Going into the studio

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Larry F, Nov 13, 2019.

  1. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Nov 5, 2006
    Iowa City, IA
    Throughout my career, I've always had projects, gigs, etc. coming up. Some things are more or less ongoing, but I like to wrap things up and put a bow on it now and then. As a composer, that's the gig in a nutshell.

    As a blues improvisor, there have been some cool projects, gigs, and the time a Chicago blues singer sang some tunes in my dining room (getting her stamp of approval is a high point of my life: "You don't play like a professor.")

    My pain and moderate paralysis in the legs led me to give up the blues trio that I had for 4-5 years. But I've kept practicing, learning, experimenting, etc., at least as much as a distraction from pain as anything. I'm getting some good feeling in my playing and want to sort of take a snapshot of where my music is right now.

    I'll do it in my attic studio on a Pro Tools system with backing tracks. Boy, do I have a lot of backing tracks.

    How many tracks? Don't see the point to a CD, but I'd be interested in hearing about how people organize their collection of tracks.

    I'd like to have variety in terms of general style (Howlin Wolf vs T-Bone vs Otis Rush, etc. Major, minor, fast, medium, slow, Chicago style, Texas, California, swampy, rock and rollabilly, standards, original, backing band instrumentation, etc.)

    I could go crazy with the sonic aspect, but it's not necessary. Epi Dot, Strat, Epi LP Custom w/P-90s and CC. Quinn SDQ (ODS type), Victoria 35310, and Cornell Romany Pro. U-47 clone, Earthworks, a ribbon or two, and SM-57s.

    Many other aspects to consider, but I'll start with these. This is purely for fun, both the project and this thread. Any notions that you'd recommend I seriously consider?
    Stubee, Blue Bill and Torren61 like this.
  2. Deeve

    Deeve Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Dec 7, 2009
    @Larry F - sorry to learn of your continuing pain, but I like the idea of being able to make a full printout to document your studies, your meaningful interaction w/ recognized blues artists (esp the bit about not playing like a professor - LOL)

    As an organizing structure - it might be handled by regional influences, or by time-periods.
    Alternately, it could be done w/ homage to particular artists you studied or gigged with/under.
    And, in the format of a gig's set list, organized by the "story" in the songs, to make a coherent story arc.
    In a solo setting w/ love songs ( a many-married friend writes a lot of love songs and I cover them for him) I run the story arc from the Hey Good Lookin' (introductory) part of the relationship up through the (restraining orders issued) Heartache By the Numbers time when all be the most delusional can see the smoking crater of a relationship that has ended. Ya see, my friend Bill's been married five times...
    Will be interested in reading how others suggest the recorded material be organized.
    Peace - Deeve
  3. FenderGyrl

    FenderGyrl Friend of Leo's

    Jul 22, 2012
    I can only offer the twisting turning road that my recording forays have taken.

    I built an Analog Studio. Created some simple classic songs.
    Then I went to Protools, then to Cubase. My music changed.
    Went back to analog when I realized I didn't like being a recording engineer.
    Arranging, sure. Playing with a Computer... Meh.

    Ended up with so many partial songs. Combined them over the years. Ended up seeing the storyline. I'm old, I remember concept albums. Not one off songs.

    I ended up creating a work called The Back Streets Of America.
    Stories of everyday people. Everyday life complete with all the trials and tribulations.

    Characters: Iraqi War Vets, Unwed Single Moms, Opioid Addicts, Old Folks living out of their cars, Everyday Heroes, Villains.

    The songs just started to fall in place.
    But I don't know how to finish it.

    I'm never satisfied with the fleshed out versions, I always prefer the raw Nebraska type recordings that I did as sketches for the others to listen to.(Nebraska by Springsteen)

    I'm tortured by the existence of my unfinished recordings.

    I guess that you should find a sequence that ties everything together in a way that your heart and soul can follow. Find a recording set up and sound that encompasses all of the songs you want to record.
    Run thru them. Listen back and commit to laying them down and moving on.
    Larry F likes this.
  4. deytookerjaabs

    deytookerjaabs Friend of Leo's

    Jun 5, 2015
    IMO, you need to find some cats, the best worst players or the worst best players. Then, set a room up and go straight to tape.

    I play with a good number of old school R&B/Blues fellas/ladies who did the circuit and there's no replacement for displacement. There's so much there to explain about that environment but I'm sure you're already hip to that.
  5. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Nov 5, 2006
    Iowa City, IA
    I'm still up for that, and could probably put something together.

    The problem with that is good and bad. The bad is unreliability for meeting up with anyone. This is a consequence of the pain and fatigue that is part of my illness. I can feel mobile and ready to go, but on the day of the meeting, I'm down for the count. It happens a lot.

    The good part of the problem is that it's completely doable to have a small group. I'd need a bigger studio, but I think a former student has one in town.

    I'll go ahead with my home plan, but I still have options for improvement with pain. Always, always striving to play. Always.
    deytookerjaabs likes this.
  6. Geoff738

    Geoff738 Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    May 11, 2007
    Maybe have a look at the recording forum here and pick Woodmans brain. He’s put out his stuff on a variety of platforms. No thought of getting rich, just that he has this material that he’s busted his ass on not just to write, but to perform and then produce and mix and with the goal to continually improve his skills and make damn good sounding tracks. And he’s done that and he also is able to let them be deemed finished and lets them out into the world. It’s always good stuff.

    Other than that collaboration sounds like it may be the way to go given your pain issues. I’m betting you know a lot of people from your pool of past students that may be interested in stuff that is now physically challenging, or that you just don’t like to do. Don’t like mixing? Do you have a student you’re still in contact with that does? Or whatever it may be. And I guess not limited to students. Friends, whatever. May be worth a shot.

    Looking forward to what direction you go.

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