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Thread: I want to make a demo. Which tunes should I use?

  1. #1

    Default I want to make a demo. Which tunes should I use?

    I'd like to create a CD to send around and take a crack at selling a song or two.

    But I'm a better writer than I am a singer or player, so I'm wondering if any of my recordings actually make the songs sound good enough for demo purposes.

    Songs I'm considering are on this web page: When the Wagon Rolls 'Round.

    Are any demo-worthy? Which?

    If not, I can spend the CD money on something more sensible - like an old Gibson A Junior, for instance! So don't worry about sounding too negative. We're not likely to ever meet each other, anyhow, right?

    Thanks!

    cb

    PS: Leon Fullerton is my pen name for copywriting purposes.

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  3. #2

    Default Re: I want to make a demo. Which tunes should I use?

    If you're a good writer, write some songs for a full band. If you don't think you can sing quite up to snuff get another to sing and you can back him or her up (if applicable) Same with playing, if you write things too hard for yourself to play either practice up or get another player to do it. Of course this means you would have to have access to a fully willing full band... but everyone has that right? No? hmmmm... Well nothing happens if you don't try. So If you think you can do it, go for it.
    Just me and my Eastman MD315!
    And we're hungry to learn

  4. #3

    Default Re: I want to make a demo. Which tunes should I use?

    All good.
    Quote Originally Posted by ImTheMan_do View Post
    If you're a good writer, write some songs for a full band.
    I've tried a little of that. Unimpressive results. This page has three links to pages with Leon Fullerton (i.e. my) tunes: Our sound

    Quote Originally Posted by ImTheMan_do View Post
    If you don't think you can sing quite up to snuff get another to sing and you can back him or her up (if applicable)
    I have one good singer friends who plays three of my tunes at his live shows. I love hearing them that way, because he makes 'em sound like real songs.
    Quote Originally Posted by ImTheMan_do View Post
    Same with playing, if you write things too hard for yourself to play either practice up or get another player to do it.
    I can play 'em. Singing well is the problem.
    Quote Originally Posted by ImTheMan_do View Post
    Of course this means you would have to have access to a fully willing full band . . . but everyone has that right? No? hmmmm...
    I have a friend who's a terrific guitarist who's setting up a recording session to do about a half dozen Fullerton tunes with the two of us on strings plus drums and doghouse bass.

    Same old problem, though: I'll be singing. (I can probably talk him into adding the three songs my other friend sings, though, and have the singer join us to do those. That's an idea, right?)
    Quote Originally Posted by ImTheMan_do View Post
    Well nothing happens if you don't try. So If you think you can do it, go for it.
    Been going for it for almost ten years now. It's getting a little tiring.

    Thanks. That helped!

  5. #4
    mandolin slinger Steve Ostrander's Avatar
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    Default Re: I want to make a demo. Which tunes should I use?

    Been going for it for almost ten years now. It's getting a little tiring.
    I hear ya. I've written some song lyrics, but I'm not tech savvy enough to home record. I would like to make a demo as well. One of my songs I play live at our shows. The others are not there yet.

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  7. #5

    Default Re: I want to make a demo. Which tunes should I use?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Ostrander View Post
    I hear ya. I've written some song lyrics, but I'm not tech savvy enough to home record. I would like to make a demo as well. One of my songs I play live at our shows. The others are not there yet.
    I'm wondering about saving up to put together a digital audio workstation, known to people who know what they're doing as a DAW.

    Been writing songs since about '68. Been making recordings for about ten years on a Tascam. So far, none has sounded great. So I have to decide whether it's my gear or me. I've just never been a singer or a hot picker.

    In other words, there must be more to being a song writer than writing songs.

  8. #6

    Default Re: I want to make a demo. Which tunes should I use?

    I've worked with DAWs before, and they're not too hard to use, Just expensive when including the price of microphones and stuff like that.
    Just me and my Eastman MD315!
    And we're hungry to learn

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  10. #7

    Default Re: I want to make a demo. Which tunes should I use?

    Quote Originally Posted by ImTheMan_do View Post
    I've worked with DAWs before, and they're not too hard to use, Just expensive when including the price of microphones and stuff like that.
    Have any idea what the most modest Mac is that would work well? I'm told the Macbook Air isn't fast enough. How about a bottom-of-the-line iMac?

  11. #8

    Default Re: I want to make a demo. Which tunes should I use?

    Mr. Bernstein:

    Do you have a Mac right now?
    If so, which one?

    If you don't, and are considering buying one for music recording, I'll give my best advice.

    First -- you can save some $$$ (not "lots", but "some") by buying from Apple's online refurbished store. The Mac sold there will look "just like new" and come with a full Apple warranty (1 year). You can buy AppleCare for them as well, if you wish.

    Second -- Do not, repeat DO NOT, buy ANY Mac with only a platter-based hard drive in it.
    TOO SLOW.
    You want either an SSD (can even be a small one), or the 2tb fusion drive (DO NOT buy the 1tb fusion drive, as the SSD portion is only 32gb in size, TOO SMALL).

    Third -- my recommendation is a 27" iMac (base model will do), AGAIN, with a 256gb SSD. You MUST SPECIAL ORDER iMacs with SSDs via the Apple Store online page, you CANNOT buy them at brick-n-mortar Apple stores or from 3rd party resellers like Best Buy.
    This takes a few more days' time, but IT'S WORTH IT.

    The 256gb SSD adds $100 to the buy-in price.
    A 512gb SSD will add $300 to the buy-in price.
    My advice: get the 256gb, and you can plug in additional storage via USB3.

    The base model comes with 8gb RAM which should be fine. You can add more RAM later on if you wish.
    BE AWARE that the 27" iMac has a trapdoor on the back to add RAM.
    You CANNOT add RAM to the 21" iMacs unless you disassemble the computer!

    You want the 27" size for the additional "screen real estate" -- you won't understand this until you begin recording and editing an audio project.

    If finances won't permit the 27", the 21" iMac will do, but again -- DO NOT buy one with a platter-based HDD or the 1tb fusion drive. If you do this, you're going to regret it.

    Be aware that there are rumors that Apple will introduce a "new" version of the Mac Mini, possibly later this month. It could end up being a dandy machine for audio production, but not even sure if it's going to be released, and no firm rumors of the specs.

    I DO NOT recommend the "current" Mac Mini, because it has been for sale, unchanged, since 2014 -- a 4-year-old design.

    OK, we got that far.

    For computer-based recording, you're going to need an audio interface as well.

    I recommend a Steinberg U-series interface, such as:

    UR44 g-- ives 4 XLR inputs + 2 line inputs as well (total, 6).
    https://www.steinberg.net/en/product...dels/ur44.html

    If you don't need 4 XLR's, look at the UR242:
    https://www.steinberg.net/en/product...els/ur242.html
    This has 2 XLR inputs, and I think 2 line inputs as well (total, 4).

    My reason for recommending these is because they come bundled with Cubase, and the hardware/software will work together making it easier to set up and use.

    I recommend Cubase instead of Logic Pro (which is Apple software) because I believe you will find it MUCH easier to learn to use -- it's a fine "blend" of power combined with ease-of-usage.

    You'll also need at least 2 mics -- could be the subject of an entire thread.
    And mic cables.
    And mic stands.

    And at least one good pair of "closed ear" headphones, so that you can multi-track without bleed-through.

    OK, that oughta get you goin'....

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  13. #9

    Default Re: I want to make a demo. Which tunes should I use?

    Quote Originally Posted by J.Albert View Post
    . . . OK, that oughta get you goin'....
    Yes, indeed! Thanks!

  14. #10
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    Default Re: I want to make a demo. Which tunes should I use?

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    I'm wondering about saving up to put together a digital audio workstation, known to people who know what they're doing as a DAW... Been making recordings for about ten years on a Tascam. So far, none has sounded great.
    I bought a few pieces of used recording gear and recorded original material over 3-4 years. Even spent 3 years prior learning guitar so I could play on my own recordings. The raw recordings were a little disappointing at first.

    Then I began importing the digital tracks onto my PC with a software daw and the results were better than the digital recorder tracks. Recording at home with a software daw allows the opportunity to refine and redo tracks in a way that would never be feasible (for me) when paying as you go in a studio. It's a learning curve but it's not expensive if you keep it simple and shop smart.

  15. #11

    Default Re: I want to make a demo. Which tunes should I use?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Wilson View Post
    I bought a few pieces of used recording gear and recorded original material over 3-4 years. Even spent 3 years prior learning guitar so I could play on my own recordings. The raw recordings were a little disappointing at first.

    Then I began importing the digital tracks onto my PC with a software daw and the results were better than the digital recorder tracks. Recording at home with a software daw allows the opportunity to refine and redo tracks in a way that would never be feasible (for me) when paying as you go in a studio. It's a learning curve but it's not expensive if you keep it simple and shop smart.
    Yeah, I've spent hundreds of hours editing my Tascam tracks. I know a DAW would be easier. I just don't know whether the material warrants the time and money. Might be time to move on.

    So I'm doing some pricing.

  16. #12
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: I want to make a demo. Which tunes should I use?

    I listened to a sample and I thought it was presentable. I am not so sure about doing a full band demo. I have heard it is better demo to sell a song to be a simple arrangement. This way a band or artist can make their own arrangement and see how it fits to their own styles. Otherwise you limit yourself. Just my 2 cents. Keep it simple and send out to as many possibilities as you can.
    Jim

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  18. #13

    Default Re: I want to make a demo. Which tunes should I use?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    I listened to a sample and I thought it was presentable. I am not so sure about doing a full band demo. I have heard it is better demo to sell a song to be a simple arrangement. This way a band or artist can make their own arrangement and see how it fits to their own styles. Otherwise you limit yourself. Just my 2 cents. Keep it simple and send out to as many possibilities as you can.
    Well! "Presentable" is an improvement!

  19. #14
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    Default Re: I want to make a demo. Which tunes should I use?

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    Have any idea what the most modest Mac is that would work well? I'm told the Macbook Air isn't fast enough. How about a bottom-of-the-line iMac?
    Look at used imacs ffrom Apple or other online sellers with good ratings. You only need a powerful CPU and lots of RAM (quadcore and 32G) if you're using a lot of effects processors, synthesized instruments or mixing a lot of tracks. But you do need a good CPU, lots RAM, SSD etc to do video editing. Look for a quadcore i5 or i7 and at least 16G RAM, an SSD and a rotating disk for storage. Then you can use Garage Band or pony up for Logic.

    The Home Recording for Dummies and for Idiots are good books, also ones by Dave Hunter, Bob Katz, Owsinski and Mike Senior on home recording. Probably can find at least a couple in public libraries

    https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_s...recording+book
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