Sunday, June 28, 2015

Even more guitar

I started work on a new track the other night, fully intending to incorporate live guitar work. After preparing a track in Reason with holes left deliberately for the guitar, I started recording the parts. Again, there was an introduction, a link, another link and a coda. I also added a rhythm guitar part in the first two verses.

I worked a great deal on the sound of the guitar parts - the rhythm part had a noise gate, compressor, equaliser, flanger and a image width plugin applied to it. Still I wasn't very satisfied and in the end I decided to add the parts which I had played on the guitar to the original MIDI file, thus obviating the need for live guitar.

To my ears, the live guitar doesn't sit well with the sequenced material for two reasons. The primary reason is timing accuracy - when everything is exactly on the beat, then miniscule timing errors become very apparent. The less important reason is that I can hear extraneous noises coming from the strings after every note as my fingers lift off and move - a sign that my guitar technique is not as good as it should be. These 'clangs' were cut off by the noise gate and the compressor helped maintain a constant volume, but even so, the guitar simply sounds out of place.

I'm sure that if I recorded a track only with live guitars along with a sequenced drum part then the result would be better but at the moment that's not what I'm looking for. When I was rehearsing the song, I remembered one very good reason for not recording guitar: I'm not interested in simple strumming but rather in more complex arrangements. That said, I simulated the sound of an acoustic guitar playing a single strum on the second beat of every bar (at least, for the first two verses).

Someone approached me on the kibbutz the other week: he wants me to record him playing his songs. These are intended as demos, although it's not clear to me whether there will be any further development. Anyway, these will definitely be recorded with live guitars only along with vocals; at least I've had some practice in engineering for this. There's still a problem of latency with the program Audacity that I haven't managed to solve; this manifests itself by listening at the same time to both the prerecorded material and the live track which is being recorded. The way I 'solved' it - or rather avoided the issue - was by not listening to what I was playing. This is awkward with electric guitar (as its acoustic sound is not very large) but should be less of a problem with acoustic.

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