Friday, February 11, 2022



Sometimes things just don't go as planned. A normal day can get flipped upside down by one unexpected moment. Sometimes, though, you don't even have a plan but something cool and unexpected happens. Both of those things happened to me yesterday, but today I'm here to talk about the thing that turned out unexpectedly good: this song.

Following from my last song, I wanted to see what would happen if I recorded a song completely direct in, and reamped it after the song was written to dial in exactly the tones I wanted. The bass part went a little differently, but all of the guitars were done like that. I wasn't hearing anything but totally dry DI guitar and a metronome until after everything was recorded and I started messing with sounds on my guitar amp.

One of the benefits I discovered was the ability to change tones gradually instead of a sudden shift. For the rhythm guitar parts, I chose a low gain crunchy distortion for the verse, but turned the overdrive up for the chorus. I really liked how there was no seam between the lower and higher gain sections, just a nice dynamic contrast. For all of the parts, I also gradually faded in some delay at the very end. These are all things I could do with automation in a DAW, but doing it on a physical amplifier with my hand made me feel a lot more in control, like I was contributing to the performance after the fact.

As far as post effects go on the guitars, I kept it pretty simple. A nice reverb on the rhythm guitars, and EQ on all of them. The lead guitar is almost exactly what came out of my amplifier, but with everything under 300hz taken out completely.

The bass part was my now-standard 50% mix between clean and Reaper's default amp simulator, along with a ton of compression and a bit of EQ to pull out the extreme lows to give the kick drum breathing room. At this point I'm pretty happy with how my bass guitar sounds, so I didn't feel the need to change anything today.

After I recorded all the parts and reamped them to my satisfaction, I started work on the drums. Using a combination of MIDI finger drumming and writing the notes in with my mouse, I pieced together a part that complimented the rest of the ensemble. My biggest gripe with this song is that the drums turned out sounding a little too stiff for my taste, especially with the lax rhythmic feel of the guitars. The drums just refuse to lay back, but I still haven't found a method for humanizing drums that I really like. Perhaps an exploration for another day?

And finally, the gear list:

  • Lead guitar was played on my Fender Telecaster Deluxe.
  • Rhythm guitar #1 was played on my Epiphone Les Paul.
  • Rhythm #2 was played on my Squier Affinity Tele.
  • Bass was played on the Squier Affinity J Bass.
  • The guitar amp was my Katana 50mk2.
  • On the software side, Reaper handled the audio and KdenLive handled the video.

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