Category Archives: Home recording

Out of the loop

I’ve just started to play with the rudimentary looping facilities offered by the Boss ME-25 multi-effects box, and I have to say that looping is very addictive indeed. Not just the fascination of adding new sounds layer-by-layer, but also the ability to solo over the completed loop. These sessions sometimes go on for 30 minutes or more!

Rather than have some of my improvised solos become lost forever, I decided to try filming myself. This first clip is a two-minute excerpt from a session that went on for over 15 minutes. The loop is the main verse riff from a song I have been working on called “Epic Blue”, overlaid with a simple bassline. The ME-25 was fed into my amplifier, and the whole thing was recorded with a webcam perched on top of my monitor. Unfortunately the webcam seems unable to record audio without glitches. Anyway, here is a piece called “Shades of Epic Blue”:

The second piece is more ambitious. A simple riff looped into a ten-minute impromptu prog rock masterpiece! The video was filmed using the webcam again, but this time I fed the audio into the Lexicon Alpha mixer and recorded it separately in Audacity. I put the two together using AVS Video Editor and added as many video effects as I could squeeze in. Here, in its full glory, is “Space Rock”:

I have a lot to learn yet, and I now have a hankering for a fully-fledged Boss Loopstation. But this is the kind of level I am aiming for – as demonstrated by the awesome Hook And The Twin:

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New music track: “Fly”

In July I bought myself two new toys: a Fender Telecaster and a Boss ME-25 multi-effects unit. The Telecaster is the first decent electric guitar I have ever owned, while over the years I have had little contact with effects pedals.

Playing with the effects unit was a revelation – so this is how my favourite bands make their guitar sounds! The delay and reverb effects are particularly addictive, and it was while experimenting with these, plus a harmoniser effect, that I came up with the main riff for this track. I used different effects to get as “twangy” a sound as possible for the chorus part. The natural “twang” of the Telecaster sound helped as well.

I’ve also added some reverb to the drum sound which I think makes the electronic drums sound a little more real, on the other hand it makes the unevenness of my drumming a little more evident!

This was recorded over the 28th and 29th of July. I didn’t have a title in mind, but the insect that was buzzing around the room while I was recording (luckily not through a microphone) sorted that out.

This is “Fly”. Please give it a listen and add any comments that come to mind!

Adventures in home recording

I don’t want to write here about my “career” of songwriting and home recording – I covered that in a Myspace blog I wrote a couple of years ago, which is <<here>>.

This is just a plug for some of the home recording that I have been doing over the last week or so, now that my free time has given me the opportunity to properly investigate and learn the software I bought some time ago.

I only intend to record new material – there will be no going back to the songs I wrote 20 years ago. It is only recently that I have even begun to compose new songs, and so far all of them are instrumentals. This at least means that the output won’t be ruined by my non-existent singing voice (and sometimes cringe-making lyrics!). I know that I’m no virtuoso on any instrument, in fact I’m barely competent on anything, but I do my best!

My first effort was a recording of a piece called “Upstream”. This project took off when I discovered the “delay” effect which gave the guitar part that ringing, echoing sound. I’m rather pleased with my drumming on this track, considering I have hardly touched the Yamaha DD-11 in 20 years. I cheated by recording the bass drum separately from the rest of the drum part, but it’s all played live – no pre-set rhythm track. I also had to quickly re-learn the bass guitar, which I again have barely played in years.

Anyway, here is “Upstream”:

The second project is a little tune called “Sunshine” which I wrote over Christmas. I’ve already posted solo acoustic versions of this, but I wanted to add an arrangement around it. The first problem is actually playing the guitar piece through without major mistakes – which is something I have rarely, if ever done, so far. The main guitar part on this version is constructed from around six takes. The percussion gives it a bit of a Latin feel, I think – again this was all played live and not a pre-set rhythm!

Here is the latest mix of “Sunshine”:

Any comments or criticisms on the tracks would be welcomed!

My recording studio