Tag: Studio

  • Spaghetti Western

    I love classic Western movies. When I started my current studio project, I intended all of the arrangements to be in the spaghetti western style. It’s the twangy guitar, the whistle, and the tumbleweeds blowing through the studio. It turns out that my songs led the arrangements in a different direction. I have some leftover…

  • Trust My Gut

    I was finishing up the mix for Grown Man Cry. With each minor tweak, I tried to convince myself that it was good enough. Everything sounded exactly how I planned it. It should have been good enough. There were just too many little things that would have haunted me forever. I started over from scratch.…

  • Cosmic Nesting Songs

    There are three songs for my current project that remain unfinished. I like to work on one song at a time but I’ve been having some focus issues. I decided to record the scratch track for all three songs. I was hoping this would provide a foundation for making arrangement decisions. To my surprise, all…

  • Scrap the Whistle

    I had a plan. I’ve lost count but I think this is probably my third attempt at recording Hard Man. My previous attempts have culminated in a muddy mess. The starting track has been a very aggressive acoustic guitar part with lots of rhythmic rolls. During my current attempt, I added a supplementary guitar part…

  • Dear Diary

    If you have been keeping score at home, you know that I’ve been working on my “new” record since last March. I keep getting stuck. I don’t believe that writer’s block is a real thing. As a workaholic, I simply keep working. As long as I am working, I can power through to the other…

  • Weird Folk Groove

    I was working on a mix and it occurred to me that making Weird Folk is kind of tricky. If you are making dance music, you pump the bass and nothing else matters. For pop music, you make the vocals hot and put it over a squashed mix with a straight-ahead beat. Country is the…

  • Sounds Like Mud

    I once again find myself starting over… again. I have always been very confident in my musical arrangements. When I start a song, I follow my gut. I hear the part that I want in my head and then make it happen. I need something that sounds like “vrump, vrump, vrump” and then create that…

  • Music Box

    There were two tracks left to record to satisfy my planned arrangement. I wanted a piano part to fill out the middle of the mix and I needed an additional lead part. I didn’t have a plan for the lead. It was written on my list as “something bright.” My studio doesn’t currently include an…

  • Studio On My Phone

    My studio setup has changed several times over the past couple of years. I’ve tried to document the specific details of these changes as they have happened. I was recently thinking about my studio iterations with a broader view. The technology changes have been astounding. About five years ago, I switched to a setup with…

  • Telephone

    Yesterday, I wrote about my friend Jesse, whose judgment I trust completely. He helped me come to terms with the fact that my recording of “Old Photographs” isn’t as finished as I had previously assumed. I knew it wasn’t right but I didn’t know how to fix it. He asked the fundamental question, “What are…

  • Tzzzzz

    You know that type of older lady that tries to sell the idea that she has never had gas in her life. Maybe it’s your great aunt or a neighbor who used to babysit you. She gives you three bowls of bean soup for dinner and then is appalled when you release enough natural gas…

  • Producer’s Block

    I think that I am experiencing a weird form of block. It’s like writer’s block but it’s happening in the studio. I guess it’s producer’s block. Last week I was complaining about a kazoo part in “Idea 9.” I mastered this track in July and here I am still questioning the quality of my work.…

  • Statues Again

    I recently acquired a new guitar. This meant that I had to try out my songs on the new instrument. A different tone can change the entire complexion of a song. I’ve found a handful of songs that don’t work well on this guitar but most of my tunes sound good. Something almost mystical happened…

  • Screaming in the Closet

    I’ve been almost finished with the new recording of “Old Photographs” for a while. Everything is balanced and the parts sound exactly how I intended. But it was missing something. I kept tweaking, hoping it would magically fix itself. Somewhere around the third iteration, I tried adding some harmonies to the chorus. This made everything…

  • Scratch : Old Photographs

    Check out the demo version of Old Photographs on YouTube. This song is almost 25 years old. I think it’s still a solid song and I’m glad it’s getting an update. Maybe someday I will let you hear the original version. It makes me feel good that something this old can find new life. I…

  • The Red Eye Arrangement

    This is my favorite part of the recording process. A raw song is so ripe with potential. The barebones guitar track could become anything. I have big plans for this song that include drums, dirty guitar, mandolin, lap steel, banjo, and maybe some tuba. Check out the pure potential of this song on YouTube.

  • Popeye’s Forearms

    I hit another roadblock in the studio. I’ve been working on the same bass part for a week and a half. When I was figuring out arrangements for the song, I heard this bass part in my head. I knew how I wanted it to go. The problem occurred when I tried to play the…

  • It Didn’t Work

    I am sure this has happened to you too. I had a plan. I spent all day working on my project, according to plan. When I got to the end of the day, I realized that I had nothing to show for my time. I guess that is not entirely true. I had a long…

  • The Low Note

    I started playing the trombone when I was in the fourth grade. I played it throughout college but after that, it started collecting dust in the corner. Just like the treadmill or the artist’s easel, the trombone in the corner carries a lot of good intentions. I reconnected with the trombone to record a part…

  • 1000 Screeching Banshees

    I was working on a mix in the studio and it was missing something. It needed a big thick chord in the back of the mix. I needed a large ethereal ringing sound. I needed the autoharp. My vintage autoharp had been leaning against the studio wall for a long time. It’s been at least…

  • No Proof

    I had a recording session with my friend Brandon. I needed a wicked guitar solo for one of the new songs. I had a truly epic time. We drank a lot of coffee and talked about everything. We solved all of the problems with religion, we discussed the rare bright spots in pop culture, we…

  • Hard Man Whistle

    I recorded a version of my song called “Hard Man.” Buried in the mix is a whistle. I initially thought that this countermelody was going to be a bass part. I couldn’t figure out how to play the part on any of my instruments. So I whistled it and it’s now my favorite thing about…

  • SM57

    You wouldn’t use a saw to pound in a nail or a hammer to make a cut. You have to use the right tool for the job. A good, high-end microphone would cost as much as all of my microphones added together. My best microphone is called Josephine. She is a fantastic microphone, perfect for…

  • Bob Dylan’s Guitar

    When I record my guitar, it sounds like some rubber bands stretched over a cardboard box. This guitar is a distinctive part of my sound. For 20 years, I have struggled to get an accurate representation of it in the studio. I’ve tried many different approaches and techniques. The guitar part that I recorded last…

  • Old Strings

    I know that I need new strings on my guitar. Some people change their strings after every aggressive session. I rarely change a string unless it snaps and sends a sharp wire flying towards my eyes. Lately, my b-string has been wearing out very quickly. New strings are very bright and shimmery but not in…

  • Try Again

    I’ve been working on recording my new song called Hard Man. I love this song. I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback and I feel like this song is important. Getting a great studio recording feels very essential. Maybe the pressure is getting to me. Everything that I have recorded is absolute crap. I spent…

  • Hard Man – scratch track

    Stuff piles up (physically and metaphorically) and it becomes impossible to get anything done. I’ve been all talk for a long time but now I finally got my home studio organized and operational. I spent a good chunk of time recording on Thursday. If you are keeping score, you know that Wednesday is my studio…

  • Garbage Truck

    I finally carved out some time to work in the studio today. I’ve been kicking this can down the road for a while and it was long overdue. I’ve been distracted by many other things. It was so good to set up some microphones and get to work. Everything was set up, I had the…

  • The Click

    I finally got myself back into the studio. I have been itching to work on a new arrangement of an old song. The acoustic guitar is supposed to be the foundation for the recording. I know how to play guitar. I have been doing it for a long time. This part is not difficult but…

  • Follow the Bugs

    I am working on a rough mix of my song called Bugs. The parts were recorded almost two years ago. It didn’t fit with any other projects at the time and was relegated to the back of the queue. As I am currently between projects (completely directionless), this mix has now found its way to…

  • This is Josephine

    I bought a new microphone. It’s called Josephine. She came to me with that name. I didn’t name her. Ear Trumpet Labs has a line of hand-built, vintage looking, large diagram condenser microphones. Each model has a different feminine sounding name. I just bought a Josephine. This new microphone will be my primary setup for…

  • Old Man Vocals

    I sound like my future.

  • Boom, It’s an Organ

    This sounds like a vintage scary movie.

  • Trombone

    This made my lips swell.

  • Banging the Kettle

    Hit it with a stick and see what it sounds like.

  • Seed of Doubt

    What type of flower grows form the seed of doubt?

  • Hannah and the Handbells

    Handbells are the perfect instrument for an octopus.

  • Vrump

    Vrump – vrump – vrump, that is all.

  • Joyous Noise on a Tiny Blue Drum Kit

    I’m not too big to play a tiny blue drum kit.

  • Tiny Blue Drum Kit

    Everybody needs a tiny blue drum kit.

  • Green Guitar

    This green guitar is the reason that I am so incredibly cool.

  • Sunk Cost Fallacy

    July 19, 2021 Sunk Cost Fallacy This economic principle states that we demonstrate a greater tendency to continue something once time, money, or effort has been invested.   I wrapped up production on the new mix for Pancakes.  This is the Busted Banjo version of Pancakes.  When I conceived this arrangement of the song almost…