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SirJamsalot
post May 19 2010, 07:09 PM
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I thought I would start a discussion on recording techniques for getting the shell of a song down on track, from conception to scratch to final mix-down.

For instance, if you have an idea, some riffs, chord progressions, etc. for a song - what is YOUR recording process in terms of laying down drum tracks to support it?

Do you record a scratch track, then lay down a basic drum track (no fills - just flat line it) for an estimated lengh of your song, then re-record your scratch track to that drum track to get a better idea of how your song lays out, then go back and edit the drum tracks to meet the criteria of the guitar you laid down?

Thanks!
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Staffy
post May 19 2010, 07:52 PM
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I just record a 4-bar drum pattern first, and then play the basic chords upon that, then I lay down the bass-line & adding keyboards, then I edit the drums. After that I re-record the guitars, adding vocals + fine tuning the bass. The last thing I do is adjusting the level of the crash cymbals to fit the song. I prefer to split up the drums in stereo-pairs, so You can adjust them separately in the mix.

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Todd Simpson
post May 21 2010, 03:27 PM
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Another great idea for a thread! Happy to participate again wink.gif This is a classic problem. Once you are beyond the "sketchbook" stage where you have a rough idea of verse/chorus what not, try to layout the song in your head and then.....

P.S. This is a rough guideline mostly for guitar guys working with drumming samples, not living drummers.
1.)Lay down rough drums first (midi, samples, whatever)
2.)Put the bass track down or most of it. You can use an octaver or keyboard if you don't have a bass.
3.)Guitar rythm tracks.
4.)Vocal tracks if there are any.
5.)Lead tracks.

now that the tracks are down, you can start mixing, arranging etc. If you don't have all the bits, you can always leave gaps.

It's a good idea to use software that other folks have if you plan to file share. E.G. using Reaper if your buddies use reaper, or Garage band if your buddies use garage band. With a few clicks, you can send project files anywhere on the globe and can jam with anyone anywhere.

Todd




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SirJamsalot
post May 21 2010, 06:14 PM
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QUOTE (Todd Simpson @ May 21 2010, 07:27 AM) *
*snip* ...once you are beyond the "sketchbook" stage where you have a rough idea of verse/chorus what not, try to layout the song in your head and then.....

1.)Lay down rough drums first (midi, samples, whatever)


This is probably the biggest hurdle I have and has served as a major road-block in my attempts at song-writing. I have a few song ideas that I've started in Cubase, and have tried putting down drum tracks to emulate the shell of the song-parts - intro/hook, verse, chorus, .... but laying down a rough track is really difficult because the drums need to emphasize certain hit-points with the guitar in order to maintain the feel of the idea - and that can take hours!

On average, how long does it the experienced person to lay down a working drum-draft on which to build the bass, vocals and drums. And when you're done, I'm guessing you go back and tweak the midi-drums for all the guitar parts that need emphasis, or hire a drummer and hope you haven't written an impossible drum track (i.e., requires 5 limbs instead of 4 lol).

What's been your experience in the drum process?

Chris


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Ivan Milenkovic
post May 22 2010, 05:26 PM
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First the vocal+basic chords, than build around it - if that core of the song is not good, it would be waste of time to build anything else.


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Todd Simpson
post May 27 2010, 08:16 AM
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When making rough demos, Ivan has a very good point, the Melody and chords are the whole point. Anything else is pointless. However, once you are past that stage and have the melody and chords locked, then you are back to where you need to figure out how to lay down drum tracks.

I know what you are talking about in terms of trying to put decent drum tracks down without having a drummer present. It can be tough. One thing to try is to to get a a small trigger pad so that you can put in some of your own fills and such via midi. I actually purchased a small midi drum kit just for this purpose. Also, you can construct your own from samples or invidual hits but this is much more time consuming.

You may think about actually having a drummer come in and using just a couple of room mics, a snare mic, kick mic, high hat mic, etc. and give him your electronic kit as a click track. Then you can replace your electronic drums with real ones.

Todd


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SirJamsalot
post May 27 2010, 10:38 PM
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QUOTE (Todd Simpson @ May 27 2010, 12:16 AM) *
When making rough demos, Ivan has a very good point, the Melody and chords are the whole point. Anything else is pointless. However, once you are past that stage and have the melody and chords locked, then you are back to where you need to figure out how to lay down drum tracks.

I know what you are talking about in terms of trying to put decent drum tracks down without having a drummer present. It can be tough. One thing to try is to to get a a small trigger pad so that you can put in some of your own fills and such via midi. I actually purchased a small midi drum kit just for this purpose. Also, you can construct your own from samples or invidual hits but this is much more time consuming.

You may think about actually having a drummer come in and using just a couple of room mics, a snare mic, kick mic, high hat mic, etc. and give him your electronic kit as a click track. Then you can replace your electronic drums with real ones.

Todd


I have a midi-keyboard and use EZ drummer so I can drag midi-samples into cubase and rough stuff out, as well as use the keyboard to ad-lib some stuff, but I think my dilemma is just lack of experience. I get bogged down trying to fine-tune each drum event. You know, manually moving a tom or crash symbal over 2 beats to emphasise where my guitar wants to hit. I feel rushed all the time, and having to tweak this stuff is painful because I keep thinking to myself - oh, all this time could be spent practicing! lol.

And the second option, having a live drummer wouldn't sit well with the Mrs! LOL. I do all my work when everyone is in bed sleeping because - well - I'm a dad first, so I do the family thing til everyone passes out then I indulge myself in what I want to do. That's why I have bags under my eyes haha.

Thanks! Your approach seems like what is most reasonable - I'm just hoping there's a quiet and faster approach I haven't discovered yet!

Christian A.


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Ivan Milenkovic
post May 28 2010, 01:46 AM
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You don't have to make detailed songs, making rough demo sketches is just enough. When you get a bunch of them you can them polish up a song and make something serious out of it. Don't need to waste time on everything, it can often kill the songs "magic".

Laying out premade grooves is good for sketching out something fast, but don't do it all the time. You can spend more time looking for the groove than to make one manually. Make something and copy/paste it. When making a groove, always keep in mind how a real drummer would play it. It may be hard if you haven't got some drumming experience, but try to imagine with what force the drummer would hit, and adjust velocity accordingly. This will give a more natural feel and tone of the drums. Same can be applied for bass and various other MIDI tracks that trigger VSTi's.


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Todd Simpson
post May 29 2010, 01:39 AM
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Ivan is right again. Most home recording is best done quick and dirty. You are really trying to get the ideas down before they escape. Getting to crazy tweaking snare hits and cymbal crashes might make you lose your mind.

Along that line, how about adding in things on another track with a midi keyboard patched to EZ drummer might help a bit. Leave the drum track as is, but load the same patch in EZ drumer on another track and use your midi keyboard to add whatever hit, kick, snare, cymbal where youwant it as a "punch in". Just hit record and play through the track and hit the key on the keyboard that corresponds to kick or what not. Does that make it a bit easier?

Todd


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Enucleation
post May 29 2010, 02:42 AM
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I just tab it in guitar pro. Normally I start with an intro and write the song in order of how one would listen to it. Occasionally I might have a riff that I really want to use for a chorus or something and I'll build up until that point. Or if I come up with a riff that I like but doesn't fit I'll tab it about 50 or something measures into the song.

I doubt I could record and write at the same time. Guitar Pro has spoiled me tongue.gif

I just tab it in guitar pro. Normally I start with an intro and write the song in order of how one would listen to it. Occasionally I might have a riff that I really want to use for a chorus or something and I'll build up until that point. Or if I come up with a riff that I like but doesn't fit I'll tab it about 50 or something measures into the song.

I doubt I could record and write at the same time. Guitar Pro has spoiled me tongue.gif


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