all this enjoyable (guilty as charged!) before i know it it's 2am and i've got to get up and go to work in 4 hours. sound familiar to anyone out there?

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#482775 - 03/19/04 12:06 PM Re: When you play all the instruments, how do you track?
trendannoyer Offline
Planeteer


Registered: 01/12/02
Posts: 1527
Loc: Ireland
well usuall i have the guitar and vocal sorted out, as well as the drums (thank god for my drummer! ;\) )

but i will arrange it in cubase via midi (im still using an old ATARI) putting down the parts as midi parts and then arranging it to achive whatever it is i want ie to come in under a certian time, or to see if it flows right etc.

if its a straight track i have been playing for years or already arranged pretty tightly in rehearsals, then i simply sset up a click, pick my guitar tone and record to a click, the drummer plays to the click and guitar, i stick on either bass or ryth. gtr next then solos, keys strings, whatever and lead vox.

if i need harm vox then i do that too!

i have been working with a few differant people recently, and have been breaking up their thinking, which is something i love to do, we wrote, for instance, a show tune to a click... ie all the lead and backing harms FIRST... THEN put the music to it later. which wasnt the easiest way of working for me as im more used to getting the music down first \:\)

but it takes you in different directions, so its worth the stress haha

lead vocals is the day i LOVE, its just SOOO much fun \:\) i used to do all the button pressing myself, but roped the drummer in to hit record for me (shes computer phobic, so this took a lot of work! haha) but just having someone else in on the act, while you are doing a 'presonal' thing like singing, adds a good vibe to the event \:D

Rod \:\)
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