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    Name Manglin' Putz alantig's Avatar
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    Zappa Cover Revisited

    A couple of months ago, I posted a link to a cover of Zappa's "Watermelon In Easter Hay" over on VR, but apparently not here (at least I couldn't find it). One of the comments stood out to me:


    Quote Originally Posted by LSchefman View Post
    Suggestion: I'd kick up the tempo just a bit and loosen things up. I know that whole thing of the record light goes on, and we play kind of tight, but am I correct in my gut feeling that you could cut loose on this just a bit more?

    My first reaction was "I thought I did change things..." but that lasted maybe seven or eight seconds because Les was right, and I kind of knew it as I was recording it. So I filed the comment away and figured I'd work on a couple other things and come back to this. As it turned out, this got done first.


    Here's the new version: http://soundcloud.com/alantig/waterm...-easter-hay-v2


    Faster tempo, less faithful guitar tones, less worked-out solo. Slightly different instrumentation. Still the Custom 22 Soapy on the rhythm guitar, but I went to the 408 for the melody and solo. The melody is the bridge pickup in single coil mode, with the sort of bridge section (the lower pitched part of the melody, bars 9-12 of the verse) the middle setting with the full humbucker neck pickup. That's on the clean channel of the two-channel C. The solo and the distorted chords at the end are the neck pickup in humbucker mode, lead channel of the C, although the chords at the end are EQ'd to thin the sound out a bit. I'd initially planned to do the guitar part all in one take, like a live performance, but ultimately went back to doing the solo and chords as a separate track.


    So fire away!
    Alan

    "I watched approximately 45 seconds of 'Rock Of Ages'. It was like getting punched in the soul." - Abby Krizner

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    Cream Crackered Mikegarveyblues's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alantig View Post
    A couple of months ago, I posted a link to a cover of Zappa's "Watermelon In Easter Hay" over on VR, but apparently not here (at least I couldn't find it). One of the comments stood out to me:





    My first reaction was "I thought I did change things..." but that lasted maybe seven or eight seconds because Les was right, and I kind of knew it as I was recording it. So I filed the comment away and figured I'd work on a couple other things and come back to this. As it turned out, this got done first.


    Here's the new version: http://soundcloud.com/alantig/waterm...-easter-hay-v2


    Faster tempo, less faithful guitar tones, less worked-out solo. Slightly different instrumentation. Still the Custom 22 Soapy on the rhythm guitar, but I went to the 408 for the melody and solo. The melody is the bridge pickup in single coil mode, with the sort of bridge section (the lower pitched part of the melody, bars 9-12 of the verse) the middle setting with the full humbucker neck pickup. That's on the clean channel of the two-channel C. The solo and the distorted chords at the end are the neck pickup in humbucker mode, lead channel of the C, although the chords at the end are EQ'd to thin the sound out a bit. I'd initially planned to do the guitar part all in one take, like a live performance, but ultimately went back to doing the solo and chords as a separate track.


    So fire away!
    Hey Atlantig, this is sounding pretty good. Not heard your other version so can't make the comparison, however it sounds like there may be an issue with the drums. It sounds like the beat is misplaced after the fills. Are you using drum loops?
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    Name Manglin' Putz alantig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikegarveyblues View Post
    Hey Atlantig, this is sounding pretty good. Not heard your other version so can't make the comparison, however it sounds like there may be an issue with the drums. It sounds like the beat is misplaced after the fills. Are you using drum loops?
    Yeah - it's a combination of loops as the base, with the fills played. I noticed what you pointed out when I was mixing yesterday, and I need to go back and look at it again - I was just so anxious to have it done (again) that I talked myself out of checking it closer (but I'm glad you called me out on it - it's a good reminder not to settle!). The other version (if you want to hear it) is on the soundcloud page - http://www.soundcloud.com/alantig.

    Just for a bit of background, what I did was export a couple MIDI and virtual instrument tracks out of the old version and increase the tempo for this one. It may be that I grabbed a bad track, or it may be that the tempo change magnified the timing issues - I'll have to look into it.
    Alan

    "I watched approximately 45 seconds of 'Rock Of Ages'. It was like getting punched in the soul." - Abby Krizner

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    Name Manglin' Putz alantig's Avatar
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    Sat down with it again tonight - I do believe the tempo change made some of the fills seem more off. I adjusted 5-7 of them and posted it again to the same link.
    Alan

    "I watched approximately 45 seconds of 'Rock Of Ages'. It was like getting punched in the soul." - Abby Krizner

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    Cream Crackered Mikegarveyblues's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alantig View Post
    Sat down with it again tonight - I do believe the tempo change made some of the fills seem more off. I adjusted 5-7 of them and posted it again to the same link.
    Sounding better... definately sounds better sped up, and the guitar sounds a lot smoother and more relaxed.

    Still hearing something with the drums which isn't quite right but I can't put my finger on it. This is sounding pretty cool though!
    Modified SE Bernie Marsden, Fender Strat
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    Name Manglin' Putz alantig's Avatar
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    I hear it, too - even after as many times as I've heard it. I'm just not sure I want to edit any more!
    Alan

    "I watched approximately 45 seconds of 'Rock Of Ages'. It was like getting punched in the soul." - Abby Krizner

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    Cream Crackered Mikegarveyblues's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alantig View Post
    I hear it, too - even after as many times as I've heard it. I'm just not sure I want to edit any more!
    I hear you... i was working on some drums for a project recently and the software kept nudging the beat to the left or right of where I wanted it. I figured it out in the end but I wanted to take a hammer to the computer!

    What are you using for your drums? If you want, feel free to export the midi file for the drums and i'll take a look?
    Modified SE Bernie Marsden, Fender Strat
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    Wishing for a Blue Bernie!
    Click here for SE Bernie Marsden demo!
    Lessons, covers, backing tracks, etc...www.youtube.com/mikegarveyblues

  8. #8
    Name Manglin' Putz alantig's Avatar
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    Wow - I didn't realize I never responded to this. Sorry about that, Mike!

    For the drums, for this song, it's Steven Slate 3 EX, using mostly a couple loops with some editing and playing the fills through an Alesis Control Pad.

    After a ProTools upgrade, I finally sat down and revisited and ended up scrapping all the fills and re-recording them. And then I discovered something. I added a reverb plug-in to the drums on the original, slower version, and I never bothered looking at the settings. Turns out it was set to 100% mix - any tweak I did to the reverb (like room type) really made the fills sound like crap (well, relatively speaking - I know my limitations!). Frustrating, really - I never think of effects in terms of keeping the dry track and wet track as two separate entities. I've always thought of it in term of a stomp box model - a balance between the two as one thing. I think I need to change my way of doing things.

    So anyway, I adjusted the mix and picked a different room from the original (which did help tighten it up some), tweaked the ones I chumped and posted the result (and deleted a bunch of old ones).
    Alan

    "I watched approximately 45 seconds of 'Rock Of Ages'. It was like getting punched in the soul." - Abby Krizner

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    Cream Crackered Mikegarveyblues's Avatar
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    Sounding much better Alan!

    Drums are the one thing I still struggle with when recording. I bought some of the add on packs for EZdrummer which have helped but I never seem to get the mix quite right. There's a limit to how much time I want to dedicate to getting my head around all that vs actually playing and writing on the guitar. Never enough hours in the day!
    Modified SE Bernie Marsden, Fender Strat
    Laney Lionheart L5T-112, Fender Mustang 1
    Wishing for a Blue Bernie!
    Click here for SE Bernie Marsden demo!
    Lessons, covers, backing tracks, etc...www.youtube.com/mikegarveyblues

  10. #10
    Name Manglin' Putz alantig's Avatar
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    Thanks Mike. I've realized I have a terrible tendency to rush. Some of the fills, it felt like I had to tell myself to slow way down and it felt like it was sooooo slooooow...but it wasn't. I noticed something similar today trying to a very basic guide drum track (my drum software seems to lack any 3/4 or 6/8 patterns) - I'd recorded a MIDI piano guide, and it rushed horribly in parts. Of course, I also discovered Heather Graham after I got married, so timing has never really been my strong point!

    I think, in reality, I miss the visual cues of playing off someone else - my old drummer and I got to a point where we could almost change an arrangement at will or forget about counting measures because we could just exchange a quick glance and know what the other was going to do.
    Alan

    "I watched approximately 45 seconds of 'Rock Of Ages'. It was like getting punched in the soul." - Abby Krizner

  11. #11
    Cream Crackered Mikegarveyblues's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alantig View Post

    I think, in reality, I miss the visual cues of playing off someone else - my old drummer and I got to a point where we could almost change an arrangement at will or forget about counting measures because we could just exchange a quick glance and know what the other was going to do.
    Yep, I think that's key. Good drummer and things just gel. I think we'll get there eventually but it'll never be quite the same as having live musicians in there with you. Pros and cons to boh approaches.
    Modified SE Bernie Marsden, Fender Strat
    Laney Lionheart L5T-112, Fender Mustang 1
    Wishing for a Blue Bernie!
    Click here for SE Bernie Marsden demo!
    Lessons, covers, backing tracks, etc...www.youtube.com/mikegarveyblues

  12. #12
    Name Manglin' Putz alantig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikegarveyblues View Post
    Yep, I think that's key. Good drummer and things just gel. I think we'll get there eventually but it'll never be quite the same as having live musicians in there with you. Pros and cons to boh approaches.
    That and the fact that, despite playing drums in marching band, I don't think enough like a drummer. When I look at the MIDI for some of the grooves, I see things going on that I wouldn't think to program.
    Alan

    "I watched approximately 45 seconds of 'Rock Of Ages'. It was like getting punched in the soul." - Abby Krizner

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