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> Arranging And Recording Tricks!, Or how to build a song!
Alex Feather
post Jan 10 2012, 06:52 PM
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Hi guys! When it comes to arranging and recording there are no rules at all! You just have to make it feel good however there are tricks that you can use and make it sound good!
I will go deeper in to this topic later but right now I wanted to share a basic stuff
So let's pretend we have drums, bass and vocal recorded, and nothing else style of the song is modern rock! I am at the studio and I need to record guitar and make it sound good!
Simple way to understand a song is to look at it if it was a house
Drums is a basement
Bass is a first floor
Guitar goes in the middle
Vocal is a top floor

1) Main chords I always like to play a main chords first just to guide me through most of the time this track is not making it to the final mix but it helps to understand a structure and chord changes
2) Recording rhythm parts! When I am recording rhythm I always like to do at least four tracks main chords low, double, octave higher, double. This trick will open up your song more and will make it sound bigger!
3) Depends on the range that vocals in I am choosing my octave and trying to fill the gaps that are in between so I am not clashing with a singer
4) Layers! A few years ago when I was recording on AIR studio in London I got a chance to hear Coldplay tracks separately and there was so many layers of guitars! and some of them you could barely hear! The trick is that our ear does not recognize every sound in the song but if you have a lot of different layers that are hidden in the mix it feels fuller!!! So you play different octaves and melodies and use some as main parts and some hidden
5) More choices is always better! When you are working at the studio or making your own record it's always better to have more parts recorded and have different options so you can experiment and find the one that fits right! if you don't need a part you can always press delete!

So this is only the basics of a studio recording process! I will try to get deeper in to this subject so you can get a better idea!
If you have any questions feel free to ask!!!


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jan 10 2012, 10:35 PM
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Very good advices, professional indeed. There are some more songwriting/arranging tips here, on my songwriting chat sessions I did some time ago:
http://www.guitarmasterclass.net/guitar_fo...showtopic=40900


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Alex Feather
post Jan 11 2012, 04:19 AM
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QUOTE (Ivan Milenkovic @ Jan 10 2012, 09:35 PM) *
Very good advices, professional indeed. There are some more songwriting/arranging tips here, on my songwriting chat sessions I did some time ago:
http://www.guitarmasterclass.net/guitar_fo...showtopic=40900

Cool! I like it a lot!!!!


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Cosmin Lupu
post Jan 11 2012, 11:28 AM
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This process is a very important one and I think you chose a very good way of analyzing it biggrin.gif the more you write and record, the better you get. In 2007 I had NO CLUE on writing a song - even a simple one from A to Z. Then I discovered the DAWs and my life changed. FOREVER laugh.gif

Nowadays, writing and arranging has become my main priority smile.gif


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Alex Feather
post Jan 11 2012, 06:31 PM
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QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Jan 11 2012, 10:28 AM) *
This process is a very important one and I think you chose a very good way of analyzing it biggrin.gif the more you write and record, the better you get. In 2007 I had NO CLUE on writing a song - even a simple one from A to Z. Then I discovered the DAWs and my life changed. FOREVER laugh.gif

Nowadays, writing and arranging has become my main priority smile.gif

Yeah it takes time! FOR sure!!! I just wanted to share a little bit from my experience


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PosterBoy
post Jan 11 2012, 06:36 PM
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The multiple guitar layers seems to be really important in heavier music.
A great deal of recorded guitar isn't as high gain as you think, but multiple guitar tracks panned about and a lot of the time the bass has overdrive applied too. That's why it doesn't sound muddy or like a can of bees .


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mavel
post Jan 11 2012, 06:50 PM
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Amazing post Alex (and Ivan, I'll definitely take a look at your post as well wink.gif ).

Could you please explain me better what you mean when you say "I always like to do at least four tracks main chords low, double, octave higher, double"?

Do you mean, for examples, Em played 0-2-2 and 0-7-9-9 ? Double means you play exactly the same chord on 2 different tracks?
I'm veryt interested on DAW and recording in general.

Thanks!

Marco

(as always, sorry for my english)

This post has been edited by mavel: Jan 11 2012, 06:51 PM
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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jan 11 2012, 08:04 PM
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Well, it's beneficial for studio recording to have more frequencies, if you are doubling guitars in a certain part of a song, using different instrument, different amp, different settings on both instrument and amp (knobs a bit different), different mic placement, playing a bit differently, and playing different positions (like you wrote) on the fretboard, you can get more richer recording.

It depends on the piece, but there is always something to insert on the "song basis". Good songs can be recognized because they can sound good even on a cheap acoustic, you don't need a whole band to play them, but bad songs, there is little to do to fix them, even with symphonic orchestra. However, in studio, you can always enrich a good song by adding more layers. These layers played on their own are very simple, and they should be. When played together they should sound coherent and tight.

This post has been edited by Ivan Milenkovic: Jan 11 2012, 08:06 PM


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SirJamsalot
post Jan 11 2012, 08:16 PM
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QUOTE (Alex Feather @ Jan 10 2012, 09:52 AM) *
Hi guys! When it comes to arranging and recording there are no rules at all! You just have to make it feel good however there are tricks that you can use and make it sound good!
I will go deeper in to this topic later but right now I wanted to share a basic stuff
So let's pretend we have drums, bass and vocal recorded, and nothing else style of the song is modern rock! I am at the studio and I need to record guitar and make it sound good!
Simple way to understand a song is to look at it if it was a house
Drums is a basement
Bass is a first floor
Guitar goes in the middle
Vocal is a top floor

1) Main chords I always like to play a main chords first just to guide me through most of the time this track is not making it to the final mix but it helps to understand a structure and chord changes
2) Recording rhythm parts! When I am recording rhythm I always like to do at least four tracks main chords low, double, octave higher, double. This trick will open up your song more and will make it sound bigger!
3) Depends on the range that vocals in I am choosing my octave and trying to fill the gaps that are in between so I am not clashing with a singer
4) Layers! A few years ago when I was recording on AIR studio in London I got a chance to hear Coldplay tracks separately and there was so many layers of guitars! and some of them you could barely hear! The trick is that our ear does not recognize every sound in the song but if you have a lot of different layers that are hidden in the mix it feels fuller!!! So you play different octaves and melodies and use some as main parts and some hidden
5) More choices is always better! When you are working at the studio or making your own record it's always better to have more parts recorded and have different options so you can experiment and find the one that fits right! if you don't need a part you can always press delete!

So this is only the basics of a studio recording process! I will try to get deeper in to this subject so you can get a better idea!
If you have any questions feel free to ask!!!



Very helpful post, thanks for the insights. I've always double tracked my rythm, but didn't think to double track a second rhythm guitar using different octaves (or even inverted chords on a different set of strings hi/lo). Great stuff.

now the challenge - composing! haha. I still struggle with the process, but as everyone says, the more you practice, the easier it gets smile.gif

Thanks!


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Alex Feather
post Jan 11 2012, 10:04 PM
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QUOTE (mavel @ Jan 11 2012, 05:50 PM) *
Amazing post Alex (and Ivan, I'll definitely take a look at your post as well wink.gif ).

Could you please explain me better what you mean when you say "I always like to do at least four tracks main chords low, double, octave higher, double"?

Do you mean, for examples, Em played 0-2-2 and 0-7-9-9 ? Double means you play exactly the same chord on 2 different tracks?
I'm veryt interested on DAW and recording in general.

Thanks!

Marco

(as always, sorry for my english)

well I would do that!
For the first part

Than double exactly the same thing
After

And double exactly the same thing!
The thing is that you will not be able to play exactly the same track twice it still will be a bit different using this technique you will get fuller sound right away!


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Jan 12 2012, 04:27 PM
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Those are really great tips. I recorded many albums, as a player and also as a recording technician or producer and can't agree more about the tips that you gave here. With the pass of time and the experience that it gives I realized that improvising over a song and recording lots of ideas makes the editing and mixing process longer but much more creative.


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Alex Feather
post Jan 12 2012, 09:18 PM
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QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ Jan 12 2012, 03:27 PM) *
Those are really great tips. I recorded many albums, as a player and also as a recording technician or producer and can't agree more about the tips that you gave here. With the pass of time and the experience that it gives I realized that improvising over a song and recording lots of ideas makes the editing and mixing process longer but much more creative.

Exactly! More you do it better you get! I agree about mixing but in the end of the day you want your record to sound best!


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Sinisa Cekic
post Jan 12 2012, 09:31 PM
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Great topic Alex, here we can really learn a lot, thanks wink.gif


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Alex Feather
post Jan 12 2012, 09:35 PM
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QUOTE (Sinisa Cekic @ Jan 12 2012, 08:31 PM) *
Great topic Alex, here we can really learn a lot, thanks wink.gif

Thank you very much!!!


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JPBluestring
post Jan 20 2012, 02:22 AM
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Hey this is really a cool topic Alex! I think you really started something interesting here.

Ivan also proposed in the past to add a double track with palm muting to add a distinct dimension. Our chat on this matter suggested to boost the reverb on the muted track.

When combining these tricks we are really getting something nice, especially when creating the stereo effect with panning.

Another GMC instructor experimented (last year I believe) the switching between Highs and Lows in soloing -playing one octave different in alternate positions. Dramatic effect too.

My take on it is that there is some inspiration from blues songs from the past where one responds to the lead singer's call - this whole idea really started in the cotton fields when Black people where signing while working in the field in southern USA. We're talking about the roots of the Blues. This would have been way before the beginning of Jazz and Rock if I remember my readings well.

Anyhow, great concepts. Nice to see new blood on GMC. I really enjoyed watching your video introduction. Great playing with a very distinct style.

Another master has joined. Looking forward to learn from you.

Thanks.

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Alex Feather
post Jan 20 2012, 04:44 AM
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QUOTE (JPBluestring @ Jan 20 2012, 01:22 AM) *
Hey this is really a cool topic Alex! I think you really started something interesting here.

Ivan also proposed in the past to add a double track with palm muting to add a distinct dimension. Our chat on this matter suggested to boost the reverb on the muted track.

When combining these tricks we are really getting something nice, especially when creating the stereo effect with panning.

Another GMC instructor experimented (last year I believe) the switching between Highs and Lows in soloing -playing one octave different in alternate positions. Dramatic effect too.

My take on it is that there is some inspiration from blues songs from the past where one responds to the lead singer's call - this whole idea really started in the cotton fields when Black people where signing while working in the field in southern USA. We're talking about the roots of the Blues. This would have been way before the beginning of Jazz and Rock if I remember my readings well.

Anyhow, great concepts. Nice to see new blood on GMC. I really enjoyed watching your video introduction. Great playing with a very distinct style.

Another master has joined. Looking forward to learn from you.

Thanks.

smile.gif

JPBluestring

Actually my video chat tomorrow will be covering this topic! You should stop by and we can get deeper in to this subject!


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thefireball
post Jan 20 2012, 05:39 AM
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I'm going to try to make it to your chat. smile.gif I'm learning the process of songwriting.


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Alex Feather
post Jan 22 2012, 02:30 AM
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QUOTE (thefireball @ Jan 20 2012, 04:39 AM) *
I'm going to try to make it to your chat. smile.gif I'm learning the process of songwriting.

Yeah!! You've made it man!!! It was nice to see you there!


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Dinaga
post Jan 24 2012, 12:20 PM
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It's amazing how much one can learn from you smile.gif

I have 2 questions for you:

- If you use more layers than you have instruments (for example, doubling a rythm guitar when you only have one guitar in the band), doesn't that affect your live performance so it sounds a lot weaker than the studio version? Also, is doubling always better than applying the chorus effect? (maybe it's a stupid question, but I often wondered that so bear with me smile.gif )

- Do you have any general advice on mastering the vocals? I'm very weak in that aspect, so I'd like to know if there are some tips on which effects or tricks to use on vocals so they don't sound too thin.

Thanks a lot in advance smile.gif


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Alex Feather
post Jan 24 2012, 08:05 PM
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QUOTE (Dinaga @ Jan 24 2012, 11:20 AM) *
It's amazing how much one can learn from you smile.gif

I have 2 questions for you:

- If you use more layers than you have instruments (for example, doubling a rythm guitar when you only have one guitar in the band), doesn't that affect your live performance so it sounds a lot weaker than the studio version? Also, is doubling always better than applying the chorus effect? (maybe it's a stupid question, but I often wondered that so bear with me smile.gif )

- Do you have any general advice on mastering the vocals? I'm very weak in that aspect, so I'd like to know if there are some tips on which effects or tricks to use on vocals so they don't sound too thin.

Thanks a lot in advance smile.gif

Hi! Answering your questions!
- If you use more layers than you have instruments (for example, doubling a rythm guitar when you only have one guitar in the band), doesn't that affect your live performance so it sounds a lot weaker than the studio version? Also, is doubling always better than applying the chorus effect? (maybe it's a stupid question, but I often wondered that so bear with me smile.gif )
You can double with one guitar just switch pickups or dial different sound on the amp! For your live performance it will depend on your band members if you have a tight rhythm section you can have only one guitar and it will be enough, sometimes people use two amps on different parts of stage with a delay pedal in the middle! Chorus is a part of a delay family what it does is delaying your signal and making it a little out of pitch you can try using if you have two amps on stage and a stereo chorus but I would suggest a delay pedal instead.

- Do you have any general advice on mastering the vocals? I'm very weak in that aspect, so I'd like to know if there are some tips on which effects or tricks to use on vocals so they don't sound too thin.
Vocals is a very interesting thing to work with! It depends on the style of music you are working with. When it's a major production vocals usually overdubbed at least 5 times with exactly the same part also back vocals will help a lot.
You can add some compression, EQ, reverb and chorus to it to make it sound bigger


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