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About obcbeatle

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    Contributing Muse

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  • Interests
    My family, listening to music, composing and recording songs, playing my guitars, baseball, hiking, kayaking, reading, watching movies.

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  • Lyricist, Composer or Both?
    Write music. Try to write lyrics.
  • Musical Influences?
    The Beatles; The Who; Queen; Rush; Jimi Hendrix; Frank Zappa; Wes Montgomery; Motown
  1. Thanks for the tip/link Mike. I think I'll get one of those. For $4 it's worth a shot! :-) Thanks! Jerry.
  2. Hi Mike ... thanks for the reply. Sounds like you're saying that home recording software app tuners ... like maybe the tuner found in GB ... may not be as accurate as a regular guitar tuner? Thanks for sharing. I had not even thought of that! As I just mentioned in my previous post ... I'm going to try to find my old tuning fork. Or maybe I'll just go out and buy a proper electronic tuner (any suggestions welcome). Thanks again for mentioning this!
  3. Hi Mike/Alistair ... it's true that I was looking for a way to adjust the pitch of a GB software instrument. However ... Mike raises a good point ... if recording software tuners embedded in apps like GB are not reliable to say A 440 ... then that is important to know. Particularly if that is why I occasionally have issues with my real instruments being a tad out of tune with software instruments in GB ... even after using the GB tuner. I tend to use the GB software instruments later in the recording process. So usually all my real instruments ... guitars, bass, etc. already have tracks in GB before I even use a software instrument. I have only been using the GB tuner for convenience. I'll take a look for my old tuning fork and see if that makes a difference. Still looking for a good top 10 list of things to do before setting up a recording project. If anyone cares to share. Thanks again Alistair and Mike!
  4. Thank you Alistair ... that did the trick! It took me awhile to find AUPitch in my version of Garageband (it's an older version) ... and then figure out how to apply it to a track. For those interested ... in Garageband 11 v6.0.5 ... select the track ... on the right side of the screen select the Software Instrument tab ... select the Edit tab ... select "Click here to add an effect" (this was the step I didn't see at first) ... select AUPitch from the drop down menu. This will add the AUPitch control for the track. Once you click the AUPitch icon the AUPitch control tool pops up and you can adjust the pitch up or down for that specific track. The holy grail being that you can adjust the pitch between increments of a half step (of pitch) ... which for guitarists is a godsend :-) Thanks again Alistair for your reply! PS: If anyone cares to share ... I'm still interested in creating a short cheat sheet for myself on setting up Garageband projects properly before I start the recording process. If you have any tips to share ... I'd be very grateful. The tips don't have to be specific to Garageband. Just those top 10 things you do in your home recording software and song project setup to be ready to start the recording process with less fuss. If there is a good website or YouTube video about all this ... feel free to point me in the right direction. Thanks! Jerry.
  5. Hello ... it has been awhile since I’ve posted here. Nice to see the forums are still active! My question: Is it possible to adjust the pitch of a keyboard (Software Instrument) in Garageband 11? My problem: I created 3 tracks (Real Instruments) ... rhythm guitar, bass and lead guitar. They are all in perfect tune with each other. But when I created a keyboard track (Software Instrument) to add some keyboard fills to the music project ... the keyboard is a tad sharp to my 3 Real Instrument tracks. I selected my key in Garageband when I started this project ... and tuned my three guitars using the Garageband Tuner ... so I’m not sure why the Garageband Keyboard is too sharp. But as a guitar player I know tuning is always going to be an issue :-) Anyway ... if anyone here knows a way to slightly raise or lower the pitch of a software instrument in Garageband 11 ... I’d be grateful for a solution. Adjusting the pitch pre-recording of the keyboard track would be ideal ... but if the adjustment has to be made post recording of the keyboard ... I can do that too. Also ... feel free to point me to a solution on a website/Youtube ... if there is one. So far my Googling hasn’t turned up a solution that I can understand :-( Lastly ... if anyone has any tips on how to avoid these types of problems when starting a music project in Garageband ... I’m all ears. I’d like to create a short cheat sheet for myself on setting up Garageband projects properly before I start the recording process. I’d prefer to spend my time making the music ... not fighting with the recording software :-) Thank you for any tips and/or suggestions! Jerry. PS: I forgot to add that this would be for adjusting a pitch less than a half step, e.g. going from C to C# would likely make the keyboard track go from too flat to too sharp. So this adjustment will need to be a very fine (small) increase or decease in pitch. Hope that made sense :-)
  6. Thanks for the link HoboSage ... I will save it for when I have some $ to burn. Very cool that Bruford and Bozzio are included in the libraries. And I'm not surprized ... they were/are both inspirational drummers! BTW ... I mentioned in my last post that I would share my newest song which includes a drum track that I created in Reason 4 with my Oxygen 49. This was my first drum track with Reason and a midi keyboard. The song link is below (Oh Danielle) ... or you can go to the Song feedback forum and provide feedback there, if interested. I'm particularly interested in feedback on the recording as I am trying to improve my recording skills. Anyway ... thanks to everyone for there feedback on midi keyboards and Reason ... Oh Danielle Song which includes Reason drum track
  7. Thanks for all the replies! I ended up getting an Oxygen 49 since it was pretty cheap on eBay and I wanted the extra keys. This is my first midi device. So far no problems. Was easy to set-up in Reason 4 and Garageband 08. Love the fact I can create my own drum tracks now w/o programming! I need to research finding free quality samples of drum kits (if there are any). I'm a big Terry Bozzio and Bill Bruford fan. I'm trying to re-create that great tight snare sound that Bruford got while with YES, via some snare samples in Reason 4. So far it has been elusive, but I'm tweaking some existing snare samples to see if I can come up with something close :-) I can see what you mean about the weighted keys. I guess you pay a little extra for that if you want more than 25 keys. In my case this O49 will do fine though since I'd been using my Macbook keyboard for key stroking :-) I think I'll be learning more piano/keyboard skills too since the 49 keys make for some opportunities. I'm a guitar player but recently I discovered that playing piano really helps when composing songs. I can get stuck sometimes while composing on guitar and walk over to our piano and play the same chord progressions and get some new ideas for the song. Too bad our old piano is broken and out of tune to the point it can't be repaired. Anyway ... now with the O49 I can play a keyboard that is in tune! :-) Thanks again for the replies. I hope to post a new song soon that I used the O49 with Reason to make the drum track! Actually ... the drum track is done ... I'm trying to get a decent vocal out of my mouth. Always a big problem for me :-)
  8. Hello: It's been awhile since I posted to the Muse. Life happens I guess :-) Last Xmas I was given Reason 4 as a gift which I installed on my Macbook. I'm just now getting around to learning how to use it. And I'm also in the market now for an inexpensive midi keyboard. I was told the M-Audio Oxygen 49 would be a good inexpensive midi keyboard for Reason 4. But I wanted to get another opinion on that before I buy one on eBay. Also I noticed there are two different colored O49's (black or blue and silver). Is there any difference between the two besides color? I haven't used Reason or a midi device much before. My primary reasons for buying a midi keyboard (and using Reason) are to expand my recording tools particularly in the area of creating better (and my own) drum loops, and creating keyboard tracks for my songs. My current DAW is Garageband 08 with an Apogee Duet interface. Any advice. comments or suggestions welcome. Thanks! PS: If there are any Reason users out there maybe you can point me to some good tutorials? I've been Googling and found some videos on YouTube. And of course I'm reading the Reason docs. But there is quite a learning curve. For example, I'm particularly interested in learning how to use Redrum to create a complete drum track for a song I want to record.
  9. Vocal Treatments

    Thanks again for all the feedback from the group on vocal treatments. I've learned a lot. Jim: I now agree with you on the variations of pitch and timing making a more rich double. Even though I can get the phrasing correct, it is difficult for me to get the pitch good enough on some songs to the point that I have (2) or more takes to double. I know that may sound like laziness, but I'm currently working on a song I've re-recorded (3) times in (3) different keys to try to wrap my vocal around a chorus that needs a strong (high end of the octave) vocal. But alas, I literal couldn't get my voice to stay in pitch. When I sang it using lower octave notes (variation to stay in pitch) the vocals were pretty uninspiring. I think the bottom line for ME is that I am a perfectionist and I'm probably never going to be happy with my vocals so I intend to query for a vocalist if someone is interested in my songs. Also, I will note now that I believe for doubling or maybe for background vocals too in general, I think I prefer (2) different vocalist to just me trying to do the lead and BV vocals. There is a timbre thing going on when (2) different people sing that really makes a vocal stand out to my ear. I'm just now learning this. So maybe if I could interest someone in doing say the lead vocal, then maybe I could do part of the BV. Just a thought. Anyway thanks for your input! I honesty did a vocal recording session after your inspired post and worked on the phrasing, memorizing the lyrics, etc. and it helped. Unfortunately I was not blessed with very good vocal cords so though the extra effort helped, I'm still disappointed with MY vocal work :-) Neuroron: Thanks for that tip! I'm currently doing my vocals in pieces to help with phrasing and memorizing lyrics. For instance, I will set the repeat loop for the first verse region and just do takes till I think I nail it. Than repeat that method for the first chorus, second verse, second chorus, etc. I end up with multiple takes for each vocal section (verses/choruses) and a seperate track for each verse, chorus, etc. Then I start picking thru the takes. It would sure be nice to just set the repeat loop thru the whole song and record multiple takes of me singing thru the entire song but because of my vocal limitations, that method is a lot more work. I sometimes do a last take/track of me singing the entire song so that I may get a more emotional take that I can grab something from. I do that because usually I'm at a point where I think I already have enough good takes and I can just relax and sing :-) Just thought I'd mention that as it has helped me sometimes get a more emotionally vocal chorus, for instance. Anyway, thanks for your tip! FunkDaddy: I still haven't gotten around to figuring out how to do a high pass filter or vocal compression (post processing) in Garageband, but it's on my to-do list :-) It's amazing how much time it takes to write AND record a song properly. But all the recent work I've done trying to improve my home recording skills has definitely made me make sure my songs are more polished before even trying to record them ;-) Thanks again for your feedback! Lzi: A lot of great tips here. Thanks for taking the time for giving feedback! I am now trying to record (2) seperate takes for doubling, instead of copying/pasting one to double. Also, per your advice I'm keeping the lead vocal centered and the backing vocals panned (one mono BV vocal R, the other L). So as far as panning goes, I'm currently doing LV+Drums+Bass+Main Rhythm Guitar centered (guitar is my main instrument, so the rhythm guitar is usually acoustic) and BV's+Electric Guitar(s) panned L/R (I sometimes soft pan, sometimes hard pan depending on what my ears tell me). And any other instruments are usually panned (not centered) depending on the song. And thanks much for the tips on the SM57's and 58's! My SM58, I think, works great thru my Apogee Duet interface for vocals. I'm still not sure of the preamps in the Duet, but I'm not complaining. My ears think it is OK. And just as important, thanks for the tip on the SM57 being brighter! I started using the SM58 instead of the SM57 for my acoustic guitar to get a warmer sound. That tip helped me a lot! I still use the SM57 for mic'ing my guitar amps. As far as post processing vocals, I agree with you to try to get the best sound thru mic'ing and good takes. I currently do very little to the vocals after recording anyway since I still have a lot to learn about using compression, reverb and EQ to fix or tighten things up. These are mostly Garageband questions that I need to research. Thanks again for your feedback!
  10. Vocal Treatments

    Thanks for this great tip neuroron! I just tried this on a new song I'm working on and I do like the result. I'm not sure how you pitch shift in Garageband though. And it seems counter to everything I've ever strived for in trying to sing (and tuning guitars) to flatten or sharp a pitch. But alas, I have a lot to learn about home recording :-) Thanks again for the feedback!
  11. Vocal Treatments

    Ahhh....now I get it! And thanks for that specific suggestion about backing vocals and concentrating on the vowels. I happen to be laying down a BV track for a song this week (hopefully), and I'll keep in mind the vowels! I am really vocally challenged however :-)
  12. Vocal Treatments

    Thanks for all the replies so far. I've already started incorporating what you all have suggested in a couple song recordings! 1) I started using the region loop function in Garageband so that it automatically loops and saves takes over and over until I think I nailed one. Thanks for that tip Scotto! 2) I've been playing around with panning two tracks of the same vocal (one R, one L) and then off-setting for a doubling effect. It has not been an exact science for me so I need to keep playing with it. Thanks for that tip Danny! 3) The ADT plugin looks cool Alistair. Thanks for that link! I was going to d/l it, but saw it was for OSX 10.4 (Tiger) and I'm running 10.5 (Leopard). Might work anyway, but I need to Google and see if Leopard users are having any problems with it first. I also need to research side-chaining/gate, auto-tuning (I saw that in GB but wasn't sure it would really fix a vocal that is a tad flat? I guess I'll try it) and BV's (I think that means P's and S's too?) since I'm not sure what some of that means. I'll check out a home recording website for help. I'm still learning about HR'ing. I also may be up for giving examples if I start to get really frustrated :-) Thanks for all those tips! FunkDaddy. I will research high-passing. I think that means taking out the real high and low frequencies, but I'm not sure how to do it in GB yet. I'll look for a YouTube tutorial or something. Thanks for that tip! Scotto. I used 15% reverb on a vocal this week and it did help a little. That was a good starting point for me. Thanks for the suggestion! Compression and normalization I will have to read about and figure out how to do in GB. I'll keep using the SM58 till I can afford something else :-) Danny/David, I'm not sure my Apogee Duet has a pre-amp on the XLR's but the SM58 has always sounded pretty good thru it, I think. The SM57 too (for guitar mic'ing). I'll stay clear from using two mic's for vocals. Thanks!
  13. Hello: Recently I've been trying to figure out ways to improve my vocal tracks from within Garageband. I understand that the most important thing to do is make sure you have a good vocal recording in the first place because post processing can do very little if the recorded vocal take is poor. But with my limited vocal abilities, this is a challenge. I spend an awful lot of time recording multiple tracks (takes) of my vocals and pick out the best parts. So occasionally I will somewhat nail a verse or chorus vocal :-) Anyway, I grew up listening to The Beatles so I am familiar with their vocal treatments from a listening stand point. Specifically, the use of what I think is vocal doubling on many John Lennon vocals. So I've been playing around with the idea of using vocal doubling on some of my vocals to see what effect. My questions are: 1) Is it as simple as copying the vocal track you want to double to a new track and then fading the new vocal track to taste? I have been doing that with various success, but wondered if some of you with more recording experience than I know a few tricks that might help me out. For instance, I suppose you could have (2) vocal tracks that were actually (2) seperate takes that you double. But my experience has been that there is usually enough variance in one of the (2) takes that some nuance can be heard when doubling that makes the doubling not really a good treatment. Of course this could be because of my vocal constraints :-) 2) I have tried adding some reverb and occasionally echo in my vocals, but I usually end up removing it since it really never seems to add much "good flavor" to my ears. I feel like I'm missing something here since I read about and hear the use of reverb on vocals a lot, but I can never get what I'd call a worthwhile effect. I'm basically just soloing the vocal track and adding a little reverb to taste, THEN listening to it in the full mix. And I've tried adding the reverb to a vocal track while listening to it in the full mix. Is there a different/better way of doing this? 3) My primary game plan for vocal recording is: record multiple tracks (I usually end up with 8-10 vocal tracks of the entire song). Then I go back and listen to each vocal track SOLO to find the best sounding 1st verse take, 2nd verse take, chorus take, bridge take, etc. Then I listen to the best takes within the full mix to make sure they are OK with everything else that is going on (in tempo, in tune with the other instruments, etc.). Lastly I start editing. So I may end up with (6) vocal tracks/takes in the final mix e.g., V1 is the first verse, V2 is the first chorus, V3 is the second verse, etc. and I then have to fade these (6) vocal tracks/takes so that the volume levels are consistent in the full mix. Am I missing some tricks that would make this process a lot easier when dealing with a vocalist like me with a very limited vocal range, etc. Again, I'm looking for any advice on how to improve the process and quality of vocal recording. 4) I use a Shure SM58 mic for vocals and also have an SM57, but usually use it for mic'ing my guitars. Is there any benefit to using both the 58 AND 57 together when recording the vocal? I usually just play things by ear as far as mic placement (proximity, room acoustics, etc.). Any pointers to links/comments/suggestions would be appreciated re: how to enhance vocals during/after the recording process AND I am really interested specifically in learning the process of doubling a vocal to enhance its sound within the full mix. Thanks in advance!
  14. Creating Good Musical Choruses

    Just wanted to thank everyone for all their helpful replies and the link to a previous post on this topic. Very helpful! What I have started to concentrate more on since I posted this thread is to work harder on the melodies. That is, when I'm playing a chord progression on guitar that sounds interesting harmonically and appears to me might bear fruit as a song kernel, I immediately try to go through as many variations of possible melodies both in my head/vocal AND per notes in the chords and related guitar scales (while recording the session, because melody ideas can often vanish fast). This exercise has helped me with both choruses AND verses. I believe in the past I used to spend too much time, early in the song crafting process, on trying to define the musical song structure i.e. "this will be the verse, this will be the chorus and maybe this would work as a bridge". Instead of just playing with various melody ideas particularly during the moment the song idea first occurs. I don't know if that made sense, but the bottom line is, I've had more success lately in writing music by spending much more time on the melody. Also...I have been listening to a LOT of different genres of music lately, particularly for those that I enjoy most hoping some of the choruses will rub off :-) PS: I would love to come up with a lyrical hook that just begged for a chorus, but it just hasn't happened for me yet. I see that many other song writers here have been or are beginning to work with a lyric first, then write the music. I've tried this method a few times, but alas, no golden nuggets yet :-)
  15. three minutes song

    This is an interesting thread. I'll be honest. For me as a listener it's always been about the music. That being said most of the songs I tend to like are in the 2:50 to 3:00 minute range with obviously some exceptions. My music ear gets bored very quickly. Always has. It constantly yearns for what I call the "ear candy" (music) in the song. Thus as a budding song writer, to-date, my song length approach has always been based on MY ear. This may be the wrong approach, but it feels right to me. However, as porcupine has mentioned, I think, writing a lyrical story (as opposed to just a musical story) can sometimes be very difficult in 3:00 (or less). At least it's for me. And it occurs to me that there are a lot of songs I really like in the 2-3 minute range that don't have much of story (lyric). The music alone is enough. Which as a consequence can make ME very lazy when it comes to trying to put a decent lyric to music. I get very frustrated spending so much time trying to write a lyric when I believe the music is finished. I recently received a gift, the book "Writing Better Lyrics" by Pat Pattison. I guess my wife was trying to tell me something :-) Anyway, I've been trying a few of his exercises just to see what effect it has on my song/lyric writing. In the meantime, I still hope to develop some co-writing experience. Anyway...I guess as far as song length goes...the beauty is in the ear of the beholder :-)