First at Home Recording Efforts: Pedal Steel and Tele Content

Discussion in 'Twanger Central' started by UpstateDon, Nov 4, 2019.

  1. UpstateDon

    UpstateDon TDPRI Member

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    So, after years noodling away at home by myself, and not enough time to play in a band aside from an occasional bluegrass jam, I thought I'd get some basic home recording equipment. Presonus interface and one mic (Audio Technica AT2020). Everything played with my Baja Tele, Princeton Reverb Reissue, GFI Expo Pedal Steel, my D18, and a standup bass that's been sitting in my parents' basement. So addictive, and overwhelming.

    I've been at it about a week, and wanted to share some of my initial efforts..some with more tele/guitar than others. I'm playing everything on the tracks (vocals, pedal steel, guitar, tapping a snare, whatever). Seems like getting an electric-specific mic might be a good investment. How did you all go about learning the DAW software? Would love some feedback, since I don't really know what I'm doing! Thanks!

    Chris Stapleton Tune:

    Country Ballad:

    Jerry Reed Style:

    Original I wrote last night:
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2019
    udoering, NWinther, GFrank and 5 others like this.
  2. popthree

    popthree Poster Extraordinaire

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    You should check out the Recording in Progress sub forum here. Alot of valuable knowledge sharing occurs there.
    I like your country ballad.
     
  3. UpstateDon

    UpstateDon TDPRI Member

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    Thanks - didn't even realize that was a sub forum! I will check it out. Hopefully that will help me avoid all the excessive stumbling through the software!
     
  4. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    Holy moley, Don, those tracks sound amazing! Sure there's more to learn about engineering but at the end of the day what matters most is the musicianship.
    You have an amazing voice and every instruments sounds quite good. Tone is just fine on everything- nay, excellent.

    I recommend keep things as simple as possible.
    Let the musicianship shine through, no special effects needed. Case in point-- I think the echo/reverb on the vocals for Sweet Bethany was just a little heavy handed.
    I liked the more dry, pure sound of your vocals on the first track better. You have a stunningly fantastic country music voice, no need to cover it up with effects.

    As far as learning a DAW, you're doing it-- just keep at it and learn little tricks along the way as you go. But keeping it simple and straight means you don't need to learn
    a whole lot of tricks. Just hit record, play the part, and then save. Repeat for each track.
     
  5. UpstateDon

    UpstateDon TDPRI Member

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    Thanks! really appreciate your kind words! I discovered the reverb last night..but it's so tough to tell how much I'm using it, until I upload it to soundcloud. That's basically what I'm doing, is just turning it on, and going...it'd be nice to know how to copy and paste little clips...like snapping in rhythm...on King of the Road, I had to sit there and snap for like 15 minutes straight! Thought my fingers were going to fall off. Do people usually record the rhythm first? So far, I've usually just played the acoustic part first, with a metronome going...then kinda add the instruments I'm less adept at afterwards. Thanks again!
     
  6. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Tele-Holic

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    Hi.

    What DAW are you using?

    Pax/
    Dean
     
  7. UpstateDon

    UpstateDon TDPRI Member

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    It's the free studio one that came with my presonus interface.
     
  8. Papa Joe

    Papa Joe Friend of Leo's

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    I don't see how better equipment will make you sound any better..You're already as good as most of the people that are selling their music..
    I could listen to you all night and feel good about it..
     
  9. UpstateDon

    UpstateDon TDPRI Member

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    You're too kind. Made my day. Glad you enjoyed it. It's been really fun going from just noodling away at home (which I love), to having a little project after work each day, and then being able to listen to it after!
     
  10. Tenderfoot

    Tenderfoot Tele-Holic

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    Try and make time and share your talent! Join or startup a band of your own. To test the waters, attend "open mic" venues. You have the voice and instrument skills but original songs is what will get you noticed and potentially a recording deal. Good luck!
     
  11. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    You can start with drums, or you can record to a click first. Whatever works for you.

    I like to do the drums first. I work up a rhythm pattern that I really like. That way, when I'm playing
    bass or guitar rhythm I can adjust my playing to line up better with the drum part. If your drum part is just a basic rhythm, then you can always add in another drum track to create fills
    in key sections. Then just mute the first drum track where you created fills and let the new drum track take over.

    In a DAW you have a couple of choices-- you can create a track and then edit that track. But you can also create more tracks. I go both ways depending on what I'm doing, but sometimes
    I find it easier to just make another track and leave the first one alone, other than adjusting its volume level in sections to basically cut it out. Or I can highlight a section of it and just delete the section altogether, too.
    Then I can highlight the new section I've created in a fresh track and if I want to I can drag it up to be part of the first track, then delete the new track that I temporarily made for working on fills.

    The main point here is that you can keep your earlier takes and just add more tracks to try different ideas. Once you know what you really want to keep then you go ahead and delete stuff you didn't end up using.
     
  12. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Tele-Holic

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    Hi.

    Okay. I have some good links for GarageBand and Logic Pro X. So, they won't be so useful for you. Are you on a Mac or PC? GarageBand / Logic comes with "Dummer" which is pretty cool. But if you want programable drums on a PC, there are other third party options that are excellent. They just cost money.

    I have a slightly different but essentially same AudioTechnica AT series mic. I think these are really great for the price. But, maybe not the best for mic-ing guitar cabs. Until recently I used a Shure SM58 for mic-ing my amp. In other words. the 'vocal' one, not the 'instrument' one, which is the SM57. I just screwed the dome cover off. They are essentially the same mic then. But, I decided it wasn't as good as it could be, so I bought a Sennheiser e906. Yeah, it's better, minutely, subjectively.

    Lesson learnt, I should stop worrying / spending money.

    I've listened to your recordings a few times now. I think they already sound from good to great. So, yeah, maybe a guitar amp cab / instrument mic, but not necessary. Avoid all rabbit holes.

    Same goes for plugins. Your DAW has everything you need. If you really want to look at plugins, look for free ones.

    Overall, I'd say you need to just hunt around the internet for Studio One tutorials. Make short passages (so you don't feel like they are songs you need to be overly invested in) and spend time playing with different things like reverb, delay, compression, EQ, etc. and see what happens. But remember, if your initial recording sounds good (& yours do), and the performance is good, you often don't need to add or subtract too much. One generally good rule of thumb is to dial something in until you can hear it, and then back off until it's gone / very faint.

    Oh, a couple of things to think about on the mixing front. First, learn the mechanical basics, like how to edit the clips - cutting, copying and pasting them, how to set the 'snap to' function so you can line things up, panning, automating volume and panning, how to add audio plugins, what aux sends / returns are & how to use them for plugins, etc.

    Second, look at the 'artistic' basics - play around with your stereo spread. Don't have everything dead centre / mono. Send parts left and right. Try subtle, try slamming hard left and right, try automating them so things move around, see what works. Adding reverb adds space but also will move things back / away. You can use this to put your voice a little forward and the guitar a little behind you, for example (not a rule, just something to try). You can also automate an increase in reverb (or delay) at the end of vocal passages or on keywords to give subtle (or not so subtle) impact, etc. Learn how the compressor plugin works (google), because it can even things out nicely. But go gentle. Learn how EQ works and how to notch out certain frequencies on some instruments to allow others in the same range (esp. vocals) to come though - but again, go easy. Stuff like that.

    Hope this helped.

    Pax/
    Dean
     
  13. UpstateDon

    UpstateDon TDPRI Member

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    Wow - this is a ton of great advice! I was just fiddling around with the Pan feature...unreal! I need to find the EQ stuff in the software. I'm gonna look for some good tutorials on the internet...probably will get the SM57 too, since it seems like everyone has one!
     
  14. UpstateDon

    UpstateDon TDPRI Member

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    Really helpful- thanks again so much. I'm gonna have to learn some basic drumming. I found a snare drum in my parents' basement from my mother's marching band...and I bought some fans. I'll have to figure out the copy pasting.

    I also took your advice, and Tokyo Portrait...I cut back on some of the vocal effects on the original. Just basically resang it one time through when I got home from work, then added a little reverb. Then I fiddled with the pan features, like Tokyo Portrait said. I think it sounds better now, no?



    Thanks again!
     
  15. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    I bought my son a fairly cheap Casio keyboard- the kind with built in speakers. Would you believe that the drum kit in it actually sounds quite good? I can go direct out from it into my recording input. Then I use the keyboard to activate the different drums. So I can play manually and that to me sounds more natural than fully programmed drums.

    Vocals sound better now on this updated recording!
     
  16. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Tele-Holic

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    Hi.

    I'm getting a "You have not provided a valid SoundCloud URL" message where the link should be. Perhaps you missed some of the URL when cutting and pasting?

    Pax/
    Dean
     
  17. UpstateDon

    UpstateDon TDPRI Member

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    Sorry about that. Should be back up now. I don't know...the whole song is kinda goofy, I think...doesn't suit me at all, but I've been fiddling with the levels and effects and whatnot, to try to learn.
     
  18. Paulie_Boy

    Paulie_Boy Tele-Meister

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    Alan Jackson watch out! Brother, that's some fine work! (Seriously)
     
  19. Modernelove

    Modernelove TDPRI Member

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    Sounds really good! Some of it reminds me of Merle Haggard. I also have a GFI Expo and it doesn’t sound that good (that’s probably me tho) are you playing it through the Princeton? What volume pedal do you use?
     
  20. UpstateDon

    UpstateDon TDPRI Member

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    Thanks! I bought it when I was in grad school on a whim at Parkway Music. Came with a goodrich volume pedal. I was really drawn to the steel sound in the 1960s....guys on early fenders and sho-buds....brighter twangy steel. So, I took out the humbucker in there and put in a singlecoil pickup that I'm guessing is closer to a sho-bud or something. Actually made a huge difference. I just started playing it again, when I bought the recording stuff...strings haven't been changed in probably 5 years! Yes, playing through the princeton reissue. I used to have a peavey nashville amp that was really great, but oh well.
     
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