Recording Studio Magic-ish

Back in 2015 I worked out a song for the RPM Challenge that tricked GarageBand into using different time signatures. It chugs along at 120 beats per minute switching between 7/8, 6/4, and 4/4 like nobody’s business. It was a cool song to play and I had a lot of fun working on it, but it took me a long time to get the rhythm guitars recorded in a way that was good enough to keep.

There was a section in the middle of the song though… 24 bars… written on a keyboard with the tempo set to something much lower than 120 bpm. It was, to my lame ears, a cool break in the middle of the song. Unfortunately I couldn’t play it at 120 bpm on the guitar. It was just too fast for my fat fingers to grasp. I ended up recording it in pieces. Three bars then one bar, repeat six times, then move to a second track and repeat the whole thing. It was pretty brutal to get through.

That was in 2015. One month later I started messing with the idea of a re-recording project. I didn’t get far. Then in 2016 when RPM ended I went back to the re-recording thing and added this particular song to the list. Apparently I forgot about all of the stress it had caused me when I first recorded it.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago and the re-recording project finally gets around to this song. I had forgotten everything. I started with the bass and drums and had to remember how to trick GarageBand into using different time signatures (hint: it boils down to math). Then I had to remember how to trick GarageBand into letting me use the Session Drummer with the different time signatures (hint: lots of bouncing segments between two tracks, one of which is not the session drummer). Then last night I took my first crack at adding guitars.

Intro? No problem. Verses? Easy. Chorus? Cake. All the little 1-2 bar bridge sections? No problem. The section in the middle (actually, while working on the MIDI tracks I cut a few sections out of the song. One of them was the last eight bars of the middle section so the 24 bar section is now only 16 bars, dig)? Hello? Anyone?

Could I play it?

Not even close.

While I was struggling last night Harry came home from work so I stopped trying. Today I had a little time to get back to it. I scrapped everything I did yesterday and started fresh, mostly just to build up my confidence. When I got to the middle section I did something unusual. I just sat here at my desk, looking at GarageBand, and practiced. Not for long. Just enough to get it under my fingers, even though it was wrong 90% of the time. Then I split the 16 bars into four, four bar segments and started on the first segment. Remember I double everything, so each four bar segment needs to be done twice. It took me a long time to get the first one. The second track went a little quicker. Same with segment two. For segment three, it took a lot longer to get the first track, but the second track was nailed in one take! WOOHOO! Of course that just jinxed me for the rest and I needed like 10-15 tries for each piece.

The end result though… I have the full 16 bars, twice. Kick ass! The punches were nice and clean too, so I can’t even tell that it was recorded in pieces. It just sounds like I am actually able to play the guitar like a big boy and I just did it. Nice.

Wow… I wrote a lot about this stupid little song.

Guitar pictures to celebrate my being able to pretend I don’t suck quite as bad as I clearly do!

I also retired a pick today, and the battery on my clip on tuner is about to die. That’s all the news that is fit to print.