October 24, 2010
Home Recording, Songwriting
In the Ancient Days, the only way to record a song was to get your guitar (or whatever) ready, hit the “Record” button and simply play the entire song straight through. If you wanted additional instruments or vocals, you listened to the existing tracks as you recorded those new parts, playing straight through the whole song each time.
The capability of “punching in” new material to fix weak passages in an otherwise great part began to break this pattern, but you were still basically playing (or singing) the song all the way through every time you put on a new instrument or vocal.
With the current-day DAW software that so many of us use (GarageBand, Logic, Cubase, etc.), you can still record a song this way if you want to. But, the amazing editing capabilities of even the simplest of these software packages allow you to take your creativity down paths that simply never existed before.
As an example, let me lead you through the process I followed to create a song that was never played all the way through by anybody, but rather was “assembled” from selected bits of previously recorded musical parts.
Read the rest…
May 16, 2008
As the owner and sole employee of an on-location recording company, I am often asked to record someone playing acoustic guitar and singing. The question arises, should I record the guitar first and then overdub the vocal, studio style, or should I record both at once, concert style? Both are valid approaches, and which to use in a given situation depends on (a) performance factors, and (b) recording factors. Let’s look at the performance factors first.
Some artists strongly prefer playing and singing at the same time, wanting to capture an actual performance of the song. They may be unfamiliar with studio overdubbing techniques, or they may be accustomed to playing the song “live” and feel most comfortable just “banging it out.” Others are delighted to learn that they can record the guitar part first without having to worry about the vocal, then record the vocal without having to worry about the guitar. Or they may like the idea of sitting while playing the guitar, then standing up for the vocal part.
If the artist has a preference for one or the other approach, my suggestion is to do it the way that they are most comfortable with. You can get a good recording of the song either way, but the artist needs to be comfortable to “get in the zone” and deliver a good performance. Now, if they offer to leave it up to you which to use, I would suggest the studio-style overdubbing approach because of the additional flexibility it offers, both at recording and mixing time. Read the rest…