Join Matt Piper for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating an inspiring musical foundation to help develop your composition, part of Learning Songwriting: Reason.
- When you're working on a track, whether it's a demo or something more professional that you're trying to come out with for the finished product, there are some things that you might think you would save until the end of the mixing process, as far as making the track sound better. But I find that when I'm working on an original composition, I get inspired if I can make things sound as good as possible as early in the process as possible. This is going to make it more inspiring for me as I create more parts, and it's also going to make it feel better when I try to sing to the track.
Even if you're not singing, if you have another singer coming in, creating something that just feels good and sounds good to sing to is important. When an idea occurs to me about how I can make the track sound better, often I will do it right then and there, rather than waiting until the end. Right now what I want to do is record a new acoustic guitar part. Basically, I'm going to play the same idea, but I want to play it along with the drum beat.
That is going to feel better. Hopefully, it's going to be tighter and feel more natural and more unified if I play along with the drum beat as opposed to simply playing along with the click or actually as originally what I did, playing with no click. Then I'm going to do a little trick to make a lush stereo sound for the acoustic guitar track that I think is going to sound really nice. First, I'm just going to record this along with the drum beat. I can erase this track that I already recorded.
I select the acoustic guitar track. It's automatically armed for record. You can see the red record arm button there lit up, and I'll turn on monitoring for the track. I'll just hit record when I'm ready to record and press the spacebar when I'm ready to stop. (drum beat plays) (guitar plays along) Alright, I think that's going to work.
I'll just disarm this track. I didn't record the whole song through. I think I just recorded enough stuff that I can copy and paste to fill up what I need in the song. Now I'd like to show you what I have in mind to make this sound even better. First, I'll just go ahead and shorten that clip. Let's just see... Okay, good, it looks like the attack is just after rather than just before bar one, which is ideal.
I'm going to rename this acoustic guitar left. Now I'm going to create another audio track just below that. I'm going to name that acoustic guitar right. If I simply copied the existing clip onto the right channel, it wouldn't help me, it would just get louder, basically. Let me press F5 to go to the mixer and I'm going to go ahead and pan these, hard left and hard right.
I'll press F7 to go back to the sequencer. Let's just listen to what I have here. (song plays) I played the same thing twice. Actually, several times, and what I'd like to do is select my razor tool, so I'm going to press "r"," that's my shortcut there.
Make a couple of cuts here. I'll press "q" to have my selection tool. I'm going to option click and drag so that I'll be copying instead of simply moving. So you saw what I did there? Now I'm going to copy this one over here and listen to what this sounds like. (song plays) Okay, so now I've got a nice, wide stereo feel, but it doesn't sound like an effect.
It sounds completely natural, and now when I sing my vocals, those will be panned in the middle. I'll have a nice bunch of space for the voice. I think it just sounds much nicer this way. It's a cheap, easy, old-fashioned effect that I think sounds nice. As I continue to edit this track, I'll go through and do that for all the parts that I've recorded.