Author Topic: David P's Road Case  (Read 1129 times)

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Offline DavidP

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Re: David P's Road Case
« Reply #30 on: August 02, 2017, 05:30:35 pm »
Thanks, Mike, appreciate the feedback and suggestion. 

I am in agreement, generally speaking.  When I first started to record I used to lay the vocal over the guitar as a second track.  Was a useful step, as it allowed me to concentrate on just the playing or the singing.  A little while later ... after some similar encouragement from the community ... I recorded a few songs playing and singing together ... like a live unplugged version  :) 

I then decided that what I post in AVOYP would be just songs recorded that way.  I record my vocal and guitar via a mic and have a second track of the guitar via the acoustic's pup.  That allows me to do some mixing to try and produce the song in the best possible way.  Usually that is just a little reverb, maybe compression.  Still struggling to get to grips with EQ ... finding the frequencies to cut or boost.  The online videos are all so subtle I'm darned if I can here much difference  :)  Over time I may experiment with some other effects.

Then I also like to have a go at multi-track recordings.  Like A Hurricane and Stand By Me in the monthly competition are the two done so far.  There I have tried to do a little bit more, particularly using the DAW to create some additional MIDI instrument or percussion tracks.  A different learning experience but equally fun for me and interesting.

What is more effort than I feel is worth spending, is to try and make video recordings.  Tricky to set up and if I video my recording of an unplugged live performance would have to get the audio sync'ed back into the video after mixing and don't want to spend time on that.

Should other opportunities present for somebody else to record a "public" performance then will do that and now happily ... hmmm, still feel a little awkward about that despite the wonderful feedback, but none the less ... post them.

So that's where I am at now.

Thanks again for the encouragement!

Offline mikeb2102

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Re: David P's Road Case
« Reply #31 on: August 02, 2017, 06:30:44 pm »




Should other opportunities present for somebody else to record a "public" performance then will do that and now happily ... hmmm, still feel a little awkward about that despite the wonderful feedback, but none the less ... post them.


I don't think you've got anything to feel awkward about, you look so comfortable and relaxed, like the camera doesn't phase you. Perhaps you didn't even think about the camera being on you when you were playing. I'd probably be a bit different if someone else was recording me. I get really nervous, I think a lot of that has to do with me pressing record on my camera and darting back to my seating position. If someone else was recording I'd be totally ready because I'd be able to have a run through and signal the person to start recording. Maybe I should get some decent video editing software and leave the camera running until I'm ready to play and edit the stuff before I play out.

Anyway, top marks for your video mate

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Offline DavidP

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Re: David P's Road Case
« Reply #32 on: August 02, 2017, 08:07:25 pm »
Thanks again Mike.

Offline DavidP

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Re: David P's Road Case
« Reply #33 on: August 05, 2017, 09:32:24 am »
Time for another episode ....  ;D

Joining the Community and my first recordings

One of the things I decided would help my focus was to share what I was doing, ups and downs, and progress with friends, primarily at work ... but now I tell everybody ... helps to hear me saying what I am doing and have a achieved.

One of those influential people is danmaree, who you of course now all know after I finally persuaded him to join the Community and share his original music.

Another, Verna, is also musically inclined and earlier in the year she was taking some singing lessons.  One evening she messaged me after her lesson and imagined her singing to my accompaniment ... she believed more of me than I did of myself ... the song ... Hallelujah.  Could I play that? 

I had no idea but quickly discovered Justin's lesson.  So I started to try it ... damn that 6/8 time ... one evening it just clicked and I found myself managing to fit the words and changes together in a way that sounded OK to me.  So I thought, why not try and record it and share that with Verna ... I was very pleased with myself  :D

I made this first recording using a USB headset and Audacity.  I positioned the mic of the headset in such a place that it was picking up both my singing and guitar and made the recording.  I shared it with Verna and Daniel (danmaree).  They were both so encouraging.

As an aside, Daniel then shared his song posted into the competition.  I don't know what I expected, the deprecating way in which he framed it ... I was astonished, not what I expected at all ... a song that I think is a small step away from being radio ready and sounded like the work of a signed up band to me.

Anyway, then I started humming and hawing ... should I or shouldn't I ... become visible and active on the Community.  And I made a great decision ... to join.  I posted my Intro, discovered the need to post 5 posts and finally decided to post that first recording ... a seriously scary moment. 

This was it ... for the record (excuse the pun) ...https://soundcloud.com/david-preece-24770685/hallelujah-20170222 

And of course the comments were so encouraging, some suggestions about capos and playing then singing to give both attention. 

And by that time I'd decided that I'd probably changed the tempo (apologies Leonard), Richard aka Close2u confirmed that for me, but in such a gentle way ... I felt OK ... sure it was not right.  But it sounded OK and I was up and riding so to speak ... onto the wave (ooooh lovely mixed metaphor on wave ... surfing .... music) and haven't looked back.

The next recording I tried the play first/overdub vocal approach.  I could position that headset mic closer to the guitar.  And then stuck the headset on to hear the guitar and add the vocal.  Much better I think.  As I recall I also played this with a metronome going in the background.  Still on Audacity.

And here it is ... https://soundcloud.com/david-preece-24770685/walk-the-line-20170321

And that's enough for this post ... the story is long, hopefully at least a little interesting, maybe even  entertaining and most hopefully a little encouraging to those of you out there wondering about recording and what is possible ...

Next time we need to talk about the early onset of GAS ...

Ciao

 


Offline DavidP

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Re: David P's Road Case
« Reply #34 on: August 06, 2017, 09:18:17 am »
Gotta get this Road Case up to where I am, so another episode

Hmmm ... in the words of Pink Floyd ... Is there anybody out there ... hope some folk are quietly reading and worth more than just a record for my personal reflections ...

The onset of GAS

One of the things I always dreamed about when dreaming about being able to play guitar was to have a 12 string just like my friend at varsity who showed me my first chords.  He played an Ibanez 12 string that sounded beautiful ... warm and rich.

Looking back it was a fanciful dream and perhaps naive in terms of a deeper appreciation of tones and 12 vs 6 strings, be that as it may ...

So I decided to incentivise myself ... if I stuck at the BC for 3 months and made progress ... I know that is a bit of a loophole in terms of progress being subjective ... then I'd level-up my guitar and get a 12 string.

One afternoon I dropped in at a music store on my way home from delivering some training at an off-site venue, which was conveniently at the point where I get on the highway to head home.  I played a few 12 strings, all of which felt marvelous to play and sounded better than my Celebrity 6 string.  At least based on the quick little noodle which was all I had time for as the shop was closing up. But I felt I had direction and the money seemed OK.  I was ready ...

And then I came across the specific 12 I was looking at in one of our local online shopping sites ... came across ... OK, I was looking to see if they were available and at what price.  Cut a long story short they were and the price was better.  Then one day those clever online marketers dropped the price and pushed me an email ... and availability was low.

So I said ... WTF (apologies, hope that is not a language violation) ... and bought it.

To give you an idea ... justifying my actions ... it was about 45%-55% cheaper than what you'd pay in a music shop, depending on which one you went to (gotta shop around down here). Still more than if I do a straight comparison with what you pay over in the US or Europe based on current RoE and there's not the same second hand market, judging by some of the discussions I've followed here.  We definitely pay a premium on gear down in SA, our economy, demand, import duty policies ... have sympathy.

It arrived within a couple of days, looked beautiful, played easily but ... and here's the big lesson ... when I strummed the first chord I did get an immediate WOW ... it was OK, sounded good ... better than the Celebrity ... but there was no spark of immediate love and connection.  And knowing what I know now, I should've re-packed it and returned immediately.  But I was new to online buying of anything other than commodities, second-guessed my feelings, didn't want to lose face with the family (embarrassing one to admit that one) so I hung on to it.

And here it is ...



Later I did more research and learned about woods and tone.  It is a maple body, solid wood so bright and clear and beautiful, a big sound, lovely sustain on every note ... just not the warmth I was looking for.  Now I know why.  And when I thought ... hmmm ... maybe I should return it, I was just outside the window ... lesson learned, fortunately not too much money and not a bad guitar ... just never going to be the "love of my life"

At about the same time, early March 2017 3 months in, I'd got hooked on the recording.  And the messing around with the USB headset was annoying.  So I started researching home recording.  I'd learnt my lesson so did a whole lot more research this time.  All about what was involved, the gear, the options.  Not enough to be an expert but more than a vague awareness.  I also consulted with Daniel.  Ironically after the first conversation on this topic back in January, I'd said I couldn't see myself buying this stuff ... famous last words  ;)

Anyway, cut a long story short ... I settled on either FocusRite or Presonus and that a starter kit would make most sense.  All dependent on what was available.  Finally purchased a FocusRite kit, with DI, mic and headphones.  Then went back to the store the next day for a mic stand ... they ought to have asked me about that ... service isn't always top notch ... hmmm, often actually dodgy.  Anyhow, here it is ...



Set about setting it all up and downloading the free DAW ... Ableton Live 9 Lite.  And soon as I was ready to make that first recording.

Here it is, played on the Ibanez and the vocal overdubbed as per suggestions received after posting my first two attempts.

https://soundcloud.com/david-preece-24770685/love-me-do-20170326

Daniel and Verna had a good laugh at my change from "can't see me needing that" to "hey, check out my latest recording in my "home studio" ...

Now the "play the guitar" journey had become play, sing, record and mix covers at home ... but at this point just record the guitar and my singing ... well that didn't last long  :)

But have to say, for all those of you wondering what is possible.  I'm 51 years young and would've told you that you were taking something cool in January if you'd told me what I would be doing in March ...

So have faith, practise, enjoy the ride and you may astonish yourself ... I know I have  8)

Ciao

Offline close2u

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Re: David P's Road Case
« Reply #35 on: August 06, 2017, 09:56:04 am »
Wow wow wow all round David.
Looks like you're well set for some time to come.
Lovely 12 string.
Keep on recording and exploring that kit.

Offline DarrellW

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Re: David P's Road Case
« Reply #36 on: August 06, 2017, 10:17:08 am »
Nice one David........ except you've got me thinking 12 string now and I already have 3 acoustics!!!
I did have an Echo Ranger 12 years ago, it was great fun to tune and a right proverbial pain when the strings needed changing, but the sound....
I would really love a Rickenbacker 12 to do the classic Byrd's stuff but.......... ;)
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Offline awooly

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Re: David P's Road Case
« Reply #37 on: August 06, 2017, 11:35:08 am »
Enjoyed reading your journey to date David, good stuff.


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Offline DavidP

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Re: David P's Road Case
« Reply #38 on: August 06, 2017, 05:04:02 pm »
awooly, Darrell & Richard, thanks for the responses, good to get some feedback and at least know this journal is being read.  Have the bit between the teeth now and on a roll, so here's the next stretch ...

Consolidation, Competition and BC Stage 4

At this point I was starting to get quite carried away.  I'd be checking out the monthly competition entries (probably commenting) and decided why not enter ... nothing bad could come of it and the feedback from Justin was a big incentive. 

So I entered the April Competition with a another go at Walk the Line.  I also decided it might be fun to explore what could be done with the DAW in terms of creating a MIDI percussion track ... undeterred by lack of knowledge, I made a four track recording: guitar recorded simultaneously with builtin pup and mic, MIDI percussion and an overdubbed vocal. 

https://soundcloud.com/david-preece-24770685/walk-the-line-2017-04-09

Good feedback as always from the Community but in the end didn't get feedback from Justin.  I'd have to wait for that.

Somewhere around this time I also decided I'd consolidated adequately on stages 1-3 and should commence stage 4.  This was a bit daunting as in all my years of dabbling chords like B7 and C7 had always been a bridge too far.

I concentrated on B7 (maybe a mistake not to work as hard on C7 at the same time...not sure).  And after my practice drills I'd work on stage 1-3 songs.

During this time I was back and forth between overdubbing the vocal and playing and singing together.  I also continued to learn more about mixing and for one of the songs posted a straight and mixed version, with general feedback confirming the mixed was a better version.

Here links to those songs:

https://soundcloud.com/david-preece-24770685/bad-moon-rising-2017-04-14-mixed
https://soundcloud.com/david-preece-24770685/this-land-is-your-land-20170422
https://soundcloud.com/david-preece-24770685/mad-world-20170430
https://soundcloud.com/david-preece-24770685/st-james-infirmary-blues-20170513

Mad World was a significant moment ... I overdubbed the vocal and as I recall it was Lynn aka redrhodie who encouraged me to just trust myself and rather just play and sing together.  So a few days later I gave it a go and made a better recording for it.

St James Infirmary was another where my first version was an overdubbed vocal and I really struggled with the phrasing.  A couple of weeks later it somehow clicked and I made a second recording playing and singing together that was significantly better.  Still not perfect, but much better.

The links above are to the better versions (no need to subject you to the poorer versions, assuming some folk may be giving some of these a listen  ;) ). 

At that point I decided that posts to AVOYP should be simple recordings of me playing and singing, with light touch on the mixing.

BTW, I learnt a tremendous about mixing watching videos and reading on this site https://www.recordingrevolution.com/  If you are getting into this aspect of music then I'd recommend this site.

In May I continued my experimentation with the DAW and MIDI tracks to record and produce a version of Stand By Me for the Competition.  This recording had more percussion plus a short MIDI piano track for the instrumental interlude between choruses with the usual dual recorded guitar and over-dubbed vocal.  There were a few moments where the timing was off but by now my policy was this ...

No bad mistakes, like missed or incorrect chord changes ... flaws in the vocal timing or delivery, the odd messy change ... well that was acceptable.  I also decided that I'd not get into editing tracks and splicing multiple takes etc to fix errors.  I'm opting for a more faithful record of where I am, warts and all.

But I was really pleased with how this came out ... https://soundcloud.com/david-preece-24770685/stand-by-me-20170515

Seems like a good point to take a break ... almost up to date  :)

Then you'll be glad to know that updates will be more frequent and much shorter  ;)

Ciao

Offline DavidP

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Re: David P's Road Case
« Reply #39 on: August 09, 2017, 11:47:41 am »
Almost up to date  :)

It's not a linear journey ...


As time passed I found that I had gone from B7 is impossibe to being able to start using it in a couple of songs.  I picked Killing Me Softly and later added Dock of the Bay.

But I was starting to feel that things were a little too routine ... so decided to start on BC Stage 5, even though I considered myself not done with Stage 4.

I found the new chords quite straight forward but this triplet rhythm ... that was another story.  After reading some posts I settled on counting at as 1 tic toc 2 tic toc which felt better than 1 trip let ... no idea why.  But it felt really wooden.  What eventually helped me to get it was playing along with the lesson ... seems obvious ... but once I understood it I'd practiced with a metronome.  It clicked into place all of a sudden playing along to the lesson.

Later in May I felt ready and finally declared Stage 4 done by recording the two songs:

https://soundcloud.com/david-preece-24770685/killing-me-softly-20170520
https://soundcloud.com/david-preece-24770685/dock-of-the-bay-20170520

Given the historical struggles, it was a big deal for me to play these songs.

The next struggle was finding a song to play with the triplet strumming.  Sure, lots of options in the BSB but just couldn't get them to sound right.

And while I was struggling away at that I figured it was time to start Stage 6.

Now I am fortunate ... the one thing I did get right  in my earlier attempts along with basic open chords was F ... the full barre chord.  I'd also managed to get the "Old Faithful" rhythm when I took a few lessons with a work colleague.  So Stage 6 was not a major stage for me.  Stage 4 and 5 were far more challenging.

I also recorded a few more songs, one from the BSB ...

https://soundcloud.com/david-preece-24770685/love-is-all-around-2017-06-02

Not a song I ever thought I'd play but felt quite relaxed playing it and was pleased to be able to settle into a reasonable sounding rhythm quite easily.

Then there was this song performed by Rodriguez.  He was a cult figure in South Africa and I it was one song I always felt I could play and sound OK ...

https://soundcloud.com/david-preece-24770685/jane-s-piddy-20170616

And then it was June Competition time.  I picked a song that showcases Stage 6 skills, Neil Young's Like A Hurricane. It was another multi-track projects with some backing created with the DAW's MIDI Editor plus two guitar parts.  One playing more of a riff than full chord rhythm pattern which I applied an amp effect to, aiming for it to have a rock feel and sound. 

I was pleased with the results, despite finding getting everything to be in sync a big challenge ... two guitars plus synth backing and the vocal ... so it is a bit messy.

And to cap my month, I got wonderful feedback from Justin. 

A fitting way to end this episode...

https://soundcloud.com/david-preece-24770685/like-a-hurricane-20160617

Ciao

Offline DavidP

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Re: David P's Road Case
« Reply #40 on: August 10, 2017, 09:09:41 am »
A severe attack of GAS

In early July my wife and I went to a Music Expo.  A most enjoyable day out looking, listening and a little playing ... resisted the urge to buy anything more than a foot stand.

But I did pick up a business card for a shop that deals in collectibles and used guitars ... that got me to thinking ... maybe a used electric?  Then another thought occurred ... maybe such thoughts should be branded as dangerous and kept under lock and key ... what if I sold the 6 and 12 strings?  Maybe I'd be able to get a 6 for an affordable price that was a guitar that I could fall in love with ... I wonder.  Risky thing that I wonder.

So the following Saturday I went off to a Guitar Shop ... well shop doesn't do this outlet justice.  I'd been to the local shops, which was fun but not spectacular ... this place is spectacular.  More guitars under one roof than I've ever seen before, even a stage to test out big sound systems for performing bands.

I got chatting, explained what I was thinking, the kind of sound I like and soon the lady was bringing me guitars ... just sit, play and give me feedback.  Really exciting, lots of fun and it was wonderful to play so many guitars that sounded better than 6 or 12 and were also easy to play. 

And then the lightening bolt moment ... just one strum and I was in love.  A warm beautiful tone and even the chords that have never sounded that pleasing to my ear ... specifically open D7 ... sounded wonderful.  I kept comparing but knew that if I was to upgrade this was the one for me.

During the week I researched selling the others ... no deal ... market to small and the used dude is smart ... he doesn't build up inventory and our market is small, not liquid.  But by then I was decided, I would buy the new 6 and look to sell the others buy other means.

The next weekend I came home with the new 6.  My missus took one look "not another guitar".  Luckily she can also play (is busy when time permits learning the bass).  Quick as a flash I put the new guitar in her hands ... phew ... same response ... "what beautiful tone and feel to play".

Here it is ... a Fender Paramount PM-1 Deluxe ...



Playing wise I kept plugging away at stage 5 and 6 songs ... I confess more playing than practising.  And I made the following recordings:

https://soundcloud.com/david-preece-24770685/house-of-the-rising-sun-20170702
https://soundcloud.com/david-preece-24770685/knocking-on-heavens-door-20170805
https://soundcloud.com/david-preece-24770685/hillbrow-20170805

I also decided that it was high time to look into stage 7.  Lots of interesting stuff ... strumming with a bass note, power chords and minor pentatonic.  Power chords in particular a challenge ... finger tip applying pressure but not a full barre ... kind of confusing ... but I know I'll get it!

Ciao



Offline DavidP

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Re: David P's Road Case
« Reply #41 on: August 10, 2017, 09:17:25 am »
And that's my journey ... from a first Em in 1984 to starting the Justin BC on Dec 16th.  I'm 6.5 months in and playing, singing and recording in ways I never believed would be possible for me.

It shows again that with disciplined practice, the right teacher and a willingness to try, get it wrong and try again learning an instrument does not require divine or genetic talent.

And this Community was equally unexpected and invaluable in the learning and experience.

There are too many people to list by name, who have encouraged me and offered sound advice ... people who feel like friends even though we have only met here, sharing our common love of music and desire to be musicians.

As LB would say ROCK ON !!!

Offline close2u

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Re: David P's Road Case
« Reply #42 on: August 10, 2017, 10:19:08 am »
I tried a Fence Paramount in my acoustic quest last summer.
Very nice.
Great journey you're on.
 8)

Offline DavidP

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Re: David P's Road Case
« Reply #43 on: August 10, 2017, 01:57:19 pm »
I tried a Fence Paramount in my acoustic quest last summer.
Very nice.
Great journey you're on.
 8)
Thanks Richard !!

It sure is ... certainly lots of guitar for me to grow into to get the best from it.

 

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