Join Todd Howard for an in-depth discussion in this video Building up the arrangement and adding a chorus with acoustic guitar, part of Learning Songwriting: Logic Pro.
Logic has some great functionality that will you to chop up, copy, paste or move things around to your liking, as you're experimenting with arranging your new song idea. I'll take you through a few of them here before we build up the arrangement with some acoustic guitar, which I'll use to add a chorus. I'd also like to experiment with widening the mandola part and extending the intro. Now, I've taken a little more time to nail what I'm hearing for this bass part, and I've comped together the sections of the various takes that I like best, just as I explained in the previous video and I flattened and merged them all into one composite bass part, let's check it out.
So this is definitely a more solid performance of the ideas I was working up, when I was experimenting on writing the part, right now it loops around pretty nicely as well. So that's the part. The only thing I'm feeling is this drummer part is not really happening for me at this point, like basically two things. I'm feeling like he's not in the groove. Now that the bass part is in there I feel like the bass wants to kind of drive the feel a little more, it's kind of an aggressive style based part and the drummer's kind of slack jones at the moment.
I want to kind of pick that feel up a little bit. Now luckily there's a great and easy way to do that. Double click on the drummer region to bring up the drummer editor and if you go into details you can see there's a Feel selector which allows you to push the beat or pull the beat. So see what happens if I really pull back on the beat it's going to sound super slack, check this out. Almost out of time, it's kind of like these guys do not play together but how bout this, listen here I'm going to play, and then I'm going to roll this as I go. Little to much. That's right in the pocket. The snare is right where I want it to be, you know? Okay, so that's getting the feel a little closer to what I'm looking for.
The actual snare part still isn't exactly where I want it. I have some other ideas but we can work with that as we go along. Okay. So I'm going to double-click to close. Now, I feel like this song is definitely going to need an intro. If this is kind of the jam that's going to happen before the vocals come in, I think this current set of 4 bars is not going to be quite long enough. My sense is I want to kind of hear that progression played twice. So, a really easy way to do that. I can actually select all of the regions I have recorded currently, with Cmd+A, standard Mac OS keyboard shortcut and move all of these regions ahead four bars.
Now, all I need to do is option, click, drag this first chunk of the drummer part here to bring it over, and fill in the beginning. And I can use my period key to move ahead a bar, or the comma to move back, to make sure my play head is exactly on the bar, in the first sample. Here it is, see, division one, tick one of beat one, bang. And I'm just select the mandola part, hit Cmd+T as I covered earlier, to slice the region and one more option click drag to fill in the beginning. So we've got mandola and drums for an intro. Now these are still called verse so that's no good, right click, name and color, rename regions, Shift+N will also work, Enter, I'm going to click this one and say Shift+N and intro.
So, that's good for my sections. Okay. But, I want to actually get sort of a little busier drum part for the intro and then it will come down to a calmer part for the verse. So, rather than click on this intro piece and making an adjustment and try to do the same thing here or do something different I can join them by shift clicking the second one and Cmd+J. Drummer will turn them into the same object and now I can actually crank up the complexity a bit. I don't want to adjust the loudness and have the mix be varying but move my cycle region down here so I can hear what I'm doing.
But I just want to get this part to sort of feel more like an intro, a little busier. I'm just going to work with it a little bit, I also might want to push the beat as far as I pushed it here. So let me see if I can match that up, okay. We see, make sure the chorus in served in the same pocket as well, so I don't forget to do that later, probably could select them all, and do that. And have it take the same one on, if you wanted to make sure they accurate but a little bit of variation is kind of nice. Okay, so I'm going to play, and I'm going to work with the complexity and loudness of this intro. See if I can get a little more juice out of it. Here we go.
A little more. So then I'm going to want to hear how that transitions into the verse, and I might want to amp up that fill a little bit. It might be easier to hear this if we actually have some bass, so why not grab eight bars of bass as well. Let's see let me make sure I have 8, 1,2,3,4,5,6,7, 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8, here we go, Cmd+T to slice, option include drag. And I can use this sort of slidey up bass part and the downy bass part at different points in the song later as I chop and mix and match but for now I just want to have it filled in with some good sound and I also want to make a cross fade here between region 1 and region 2.
So there is no pop or any weirdness, so just left click and drew a box to select them both or you could do a shift click like normal. Going to the region selector, my type of fade out instead of out will be a cross fade, then I'll just draw in a clicking and dragging up a few milliseconds. So it's here. Okay, so now I can concentrate on that fill, let's actually do just this short part, and I'll mess with the fill till I like it Cool so that felt like we were about to drop a vocal right there a nice snare fill, couple toms. So I'm pretty happy with that for the moment and we're just going to extent the cycle region back out to cover the intro and the verse.
Okay next I'm going to hit E to close my editor and I want to look at widening this mandola part so as solo part Yep, sounds like one mandola playing right in the middle of the stereo image, with a nice reverb. Sounds beautiful. I really wanted to get a wide, strummy rhythm happening. And this is kind of be one of the hooks of this song is this mandola sound, which doesn't appear to often in a rock tune. So I kind of want to feature it. So what I'm going to do is double this part.
The easiest way to do that is to press Cmd+D once you've selected the track, which creates an exact duplicate of the channel strip. So if we go over into the mixer you can just see really quickly that it's got the same plugins sending to bus three the same amount, same EQ cruved we had one. And the same level that I had set and I can call this, mandola right, and I'll add L to this one. Now with these regions selected I'm going to option click drag them down into the mandola right track and make a duplicate of all three regions.
And while I'm dragging if I hold the shift key as well. It will constrain the movement so that I can't slide off access, it keeps it locked right to where I want it. Okay? So now I've got an exact duplicate, on an exact duplicate channel strip, sounding exactly the same. So, there'll be no variation yet. Listen. The only difference I should add is it is obviously louder, probably by about 3dd. If I pan these out notice when I do that that my level returns pretty much back down to where it was when it was just mono in terms of overall volume.
But the image of the sound is a little bit wider, it's still not quite as wide as I want. I actually really want to hear it as though there were two mandola players strumming on both sides of the stage, for example. So the best way to do that is to move one of the wave forms ahead in time so that it actually sounds like two human beings are playing that, you know, aren't quite playing exactly at the same place. So, what I need to make sure is that my snap is set to sample, so that I can move these regions by sample, and not just by beat or measure and I can just click, and move to the right, a few samples.
So right now I'm moving many, many, many samples. I actually want to move only small amount. So, I'm going to hit undo, I'll zoom in, after hitting return to get the play I had at the beginning. And I'm going to zoom in by pressing Cmd+Right arrow and get these parts nice and visible. As you can see what I'm doing. So now I'm going to move it to the right and I can see in the position line of the pop up tooltip six sample, seven, eight, nine about 20 and see how it sounds. So it's a little bit wider, you can find of feel an imbalance but I want to hear more distance between those strums.
So I'm going to go even further, let's see what happens if we do 30. So I'm asking myself the question right now, is this 28 samples further ahead or is it a total of 28 off its original position? To be sure of that, I'm going to hit undo and undo to put them back where they belong and then I'm going to move it 30, just to make sure, cause I'm not sure what Logic is doing there, the tool tip is a little misleading at times. So let's listen now. Cool, that sounds a lot better If you're not listening in headphones, you're probably not hearing much of a difference. But in headphones with that moved off about 32 samples and both panned out extremely, it sounds like a huge part now Cool, I'm really liking how that sounds.
So, the only thing that's throwing me off now was the fact that I keep clipping and levels are really shooting up. So, I'm going to hop back in the mixer really quick and look at all these levels. I'm going to balance these all out to zero for now and then select everything by clicking and dragging across, the channel strip names, and pulling them down maybe minus 8, or 9. Shoot, for some reason this one was not in the right place and all of these were offset. So I'm just going to Opt+Click to make sure they're all in the same place, bring them all down minus 8.
And then play, and I'm going to adjust the mandolas to suit. I can also check out the compressor on the drums now and see if I can get a little more juice out of it there. Check the bass as well Okay, so just a little bit of mixing so when I start to work with my acoustic guitar in the chorus, I've kind of got a nice backing gan to play to, I'm just using my own taste. You can just trust your instinct about putting together a little mix that makes you feel like you want to play to it. I mean this is all about you hearing what you want to hear while you're recording. Okay so I want to carry this name over from the bass track to all of the bass regions, by pressing Shift+Opt+N, now they're all named bass.
So there's another piece of organization that makes a lot of sense to me, because I'm a very visual person. You may be different, but for me I really like to see things colorized. So I'm going to go ahead and make both these mandola tracks, let's say, red. By selecting both and Opt+C to bring up the color palette and chosing red and click on bass, maybe go with brown, guitar, how about. Yeah, that looks more like a guitar color, the top of my guitar anyway. Vocals I'll leave blue, background vocals I'll make a shaded version of blue.
Piano, maybe we'll go purple, and organ we'll go to kind of indigo or violet. Okay, close this up. Then you might be saying, okay that's cool, they're labeled here, but why not here? And you can actually cascade those colors just like we did with the names by using instead of Shift+Opt+N for name Shift+Opt+C for color, cascade the colors that you've chosen our to your track. So I'm actually going to do it for the rest of these as well, even though you can't see right now. What those colors will be, but once I record something into those tracks, they'll pick up the colors of the track mixer.
Now I'm feeling like we're getting set here. Okay. So I'm going to get ready to record the acoustic guitar and I had mentioned that I had some cords for the chorus. I've still be working on my lyric here and actually started to work on the chorus specifically and decided to kind of work out a way that. Use some of the rhymes that I came up with earlier, and make it's way all the way through to the write what you know phrase so that'll be sort of the last line of the chorus. So it's like one of those times where maybe the hook would be at the end of the chorus as opposed to right at the beginning, this is sort of more of a rock tune that it doesn't sort of have that pop need for the repeated words in the chorus or something super catchy.
So I'm just starting to have it be a little bit of a longer chorus and have a hook at the end that, when we get to the end of the song, I might be able to repeat it kind of as a round or a fugue, or, you know, some sort of multivocal sort of texture but all improv, I have no idea what that's going to be now, but that's my instinct about it. So I came up with some chords work in the key that sort of go with some of these lines and I sort of have a way that I'm singing this last line in my head, although I haven't committed to it yet. So we'll see what happens when we get there and I still need a line here cause this is touchy.
How am I going to write a line of lyrics that have to do with my parents splitting up that doesn't sound either melodramatic or cheesy or too intimate and too personal. So I am still working on that one there but I know it has to connect to them singing in harmony and somehow the break up is ironic because Hey Jude, the song, is actually about divorce. So, that kind of ties in, in a really cool way that's what I am thinking about that. Just letting you have a little peak inside. So let's get ready to do this acoustic. I will tab over to apogees, make sure my levels are in good shape.
I raise up a little when I was sort of setting levels before, I'm pretty happy with 16 but always make sure you're checking your interface and make sure your levels are good. Keep one eye on the level meter over here on the guitar to make sure we're not clipping, for now I can press record to arm it. Input monitoring, so I can hear what I'm doing, press return to bring the play head back to the beginning. In order to start moving my cycle region around, I want to make sure I get back to beats, so these are always on the money. So I'm just going to isolate the first half of the verse, and I'm going to record that. Then I'm going to be able to reuse that here and here, and then I'll jump ahead and record the chorus.
We just need to get some verse chords to start with Then press R to record. I'll get one bar of pre-roll and then I'll just go for it. Okay, so I did two takes there since the first one wasn't right on and I'm glad because in the second take I feel like I was off the beat a little bit, kind of pushing, so I'll be able to build that together into a workable part and now I'll move my cycle region down to chorus. Snap it to the beginning and extend the end to last for the length because there's different chord progression at the end of the chorus. So I can't loop it in that same way. All right, I'm going to give it a shot. All right, and spacebar to stop so I'm just going to click on that take, and hit delete on the keyboard, and it should go away and I can swipe that back to the beginning, cool, so this one I can flatten and merge cause it's just one pass.
I don't need to worry about it. I just want to get rid of that extra space. In this one I'm going to have to work on comping together. So I'm sure that I've got the part the way I like. Now I'll just be able to paste these into the beginning of the intro, the rest of the verse. I'll make some decisions about that and then I'll be ready to take a stab at recording a verse and a chorus of vocals.
Want to learn about other tools for songwriting? Check out our Songwriting series, which covers other DAWs like Pro Tools and GarageBand.