When I finished playing on Thursday night, June Music had nine songs with all of the rhythm guitars. I had an idea for a 10th song, but it was just a single chord change. On Friday after work I found myself wishing that I had more to do. I’ll have to do leads eventually, but I like to save that for last, and I still have to write and record the vocal parts before I get there. What to do?
I wrote out music for two more songs, that’s what. I invented new stuff for me to do. Today I recorded the rhythm guitars for those two. Neither one is the 10th idea I had socked away, so now there are 11 songs with guitar/bass/drums and one that’s still only a snippet of nothing.
When I finished the second song today I saw that my MacBook’s battery percentage was still above 70. I didn’t want to stop. That’s when I remembered there was a song left over from April that had everything except lead guitar. I brought that up, finished it off, and now I have a song that’s ready to mix.
There was also a ton of battery left, and I still didn’t want to stop. What to do next?
I’ve mentioned about 100 times that in 2015 I started a project where I would re-record the least awful songs from all of my prior RPM Challenges and stuff. Every so often I try to get some work done but I never seem to finish anything. Screw it, thought me. I picked a song out of that batch, scrapped all of the guitar parts that were already done and did ’em again. When that was done I picked a second song. When that was done… my battery was below 10% and I had to help cook dinner.
In the grand scheme of things it’s all stupid and pointless and silly but damn if it didn’t feel good.
For the June and April songs I didn’t use my pedal board. I played the 335 into the RYRA The Klone and the Keeley Super Phat Mod. I had the gain dialed pretty far back on both, but with the Bassbreaker 15 that was enough for some good, chunky distortion. For the lead on the April song I just upped the gain on both pedals a smidge
For the 2015 Project songs I only did rhythm parts and I switched back to the pedal board. The most recent plan for this project was to use the same setup I use with Lizardfish. I followed that rule for the pedals but that’s it. Technically the 335 is still retired and not allowed to leave the house, so it’s not a Lizardfish thing. The Bassbreaker 15 has never been used with Lizardfish, though I still have the idea of pairing it with a Vox AC15 and using that with the band. Guitar Center’s website has a listing for a used AC15 for under $500. I am really tempted.
The signal path today was 335 to Klon KTR to Keeley D&M Drive (just the Dan side) to the Bassbreaker 15. The problems I was having when I first switched to that have been fixed. As expected, lowering the output level on the KTR by a ton really did the trick. No more mushy compression. Everything sounded clear and dynamic and great.
I noticed one other little detail. For one of the 2015 songs, a song that was written for the 2014 50/90 Challenge, I had previously added rhythm guitars to it. The song requires a clean sound and a distorted sound. When I recorded them before there was a little weirdness in the transitions that I hadn’t done on the 50/90 recording. I didn’t catch it until a couple of days after I finished the takes but it was reason enough to redo everything. Today when I finished each take I listened back to just the guitars, with everything else muted.
I don’t think I’ve done that for any of the recordings I’ve done since March, and I’ve only used the 335 on the most recent songs, so maybe it didn’t happen… When I had the distorted guitars solo’d and there were no other tracks playing, I realized that the microphone is actually picking up a little bit of the acoustic sound of the guitar. You can hear the pick hitting the strings. It’s really subtle, and you can’t hear it within the full mix, even when the guitar tracks are cranked. Either I was bashing the guitar really hard, or the amp isn’t as loud as I thought it was. I might go back to some of the old songs and see if it happened while playing a solid body guitar. Interesting.
I wrote up two new ideas for June Music this morning before work. Nothing special. I sketched out the song form after work and tonight I put rhythm guitars down. It was the ES-335 into the RYRA for cleanish sounds for all but part of one of the songs. The one heavy piece brought out the Wren and Cuff Super Russian for some sick fuzz.
I have a little idea for one little snippet that might become song #10. Once I figure out the rest of that, it’s on to melodies and lyrics.
I figured I’d give a quick update on the June Music project even though no one else on Earth gives a shit. I give a shit, so here we go.
There are seven songs in the works. All have the MIDI tracks, drums and bass, complete. One has a piano as a placeholder for the melody. Three, as of this afternoon, have rhythm guitars.
Two songs used the KTR and the D&M Drive pedals. It was my first crack at substituting the D&M for the OCD. It didn’t work well. I had the output on the KTR maxed and the drive off. The D&M didn’t seem capable of handling that signal and it got really mushy. I used the ES 335 on the first song I did and wasn’t happy with the sound. The string buzz may have been making it worse so I switched to the Les Paul. It was a little better, but not much. So two songs have less than good guitar sound. It’s good enough to roll with for now. I don’t think I’ll change it. The third song used the Les Paul but just the KTR. I wanted a cleanish sound, so I shut off the D&M. That sounded pretty good.
After I was done I set to some major tweaking and found something that was much better. I lowered the output on the KTR, lowered the output and the gain on the D&M, an added a little treble on the KTR. That was better. I will try recording with that setup. I was hoping to just use the RYRA The Klone pedal this month but the whole racist pedal builder shit made me want to experiment with the gig setup more. I also pulled a couple of other overdrive and fuzz pedals out of storage. I might try pairing different things with the RYRA. We can sort of consider June as Lab time. Let the tinkering continue.
One thing I do know… it’d been over a week since I had played at all. With all of this quarantine, social distance shit going on… playing is good for my mindset. If I don’t play for a longish period of time I start getting under people’s skin. The more I play the easier I am to be around. It’s definitely a good way to work out my quarantinie frustration. I knew it would be, but I think I have some evidence to support that original theory now.
Playing helps me not be an asshole… therefore I should play more.
The guitar was played today and recordings were made.
The Keeley D&M Drive doesn’t play with the Klon KTR as nicely as the OCD did and there’s some mushy, flubby tone on two of the songs to prove it. I’ve got it figured out though. The tone will improve. The new wah was also recorded for the first time. There were many, many takes. I screwed up many, many times.
In an attempt to not go completely insane as I watch my country disintegrate around me, I have decided to try and push through on another month of music. I am not optimistic that I will finish this one. Not optimistic at all.
I’ve got three things in the running. #1 is just a couple of riffs with no song form. #2 has a full song form and a guitar part written out but not recorded. #3 is the interesting one.
I had a bass riff come to me fully formed last night. I am kinda afraid that my brain stole it off of something I heard while watching TV with the fam. It’s that sort of >poof< here I am, all complete that makes me think I actually heard it somewhere else. See Paul McCartney’s explanation of “Yesterday.” He woke up with it complete in his head and assumed it was something he’d stolen. In his case it wasn’t, because he’s a genius. In my case it probably was. I mean it pretty much definitely was.
Anyway, the phrase I heard in my head was four bars long. When I played it into GarageBand though I realized I was wrong. It’s actually three bars of 4/4 time and one bar of 3/4 time. Basically, it’s one beat shy of four bars. Crud. GarageBand doesn’t actually handle changing time signatures (at least it didn’t the last time I Googled it). So I needed a work around. Instead of four bars, the phrase is now one bar… of 15/4 time. Yup, I’m that guy.
I keep talking about the left over song from May that I was adding to the pile of June songs. Here it is. Just a dopy little 12-bar blues that was really just an excuse to write something on my new Strat. In the end, it’s kind of a fun little groove.
Here’s another June song. Let’s just say that the day I recorded the lead guitar was not a particularly good day. As for the lyrics… well… it was raining that day. I don’t really know what any of the rest of it is about.