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The Non Glamorous Parts of Producing a Song

Discussion in 'Recording In Progress' started by matman14, Mar 7, 2021.

  1. Skully

    Skully Doctor of Teleocity

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    Have I posted a lot about The Doors? I'm not saying I haven't. I'm just a little taken aback that it might be a thing.
     
  2. Skully

    Skully Doctor of Teleocity

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    I tried that for a bit, but it became too much. But if you're efficient laying down guitar tracks and don't waste space with take after take like I do, it's an excellent idea. (At the moment, I'm using Line 6's Helix Native amp sim, so I actually am record a D.I. signal that can be re-amped.)
     
  3. studio

    studio Poster Extraordinaire

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    Legend has it that back in 2013 there was a rather
    involved thread of 30+ pages about The Doors.

    As a side note to that:

    Skully, if one could arm wrestle with words,
    you'd be the Hulk Hogan of posters!

    terri-runnels-108596-rpiv.jpg
    (I couldn't find a pic of Hulk Hogan that matched the flagrant beauty of this one!)
     
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  4. Skully

    Skully Doctor of Teleocity

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    Ha! Thirty-plus pages, huh? I'm sure I trotted out my Doors-related stories (my film professor who taught Jim & Ray and later lived on campus at UCLA as homeless man! Ray's lame eulogy at his memorial! Etc.), as well as my observations about their music.
     
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  5. studio

    studio Poster Extraordinaire

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    It was so intense... it got shut down! (not by me or you, btw.)
     
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  6. Mike M

    Mike M Tele-Holic

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    [/QUOTE]
    And people tend to forget that the tone they are chasing is the RECORDED guitar tone (mic'd, processed), and not just the normal tone just coming out of an amp.

    Years ago, someone send me a 20 year old video of a party I attended, that I totally forgot about. The person making the video enters the party and goes from room to room.

    At some point, I'm hearing some interesting guitar with an amazing tone coming out of one of the rooms.

    The person making the video enters the room, and to my surprise, its me, playing the hosts crappy cheap guitar, plugged into his crappy stereo system, not even coming out of an amp.

    I was stunned, the tone sounded amazing. At that point it hit me, its never really the equipment, its the player.

    Great players, since the dawn of recording, have been playing every kind of guitar, through every kind of amp, the equipment never really matters.
     
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  7. matman14

    matman14 Tele-Meister

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    Pulled up a mix last night to do some changes requested by the label, and print the various masters and was reminded of some of the behind-the-scenes work that was not particularly glamorous.
    In particular, an arpeggio guitar part from the bridge had two or three well out-of-tune notes when the guitar player played it. I tried playing the part myself on his guitar and it turns out that the intonation between the 6-10th frets was just not great. Tried moving the chords around but the voicings didn't sound the same. The band wanted the sound of that particular guitar so I ended up spending 25 minutes with my toolkit and a strobe tuner intonating the guitar to sound good for those particular chords, in that particualr position. I left the guitar player to fix my changes so the guitar played normally, in his own time ;)

    A slightly out-of-tune bend or a mildly sharp note from grabbing a chord too hard can add some character. An 8 bar bridge with several of the notes in an arpeggio riff consistently 12-15 cents sharp, is just bad, however.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2021
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  8. drmordo

    drmordo Tele-Afflicted

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    These quotes are funny to me in the context of this thread about the modern practice of making countless microadjustments to generate "perfect" tracks.
     
  9. matman14

    matman14 Tele-Meister

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    I don't think I ever talked about making perfect tracks, just working to make a recording the best version of the song/band/artist it can be. This is a piece of their personal and collective history as musicians/artists and I think it's important when I'm working with a band, that the best version of their vision of the music is what is left for posterity.
    But I don't disagree, for many of the people I'm working with, if we stop at "OK, whatever, it's good enough, who cares if it could be better", they're not going to get their songs picked up for that TV show, film, commercial, radio spot, their followers will walk away and their label will likely drop them.

    Production budgets and the time bands (that aren't U2) get to spend in the studio have come way down here, but the expectations that musicians place upon themselves, that their fans have for releases and that folks who will pick up their music commercially have not.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2021
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  10. Skully

    Skully Doctor of Teleocity

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    Indeed. But there's a constant fight between the two impulses. Most of the time, the striving for perfection is fighting for good against bad. Sometimes, it crosses a line and becomes destructive, creating airless, lifeless recordings that lack any natural swing. Oh, yeah -- and it can waste your time and make the process a torturous trip down a rabbit hole from which you may never emerge with a finished work. You just have to make a good guess on where to draw that line. The Beatles couldn't see if the notes in different parts lined up perfectly on the same beat. We can. And, of course, oftentimes they shouldn't line up perfectly. But time shifting notes here and there and changing their volume and/or their duration can salvage a part and go along way to making a recording work. On the other hand, I have to resist the temptation to make a tambourine part sound metronomically perfect, because it can defeat the point of its presence in the recording, which is often to give the song some swing and rhythmic excitement.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2021
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  11. Skully

    Skully Doctor of Teleocity

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    Check out this story about recording Foreigner's "4," where they talk about recording Junior Walker's sax solo with producer Robert "Mutt" Lange, who went on to become a truly insane perfectionist.

    ["Urgent"], however, is made by the sax solo played by the late, great Junior Walker. Jones saw Walker and his All-Stars were playing in a club nearby, so he and Wills skipped out of Electric Lady, watched three or four sets, and then invited a bemused Walker down to the studio.

    [Drummer Dennis] Elliott and his wife made sure they were there to see the soul legend in action. “It was very amusing,” remembers Iona, “because after he played his solo once, he was very happy with it, but Mick made him play it several more times, and was trying to get him to stretch out more and more, until it became that wonderful solo.”


    “It turned out that in all his career he had never done an overdub,” adds Jones. “Everything he’d ever done was live. So the first five or six takes, he was really uncomfortable. He had the headphones on, but couldn’t get used to that fact that he was overdubbing. But he did, after a while, and started playing some stuff. He explained, ‘I’ve kind of changed my style up a bit…’ and started playing this jazzy, softer type of stuff. ‘Mutt’ and I were sitting there thinking, ‘Oh, no, we need the Junior Walker we know and love.’

    “‘Mutt’, bless him, went and straight-talked it to Junior: ‘This is great but we really need some of that Shotgun/Road Runner stuff.’ ‘Oh, you want the old ****? Okay!’ So he gets up, does it again and in two or three takes we’ve got it. However, it did take a tremendous amount of editing. ‘Mutt’ and I spent two days chopping up little slivers of quarter-inch tape from the different takes, and then splicing it all together. We wanted it to be a classic solo, and I think that’s how it ended up…”

    It’s tempting to paint Lange as the villain of the piece, but, as the Junior Walker story shows, Jones was just as much a perfectionist. Today, he concedes: “We had these moments with ‘Mutt’, but we kind of overcame it. Nothing lasted longer than the time it took to achieve what we’d set out to achieve. Gradually, things eased up with ‘Mutt’, and we really started to appreciate what we were all bringing to the party. He loosened up from his more ‘stiff’ approach.”
     
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  12. FortyEight

    FortyEight Tele-Afflicted

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    OK, so... what is the name of Shania Twains husband? For some reason that name "Mutt" is dinging my memory of her husbands name... LOL.
     
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  13. Skully

    Skully Doctor of Teleocity

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    Robert "Mutt" Lange is Shania's former husband, who made her albums and her career. Early in his career, he produced Graham Parker, The Motors, The Boomtown Rats and Clover (Huey Lewis' pre-News band that backed Elvis Costello on "My Aim is True"), before scoring huge successes with AC/DC, Foreigner, The Cars and Def Leppard.
     
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  14. loudboy

    loudboy Tele-Meister

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    I did a record with Lou Gramm, and he said that you really had to have it together, or Mutt would just go out in the studio and play/sing it for you, and he was always better at it.
     
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  15. Skully

    Skully Doctor of Teleocity

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    I read -- maybe even in the article I linked -- that Mutt sings like Van Morrison.
     
  16. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Doctor of Teleocity

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    The suggestions...

     
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  17. Skully

    Skully Doctor of Teleocity

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    So... we represent the airheaded girlfriend?
     
  18. Stratocaster4life

    Stratocaster4life TDPRI Member

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    Copy and pasteing every note sounds very repetitive.
     
  19. Skully

    Skully Doctor of Teleocity

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    It would be, but is somebody doing or suggesting that?

    Personally, I avoid using a single version or take of a repeated section throughout the song, because I want to avoid possible ear fatigue. If I'm lazy, I might use it in the first chorus, use a different version for the second, then use the first version again for the third chorus.
     
  20. loudboy

    loudboy Tele-Meister

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    He did all the BG Vox on the Def Leppard stuff.
     
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