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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Final 2010 FP Post

Howdy Folks!

One last entry here before the New Year hits. It has been quite a busy last couple of weeks, especially with Christmas parties, get-togethers, what have you... But in the midst of all of the seasonal hustle and bustle, I got a chance to play a solo version of 'Silent Night' on Christmas Eve at my church, and it went well all things considered. The week prior to Christmas was chock full of distractions that minimized my time to prepare for my rendition of 'Silent Night', and admittedly I spaced-out midway through a chorus section and had to sort of ad-lib from there. In a way I felt stupid, but I also walked away with the thought that I just need to relax whenever I screw up a performance and let it go. That all being said, I was really pleased with my tones that night. My rig was: my '05 Gibson Les Paul > Marshall BluesBreaker2 overdrive pedal > Line6 SpiderValveMk2 half stack. I also used a Boss looper pedal to create an ongoing loop of harmonics to play the melody over. Aside from a couple deviant notes mid-chorus, it was all quite lovely.

So this week I have picked up where I left off in 'Marigolds' before we had to steal all of my mics to record drums for 'Rabbit Hole'. I decided to try a new method of guitar speaker mic placement called 'white noising' (some people call it 'shavering' and various other names). The method is to send some white noise into the guitar amp at extremely high decibels and move the mics around while listening to everything in headphones. The louder and smoother the white noise sounds through the mic, the better the mic placement should sound (in theory) in recording. So I bought a white noise app for my iPhone, plugged the iPhone into my guitar amp, turned on the white noise and cranked the volume. Lucas Collins was lending me a hand today, and he best described the white noise through a cranked amp as sounding like a jet engine. It was deafening loud. But remarkably the whole process paid off in spades. My mic tones have been great and much easier to dial in than what I am used to. Also, I am using one of Craig Collins' prototype Vibrance guitars (#003) and it sounds amazing in every way.

So anyway that's a quickie FP update. We start Jake's bass sessions on the 'Rabbit Hole' recording next Monday, and we are also starting rehearsals for a new song next Thurs. Things are moving along quite well these days. Will have a couple new songs to debut before too long! Good times...

Thanks for stoping by! We wish everyone a Happy New Year!

~ Todd

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Monday, December 13, 2010

'Rabbit Hole' Updates

Just a quick update on how our new song 'Rabbit Hole' is coming along. We wrapped up all of the drum sessions this past week and now the drum editing/assembly begins. Fortunately, Matt is such a kick-@$$ drummer that all 'drum editing' on my end will be simple and efficient. Do we have the capability to fix timing mistakes on the sly? Yep. Do we need to fix any timing mistakes? Nope. Matt hit the ground running (figuratively speaking of course) and he nailed all of his drum parts in record time. Un-freakin-believable how good Matt is on numerous levels.

And now all that remains to be done with the drum tracks is to bounce things down, mix the levels, EQ'ing, compressing, etc.. Also, one sonic trick that we employ is that we listen to all of Matt's kick drum hits (usually several hundred per song), we scrutinize them to find the 'perfect' one, and then I layer that 'perfect kick' with each and every other kick hit throughout the song. The Pro's call it 'drum replacement' and it is a standard procedure for most commercial recordings. And while most engineers use various 'drum replacement' plug-ins to automatically do this process for them, I like to layer each kick drum hit by hand. I do have the tools to do things automatically, but I think it sounds better when done by hand one kick hit at a time. The whole 'drum replacement' process usually takes 3-4 hours per song, and truthfully it is horribly boring. But it makes a world of difference in the final mix, especially in the sub-sonic low-low frequencies. Listen to one of our songs on a suitably equipped sound system. My mixes are never as polished as I envision in my head (though I do try as best I can), but the kick drum hits are always sonically consistent as they should be. Definitely worth the extra time involved. I'll probably start that in the next day or two. It's ridiculously cold outside right now (wind chills are well below 0*F), so what better chance to stay inside my warm little studio? This coming week should hopefully be very productive...

Once I get the drum editing wrapped up I will start recording guitar tracks again on 'Marigolds' as well as more of my vocals. At some point in the near future Jake will start laying down his bass tracks for 'Rabbit Hole' (he's already done with bass on 'Marigolds'). But we will be taking it easy over the holidays. Christmas only comes once a year and FP efforts can give it a rest until the new year. Time to recharge and enjoy the season...

I will possibly post here again before the end of the month. Not sure yet. If not, then I would like to wish all of our friends, family, and growing fan-base a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Thanks for being a part of FP and for making this last year a special year indeed. As I often say, much more is yet to come...


~ Todd