Saturday, January 23, 2010

...getting rid of the kids for the weekend.

Strangely, unlike my preferred method for these posts (start typing whatever comes, post it as is), I actually started it yesterday.  But then the phones got busy until I got off work.  Then I got busy, due to those kids, and some driving and some time in Wal-Mart (a pound of turkey lunchmeat for $3?  Can't beat it), then some time playing with software, then configuring my recording system (both an old analog 4-track and a computer).  Then I got down to the business of actually recording a song.  More on that in a bit.  But all of this is due to getting rid of the kids.

Thankfully, every other weekend I get the opportunity to have a weekend free of dealing with children during every waking second they're not at preschool or I'm not at work.  This is because their mother, the ever-"beloved" Succubus, is currently stable enough to watch them (which says a lot about why it was relatively easy to get full custody).  Now while I love my children and it is a joy to watch them learn, grow, and discover, they are also demanding little shits who are masters in the art of time suckage.  Thus, as a single parent, I value any time I have that doesn't revolve around dealing with them, as there's no guarantees how long it will last.

Plus, there's cleaning up the inevitable disaster that results of a lazy dad, 2 kids, and weather that keeps them inside for hours.

But none of that deterred me from getting the rust off my fret fingers and trying to record something.  So here's the process I've done so far (and remember, I have to learn how to do it as I go):

Create a basic drum track for timing only.
Record a guide track (vocal and guitar) with the basic layout of verse and measure)
Record the voice track (2 in this case, as I flubbed a few spots)
Record the acoustic guitar track (as the song is driven by it).
Record a harmony track (may or may not use, but I wanted something to play with).
I had a couple of acoustic tracks I recorded too, but I deleted them accidentally.

Then Star Wars the Clone Wars came on and I got all lazy-like.

So let me see what's left to do:

Record the bass line (which I need to flesh out first).
Record some more acoustic guitar where there are mistakes to fix.
Record vocals to fix any other issues.
Record some electric guitar to give it some articulation (because I'm a notorious strummer, and a 12-string puts out a wall of sound)
Blend the tracks, reducing noise levels, adding effects to make it sound like I'm not in my living room, patching where there are gaffes, balancing the sound levels to optimal.

And that doesn't include sending it off to add a separate drum track (because otherwise I have to use a free drum machine program that, while better than nothing, is still a soulless drum machine.

I do have an eye on improving my recording equipment.  Right now, it consists of an old computer (about the minimum to run XP decently), a RadioShack mixer board (which gives me more control than trying to patch together a bunch of adapters, and my Shure microphone I've had since high school.  Seriously, it's about the only thing that qualifies a professional in my arsenal of equipment.  This is mainly because I got all my shit back in the days before I could hop online, order it, and have it delivered all without having to associate with people, many of whom suck ass.

Maybe if I get the sound right, I'll share my equipment, most of which was purchased used at what was bargain basement prices in a small-assed town (and at stores still living pretty much in the 20th century).  But my baby (my first guitar) came from there, as well as my 12-string (a birthday gift, actually), I can't knock them.  But as that's a 20-minute drive and 10 out of my way in most cases, it's rare I get over there.  Thus, I shop online.

Naturally, none of this would be possible were there rugrats bouncing off the walls.  But since I have another day without them around, I'm going to use it.  I do have to attend a family dinner tonight, but I can come home to a ready system, no kids, and a few more hours of recording time.  Assuming everything else goes well.  Although that means I fail at cleaning (because I don't get up until I have to (not as fun when you have to work in the mornings (I like sleeping until lunch)).

And who knows, maybe I'll get the motivation to post some of the music once I get it sounding more professional than I am....

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