Two new songs from an amateur:

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Member Since: Dec 04, 2007

So, in all fairness, the guy -is- a beginning musician, so the performance is a bit scrappy and loose.

Anyway, here are two songs that I just finished, well, almost finished recording and mixing. (finished if he doesn't want any further changes) Vocals and Acoustic were recorded at his house, then he came over to my place to use a synth and VSTi for the bass/keys/etc.

Drums are done using a very simple rhythm he wanted, which I programmed snare and kick into Jamstix, and let the drummer models take over for the rest. Adjusting the fills and accents to kinda fit took awhile. :P

Anyway, though he could use some lessons in theory and musicianship, the singing and performance isn't totally bad. (I've heard worse cover bands at least) I pointed him to some theory videos, and suggested he find a tutor and music teacher at some point when he can afford it.

And yes, I was bad, and uploaded MP3s to soundcloud instead of the WAV files, so they probably got recompressed for streaming. :P

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Rockstar Vatican Assassin
Since: Mar 20, 2009

Mar 11, 2014 10:17 am

and suggested he find a tutor and music teacher at some point when he can afford it.

LOL... that's harsh man... and funny at the same time! While I'm not a fan of the music (or the vocals for that matter), the mix sounds pretty good... even in the crappy headphones I'm currently wearing. I do hear a few odd drum hits here and there, but not bad for being programmed.

Since: Apr 03, 2002

Mar 11, 2014 06:01 pm

Well, I give it this, the kid has some promise, I like where I THINK he's going...but could use some technique and more voice control...but that comes with experience.

Hearing some nervous sounding vocals, and a lot of string noise on the guitar.

Since: Dec 04, 2007

Mar 12, 2014 02:38 am

Thanks guys.

Yeah, he was using an acoustic/electric, which can be kinda thin sounding to begin with, and I think part of it was my fault. I think I had the mic set up a little too high on the fretboard on Billion Dollars. I was getting a lot of pick noise too. I probably should have pointed away from the hand a bit more, and moved the mic a little closer to the 24th fret to pick up a little more body. I may have been about an inch or two off on the position compared to Brenda Song. It should have been the same distance away from the guitar, though.

The vocals, yeah, he just needs more experience, and needs to practice. I gave him a short vocal lesson on air flow, and told him to practice long tones to help him build better air support, control, and intonation. He has a bit of a vibrato, and it's not a controlled vibrato, so that might make him sound nervous sometimes. But yeah, the little lesson I gave him helped quite a bit, I think.

To help him play the piano melody in Brenda Song, I gave him a short piano lesson on finger placement and had him play the scale of the song a few times. I also gave him a short lesson on counting time.

Overall, he seems to be pretty happy with my work.

As for the suggestion on the tutor/coach, I know it's harsh, and I really felt bad about bringing it up, but I felt it needed to be said. He agreed with it. See, the main issue, is that while he is self taught, and has only learned to play by ear, (There is nothing wrong with that at all. I play by ear all the time) he doesn't have a strong concept of keeping time, and that's where a lot of problems and sloppiness come in.

We had recorded a third song on the same day as Billion Dollars called "First Thing." Even though we used an electronic drum machine to keep time, the playing was so loose that there was just no way I was going to be able to line it up with the tempo we used to add the acoustic drum samples. His timing on the strumming was off as much as +/- 6 BPM from the tempo. All of the takes were off.

With him moving, there wasn't really time for me to come out and redo the guitar takes. Plus, since they were pretty off even with a time keeper, I wasn't sure if doing more takes would have given a better result. And, I wanted to make sure there was enough time to finish it all before he had to move.

Like I said though, I think he does have a lot of promise, and he just needs some light instruction, maybe in rhythm theory, to point him in the right direction. I think in a year, maybe less than a year, he'd be ready for open mic nights, and really be able to start marketing himself.

Since: Dec 04, 2007

Apr 19, 2014 01:22 am

Just a quick update, but indeed, the dude has moved back to California, and I still made some updates and changes he wanted, including swapping out a part in a couple spots, redoing a couple drum fills, and adding a bit more reverb to the songs. I had to remove the old files, and upload new ones to my soundcloud.

I haven't heard back from him since I made the last change about 2 weeks ago, so I'm hoping we're done.

Not that I can do much right now anyway, since I'm coughing up my lungs, and my ears are a bit stopped up. I had a mild sore throat/cold about 2 weeks ago, but then as I felt better, it came back, deeper and with more of a dry hacking cough and a fever. I think I pushed myself too hard doing some cleaning/mopping/vacuuming after having our fridge fixed, and then running an errand to replace our frozen foods. That, and maybe the sudden temperature drop we had that Monday.

According to the UIowa quick care clinic I went to, I have a secondary infection. >_< They gave me a prescription for azithromycin antibiotic, aka ZPack, which I take for 5 days. Admittedly, the sore throat is better, and I think the fever is gone. But the coughing, oh em gee, the coughing! My voice is all messed up right now, lol. Acetaminophen does help tame the cough a bit, but damn is it hard to relax enough to sleep.

I hope this mess leaves my system soon. Sunday is the last dose of ZPack, but it's supposed to keep working an extra 5 to 10 days after the last dose.

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