Justin Guitar Community

Competition + Performance Area (Audio / Video of Your Playing) => Collaborations / Songwriting / Projects => Topic started by: digger72 on February 24, 2013, 12:04:19 pm

Title: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: digger72 on February 24, 2013, 12:04:19 pm
Hi all,

First up; i'm not very good at this sort of thing, so apologies if it makes no sense whatsoever.

Second: hopefully I don't come across as some dodgy salesman when i write that I've gone from nothing to where i am now using Justin's lessons, Ustream show, and the kind help of members of the forum. Sometimes i read - "Justin - do more rock lessons, etc." The basics you need for most forms of music are already within the site. Take the basics - listen to the types of music you like, then apply them.

Theory: if you know some - great. If you don't - don't worry - you've got ears. I know a little, but if i use i, it is subconsciously - i don't think, hmm, this chord resolves to the next because... I think hmm, that sounds nice with that. Not saying it's unimportant - just saying you don't need to have encyclopedic knowledge. Music by numbers - paint by numbers? Just a thought. (that will probably get me in trouble with the theory aficionados.)

Collaborations: the key to this is finding people who first of all genuinely want to record songs. Second that they are willing to be flexible. Third, that you get on. Obviously, it helps if you like similar types of music, but it can throw up some interesting stuff if you have differing tastes. I like Depeche Mode, and some keyboard stuff - Endureth doesn't care for it at all. He likes tambourines and triangles and recorders - I tend not to. Don't limit your creativity.

In another thread it was suggested that someone put up some wavs/stems from a song so that others could see how a track was put together, and if they wanted, so that they could mix that track themselves; so here's the complete files for one of mine.

http://www.4shared.com/rar/bDH2x9AJ/new_lover_mix_your_own.html


This was my mix:
   
You'll need "winrar" or something to unzip them. Just extract all to a folder, then you can import them in to your daw. Depending on your daw, you may need to "warp" them or something to make all the timings correct.
I use Ableton. For those who also do - if you double left click on the wav file it should bring up details of that sample in the browser box at the bottom. You'll see "warp" highlighted in yellow. Just click this and it will return the file to its original timing.

The files hopefully have all come through in mono.

I'd set myself the challenge of writing three quick and easy songs in three days - each under three minutes. This was the third.

In this case i actually started out with just a tempo. I wanted to write something more upempo than my usual stuff. This is at 160. I use addictive drums, so i put that in my daw and just synced a basic drum beat to the daw tempo. If you don't have a drum programme, your daw will probably have a built in metronome - just set this to the tempo you want.
It's really important to try and play in time - it makes the whole recording process much simpler.
There are lessons within the site. Probably with Justin nodding his head or something.

If you want to see him really going for it - check this out; the first minute is brilliant.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCJwzwrK8tk

Anyway, i digress. Timing - get as tight as you can. Feel the groove.  Just nod along or tap your feet to the beat to start with so that you're in that rhythm. Then start playing.

In this case i just started jamming ideas along to the beat - recording all the time. If you hear something you like, stop and play it back. If you still like it, you can then start developing the idea.
I try to get as much of the rhythm down first - although ideas for different parts may come along later. But, if you've been playing in time, you can fit these in to your track when necessary.

Lyrics/vocals: I just tend to sing any old random words over the rhythm to start (unless, the lyrics/vocal melody had come first - in which case I would record this in time to the beat - then start jamming chords around it) Once i've got a melody down, i then try to form one verse and the chorus. If you're lucky, you may just have a surge of words, if not just try and get one verse down. Then you can use the framework of that verse to write the others - how many lines, how many syllables, rhyming couplets, etc. There are no rules as such - but some things can make it easier when you are starting out. You can expand the boundaries as you get more confident in what you're trying to do.

I'll try and record the vocals and rhythm guitar with some basic drums, then send it to Endureth who will start working on the bass line. If I've had ideas for a bit of lead work, I might wait till i'd put that in, but if I'm stuck, i'll send it as is.

He will post a few initial comments - bits he likes, or doesn't - ideas it may have spurred in him. Any we both feel are a goer, we'll explore further. Sometimes we end up dumping them, sometimes we keep them, sometimes they generate new ideas completely. Don't discard anything, and always keep the bits you discard - they may be useful in another track.

Endureth will send anything from one to a million bass lines over the span of a recording. Different tones, or bits he's put in or taken out. Sometimes, I haven't had the chance to put one in before the next arrives! Usually we settle on one (even if he may send a slightly amended one a little later).

With this in the track, i'll re-record any bits i need to, and either Endureth or myself will start filling out the drums.

In most cases the final lead will come when this basic track is down (unless, i'd already got something i really liked - in which case Endureth would have done is bass line with this in place.)
I'm not particularly good at them. I tend towards slower melodies, rather than the quickfire stuff. But do what you can. Learn some scales (major and pentatonic is all i know) so you have a basic understanding of how the notes work together, but also some of the techniques of bending and sliding, etc. Don't get hung up on it. We can't all be some great rock god. Just jam over your track - recording all the time, then listen back. Any bits you like the sound of just trim out of the track and put to one side in your daw. Before you know it you may have five or six little bits which you can then try and join up. You can then try and play the whole solo or as much as you can when you've got your idea down. Gilmour does it this way - i'm sure most do. Good on you if you can rip something great from your fingers in one take.

Once you've got all your bits you can start mixing. And this is where some real fun starts. You think you've got it sounding good through your headphones, or monitors, or speakers, then you play it on something else and it sounds like a pile of doo-doo.
I'm probably only 1% on the road to learning about this stuff, so i follow a simple process at the moment.

First of all i check each track for background noise - hiss, amp buzz, daughter's making noise in her bedroom, wife taking a bath, etc. I then use a noise removal plug-in within my daw to get rid of as much of this as possible without colouring the track too much. Basically you are identifying and removing some offending frequencies, but these will also be within the sound you want to keep - so if you over do it... well try it - turn up the noise removal on full and hear what happens.

Then i listen to the track to see what is overlapping what, e.g. is the guitar masking the vocal; are the drums drowning everything, etc. What you're trying for is to create a space between the instruments so you can pick them out, but that they still sound part of the same track (unless you're going for the wall of sound, or some weird and wonderful experimental stuff.)
So the first thing i do is pan (move) things around. Main vocals, bass, kick drum I keep dead centre, everything else gets moved around left or right till i get what sounds ok to me. I will then adjust the volumes on each of these tracks to try and get a nice balance. If the tracks still seem to blur together, or something seems "muddy", i apply some Eq. Now this to me is a pain, so i try to do as little as possible. Basically you try to cut, or sometimes boost some frequencies so they aren't all fighting for the same space. Some frequencies you can cut all together as they can't be heard. Why cut them? I guess they are taking up room, if even just in the background.
e.g. If each part of your song is a box, and each of these boxes were overlapping, you'd try and cut the corners of the boxes so that they each have their own bit of space. Someone else will have to take up the baton here.

I used to put individual reverb on all tracks, but now, unless i want a specific sound, i put one reverb plug-in on a send/return track (A or B or whatever in Ableton). I set this at 100% wet. The individual tracks within the daw pass through this and i can set a level for each track of how much i want it to use. this saves processor power on your computer, and you're using the same reverb, which can help gel the track.

Compression is another beasty used to help gel tracks together. I just tend to use the presets within the plug-in if i use it. Which tends to be mainly on vocals. I do put a "buss compressor" on the master buss of my mix - this is just some soft compression to bring the loud and quiet parts a little closer together.  Again, probably better if someone with some technical knowledge helps out here.

That is pretty much it.

I export the final master wav. Listen on several different devices, as does Endureth. We then apply any tweaks we feel necessary - altering levels of this that or the other, etc.

I do have a final process that i put this "master wav" through. It's just a final "multiband compressor" and "limiter" which again just polishes the track up.

At the end of the day, it doesn't matter if you do all these things. Not everyone will have the time, patience, possibly tools, to do everything. Do what you can, what you want and above all, enjoy doing it. If it becomes a complete chore - you're probably overdoing it. (I've been there when mixing)

Don't know if this has helped anyone. Please post your mixes - will be interesting to hear what folks come up with.

If i can help in any way I will try.

All the best,

Digger

Tempo is 160bpm.

Chords. (all power chords) Just vary the strumming and muting. I bend the strings when playing the C#
It's the same sequence for both guitars - just play different ways under the solo.

Verse 1:
C# - B - G#- F#  - G# ( X4)

Chorus:
F# - G# ( X4)
C#

Verse 2:
C# - G# - F# - G# (X4)

Chorus:
F# - G# (X4)
C#

Solo:
F# - G# - B - G# (X3)
F# - G# - C#

Verse 3:
C# - B - G# - F#  - G# ( X2)

Chorus:
F# - G# (X8)
C#

Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: Endureth on February 24, 2013, 02:06:49 pm
Here's a video Digger and I both watched in it's entirety that really cleared up a lot of questions about mixing.  Warning, this video is 2 and a half hours long and just FULL of great stuff.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TEjOdqZFvhY

Well worth the watch if you're at least semi-serious about producing your own songs.

And don't forget it's all suppose to be fun.  They say You've got to write a million words before you can write your first book.

And feel free to replace something with your own.  Don't like the bass, put your own in, want to record yourself singing, with different lyrics perhaps, go for it.  Think you can play a better solo, do it.  Have fun, make it your own!
Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: TB-AV on February 24, 2013, 03:18:23 pm
Digger can you write a chord chart for that mix please.
Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: Endureth on February 24, 2013, 03:27:26 pm
Digger can you write a chord chart for that mix please.

I guess we forgot those.  Digger will have the chords, here's the bass score.

http://www.4shared.com/office/-8xdmScw/New_Lover.html
Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: TB-AV on February 24, 2013, 03:36:04 pm
Your name is Johnny Walker..?  Red, Black or Blue?

That's a nice looking tab what did you do that in?
Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: Endureth on February 24, 2013, 03:39:48 pm
Your name is Johnny Walker..?  Red, Black or Blue?

That's a nice looking tab what did you do that in?


Yeah, I'm the 4th, my son is the 5th, so he gets to grow up a 5th of Johnny Walker all his life.  He'll have it much worse than me, bwaahahaha

I use Guitar Pro 6 for scoring them.  I bought it when Digger and I would go back to songs we hadn't worked on for a couple weeks and I had forgotten them.  It's been a big help.
Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: TB-AV on February 24, 2013, 03:41:54 pm
LOL...that's funny as hell.

So it looks like this thing is in Ab?
Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: Endureth on February 24, 2013, 03:43:53 pm
LOL...that's funny as hell.

So it looks like this thing is in Ab?

Sounds about right.
Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: artonsafari on February 24, 2013, 03:56:40 pm
Quote
In most cases the final lead will come when this basic track is down (unless, i'd already got something i really liked - in which case Endureth would have done is bass line with this in place.)
I'm not particularly good at them. I tend towards slower melodies, rather than the quickfire stuff. But do what you can. Learn some scales (major and pentatonic is all i know) so you have a basic understanding of how the notes work together, but also some of the techniques of bending and sliding, etc. Don't get hung up on it. We can't all be some great rock god. Just jam over your track - recording all the time, then listen back. Any bits you like the sound of just trim out of the track and put to one side in your daw. Before you know it you may have five or six little bits which you can then try and join up. Gilmour does it this way - i'm sure most do. Good on you if you can rip something great from your fingers in one take.

I kind of knew this was how it was done but it still feels like cheating. Playing over jam tracks and trying to keep it interesting for 5 min is tough but you get a few things that work then string them together. TBH, I prefer more melodic stuff than super fast.
Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: TB-AV on February 24, 2013, 03:59:46 pm
Also Digger if you can post exactly what your project tempo is. I know sometimes that get a little off round numbers.
Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: digger72 on February 24, 2013, 04:36:43 pm
Hi TB,

I've amended the original post. Sorry, it's nothing like Endureth's - I don't tend to write stuff down - just scribbles of lyrics, etc. I really am super lazy.

It's a simple song - pretty badly played. It was just a quick blast. I'm happy to post other stuff if people get interested in the recording side of things. Some of them are about 30 tracks though.

Arton, when i said he pieces them together, i meant he pieces the bits together then plays it through till he gets it sounding how he wants - not that he just plays little bits then sticks them all together - but who knows, maybe he does. He was talking about writing solos. It was on youtube, but i can't for the life of me remember which clip.

Cheers,

Digger
Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: Endureth on February 24, 2013, 04:47:41 pm
If the final version sounds clean and the way you want it, who cares how much you've chopped it or how many shortcuts you had to take.  Underneath Picasso paintings, they've discovered earlier versions of the same painting.  The end justifies the means.

Now, if we were an actual band, the next step would be to sit in a rehearsal room and practice these songs for a month or two until we could play them the whole way through confidently.  It's not too far off from what professionals do, but they are better at almost every step so it doesn't take them as long and they perhaps do less cutting and pasting.  And they have the benefit of knowing way more theory.  But when it's finished, listen to the song.  Does it sound good?  Success.

Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: artonsafari on February 24, 2013, 04:52:56 pm
Yeah, being able to play it through is the trick. I remember hearing Steve Vai talking about doing a take and things were going downhill fast so they shut down in the middle of It. When they went back and listened to it they decided to use the power down in the solo.

I remember Queensryche talking about having to learn to play the tunes off Rage for Order.

My buddy in the Rush tribute band said he read  a Geddy interview about piecing stuff together and learning it.

It was a very different experience than just plain jamming or learning a song and recording it live which was the only thing I'd ever done when we were using a 4 track.
Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: TB-AV on February 24, 2013, 06:07:36 pm
After you comp a track together ( when is a widely used method ) then you learn to play the comped track. That' usually how it's done. Even then though, you will still use your comped track o0n the cd because it represents your best effort and will be there for years. But it's common practice to play many takes and comp a line together only then to sit down and learn that line as a whole ( if you can, because sometimes you play things that you never really do again )

Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: shadowscott007 on February 24, 2013, 06:13:32 pm
I read an interview with David Gilmore that said that is how he did his solo's.  He would basically sit down and jam over the progression and the listen to it and take out all the cool bits and put them together into what became the solo.

Now I do not know if this was how the "real" song was recorded in the studio.  He very well may have been doing this for himself to compose the solo, then "learn" it for the recording session.  Conceptually it sounds like a very similar approach.

Shadow
Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: TB-AV on February 24, 2013, 06:32:24 pm
Everybody does this... It's more rare to get a "single take". It happens but mostly things are comped together to get the very best possible performance before it's carved in stone.
Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: bradt on February 24, 2013, 07:22:43 pm
Thanks for putting this up, Digger. It's neat to get a "behind the scenes" look at it.


Also good to know that the cutting and pasting of tracks to get the best segments is pretty common. You guys have inspired me to work on something today, and getting it all in one take is proving pretty difficult.
Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: diademgrove on February 25, 2013, 10:17:47 am
I'm having trouble getting the files. It may be me but I keep getting asked to upgrade to premium or if I just click download I get an application called iLivid. Can anyone help me.
Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: artonsafari on February 25, 2013, 11:08:46 am
Click the "wait 20 seconds" box to download. It should begin counting down at that point then start the download.
Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: diademgrove on February 25, 2013, 04:45:56 pm
Click the "wait 20 seconds" box to download. It should begin counting down at that point then start the download.

Sorry, I've tried all day and I still don't get it. I don't see any wait 20 seconds box. I click on download and all I get is an iLivid exe file.
Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: Endureth on February 25, 2013, 04:51:40 pm
Try the blue 'download' button, not the green 'download desktop' button.

Then you will get to the wait 20 seconds button.
Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: TB-AV on February 25, 2013, 06:07:31 pm
I think you might have to sign in. I didn't get the countdown until I signed in. But yes the BLUE download button.
Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: digger72 on February 25, 2013, 06:25:07 pm
Ah. You may have something there. I'm always signed in, so i just click away.

I wished i'd picked a better song to put up.
Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: diademgrove on February 25, 2013, 09:26:11 pm
Thanks for the advice. Downloaded. I'll extract the files later in the week.

Thanks again.
Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: diademgrove on February 27, 2013, 10:07:42 pm
Well, here's my remix. I didn't use any compression, didn't seem to work for me.

Hope Digger will forgive me for putting his vocals a bit more upfront.

   


I enjoyed doing this. Its a great song. The only part I'm not sure about is the end of the guitar solo. The beginning is good. I thought the last note should have continued to decay over the vocal, but the bit after the first few bars and up to the last note didn't really work for me.

Diadem

Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: Endureth on February 27, 2013, 10:13:37 pm
That's great.  The reverb during the chorus bits was pretty cool.  Vocals belong up front!

If you look in your daw, there should be a way to select a section of music (like that trailing guitar on the lead track) and do something called a 'time stretch' or something similar.  It works great on something like a held note because you can shorten or extend the length of the note.  So through editing, you can make changes like you suggest.

Are you using reaper?  If so hold alt while dragging the edge of a piece of music to stretch it.  You will get a little hand grabbing icon.  Make sure that you cut the last note separate from the rest of the solo or you will stretch the whole solo.

That was great man!  Hope to hear some more!

Ha, just noticed the Here Bunny Bunny at the end, lol nice touch.
Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: justinguitar on February 28, 2013, 09:46:53 am
just watched a bit of that mixing video - looks god but hilariously dated production.

I've got a production series on the backburner and I should watch that all the way through and steal some ideas!! :)

the above mix has a great slapback punk echo thing going on in the verse 1, sounds great!
Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: digger72 on February 28, 2013, 09:55:10 am
Hi Diadem.

That's a nice clean mix. The drums seem to have more bounce. The effect on the vocal captures that punk/new wave thing which is what i was after originally.

It was written and recorded so quickly i was surprised you could get anything good out of it. There's a track we've been working on a little while (still awaiting the final vocal) which has been a royal pain in the backside to try and mix. I might post that when we have all the parts. That could be a challenge.

Cheers,

Digger
Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: TB-AV on February 28, 2013, 01:16:02 pm
Hey where is the original anyway?
Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: Endureth on February 28, 2013, 01:29:26 pm
Hey where is the original anyway?

On the first page of this thread, "This was my mix:"

But it's posted on my soundcloud here:

http://soundcloud.com/endureth/sets/justinguitar-com/

Digger doesn't have it on his soundcloud for some reason.
Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: diademgrove on February 28, 2013, 05:44:52 pm
That was a relief. I noticed Endureth liked it last night. Just got in from work and am really pleased with Digger's comments.

Justin and Digger the vocal was not meant to be punk, it was my attempt at putting ADT on John Lennon's vocal, but who cares as long as it worked.

Endureth I envisaged the solo ending on a bent note with a bit of vibrato. From about 1:44 I envisaged a bit of Hendrix, the slide section of All Along The Watchtower. The first part of the solo would be the first rush of love, the next section comfortable middle age and finally the last note happy old age. Yes I'm an old romantic at heart. If we were in a studio that's what I would have suggested.

It is a really good song and well recorded, all I did was put a bit of sparkle into those places I felt it needed it.

I'm pleased you all liked it. Any time you want me to look at something I'm generally available, health permitting.

Finally, all I've learned I've learned by trial and error. I've not wasted large amounts of tape and the undo button is always available. I always ask myself does that sound good? If it does I keep it, if not it disappears into cyberspace. Be careful though it may become addictive.
Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: digger72 on February 28, 2013, 08:48:08 pm
Hi Diadem,

I envisaged a bit of Hendrix too - then i woke up and realised it was me playing! :D

There's this song, which is based on Justin's "write the lyrics" challenge, which I've mixed and unmixed, and mixed some more. As soon as the vocal is done (hopefully by Katja when she's back up and running), I will post our version with the wavs so others can have a go.

Cheers,

Digger
Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: diademgrove on March 01, 2013, 09:49:17 pm
Hi Digger,

still recovering from my week. I've done far too much. Looking forward to getting the stems for your next song.

Starting to write something about our game with Huddersfield Town and the way we are being treat by West Yorkshire police. Still bouncing around the ceiling in anger. Its funny how the muse appears when you least expect it.

Take care,

Diadem
Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: digger72 on April 08, 2013, 10:23:13 pm
These are the wavs to our new song, Eternally Yours, should anyone fancy a mixing challenge.

http://www.4shared.com/rar/xwseH-o0/ey_wav_pack.html

Cheers,

Digger
Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: TB-AV on April 08, 2013, 11:26:28 pm
Is there some reason all those files are recorded so low.

Piano-1 for instance -33dB peak -56dB RMS

Vocal are in the 20 -30 range. Most everything is way down.

any midi tracks? Exact Tempo?

and what key is that?
Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: digger72 on April 09, 2013, 10:40:44 am
Code: [Select]
HI TB,

Bpm = 90
Key: not sure. The overdrive guitar plays A - G# - B5 - G in the verses and A - G# - D# - A# in the choruses. (all as barre chords)

It's not that i record the tracks low, i just turn them down so that the master doesn't go over about 6dB. (Don't know if this is a bad thing to do - just read it somewhere)

I then bring the volume up a little when i do my messing with the final track.

Endureth's done a new bass line which can be found here:

http://www.4shared.com/music/vgQ_JHPK/Eternally_Yours_-_Endureth_Bas.html

Cheers,

Digger
Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: TB-AV on April 09, 2013, 02:32:25 pm
Ok, in the future, you want to deliver your tracks the way they were recorded.

IOW,,, there is Tracking ( recording ) and Mixing.

During Tracking you want to have peaks not exceeding -6dB. -10dB is fine too. -12dB is fine. Those are peak values. Your RMS will vary depending on instrument. At any rate those are your raw traclks. They represent the best the artist and engineer were able to capture. they basically say... this is it.. this is my art and talent to the best of my ability.

Phase two....
--- For talented artists these tracks are now delivered for mixing.
--- For less talented maybe there are five takes of a vocal or lead guitar and they get compped down to one "keeper" track. Again level not to exceed -6dB. That comp take is then delivered as the vocal track or lead guitar track. You can also send the scratch tracks because maybe the mixer might hear something or need a note or two or whatever.. but the final "keeper track" represents what you feel was your best artistic and recorded effort.

so you deliver
Kick
Snare
HH
cym
vocal
--- vocal scratch tracks ( possibly in a folder and clearly labeled )
Keys
--- Keys scratch tracks ( same as above )
vocal
--- Vocal scratch
Etc.
Etc.

Then.... comes the mixing.

This is where the mixer blends the tracks to make it sound interesting. IOW that tambourine that was played for 5 minutes maybe gets blended out for all but 30 seconds total. Guitars ride up and down as vocals appear. The overall dynamics of the song are applied. Maybe even some "sweetening" elements are applied in the form of a new instrument. Maybe an instrument is replaced as Endureth has now provided.

So it's TWO very important and separate processes. RAW but "highest quality" tracks you can provide. Mix  + production... which is usually guided by the Producer.

In your case... you are pretty much giving free reign for anyone to produce whatever they want. I mean someone could turn it into a dance mix if they wanted. OR.. you as a producer could say... I absolutely want this, this, this and that as you mix it. In that scenario the Mix engineer is still going to make it sound as interesting as possible but he won't turn a Pink Floyd type song into a Fat Boy Slim type song.

=============
Key,,,, OK.. I was trying to do something with the vocals and it seemed like you were singing a C# held note and then a D# held note and one or the other sounded out of tune. I put a tuner on everything and set it to D# and the notes were close for the most part but some of course sounded really processed. I was pretty tired when I did it so need to relisten. It's actually a pretty interesting song to mix. Needs a lot of automation that I was too tired to do, but you can get a lot more power out of it.

Right now though.... as you can see from my outline above... each mixer will have to get your tracks to there pre-mix raw state where you can say for each track... ok this is the art ready for mixing. Each is a finished item. So the bottom line is... when you listen to a raw track... you should ask yourself.. Is this what I want my guitar, vocal or whatever to sound like. Is this the quality and size I want the mixer to process?

For instance you might deliver a DI guitar signal AND a distorted guitar. You may tell the mixer.. look the distorted is what I want but it's not the exact sound as I don't a good amp. Here is a DI track too IF you happen to have a means of processing it through a modeler for a better distorted guitar. IOW, don;t expect a mixer to turn your distorted Crate Amp into a Soldano. But s/he can run a clean DI guitar through a Soldano model. So you send both tracks and label them accordingly.

It's also not a bad idea to record 10 seconds of "room silence" at the level it would appear on any of your tracks. Also if you have AC noise or any noise source... record 10 seconds of that, again at the level it would have been recorded during instrument tracking. You can fix that noise issue or ask the mixer to try and fix it depending on who is most likely to get it right.

Hope that makes sense. Also you are going to need to provide Tempo, Key, Song Chart, and other notes that help others understand what you did, what you think you did, and/or what you want.

Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: TB-AV on April 09, 2013, 03:00:00 pm
OK,, Endureth... same thing for you.... You file was way to low but this is a very good example.

Now when you load your file it's real low so i press play... sounds ok I turn it up a bit... so now I decide I will have to gain that up with a plugin or normalize or something. So let's just normalize it to -7 or so.

Now take a listen... Now we hear string clacks........ that's a lot different..... did the player want..... do they realize it's there..... do they realize compressors will hear those clacks and act on them? OR... did the artist really want just a clean smooth notes without the clacks....... the mixer has no idea.

Again in this case where the mixer is producer as well he can choose to work around it, use it as is and if people don't like it say well that's what I was delivered, fix the clacks - time consuming, Use the clacks as a percussive element in the song.......... BUT...  we never really know what did the artist want to deliver?......... should the artist have delivered a line with clack and one without?

So this is a very good example of the track you deliver being important as it stands. It's almost like each track you deliver is a mini solo song with regard to how it sounds "as-is".

.... and I'm not saying the clack is good or bad. That's irrelevant. If the mix requires no clack then that is what has to be. If the song needs clack then that is what has to be. This is simply to get everyone thinking about what they are delivering and how it looks to others. What they will be able to do with it.

Some things sounds very odd on there own and other times good on there own and odd in the mix. there is never harm in delivering two versions of something. Not everything of course but two bass lines in different styles or tonalities certainly would not be a problem. Just label them accordingly.
Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: Endureth on April 09, 2013, 04:44:30 pm
OK,, Endureth...

It's not me on bass.

Oh, I just read the other posts and saw Digger put up my bass.  Didn't see that, sorry.  I just recorded to the same level Digger did for consistency.  I don't see this as an issue though, the point of this isn't to mix the song as the artist's want it, but to do it how you want, that's why we uploaded the rawest of raw tracks with no processing.

If I were to mix them, I would just normalize each track and then go from there.  Instant volume.

Quote
In your case... you are pretty much giving free reign for anyone to produce whatever they want. I mean someone could turn it into a dance mix if they wanted.


Yes.  That's the idea.
Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: TB-AV on April 09, 2013, 05:42:37 pm

Oh, I just read the other posts and saw Digger put up my bass.  Didn't see that, sorry.  I just recorded to the same level Digger did for consistency.  I don't see this as an issue though, the point of this isn't to mix the song as the artist's want it, but to do it how you want, that's why we uploaded the rawest of raw tracks with no processing.


I'm just telling you how it should be done. Not many people want to spend time cleaning up files to do a free mix. If you win something or were being paid that's a different story. you quote a fee to reflect the work that needs to be done.

I'm not talking about processing the file. Yes, you want it raw. But if you delivered that to someone the first thing they are going to ask is ... "was there a problem" "why are your levels so low"

Ideally you don't want to be normalizing. You want the raw file to be peaks of about -10dB and that's it.

IOW, everyone that get's the file should hear what basically plays back as listenable raw track unaltered.

Also while this is a "mixer choice" deal... I'm pretty sure digger would like to hear a mix done in the style he presented. One that reflects his original intent. I mean it wouldn't make a lot of sense to provide a bass line that was say the mega metal distortion version. So there is some intent to serve the original idea no matter how adventurous the mixer may get.

All I can tell you is this... the more professional the tracks you receive the better your mix will likely be. Really well prepared tracks will almost mix themselves. Just raise the faders and the song appears. Also it is way more likely others will want to work you in the future.

Just passing along what is considered standard operating procedure. I have tracks from some people that sound so good I can hardly mix them because when I raise the faders it sounds like a song and I don't know how to make it better.

I have tracks that need so much tweaking that it never gets mixed. These type usually end up with the mixer being a very competent musician that replaces most of the parts.

You can guess which songs get heard the most.

Watch the YouTube videos of George Martin mixing the Beatles on a 4 track. If his raw tracks were all over the place he could not mix it. Yet when he pushes those faders up the song just happens. It's because they were recorded properly with forethought as to how they would used in the final product.

It's part of the art. Digital is not a panacea for attention to detail. What I am speaking of is no different that saying you need to sing in key and tune your guitar. It's the accepted and desired method.

... and again I'm not saying anything was wrong with these tracks aside from the levels. It's not like they have defects. But if one doesn't understand the general process they should take note.

If I recorded a bass or guitar lick. It would get delivered exactly the same to any one for any song. One file, one level, use on any song.  If someone were talking or a dog barks.. that would be edited out. Just one clean raw file that anyone can use for any purpose.

No different than what you find on a sample or loop CD. One file fits all.

 

Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: digger72 on April 09, 2013, 08:42:02 pm
Hi TB,

You see I thought raw meant "raw"- bare basic - give me free reign. I can re-upload with the levels zeroed -no problem. Do i leave compression, etc on, or is that for the person mixing the track?

Bpm - no problem
Chord chart - Do i do this for both guitars, or just the one playing the main chords, i.e. the overdriven guitar
Key - this is where the problems start. I'm guessing A.

Cheers,

Digger
Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: TB-AV on April 09, 2013, 09:19:39 pm
It's like this ..... Let's say the guitar sound I want for a given song is achieved by me plugging my guitar into a preamp, into an EQ, into a compressor, into a synth, into another compressor, into a fuzz box and finally.... into the DAW track...

I record that. I set my levels such that I get peaks of about -6 to -10. I press record and play.

Now I could emulate all that hardware in the box with software emulations. So YES, if that is the sound I want my guitar to have.... leave all processing.

What you --don't- do is then apply reverb or compression, process the file ane then send that processed file. That is no longer the raw tracked file.

A guitar track with chorus miced through amp is still considered a raw file. So it's your decision at some point... what do you consider the base voice of the musical instrument you played. Or another way... what did you record?   that's pretty much it... what did you record.

Now again.... if your cat wanders in the room and meows. You take a minute to listen to your track and edit that out. Also if you are using high gain, maybe your track has a lot of buzz and bleed..... if you can... if you know how.... clean that stuff up.... or make a note in the project that the guitar track needs noise gating.

It's sort of like deciding to cook a really nice meal. You decide what you want ( type of  song ), then you buy ingredients ( the good stuff, not road kill ), then you get fresh spices ( not 20 year jar with bugs in it )..... then.... you give all to your wife to cook  :D so it's suitable for consumption.

Remember nice proper clean files have two things...

1. Headroom from processing ( That's the 6 to 10 dB below 0 )
2. Cleaned of background or other extraneous noises. IOW, is the file the best representation of what I am trying to do.


Think about it..... if you were getting ( especially paying ) someone to mix your songs, do you want to pay them to correct tuning, remove noises, adjust seriously bad levels, sort through tracks and try to figure what's what....

OR... do you want them using their gear and skills to make your tracks that you worked hard on to sound like a song you hear on the radio?

It happens both ways but believe me... mixers hate the former and give that work to interns to sort through.

You see this picture.... There is no marking but I assume the line at top is 0dBFS.
(http://www.gearslutz.com/board/attachments/music-computers/27827d1165840920-logic-pro-latency-we-all-have-problem-drumz-bounces-latency-option-off.jpg)

The first track is too hot. It hit's Zero.
The second track looks like it mightbe ok or close to where -6dB probably is.
The third and 4th tracks look like they would be in the -10dB range
Again, I'm guessing because there is no scale.

If your were in that picture they would look like near flat lines.

That's what you want when you hit the stop button. Not normalized. A few dB here and there is no big deal. Anything past -20 will do but not over -6.

The rest is up to your artistic nature. Is it the sound you want on your record. If yes, then send it on. If no then fix it or ask for help from someone.

Here ya go... this is what you want your tracks to look like when you hit stop. They are peaking at just over -12dB or near -8dB towards the end.. It would be fine to have it a little hotter but not a peak that hits -6dB. If all of your tracks look like that you are good. Then you clean it up if needed. THEN... you mix it.

(http://www.softpedia.com/screenshots/Sound-Forge-Audio-Studio_1.png)


BTW... you don't need to alter these files as it might be a good idea for people to learn to fix them themselves after reading this. In the future though....... I would try to deliver a full package of proper levels and a text file with track list and notes. for instance there was one track in there that I still don;t know what it is. Seems like it's a mix of the song?


Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: Endureth on April 09, 2013, 09:48:18 pm
Quote
It's sort of like deciding to cook a really nice meal. You decide what you want ( type of  song ), then you buy ingredients ( the good stuff, not road kill ), then you get fresh spices ( not 20 year jar with bugs in it )..... then.... you give all to your wife to cook   so it's suitable for consumption.

I lol'd

And normalizing is fine.  All it does it max out the volume without adding distortion, this is digital, not analog.  Then you lower the volume of your newly normalized to where you want it.  It's not really that hard at all.  I mean... I figured it out.

I also have a little real world experience as well.  I was going to have one of our songs professionally mixed but a storm hit, and I had to start saving money to repair some roof damage.  But we did make it as far as me submitting the tracks.  What he wanted was all the raw tracks in wav form.  Then he was going to charge me one hour while he "set all the initial levels", set panning, etc. to prepare the song for mixing.  This is not hard to do.

Then I would come in for the first appointment and discuss how I heard the song while he mixed it.  This was the part we were leaving to you guys, to mix it how you heard it.  You could remove instruments, layer tracks, add your own solo, whatever you wanted.  But mostly, so people could just throw this into a daw to be able to learn their daw with if they were brand new at this and wanted to see how whole songs were built.

After you normalize the track, you just grab the top of the track itself and drag down to set your initial volume, NOT the volume slider, that comes later.  If it bugs you to have the volume down on each track while you're mixing, you can just 'glue' the newly adjusted track and it will reset the volume bar to the top of the track without adjusting the actual volume from where you've set it.

So, while I get what you're saying, I have to disagree.
Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: digger72 on April 09, 2013, 10:00:38 pm
It's funny. I was working on the chord chart and it wasn't F# i played, it was B5. Memory like a sieve.

Verse:
A  A-G# G#-B5 B5-G
G-A A-G# G# -B5 B5-G

Chorus:
G-A A-G# G#-D# A#
G-A A-G# G#-D# A#

it just repeats with variations on the strums under the solo.

The second guitar during the verse is a triad pattern on the ADG strings frets 9-11.
Am- C aug - two things i don't know what - but the notes are (F#, C , F#)(G, B, G)

Under the chorus it's just a bit of a lead line.

The other files are still uploading - so they will be there if you want them.

Production notes - i just like dark, rich sounds. Think Depeche Mode meets Muse. Slightly grungy, but warm.

Useless - I know! :D
Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: TB-AV on April 09, 2013, 10:21:21 pm
So, while I get what you're saying, I have to disagree.

Understood. Your opinion is simply contrary to most industry pros. I've found their advice to work well so I'm sticking with it.
Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: Endureth on April 09, 2013, 10:23:55 pm
/hug
Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: digger72 on April 09, 2013, 11:26:03 pm
updated wavs

http://www.4shared.com/rar/SYE1Xlei/ey_wav_2.html

Cheers

Digger
Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: digger72 on April 10, 2013, 12:16:35 pm
Hmm.

Can't get access to my 4shared account. In fact can't get access to 4 shared at all. Anyone know if they've got problems or is it just my pc/browser?


Update - yep it was my pc/browser
Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: diademgrove on April 12, 2013, 09:11:57 am
Hi Digger,

I'm having a bit of trouble with the bass drum. Is it all on the beat? Did you quantise it?

Diadem
Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: digger72 on April 12, 2013, 09:59:44 am
Hi Diadem,

I don't know what quantising is - so the answer is almost certainly no.
Timing - if the bass drum is off then it will be through out as i used a loop for that.

Digger
Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: diademgrove on April 12, 2013, 11:34:20 am
Hi Digger,

its this "wonderful" button in your DAW which lines everything up with the beat. In the olden days, when I was a lad, you had to rely on the internal clock of the musicians or a metronome to get the timing right, nowadays its all done by "magic".

I watched the Rolling Stones documentary Crossfire Hurricane last Friday. Bill Wyman explains it in a roundabout way. Keith Richards is the time keeper rather than Charlie Watts. Bill Wyman played slightly in front of Keith's beat with Charlie slightly later. Nowadays they could be all on the beat as the producer can quantise each track to make the instruments all arrive at the same time. The wonders of modern technology, or not, depending on your taste.

I'll have a think about the bass drum.

Your explanation of the song has thrown me a curved ball (a US expression if you haven't heard it before), so a bit more thinking needs to go into the mix.

With a bit of luck we'll get our tickets for Barnsley later today.

Take care,

Diadem
Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: TB-AV on April 12, 2013, 03:49:05 pm
Yeah the drums are all over the place in the files I got. The drums are on a two bar loop. the bass and hh anyway. The snare sometimes hit's the 2. I was going to replace all that anyway.

It's a good thing the Rolling Stones never had quantize... There would never have been the Rolling Stones... In fact they probably invented quantize just so everyone else would sound like a mechanical music box compared to them... smart career choice. people still haven't caught on.

If you want to take all the life out of your songs, quantize them. OR just get into the dance music genre and quantize away.



Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: digger72 on April 12, 2013, 06:52:44 pm
I just exported the midi files as wavs, so not sure why the have gone wrong - unless they are wrong in my mix - but they sound generally ok to me. I know they don't sound like a real drummer, but I'm not and they aren't.
This is what they should sound like all put together (if they have exported/uploaded correctly);

http://www.4shared.com/music/dZ4sCFSc/Eternally_Yours_drums.html



Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: TB-AV on April 12, 2013, 08:25:06 pm
Yes, see that is kick on 1 and 3 and snare on 2 and 4. What I got the snare is way off. I think it must have something to do with how you rendered from Live.

Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: diademgrove on April 12, 2013, 09:28:04 pm
Hi Digger,

the good news is it fits, but I'm not sure if it fits the mood of the song. I've re-done the drums and was thinking of leaving it there. I'm going to have a sleep on it and see if I need to add anything in light of your drums. I may just add your drums to what I've already got, but then again. Who knows, decisions, decisions.

Tomorrow will be another day and your lot better get a result.

Diadem
Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: digger72 on April 13, 2013, 11:06:55 am
Hi TB,

I've come across that before. Not sure what happens. I use Ableton and select "all" when exporting the wavs - so in theory it should export them as they are in the daw shouldn't it? But, when i had the limited version and was exporting and importing, because i was limited to the number of tracks i could use, i had the same problem sometimes - the wavs would be out of sync and I'd have to re-align them. Not sure what causes it. Perhaps if i tried doing them one at a time - i don't know. I could export the midi files but wouldn't you need the same drum software?

Diadem - big day with the footy. Leicester slipped up again last night. 3 points today would be great for both our sides.
Drums always have been a pain to me - i just try to stick something there to keep the beat. The annoying thing is I have a nephew who used to play drums, but he sold his kit - liked similar music to me as well.

Oh well.

Cheers,

Digger
Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: diademgrove on April 13, 2013, 01:27:52 pm
Hi Digger,

Almost finished. I just need to have another listen or two on the stereo before making up my mind to upload it. You may be surprised to hear what I've done with the drums.

I was going to upload it on the Eternally Yours thread, but thought you may want it put here. As its your song I'll go with what you want.

Mid table mediocrity was better for my nerves.

Take care,

Diadem
Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: digger72 on April 13, 2013, 02:36:29 pm
Hi Mate,

Put it with my version then people can compare and contrast if they wish.
Looking forward to hearing it.

Time to hammer Cardiff! :D

Digger
Title: Re: Songwriting - working in collaborations, etc
Post by: TB-AV on April 13, 2013, 07:00:45 pm
Hi TB,

I've come across that before. Not sure what happens. I use Ableton and select "all" when exporting the wavs - so in theory it should export them as they are in the daw shouldn't it? But, when i had the limited version and was exporting and importing, because i was limited to the number of tracks i could use, i had the same problem sometimes - the wavs would be out of sync and I'd have to re-align them. Not sure what causes it. Perhaps if i tried doing them one at a time - i don't know. I could export the midi files but wouldn't you need the same drum software?


Yeah, I'm not sure... I noticed in Reaper some of the files were at 75% of tempo in properties. At any rate, I've canned that first mix I was working on. I've started a new one, but some how one of my main plugins has gotten screwed up and I need to find out what happened and get it right. It locked up my PC so bad I lost the whole new project and backups. So stated again... but i really want / need that plug working. It was pretty easy to use Superior Drummer to just stick a new drum line in... but I have no idea how those drum tracks got like they were. Been a while since I rendered from Live. Can't remember all the details.