Tuesday, January 21, 2014

From The Nostalgia Files - Music Special Effects

A cup of coffee - A completed song - A Happy Dude!
It's tough trying to keep up with writing a blog more frequently so I'm gonna cheat, baby.
Between recording and mixing and living a regular life I try to squeeze out some textual content to share with the world. Due to lack of time, I've got to borrow something old.

I'm reaching way back into my "Nostalgia Files." I hate to let an old article slip by so I'm reprinting it here. Don't worry folks, I am the copyright owner so I can do as I please and I am pleased to please you by sharing another daring ditty of a blog with you.

This one was written in a not so distant past: October 29, 2009 to be exact. I just happen to love Blogger so much that I don't why I delved elsewhere, but if it is content you want it is content you got. No this is not recycled story just a little brief that was read by NOBODY so in essence it is NEW to you and the rest of the world's population. Thank You very much!

Enough of the polite rant! (Comments are made today in light blue.)

I’m revealing some secrets to my song's special effects
I just posted my next song (it is not a new one to me, but a new one to you!) on my MySpace page “Welcome To The Sonic Dimension”. The Sonic Dimension is the name of my band which is currently not doing anything. (No longer the name of a band but the name of a website and concept and a song and maybe an album.- RL) (BTW-what the heck happened to MySpace? Where are all my songs and friends and stuff? BUMMER! -RL)
Anyway the song is titled “The Horsemen”. Yes the song is somewhat about the Apocalypse.  (Get ready for it, dudes! RL) The underlying rhythm to this song was written about 12 years ago. (1996. -RL) Most of the basic tracks were recorded in 2006/2007. (Gathering some dust, ha! -RL) 
I wanted to create a song that to me would be very visual, almost movie-like. I originally had an ethereal theme trumpet at the beginning but scrapped it. :( If you listen to the guitar after the final chorus of the song, you could hear most of the trumpet theme as it fades out.  But in this case the trumpet is played by the guitar using tone effects to give it that other-worldly feel. To further make it seem other-worldly I used multiple vocal blends to act as if there were four horsemen singing. 
Aside from being movie-like but not necessarily as a soundtrack, I needed to add special effects to create the image of the horsemen arriving through the sky with the wind and thunder following them. Obviously I couldn’t come up with lightening on audio but the stereo effects of the thunder as it approaches can create that effect. 
My intention was to make a frightening song, yet with a steady beat. I bypassed using a regular drum track and wanted the drums to sound as if you hear horses approaching and leaving and always keeping the same swift beat throughout as if they kept pace accomplishing what had to be accomplished. (The bell clanging sound was my guitar, too!) 
The overall effect was to have the horsemen coming in from a distance, do what they had to do, break to wipe everything out (or perhaps every evil) from east to west, and leave just like they came. So they enter with a distant thunder and hooves beating with a few frightful screams.   
In the horsemen “solo”, not my guitar solo by the way, they fly from left to right in a circular fashion along with wind and thunder. The ending has the theme of the horsemen but they fly off in wind and thunder and an after-sound – a scary hum. No hooves beating because I wanted it to seem as if they flew away into a cloud. 
For the intro I used galloping horses along with two guitars and one bass mimicking hooves. The wind and thunder fade in from left to right with an eerie whistle. The whistle, of course, was a signal for the horses to come closer and proceed. (I can whistle, indeed! RL) If you listen to the intro several times you’ll pick up an echo of the whistle and right after that you may even swear it sounds like the horses are descending from a distance. Don’t ask me how I did this, it just works and it’s pretty spooky. Even the part where some of the horses stop and scream it sounds like a warning. 
The “horsemen solo” is a thunder and wind solo. The wind is blowing in different tones and is random as the guitar swirls in a circular motion. I used a stereo flanger and phase shifter and two guitar tracks to create this effect. It’s as if the whooshing guitar is surrounding you. Of more importance, the guitar acts as a secondary sound effect to the thunder and wind which are both the showcase in this part. (Thank you very much!!! RL)

The outro fades out with a second guitar solo swallowed up by part of the Horsemen Theme.  (Yes there is a theme within the piece. RL) The thunder resumes and the wind blows and increases and recedes as the horsemen depart. The bass hum sound gives it that otherworldly sound as it fades. (That's me, too! RL) If you listen carefully, as the thunder departs and the wind follows out you can hear some paper flying. I wanted to create an impression that after all was done a few pages from the Book of Revelation were blown or floating down on the empty street. (Love the imagery????RL) 
What do you expect on a low budget? This song has taken many years to make and it’s one of many I have recorded. What makes me proud of it is the fact that once it was mixed down it created the mental image of a movie about the End of the World.
Here’s the link to My Space to hear the song as many times as you want.myspace.com/roblattin I hope you find it interesting.
Wow! I'll be sharing a link somewhere, maybe Reverbnation or Soundcloud so you can hear this song I'm talking about. What I wanted to share in the article is that making sound effects and audio-images simply takes some creativity. If you got the money you can do it fast, but if you're on a low budget well you need to spend time and not dollars making something very impressive.

Here's the first verse of the song:
4 Horsemen

The Horsemen 
(C)2009 Robert Lattin All Rights Reserved

Hear the horses' hooves of thunder
As the ground is torn asunder
Cracking whips striking fear
Shaking Earth approaching near . . . 

If you like this or any of my articles could you please spread the word on Facebook or Twitter and share with your friends - I really appreciate it!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Bass Guitar Recording Lesson for Guitarists

"Eye" Like to play guitar.
There comes many a time when a guitarist may need to write or even record his/her bass lines. Being a bassist takes a different skill than a guitarist so please do not think I am going to downplay the role a bassist plays. There are hundreds of songs where the bass carries the song more than guitar and in a perfect world both at 100% simultaneously. Doesn't always happen, even on a "hit" song. 

Nevertheless, I wanted to post something I wrote a few years ago on another blog that didn't get much exposure. I have permission as I am the owner of the article. Here it is . .

How Guitarists Can Record Quick and Easy 

Bass Lines For Demos or Projects
Fellow Axe men (and axe women), I want to show you how to record your own original quick and easy bass lines for your demos or home projects or even your albums to be released.

My Dilemma: I play all my own guitar tracks for my solo projects and many of the bass players I know want to improvise too much that the song strays away from my original vision. On band projects, that is OK but on projects where you have a clear vision and need it played the way YOU want it played, sometimes its best to play the parts yourself.
Solution: I record a lot of my projects onto a stand alone mixer, edit it, upload it to my mixing software on the computer, convert it to the various digital formats. So what I do initially is record a guitar work track which is called my skeleton.

The skeleton has the intro and the rhythm chords and the outro. The chord section determines the beat of the song as well (I don’t like metronomes). Once the skeleton is done, I prepare for the real rhythm guitar sound and rehearse the rhythm until it feels right. When it’s right I record.

Everything is based on this skeleton. The skeleton of a song is also something you can sing to live on an acoustic guitar (like Unplugged). Now once the real rhythm guitar is recorded you do not put in anything else or it may throw off your timing. Your next step is to grab your bass guitar. If you ain’t got one, your mixer can simulate your guitar into bass.

Now here’s the easy part. Play your track and play bass along with it ONLY KEEPING TIME with the song. Don’t worry about the notes. Then, start over but this time play the single bass notes that correspond to the chords. Rehearse this several times keeping in time and playing single notes.

Finally, once you are “in the groove”, you alter bass beats or add secondary notes. For example: let’s say your first chord is A major and it repeats four times or is 4/4, whatever. Instead of going A A A A, you play A stop A stop, or A E A E.

Going into more difficult techniques or methods is beyond the scope of this blog but for now this method is good especially if you are not a bass playin’ guitarist or want your demo done the way you want it.
Well I hoped you enjoyed my little article. 

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