Home Forums Dr. Fletch – “Ask the Doc” Recording a song

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    Julio
    Julio
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    Post count: 36

    Hello Guy
    Every time I hear a song there is a question that comes to mind… when recording a song, I guess that rythmic guitars and vocals are recording first and the guitar solos are recording as overdubs, so that means that when recording the rythmic parts, you have to plan how many seconds of “space” you have to leave to fill later with the guitar solos. How is that made, intuition? you plan just play this chords three, four times, then start singing, and hope that that “space” is enough for the guitar solos…
    And, also, you need to have very clear what do you have to record lately as overdubs to leave more “space” if, for example, there is going to be also saxophone solos, or keyboards, fiddle etc etc, so, how much time does it takes to figure all that when recording the basic tracks (guitar, rithmic), and how is planned, you are trying and seeing how it goes, or it’s perfectly designed from the start?

Viewing 4 replies - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
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  • Stephen ButlerStephen Butler
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    Post count: 23

    Hello Julio:

    You are very welcome. Sorry it’s taken me so long to see this, it’s been a bit busy at home. I’m glad it helped.

    Cheers,
    Stephen

    JulioJulio
    Participant
    Post count: 36

    Thanks Stephen, your explanation is far far far far better than Guy’s…

    You’ve been very sensitive for all of us that are not musicians and didn´t participated in any recording session ever. Very interesting and very kind from you.

    Stephen ButlerStephen Butler
    Participant
    Post count: 23

    Julio:

    I’m aware that to some the practice of “arrangement” may be alien to some who are a) not musical at all or b) death metal fans. It is, like arranging flowers or Christmas cakes, the concept of planning instrumentation and vocals in advance so that the record is interesting, flows nicely, and doesn’t over-or-underwhelm the listener. Wikipedia defines it as a “musical reconceptualization of a previously composed work,” but I’m not sure that is always strictly accurate, because the definition doesn’t establish why it is done. At least not where rock, pop, jazz or any sub-genres are concerned. Even in classical music, composition and arrangement can fall hand in hand. But let’s assume that a record is an “arrangement” of the song’s “demo.” Unless you’re Pink Floyd, who I believe recorded the entire The Wall album (minus the odd song here and there) before recording the album proper. That is in addition to Roger Waters’ own demo that he presented to the band in the first place. Here’s how I define working out how a song should sound. Usually I work with my dear brother, who will say:

    “I’ve written a brilliant song.”

    My reply: “OK, what will it sound like?”

    His response: “Like Supergrass on speed.”

    To be honest, I’d rather he said that than “Like a complex version of Dream Theater.” It means guitar, bass and drums, maybe a solo or two, possibly piano in the chorus. The band will usually play its “basic” parts first, such as drums, bass and rhythm guitar, then add the piano, vocals and any other synth parts on top.

    When I’m working on my own, because (not wishing to brag) I play all the instruments myself, I start with a “guide piano” of the song to flesh out its structure. This allows me to play the drum part without having to ‘imagine’ the song in my head. Once the drumming is complete, it is bass time. Depending on the complexity of the bass part, I play it over and over until I have a bass line or lines that I’m happy with, and go for a take. Or two. Or forty-eight, until I get it right. After that, I try and do a vocal. The reason I do a vocal so early is because it means that the microphone doesn’t pick up too much sound from the headphones; I have them turned right down as it is, but if you play it too quietly you have a tendency to sing out of tune. That’s my excuse anyway. The lead vocal is followed by acoustic guitar. I usually have that on my recordings because I like it. From then on, it really depends on what the song needs. Is it a blues/Bee Gees mix? U2/Pet Shop Boys (come on – that’s ridiculous!)? That’s what makes recording music fun! I hope it’s been interesting and not too dull.

    Cheers!

    Dr. FletchDr. Fletch
    Keymaster
    Post count: 59

    it’s called arranging Julio

    G

    Hello Guy
    Every time I hear a song there is a question that comes to mind… when recording a song, I guess that rythmic guitars and vocals are recording first and the guitar solos are recording as overdubs, so that means that when recording the rythmic parts, you have to plan how many seconds of “space” you have to leave to fill later with the guitar solos. How is that made, intuition? you plan just play this chords three, four times, then start singing, and hope that that “space” is enough for the guitar solos…
    And, also, you need to have very clear what do you have to record lately as overdubs to leave more “space” if, for example, there is going to be also saxophone solos, or keyboards, fiddle etc etc, so, how much time does it takes to figure all that when recording the basic tracks (guitar, rithmic), and how is planned, you are trying and seeing how it goes, or it’s perfectly designed from the start?

Viewing 4 replies - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)

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