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> Robbiej's Composing Workout, for Gab's Army
RobbieJ
post Feb 14 2015, 04:23 PM
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Gab, thanks for the idea about recording a cover and trying to get it to sound as much like the original as possible. I think that's a terrific idea. I don't know many songs at all, but I'm sure I can learn something fairly quickly....How about "Talk Dirty To Me" from Poison? Seems really easy.....If that isn't what you have in mind, feel free to choose any song from Skid Row, Ratt, White Snake, Dokken, Bon Jovi, etc.

I guess the biggest issue I have is the drums...I don't even know where to begin. I do use Superior Drummer. Do I choose a drum pattern from Superior that is close to the original pattern and then change things? Or do you write your own patterns from scratch? This is the biggest question for me at this moment.

Thanks for the explanation about the harmonic minor vs. Phrygian explanation...I didn't even look at the chords in the first couple of bars.....I went straight in to the hammer-on/pull off section and was extremely confused.

Here's another theory type question...I was playing around in the key of A minor and started thinking about the 3 minor chords in that key....A minor...D minor and E minor....I know I can play the A minor pentatonic...but I just noticed that I can play all 5 pentatonic boxes of each minor chord within that key and still be within the key signature...is that correct? So the way I'm looking at this....If I'm playing in the key of A minor, I can play all 5 boxes of A minor pentatonic, all 5 boxes of D minor pentatonic, all 5 boxes of E minor pentatonic, as well as all of the different modes for the key signature right? As long as I keep coming back to "home" or the root, I will keep the same A minor feel....right?

Thanks again for all of your help!!!
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RobbieJ
post Feb 14 2015, 05:04 PM
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One more thing about the recording backings and songs....Should I buy a midi keyboard controller? I want to make sure that I have everything I need to get the best results....If a midi controller will make things better, then I'll buy it...Just let me know.
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RobbieJ
post Feb 15 2015, 07:57 AM
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Gab, here is a quick video posting of Daniel Robinson's "In the style of George Lynch" lesson. I'm a big fan of Lynch (much like many guitarists are)...maybe that's why I was able to grasp the lesson rather quickly...I just started looking at it last night. The video isn't perfect since I didn't spend a ton of time on the lesson.....but at least I'm posting something for you to review. I think the video and the actual audio/mix recording is pretty good. Any tips on the playing, video recording and audio recording would be awesome!!!

Thanks again for all of your help and guidance!!!

Rob
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Attached File  George_Lynch_Style.wmv ( 59.36MB ) Number of downloads: 34
 
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Gabriel Leopardi
post Feb 15 2015, 01:56 PM
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QUOTE (RobbieJ @ Feb 14 2015, 12:23 PM) *
Gab, thanks for the idea about recording a cover and trying to get it to sound as much like the original as possible. I think that's a terrific idea. I don't know many songs at all, but I'm sure I can learn something fairly quickly....How about "Talk Dirty To Me" from Poison? Seems really easy.....If that isn't what you have in mind, feel free to choose any song from Skid Row, Ratt, White Snake, Dokken, Bon Jovi, etc.

I guess the biggest issue I have is the drums...I don't even know where to begin. I do use Superior Drummer. Do I choose a drum pattern from Superior that is close to the original pattern and then change things? Or do you write your own patterns from scratch? This is the biggest question for me at this moment.

Thanks for the explanation about the harmonic minor vs. Phrygian explanation...I didn't even look at the chords in the first couple of bars.....I went straight in to the hammer-on/pull off section and was extremely confused.

Here's another theory type question...I was playing around in the key of A minor and started thinking about the 3 minor chords in that key....A minor...D minor and E minor....I know I can play the A minor pentatonic...but I just noticed that I can play all 5 pentatonic boxes of each minor chord within that key and still be within the key signature...is that correct? So the way I'm looking at this....If I'm playing in the key of A minor, I can play all 5 boxes of A minor pentatonic, all 5 boxes of D minor pentatonic, all 5 boxes of E minor pentatonic, as well as all of the different modes for the key signature right? As long as I keep coming back to "home" or the root, I will keep the same A minor feel....right?

Thanks again for all of your help!!!



Hi mate, I think that the Poison song is a good choice. How to start with the drums? I think that using a loop close to the original an edit it can be a good idea at first to makes the things smoother. Nowadays I'm very fast writing midi but there are 3 ways to create a drum track:

1- As you said, starting with a groove from the midi library.
2- Writing it from nothing using the piano roll or key editor.
3- Using a midi controller and playing it with your fingers.

Each one has its advantages but the main thing here is to find the one that makes you do the things faster. So experiment with it. Let's start with the drums, and please share here when you have them, ok?


QUOTE (RobbieJ @ Feb 14 2015, 01:04 PM) *
One more thing about the recording backings and songs....Should I buy a midi keyboard controller? I want to make sure that I have everything I need to get the best results....If a midi controller will make things better, then I'll buy it...Just let me know.


It's a great tool for recording midi. I have one and use it mostly when I'm recording extra instruments like synth, keys, strings or other stuff. But it's also comfortable for playing the bass and drums instead of writing it. You won't regret having one, but you can do everything without it.

QUOTE (RobbieJ @ Feb 14 2015, 12:23 PM) *
Here's another theory type question...I was playing around in the key of A minor and started thinking about the 3 minor chords in that key....A minor...D minor and E minor....I know I can play the A minor pentatonic...but I just noticed that I can play all 5 pentatonic boxes of each minor chord within that key and still be within the key signature...is that correct? So the way I'm looking at this....If I'm playing in the key of A minor, I can play all 5 boxes of A minor pentatonic, all 5 boxes of D minor pentatonic, all 5 boxes of E minor pentatonic, as well as all of the different modes for the key signature right? As long as I keep coming back to "home" or the root, I will keep the same A minor feel....right?

Thanks again for all of your help!!!



yes, you are right, you can play all those pentatonics in they key of A minor. Each one has notes from the main scale so you won't have problems. It's a good trick to play more unexpected phases and intervals but you must take care of the resolution notes.


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RobbieJ
post Feb 16 2015, 06:10 AM
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Gab, here is my 2nd take of the "in the Style of George Lynch lesson". Let me know your thoughts....Heading to Sweetwater.com to buy a midi keyboard controller...>Looking forward to your guidance with recording.

Thanks again...

Rob

George Lynch Style Take 2

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Gabriel Leopardi
post Feb 17 2015, 09:19 PM
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Hi Rob, you are doing a good job with this one that is slowly being polished. There are some licks like the one with tapping and also those that are faster on the higher frets that could sound tighter. Those ones need to be isolated and worked as a loop to make them sound clear and tight.

Other than that I notice that sometimes your bending is not enough consistent and it also happens a little with vibrato, mostly if we compare it with the original lesson. You can just check the second 00:11, when you add vibrato to the chords, the "vibration" is not regular as it should be. Check that same moment on the original lesson and you will notice what I mean. The same difference can be found in many parts so it would be interesting that you personally do this analysis with your guitar in hand and trying to emulate Daniel's vibrato.

As I said previously, this take is really good, but I think that you could get much more of this one working on the details that I commented previously, so that should be the next step.


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RobbieJ
post Feb 17 2015, 11:21 PM
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QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ Feb 17 2015, 08:19 PM) *
Hi Rob, you are doing a good job with this one that is slowly being polished. There are some licks like the one with tapping and also those that are faster on the higher frets that could sound tighter. Those ones need to be isolated and worked as a loop to make them sound clear and tight.

Other than that I notice that sometimes your bending is not enough consistent and it also happens a little with vibrato, mostly if we compare it with the original lesson. You can just check the second 00:11, when you add vibrato to the chords, the "vibration" is not regular as it should be. Check that same moment on the original lesson and you will notice what I mean. The same difference can be found in many parts so it would be interesting that you personally do this analysis with your guitar in hand and trying to emulate Daniel's vibrato.

As I said previously, this take is really good, but I think that you could get much more of this one working on the details that I commented previously, so that should be the next step.



Thanks for the feedback...I will definitely work on consistent bends and vibrato and try to polish up some of the other licks (like the tapping one, etc). I really do appreciate your critique and feedback. I guess I'm a little confused about the expectations of these lessons. It seems like the GMC instructors want us students to play the lesson exactly the same as the instructor. Isn't playing the guitar about self expression? I mean, Daniel's vibrato isn't the same as yours....which isn't the same as Ben's...which isn't the same as Maurice's......Each of you play with different feeling and emotion and phrase things differently based on your own style. To be perfectly honest, I don't really like Daniel's vibrato....I want to develop a really wide, aggressive/strong vibrato like a George Lynch or Satchel (from Steel Panther), so trying to play this lesson by copying his vibrato doesn't seem like it would make much sense to me.

I guess I'm confused as to why the student recordings of lessons are judged on how closely we can "copy" the instructor and not judged on how well we actually perform the basic riff with our own emotion and style sprinkled on top. I hope that makes sense....If the goal is for us to copy the lesson as closely as possible without putting our own twist on things, then that's what I will do....But I think that the ultimate goal should be for each of us to develop as our own person....not copies of others.

I hope this doesn't sound like I'm complaining about it...because I'm not.....I'm just really confused as to what the expectations are and what I need to do in order to become a great musician......I completely trust you and your guidance...so if you tell me that standing on my head while playing scales will make be a better guitarist, then I'd stand on my head......so if you want me to copy his lesson exactly, then that's what I will do.


Thanks again for all of your help....like I said in my PM, if you're ever just sitting around your computer and want to chat about anything (guitar, music, life, etc...LOL) feel free to call me on Skype...I do speak fluent Spanish.

Thanks again!!!

Rob
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Gabriel Leopardi
post Feb 18 2015, 02:49 PM
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Hi Rob! You are talking about a very important point here. You're completely right, the main goal here is to develop your own personality as a guitarist, not becoming a copy of anybody else. However, there is a stage in our playing in which we need o be able to master the different techniques. All the great guitarists that we love like Jimi Hendrix, Joe Satriani, SRV, Jimmy Page, and the list can continue forever, started playing the guitar emulating their heroes playing. They developed their early style mixing a bit from each of their heroes techniques, but they didn't stop there, they continued experimenting, jamming, and creating they own music to develop their personality.

This explains that learning GMC lessons and being able to play them with a strong technique is only one part of the work that we should do to become a better player. And it is a good excuse to share with you how is my approach to learning GMC lessons. (I always talk about this at Vchat sessions).

How to get the most from a GMC lesson:

1. Check the scales suggested by the instructor and try them over the backing track. Play them up and down, try to create phrases. Analyze the backing track's chord progression.
2. Learn part 1 from the lesson, and practice it until you can play it as the instructor.
3. Practice the lick over the backing track.
4. Continue repeating the lick but creating variations of it. Changing the first notes, the last notes, changing the rhythm, repeating one part more times, keep the same rhythm but change all notes, keep the same notes but change the rhythm.
5. Combine the lick, and your variations with other phrases of you own.
6. Do the same thing with the other parts.

This is how you can get the most of GMC lessons. At first I consider very helpful to emulate the instructors playing, even when we don't have a strong technique. Then, the other things are to connect those ideas with our own personality and style and make them of our own. This same process can be applied to our first steps on composition.

In the case of the current lesson. I asked you to compare your vibrato with the original lesson because your vibrato is irregular, and not consistent while the one used on the original lesson is. You have two roads, you can try to work on regular vibrato without paying using the original lesson as a guidance and focusing on:

- making your vibrato go with the groove of the backing.
- making it start and end gradually to make it sound as a natural part of the note.

or, you can use the lesson as a help to be sure that you are doing the technique right, to them continue experimenting and developing it by yourself.

I think that your question is VERY important and it's great that you asked yourself this, and I hope that I could clarify a bit it.



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RobbieJ
post Feb 18 2015, 05:24 PM
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QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ Feb 18 2015, 01:49 PM) *
Hi Rob! You are talking about a very important point here. You're completely right, the main goal here is to develop your own personality as a guitarist, not becoming a copy of anybody else. However, there is a stage in our playing in which we need o be able to master the different techniques. All the great guitarists that we love like Jimi Hendrix, Joe Satriani, SRV, Jimmy Page, and the list can continue forever, started playing the guitar emulating their heroes playing. They developed their early style mixing a bit from each of their heroes techniques, but they didn't stop there, they continued experimenting, jamming, and creating they own music to develop their personality.

This explains that learning GMC lessons and being able to play them with a strong technique is only one part of the work that we should do to become a better player. And it is a good excuse to share with you how is my approach to learning GMC lessons. (I always talk about this at Vchat sessions).

How to get the most from a GMC lesson:

1. Check the scales suggested by the instructor and try them over the backing track. Play them up and down, try to create phrases. Analyze the backing track's chord progression.
2. Learn part 1 from the lesson, and practice it until you can play it as the instructor.
3. Practice the lick over the backing track.
4. Continue repeating the lick but creating variations of it. Changing the first notes, the last notes, changing the rhythm, repeating one part more times, keep the same rhythm but change all notes, keep the same notes but change the rhythm.
5. Combine the lick, and your variations with other phrases of you own.
6. Do the same thing with the other parts.

This is how you can get the most of GMC lessons. At first I consider very helpful to emulate the instructors playing, even when we don't have a strong technique. Then, the other things are to connect those ideas with our own personality and style and make them of our own. This same process can be applied to our first steps on composition.

In the case of the current lesson. I asked you to compare your vibrato with the original lesson because your vibrato is irregular, and not consistent while the one used on the original lesson is. You have two roads, you can try to work on regular vibrato without paying using the original lesson as a guidance and focusing on:

- making your vibrato go with the groove of the backing.
- making it start and end gradually to make it sound as a natural part of the note.

or, you can use the lesson as a help to be sure that you are doing the technique right, to them continue experimenting and developing it by yourself.

I think that your question is VERY important and it's great that you asked yourself this, and I hope that I could clarify a bit it.


Gab, thanks for the response. I think I understand what you are saying.....We, as students should try and copy the lessons as closely as possible even if we don't like the technique in order to establish a strong foundation in which we can begin building our own style upon...correct?

I also like your suggestions about taking each step and creating a variation.....We talked about this before, but not specifically about taking the part one and making your suggested changes...and then part two....and so on. I like the idea of taking a part and trying to change a note or two....or changing up the rhythm, etc. Great suggestions.

Thanks again for all of your help and guidance.

Rob
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Gabriel Leopardi
post Feb 19 2015, 01:40 PM
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Great Robbie! I'd really like to see some videos or hear some audios of you doing that experiment. Is it possible?

I also hope that you enjoyed yesterday's Video Chat session. smile.gif


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RobbieJ
post Feb 21 2015, 04:47 AM
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Gab, the video chat lesson was great...Unfortunately I am at work when that takes place, so I can't truly pay 100% attention (the boss will get mad). But it was awesome.

I started playing around with Cubase and recording. I recorded a little bit of "Talk Dirty to Me". The drums aren't perfect, but I'm not a drummer and don't really understand the drum parts all that well....I did my best so far. Keep in mind that I'm VERY new to Cubase and recording...so any instruction you give please make it as if you are giving instructions to a child..and pictures help...LOL.

Let me know what I need to do in order to get this sounding like the original. My goal is to work with you on this and get my version sounding better than the original.

I didn't spend much time recording the guitars...so they aren't super tight at all...I'm more concerned with the recording process and overall sound quality more than having tight guitar parts at this point.

The 2nd question I have is about a bass guitar. I don't have a bass, and didn't add a midi bass to the track yet. I did get my novation midi keyboard controller, so please tell me what I need to do to get a good bass guitar sound in Cubase...Remember I am completely new to this.......so explain like you are talking with someone who has opened Cubase for the first time.

Would it help if I sent you the Cubase project file so you can see what I'm doing?

Thanks again for your help!!

Rob
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Attached File  Talk_Dirty_to_Me_1.mp3 ( 1.75MB ) Number of downloads: 25
 
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Gabriel Leopardi
post Feb 21 2015, 09:26 PM
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Hi Robbie! This is sounding really good! Your drum track sounds close to the original and I think that the next step is to record a bass to be able to hear the whole arrangement together. Then you can improve dynamics and mix to make this sound even better. But the main goal was to train your writing midi skills and honestly I'm impressed! The more songs you record, the faster you will be recording your own songs.

For bass sounds I use and recommend Trillian, check it out:



In order to make your drums sound more "human" I recommend you to check and apply the concepts of this video:



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RobbieJ
post Feb 22 2015, 02:34 AM
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Gab, thanks for the tips....Is there a free bass with Cubase that will work for now? The Trilian software is $275....my wife will kill me if I buy that right after I just bought the midi keyboard controller....LOL!!

Let me know if there are any free Bass plug ins out there that you know of or if something in Cubase will work now..and if so, how to use it.

Thanks!

Rob
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Gabriel Leopardi
post Feb 22 2015, 04:00 PM
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My version of Cubase included Halion which has many virtual instruments. If you have it, try its bass. If not, there are many free vsti for basses and other instruments.

Here you will find some of them: LINK

I recommend you to do some searches with google to find some cool free stuff that will be good to have installed:

- Virtual instruments VSTi: It's always good to have different options: Piano, strings, brasses and other instruments.

- Mixing VST: It will be good to have some EQs, Compressors, FXs for this purpose.

- Mastering tools: We will use this to make your mixes sound balanced and loud.



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RobbieJ
post Feb 23 2015, 12:14 AM
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I'll look around for a free VST bass. I've played with the track a bit more and did some work on the drums...I've changed some of the drum beats in certain placed, played with the velocity and added a bit of reverb........I think I'm getting the hang of where certain drum parts fit and how to modify them....Take a listen....The biggest issue that I"m faced with now is by trying to adjust the velocity of the hits, I have a rather noticeable sounding difference in certain parts....Can you explain an easy way to fix it instead of going to each measure and adjusting the velocity of every single snare hit.



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Attached File  Talk_Dirty_to_Me_2.mp3 ( 1.77MB ) Number of downloads: 27
 
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Gabriel Leopardi
post Feb 23 2015, 12:42 PM
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Hi Robbie, this one is starting to sound really cool! There is a way to fix velocity of many notes and it's with the function "fixed velocity". You can select with the range select all the snares in the piano roll and then click on the function. It will make all snares sound with the same velocity. Then you will have to do the "humanizing" ideas shared on the previous video to avoid making it sound like a machine.

Attached Image


As you are now experimenting with the drum sounds, there is a way to activate all drum's output. Currently you should have the drums being played through an stereo audio output. This function will make that each part of the drum will be played in a different audio track on the project and it will allow you to equalize, process and add fx to the different channels of the drums (kick, snare, hh, etc). Try it and let me know if it works.

Attached Image


Why would you want to do this? Kick needs a different compression and eq than the snare, and the same for room, hi hats and toms. Kick sound better without reverb, while snare sounds great with it. These are just 2 of all the other reasons why you'd want to have multitrack drums.


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RobbieJ
post Feb 23 2015, 05:23 PM
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Gab, thanks for the explanation. I will try these couple of ideas out this evening when I get home from work. I think the song is starting to take shape...I can't wait to learn how to make it more "studio" sounding in the near future. Thanks again!!

Rob
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Gabriel Leopardi
post Feb 24 2015, 02:16 PM
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Ok! Let me know how it works!


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post Mar 1 2015, 01:23 AM
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QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ Feb 24 2015, 01:16 PM) *
Ok! Let me know how it works!



Hey Gab, I just ordered a midi guitar that Todd said would work great for laying down the bass. When I get it next week I will continue working on the Talk Dirty to Me track.

Do you use a midi guitar at all? I'm curious how this will work. Todd says it's a great tool to use....especially for someone who isn't great with a keyboard.

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Gabriel Leopardi
post Mar 1 2015, 04:51 PM
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Wou! Congrats! I don't use a midi guitar but I think that it can be a GREAT tool for composing and recording. You will find easier to record bass, guitar, and maybe some other instruments like piano, synth and strings. I think that drums can be tricky but who knows, you can try it.

I have a midi keyboard and it's great, but if you ask me I would also get and try a midi guitar to see what happens. The good thing of recording guitar also with midi is that you can manipulate it much more, change tempo, change notes easily, transpose it and many other great things that can open your composing skills to a new dimension.

So, congrats again, and let me know how it works and feels. smile.gif


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