Podcast: “Dreaming Of Better Days”

This is my 3rd rock-instrumental.

or Listen >>> Dreaming of Better Days (4 min 51 secs)
[Archive.org details]

Chords – A/ C#m/ Bm/ A/ E

Total recording/ production time — approx. 1 week (don’t ask me exactly how many hours!)

Dreaming of Better Days1
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How it was done:
1) I chose a rock drum loop and played the guitar on a distortion (Classic Rock) setting. Once I was happy with the Beats Per Second setting (120 bps), I recorded the rhythm part and replicated it at appropriate intervals.

2) Once I had the drums and rhythm, I played it on a repeat-loop and tried to find an appropriate melody for it. I played the guitar and tried it with different guitar effects and settings. I settled for the “Summer Sound” effect for the lead melody. Then I chose an Amp effect setting and customised it with a Cry-Baby Wah setting. That became my main lead guitar sound. For the distortion guitar fill-ins, I basically used the same lead guitar setting with variations of the Wah and Chorus effects. The recording of the lead and fill-ins took the most time, and often done non-sequentially. In the midst of recording, the tracks looked really messy.

4) After most of the rhythm and lead tracks were recorded to my satisfaction (as far as my skills allowed!), I started to plan the flow of the song, i.e. how much to play the opening chords before the chorus part came in. At this stage, I started cutting the recorded lead tracks and moved them where appropriate.

5) Next, I played the song to get a feel of how it was like overall. I decided it needed another layer of fill-in, and also a ‘Break’ after the chorus. For the additional fill-in, I chose the Acoustic Guitar Echo effect for a cleaner sound. For the ‘Break’, I recorded the rhythm on a Super Fuzz effect setting.

6) I continued with more adjustments (duplicating and placing parts of the recorded tracks). Then I realised it lacked a bass. I don’t have a bass guitar so I recorded with my electric guitar on a Rock Bass effect, with my guitar volume turned up and treble setting at the lowest. I played without a pick to get more of that bass sound. I recorded the bass for the different parts as separate layers. Then I consolidated them into one layer after editing out the parts that were misplayed or unused.

7) At this point, I tried out a few factory loops just for fun, to see if it matched the recorded tracks. Surprisingly, a few of the Jazz Piano loops sounded quite fitting, but some editing was required. In the end, I chose two loops and editing out most of the notes, leaving those that sounded appropriate as fill-ins.

8) Now came the final stage of adjusting the volume settings to ensure that no one track overpowered the rest. I’ve learnt that it was best to do this systematically, starting and completing by parts. E.g. finishing the first stanza before moving to the chorus, then the 3rd stanza, then the ‘Break’, and so on. An adjusted track looks something like this (this was for the lead guitar):
Dreaming of Better Days2
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9) Playing the entire track once again, I felt the drum loop was too consistent throughout. The final missing piece was the cymbals, so I added those for the part after the first chorus and nearer to the end of the song.

This song is far from perfect. I can spot some inconsistencies even as I listen to it now. Some parts I wished I’d played more in time to the drum beat. Overall, I quite happy with this song. There’s a happy and feel-good quality to the song, at least for me.

Comments and suggestions are most welcome.

RamblingLibrarian’s Podcasts:
My Odeo Podcast

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