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Posts Tagged sound

How To Write A Song! 6

by Jayme Gutierrez Posted in blogging | No Comments »


Again I return, to let you all know a bit more about what I’ve been up to!
I’ve done all of the guitar!!!
(Just so you know, “Joe!” has also been filming some of my progress along the way, so you will also be able to see a video of the progress too! I’m not sure when he will have time to edit it though..)

I’ve done the intro guitar, some rhythm guitar and some extra guitar to beef up the piano on the verse, some distortion guitar picking with psychedelic delay on it and then some rhythm guitar with distortion for the chorus. Oh, and the ending bit of guitar, that fades out.

Luckily I didn’t have much trouble finding the tones that i wanted, so that sped things up a bit!
But then I was slowed down because I broke a string. And me being me, I had to change them all because the only replacement string I had was a 9 gauge, from a different pack of strings. The ones I had on were 10s.
That meant that all the parts that I record with the new strings are going to sound brighter than the parts that I had already done with the old ones and that the tone would also be thinner!
But fortunately all the bits I had already done were rhythm guitar, so they didn’t need to be that bright! And lucky for me, all I had left to do was the picking, and bright & thin is exactly what I want for cutting through the mix!
However, having new strings on meant that after every take I had to check the tuning. But it seemed to say in tune perfectly (that Gibson I won is amazing!).

I think the psychedelic delay, on the picked guitar, is going to end up causing a problem, when I start putting in more instruments because of the delay. Although, come to think of it, the delay is pitch shifted one or two octaves higher than the original pitch, so as long as I don’t have anything else going on up there then I should be alright. We’ll see..

I think that it is also going to need some organ on the chorus, to fill it out a bit. And I’m hearing some electric piano on the second part of the verse. Hmmmmm…..

Anyway, that’s it for now.
Stay tuned for more!

How To Write A Song! 5

by Jayme Gutierrez Posted in blogging | No Comments »

So, before I start, I bounce down the bass and then save the project under a new name, so that I can save on processor!
Now I have the bass, piano and drums all bounced down into individual stereo tracks.
Next stop guitar…

Again, before I start writing the part I need to search for the sound/tone..
I find that it’s much easier to compose a piece of music when I’m playing an instrument that sounds nice, or sounds nice when playing along to the track. I need to be able to appreciate and enjoy the sound. If I’m playing with old guitar strings on an acoustic guitar, it sounds dead and boring. But when I have a new set on, it sounds bright and interesting and suddenly I can hear all the detail in the note, making me realize that the simple song I played before I changed the strings is actually quite nice and doesn’t need to be made any more complicated! It makes me enjoy listening to it and that’s when I get the best ideas!
So, that’s another reason why it’s so important for me to get the right sound, not just to go well with the song, but to appreciate and enjoy listening to it, inspiring me to continue.
For this song I have decided to use electric guitar and no acoustic guitar, so…
Like the bass; I make a mono audio track and patch it through to a stereo group channel track, with GR4 on an insert and then I start messing around with effects!
I can spend a whole day or two, messing around with different amps and effects, just searching for the right sound! Now, in this song, I’m going to use the guitar to give the piano some more guts and at the same time not be too out front on the verses. Obviously I want the guitar intro to stand out because it’s going to start just with guitar, so I’ll make a different patch for the intro and for the verse. I think I’ll go for some heavier distortion for the chorus and some distortion guitar picking as well… ..maybe panned left, not sure.. So that’s another two patches.. Oh.. and one more patch for something that I have just heard in my head, that I think will go well! So, in total; 5 patches to do! …maybe 6..
Well, I’d best get busy…

Stay tuned!

How To Write A Song! 4

by Jayme Gutierrez Posted in blogging | No Comments »

I forgot to mention about the end of the song..
Obviously I had already written the ending, before I started putting the complete piano and drum tracks down. Sometimes an ending can be quite hard to come up with and it can take me days!
For this song I’ve decided to end it with everything dropping out, apart from the guitar (which I haven’t written yet, but I kind of have an idea of what I want, in my head) and letting that go one for a bit and then fade out.
So, after all that is done, I start to write the Bass..
First off, before I do any writing, I start finding the right bass sound and tone for the song. I forgot to mention this about the piano and drums (especially the kick and the snare). It is SO important to choose the right sounds, and that they go well together.
It’s like cooking; Some flavors taste lovely on their own, but when mixed with other flavors they taste HORRIBLE! ..and vise-versa. Putting in just one wrong sound can completely change the whole flavor of the track!
So a lot of time needs to be spent in getting the sounds right.
For this song in particular I have decided that it needs real bass, as opposed to analog or digital.
Now, seeing as I don’t have loads of different basses to choose from, I’ll have to conform with the only one I have, which is a jazz bass. Lucky for me, this should to fine for this song!
So, first off; fining the right tone:
I usually set up a mono audio track and patch it through a stereo group channel track with “Guitar Rig 4” on an insert. The reason for this is because it’s a stereo effect and the bass is mono, so if I just simply made a stereo audio track, I’ll be recording in stereo. That means that the audio file size will be twice as big as needed.
Once I have that set up, I then start finding the right tone. There is no method for this, just messing around with different amps, compressors, distortions, e.t.c. I do this in “Guitar Rig 4“. This can take quite a while…
When I’ve finally found the right tone, I can then start to write.

I like bass lines. They can be very interesting. In this song I’ve decided to keep the bass fairly simple. So that it basically, more or less, follows the chords without “going off on one”.
I like to coordinate the bass and the “kick drum” (Bass Drum), so I try to make sure that a bass note strikes wherever there’s a strong kick drum. I think it’s very important to listen to just the drums and bass together, just to make sure they gel together nicely. Sometimes I’ll find myself taking out or moving a bass note, or even adding a note because it doesn’t fit well enough with the beat. Sometimes I’ll end up changing the beat instead! If I do decide to change the beat, I have to go back to the previous project, change the beat, then re-bounce down the whole drum track again. Now, I know some people may be thinking; “Why don’t you just splice the part that you’ve changed, that way you don’t have to wait that long for it to bounce”? (Bounce down only the part I’ve changed and then cross-fade it in and out of the existing drum track) True, but I don’t think that it’s that much quicker, plus having no cross-fades means that your processor has one job less to do!
So, that’s the bass..

..stay tuned for more soon!

How To Write A Song! 3

by Jayme Gutierrez Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

..Before I blog the next step, I want to explain a bit more about the piano and drums (or “Drunsh” as I like to call them)..

I use midi instruments a LOT. Usually VST plugins. Midi (or “Musical Instrument Digital Interface”) is basically a controller that triggers samples. A midi instrument is a bank of sampled sounds.
Basically, when you’re recording midi, you’re just recording data, telling the computer when, how loud, what key, e.t.c, to trigger the samples.
For piano I use “Ivory grand pianos” from Synthogy. It sounds very nice and there are 3 to choose from; a Bosendorfer, a Steinway and a Yamaha concert grand.
The Yamaha is brighter and will cut through the mix a lot easier than the other two pianos. But that doesn’t mean to say that I don’t use the other two. I used them in some of the songs I have on itunes.
For this song in particular I used the Yamaha because I want it to sound a little more “poppy”.
For my DAW (Digital audio workstation) I use cubase 5 and since I have changed computers (watch video blog 13 to find out why I changed computers) I have started having problems with midi! It seems to be recording it before I’ve even played it!!?? I know, IMPOSSIBLE! It’s something to do with the internal system clock on the motherboard, or something like that. So it records but then puts each note in the key edit a bit before the beat. I also suspect some midi jitter going on, but I won’t go in to that.
So anyway, long story short; I can’t find a way to fix it so all I do is click and drag the whole track a couple of milliseconds back, after I’ve played it in, so that the notes are closer to the beat.
So, that’s the piano.
Then there’s the “Drunsh”
Again, I use another midi instrument, this one’s called ezdrummer. Good sounding, easy to use drums.
After I’ve finished recording the midi for the piano and drums, I then do a bounce of each track, which basically renders all of the samples into one audio file (or in this case two stereo audio files, one for piano and one for drums).
I tend to bounce down the midi instruments as soon as I can because they tend to eat up a lot of RAM and CPU. I then save the project, then save it again under a new name, delete the midi files, discard the midi instruments and import the new bounced down audio files, that I have just created, into the new project.
That’s it for now, more later…

How To Write A Song! 2

by Jayme Gutierrez Posted in blogging | No Comments »


I’ve got the structure; intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, decoder, double chorus. (Pretty standard,I know).

Now it’s time to start getting some tracks down. I usually start off playing in any ideas that I have had for the song on piano. Then I listen to it and think, playing around with different drumbeats to get an idea of what goes best. Once I have an idea of what I’m looking for, I then start thinking of how the song is going to start.
I don’t usually like to do long intros because, seeing as I’ve only got about 3/4 minutes of song tops, I like to get into the song as soon as I can.
For this song in particular, I’ve decided to start with some simple electric guitar, then the beat and piano and then bring everything else in.
Next step is to get the piano track down completely and then the drums. That’s what I have been doing today.
So, tomorrow, I will start with the next step…