Tuesday, June 16, 2015

More guitar

"Everything is written in sand", sang Robin Frederick; normally I wouldn't agree, but following my adventures of recording electric guitar, I have to admit that there is some truth in her statement.

After having listened more than a few times to the song which I recorded both with Reason and with live guitar, I made two major decisions: the synthesized arpeggio in the first two verses does more harm than good and so can go, and the guitar solo needs to be redone. It occurred to me that this was my chance to incorporate some reverse guitar: as the solo is over four bars of A minor, this shouldn't be too hard.

I was surprised at how hard it actually was. I had already decided on an ascending scale, and as the meter is 5/4, it means three beats on the A, two on the B, three on the C, two on the D, three on the E, two on the G and a whole bar on A. But recording this backwards requires a few changes: I had to play a descending scale, so that when reversed, the scale would be ascending. 

More problematic was the timing: out of habit, I played three beats on the top A before playing two on the G.  When reversed, this didn't sound correct: the solo started with a bar of low A, when it should be three beats of A. In the end, I chopped 1.6 seconds off the front of the sound file and got everything aligned correctly. Whilst maybe the end is slightly premature, the total effect is good. I should add that the sound editor easily allows one to reverse a recording.

This exercise only increases my appreciation of guitarists who have recorded long backwards parts. The pioneer was probably George Harrison on "I'm only sleeping" (Revolver); several years later, Stephen Stills played backwards almost all the way through "Pre-road downs" (Crosby, Stills and Nash) and Robert Fripp also plays mainly backwards through "Book of Saturdays" (Lark's tongue in aspic).

Maybe my next step is recording the Ovation guitar to provide the chordal background for a song, instead of the more usual pad.

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