Monday, 15 December 2008

Song recording update and headlights…

I drove over 600 miles in 24 hours to pop over to Wales and return with Son-of-Furtheron, a good proportion of his belongings, a ton of incomprehensible Physics lecture notes he needs to revise for his exams in Jan and a somewhat bizarre range of books needed by a friend of ours doing his masters who’d come home on the train earlier in the week. Frankly with the weather this weekend the driving stank, on the M1 on Sat it was laughable to watch these idiots trying to weave through the traffic. After every 30 miles or so you’d pass them again as they’d got stuck in the outside lane and they’d be off again.

One of my flipping headlights failed on the drive up. So I thought “No problem I’ve some spare bulbs in my box of crap in the boot I’ll replace it”. Open the manual; I’m un-usual I normally do read the manual I generally find it helps. Once when I was support for a leading dealing systems provider I used to do front line support for some of the top financial institutions in Europe – many times my summing up on the error report was “Told them to RTFM!” even at times after a flight to/from a European capital and an over night stay had been billed to them as they insisted it needed a site visit.

Anyhow back to Friday night… STOP. Apparently the dipped headlight beam bulb (yes the one you use the most) is not a user serviceable part. What?! :-S Big warning that I was at risk of electrocution. Given it was cold, very wet and very windy I decided that frying myself in the car park of Watford Gap services wouldn’t be the best idea. I popped into the Peugeot main dealer in Aberystwyth on Saturday morning. Firstly the comment that “I only have Mazda technicians on” perplexed me, why does a Peugeot main dealer not have Peugeot technicians? And it’s only a flipping headlight bulb, surely they can change that? Then the guy says “We don’t hold them in stock they are about £130”. Sorry for a headlight bulb! What the hell is it made from? Plutonium? Luckily it’s still on warranty and even better regardless of that I’m extremely lucky to still have that very British of perks – a company car. So I’ll not pay but putting that to one side, £130 and nearly a week to wait to replace a bulb is just crazy. My local dealer – can look at it Thursday. It’s only a bulb? I’m at a loss. Come back cars with carburettors etc. I could look after on my drive.

Anyway – Son-of-Furtheron is back and guitar music comes pouring from his bedroom. He’s learnt some off Death Magnetic and is trying to master Sweet Child ‘O Mine at the moment. He’s definitely improving. Probably the old competitive thing of him being back and also him asking how the new recorder was working out led me to admitting I’d not figured it out at all and locking myself away with it for an hour or two Sunday morning.

To recap – after my dilemma I bought the Boss BR-600. First thing…. RTFM! It’s very large and complicated – the manual that is. The box is very small and complicated.

I jumped into the Quick Start section and with headphones and guitar plugged in dived in. So I quickly got a noise coming out the headphones and found a reasonably heavy guitar sound. Right need some drums. That looks to be the most tricky part of this so far – in the end I settled for a simple rock 4/4 pattern continuously looping, I’ll work on a full arrangement later. Right Gordon Smith into drop D and off we go with an attempt at Head Full Of Shoulds – which has been knocking about in embryonic form since Sept. Tempo too fast – quick manual check and I figured how to change that.

Yes we have lift off I’ve recorded something. So select next channel and record a 2nd guitar part. Apart from sounding like an unrehearsed jam, which in fairness it basically was, at least I was getting stuff down. So I went mad grabbed the bass and tried to lay a bass part down, tricky given I was effectively writing it as I went and suddenly the figuring of notes from Drop D on the guitar to 5 string bass was more thought provoking than I’d expected, a little case of recording red light nerves I think. Nice bass sound though was quickly found and viola my first crack. I've not tried mix down, mastering and copying off yet which I might still do using this demo as something non-critical to learn on.

So lessons learnt.

1. Arrange the damn song!! Some bits was 4 bars of this then next time 6 … oops
2. Practice the bass part
3. Figure better second guitar part and use a diff sound. The same sound means it’s not easy to hear in the mix.
4. I need to figure out programming the drums into an arrangement

But I think we’re getting somewhere. I don’t need full blown brilliant production I’m hoping that recording a few demos will get me to them get others involved and head for the stage or a proper recording studio.


  1. Take your pick

    Read The F***ing Manual


  2. Would love to hear some demos, if only to get an idea of what the guitar sounds like through the box (or did you use a pod upfront?)

    I believe Ister used his BR600 to do the DD demos on the myspace page, but was curious to hear the sound with some rockin' guitar on it!

  3. Ken - no I just plugged in and used the sounds internal with no tweaking for speed and ease. I've got the option of the Pod if I need to at some point.