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Thread: My first attempt... sound clip of a funky tune.

  1. #1
    Registered User Oggy's Avatar
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    Default My first attempt... a funky Garageband tune.

    This is only a sketch and my first attempt at recording something like this.

    I just made a drum beat, a bass line and a funky kind of sounding organ in Garageband, then started playing. So, it's totally improvised, with some obvious mistakes. Made a couple of takes and choose the best one.

    The mandolin was recorded through my Zoom H2.

    Let me know what you think. Is this a path I should continue (with a more serious effort)? How does the "fake" Garageband instruments sound? Does it sound cheap? What about the balance between the instruments? I suspect its a bit too much bass.

    And might I add: I realize that it would sound A LOT better if it was recorded with real instruments, but I don't have a band that I could do this kind of stuff with... I play mostly alone... so this is just a way to get that band thing going, on my own.

    Thanks in advance!
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    Last edited by Oggy; Mar-24-2010 at 10:25am.

  2. #2

    Default Re: My first attempt... sound clip of a funky tune.

    Sounds great! I say do more!

  3. #3
    Ben Beran Dfyngravity's Avatar
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    Default Re: My first attempt... sound clip of a funky tune.

    I agree, that sounds pretty good to me. I would keep going, but like you said...a little more serious. This is how I came up with a few of my own tunes. Just keep jamming and usually a melody will start to develop.

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    Registered User Bob Andress's Avatar
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    Default Re: My first attempt... sound clip of a funky tune.

    I really liked that. Sure, real instrumentation would be more authentic but it sounded fine. Very nice mando work. And yes, you should do more.

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    Default Re: My first attempt... sound clip of a funky tune.

    Nice mando playing. I think the background music was good it had a smooth jazz kind of feel.

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    Default Re: My first attempt... sound clip of a funky tune.

    What are you using for mandolin? What are you using for an amp?

  7. #7

    Default Re: My first attempt... sound clip of a funky tune.

    Oggy ...Very nice......smooth....bluesy...jazzy...bluegrassy at times...You have great talent! How long have you been playing?

  8. #8
    Registered User MandoNicity's Avatar
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    Default Re: My first attempt... sound clip of a funky tune.

    I liked this also. Sounds great!

  9. #9
    Registered User Oggy's Avatar
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    Default Re: My first attempt... sound clip of a funky tune.

    Thanks for the kind words folks! It was really fun recording like this, really relaxed and... just for fun. The tune itself would surely need a more obvious melody or theme, but hey, this is just the first draft. I'll try to record some more (if my kids will allow it... they were roaming around my feet during this recording too).

    To answer some questions:

    - The mandolin is my Kimble A5 (#144, made in 2008).
    - The recording equipment is as simple as can be, only my MacBook and a Zoom H2... using the Zoom as a USB-interface and recording the mandolin through its built-in mic directly to Garageband.
    - I have been playing for about 5 years.

    Keep on pickin'!
    Last edited by Oggy; Mar-25-2010 at 2:13am.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: My first attempt... sound clip of a funky tune.

    Okay...so this was smooth...

    It sounded like it belonged in the A Side montage on Zappa's Lumpy Gravy
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  11. #11
    Registered User Oggy's Avatar
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    Default Re: My first attempt... sound clip of a funky tune.

    Smooth? The recording actually sounds quite rough to me.

    Now I have to check out that Zappa album.

  12. #12
    Registered User grassrootphilosopher's Avatar
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    Default Re: My first attempt... sound clip of a funky tune.

    Hi Oggy,

    it seems that Iīd like to try that swedish Kimble. Your Kimble sounds very good.

    Let me try to put a couple of questions (from comparing different soundclips in different threads). Am I right that your Kimble sounds darker and not so ringy as does Jonas Campanella? Am I right as it does sound "loose" (not restrained).

    How far from the H2 were you when you recorded the instrument. Did you do any mastering (EQ etc.)?

    Have you had new(ish) strings on the instrument?

    The questions touch on a couple of things that I think about.
    1. I really do like your Kimble (and Jonas Campanella as Bertīs Stanley); not having access to these builts I am interested in learning about them.
    2. From experience I know that different positions when recording an instrument cause different tone in a recording. My old Strad-O-Lin - while it sounds really good in the first place - can be spiffed up soundwise in the recording process through placing the microphone "right". (high gain level with a distance of about 20 cm from the mic etc.)
    3. There is really a reason why tone engineers are in demand for session recordings. All of us who have to do the recording alone are in a plight because we not only do our arranging, playing and planing alone but also our setup, recording, mixing etc. Thus we have a workload on our hands that is sometimes more than a decent person can handle. I have done my first recording on a hard disk recorder in 2002. 8 years later Iīm at least able to arrange the songs in a way that a multitrack recording sounds ok. I am still a dunce when it comes to compression, equalizing, reverb etc.
    4. I found out that instrument setup and strings (new or old) have a lot to do with how the instrument sounds on a recording.

    Now to your recording. I have no experience with your program (Garageband). I do my recording as multitracks and play all the instruments myself (or Monroe-like with my friends and just one mic). If Iīm right, you canīt multitrack with an H2 (but with an H4 it would be possible). I would do a simple backup track (drums and bass). This - while no real instruments sounds the least artificial. Keep it simple is the key to a good recording. While in the begining I tried to put everything I knew into each single track I found out that they sounded overloaded when mixed together. When mixing instruments try to keep the backup "instruments" in the rear. This - I think - is the hardest part. I sometimes thought that the mix on your recording was not "smooth" but I cannot lay my finger on it (maybe the dynamics when playing the mandolin caused some parts of the recorded mandolin sound more quiet than others thus causing these parts to take the backseat to the "background tracks").

    All in all your first attempt sounds quite nice. I would definately keep it up. I learned a wealth of knowledge through recording myself.
    Olaf

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    Registered User Oggy's Avatar
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    Default Re: My first attempt... sound clip of a funky tune.

    Thanks for the in depth answer Olaf. I'll try to answer your questions…

    1. I haven't had the opportunity to play my Kimble and Jonas Campanella side by side yet, but I do believe your assumption is quite right… the Kimble is a little darker sounding, as well as looser or more open. At least, so far. The Campanella is still very young, and has a red spruce top. My Kimble has a engelmann top and is a year older. So I bellieve the Campanella will develop quite a lot the coming years… but it sounds great already.

    2. If I remember correctly, I recorded the mandolin part maybe a foot away from the Zoom H2 (30 centimeters). No mastering, no EQ, except a bit of reverb. But I do believe that GarageBand, which is a very basic "plug and play" kind of software, adds some sort of compression to the final mixdown automatically.

    3. The strings are really old. 7 months or more. EXP-74's. Need to change them, I know.

    And let me stress, I'm a lousy sound engineer (which is evident in the recording, I'm sure)... and I actually hate recording (never seem to play at my highest level, always cramp up). So this recording was just a way to record without any pressure, just for fun.
    Last edited by Oggy; Apr-07-2010 at 7:45am.

  14. #14
    Registered User grassrootphilosopher's Avatar
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    Default Re: My first attempt... sound clip of a funky tune.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oggy View Post
    Thanks for the in depth answer Olaf. I'll try to answer your questions…

    1. I haven't had the opportunity to play my Kimble and Jonas Campanella side by side yet, but I do believe your assumption is quite right… the Kimble is a little darker sounding, as well as looser or more open. At least, so far. The Campanella is still very young, and has a red spruce top. My Kimble has a engelmann top and is a year older. So I bellieve the Campanella will develop quite a lot the coming years… but it sounds great already.

    2. If I remember correctly, I recorded the mandolin part maybe a foot away from the Zoom H2 (30 centimeters). No mastering, no EQ, except a bit of reverb. But I do believe that GarageBand, which is a very basic "plug and play" kind of software, adds some sort of compression to the final mixdown automatically.

    3. The strings are really old. 7 months or more. EXP-74's. Need to change them, I know.

    And let me stress, I'm a lousy sound engineer (which is evident in the recording, I'm sure)... and I actually hate recording (never seem to play at my highest level, always cramp up). So this recording was just a way to record without any pressure, just for fun.
    1. I really like Jonas Campanella too. It is interesting to see instruments develop. I was in a jam session yesterday. It usually has a "bold" crowd that is not really sesitive. They belt out their tunes and if you want to make yourself heard youīll have to play a manly solo. Yesterday was different as only 4 musicians were there (usually there are 15 or more) and everything was much quiet and subdued. So I was able to play with dynamics. My instrument really shone (dead strings and all). Even when I played it softly with a crooing touch it put a halo of sound into the room and I could hear the projection all over the place (the jamsession took place in a pub). That was a quite noteworthy experience . My instrument is about 4 years old now and while it sounded like an old F-4 (mostly on the higher strings) when I first got it, it has developed into an extremely fine F-5 style instrument with a lot of power and an extremely fine complex tone. Such I presume is happening with yours and Jonas instrument also. The process is fun to experience.

    2. I find the Zoom mp3 recorders quite handy. I donīt own one but have been recorded with them. The results were quite okay for what these thingies are. I would leave reverb out. Usually the recording environment has enough reverb. Sometimes itīs difficult to eliminate the reverb acoustics of the room enough to get a "clean" sound from the instrument. I have tried to add reverb later in the mix via my hard disc recorder (Taskam 788, a really good recorder - even for the technically challenged like me). The results were less than pleasing so I usually leave that alone (yet). I have yet to learn enough about compression in order to find out about initial recording setup in order to not "kill" the instruments sound. I try to record without any enhancements of any kind - including compression - to capture the natural sound of the instrument. I like the Grisman recordings that do the same (Tone Poems...). I also like recordings that capture the acoustics of the room well (Rowan and Douglas "Yonder"; Paul Mehling and Hot Club of San Francisco [same title]).

    3. New or rather played in strings really make a difference, thoug I admit Iīm pretty lazy myself when it comes to string changes.

    With regards to sound engineering, itīs a craft, itīs difficult, it takes a lot to learn and Iīm a dunce at it also. My guitar picking friend, whom I consider very tech savvy as heīs a master electrician has mastered to put up a p.a.-sound for acoustic instruments very well. It took him 1 1/2 years and all his lunch breaks, conversing with an acoustic engineer friend of his to do so. But even though itīs a long road, it is interesting to learn about sound engineering as I think one will understand the instrument and its acoustics better.

    What you say about recording is a well known phenomenon. When I first recorded myself on a cassette I was shocked by the results. I recorded myself because I thought I was quite good. Listening to the recording made me aware of the mistakes I made that I didnīt hear in the playing process. I used to not like recording for that matter. Now, after about 8 years of recording myself on a hard disc recorder (sometimes going over long periods of time without recording anything) I have learned how to arrange a tune so it will sound half decent, I know my limits, I found out how not to overplay, I am much more at ease when I record (I perfectly know about the cramping up, nervousness etc.) and the results are ... okay.

    If youīre playing alone, recording is certainly the way to go to at least wind up somewhere. It will make you a better musician.
    Olaf

  15. #15
    Registered User Oggy's Avatar
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    Default Re: My first attempt... sound clip of a funky tune.

    Yeah, I agree about the importance of recording yourself and scrutinizing what you hear. I do that quite often, with my Zoom H2 or as a video on my MacBook... but making a serious recording, when you aim to let others listen to it, that's when it gets tricky... at least for me.

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    Default Re: My first attempt... sound clip of a funky tune.

    Sounds great Oggy. Keep experimenting with the recording. If nothing else it will inspire you to try things you've never tried and having the "rhythm accompaniment" will ensure you are locking into a groove with good timing. I sympathize with you about cramping up when recording; but I think it's a natural tendency unless you have years of experience performing and recording. I can also relate to having the kids roaming about. Are they musical? Could they keep a beat with some simple percussion? Could be fun to get them exploring music with you.

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