National Solo Album Month: Complete

I just finished the 10th and final song for this year’s National Solo Album Month. Proud of me? No? That’s okay. It still feels nice in a goofy, musically masturbatory way.

Because this is supposed to be an actual album, not just a write-10-songs-in-a-month thing, I am going to give it some actual cover art, and a title. I think this song will end up as the title song. Not sure yet. If so I think I’ll find the cover photo in one of my vacation-to-Washington albums on Flickr. I also need a real running order rather than just put them in the order they were mixed. Hmmm… so maybe I’m not actually done after all. I’ll post the whole thing after I figure that out.

Almost Done with NaSoAlMo

I’m almost done with this year’s National Solo Album Month. As previously mentioned, I added the vocals to the last three songs today. I was also able to add the lead guitar to those last three songs as well, and I’ve topped it off with a mix.

This song was absolutely meant to be a throw away thing that I would stick at the end of the final record and never listen to again. Now that it’s done? I kinda like it. It’s got some groovy little vibe to it that doesn’t make any sense to me but I’m not going to knock it.

Music Progress

I mixed two more NaSoAlMo songs tonight but hearthis.at is down so I won’t share them.

Six songs finished, three more in the pipeline. I still need to come up with one more.

There’s nothing special in this batch. Nothing terrible, but all kinda blah. My playing isn’t very good right now. I’m trying my best but it’s all kinda sloppy and weak.

Here’s what I have so far.

I’m Not Very Good

I’m not a very good guitar player. If you had any doubts, then there’s me coming right out and admitting it.

All of these songs that I am re-recording… Whenever in the past I wrote them and recorded the original demo, I blew through them like they were simple. Now that I’m doing them again, they are suddenly insanely, brutally, unimaginably difficult. I screw up constantly. Like, oh my god, could you please do something right?

I was trying to play arpeggios on one song and I fat fingered them over and over. I finally got through it and moved on to the next song and… more arpeggios. Bite me, past self. Take after take after take of me fat fingering and I finally threw a temper tantrum and ripped off the ends of my finger nails. It actually helped a little.

Seven out of 10 re-recordings are ready for vocals. Eight out of eight (but hopefully 10, eventually) November songs are ready for lyrics. Maybe some car singing in the morning? We’ll see.

The Hardest Song Ever

Today is Veteran’s day. I am honoring those who served our country by staying home, not contracting/spreading Covid-19, and trying not to bother my wife as she’s stuck working.

I’m using the time to record some guitar. I’ve got two projects underway. The first is NaSoAlMo. I had three songs ready for guitar parts and I cranked them all out. None of them are very good but now that they are done I’m up to eight songs. The rules for the challenge are to have 29 minutes of music. I haven’t timed it out but I think I’ve got enough.

The other music project is round three of re-recordings. I had a couple of songs ready for guitar that will work with the same pedal setup I’m using for the November stuff so I started working on those. The first one is a pretty easy song, but there was one chord that just felt wrong. I had the bass part and a keyboard part already down and they sounded okay, but when I put the guitar on it everything was wrong. I had the whole song down except for two measures with this weird chord I couldn’t figure out. I hadn’t played this song since 2014 and I don’t have any notes and I was stuck.

The previous phrase ended on an F#maj7. The mystery chord? After half an hour of messing with it and getting it wrong? F#min. It sounds pretty cool now.

That’s when the real pain started. I have this song, see… it’s another one that dates back to 2014. At the time I was in the mood to push myself and in this particular song’s case, I ended up with a riff or two that are among the hardest I’ve ever come up with. Yikes. On the 2014 recording, I did one of the sections one measure at a time and then copied and pasted it everywhere. It has a lot of fast picking and skipping strings and jumping around the neck. I was expecting I’d have to do some copying and pasting again, even though my rule for the re-recordings is not to do that.

Well, after 100,000 takes I actually managed to get through the whole eight bars without screwing up. Not only that, but I’ve done it twice! WOOHOO! Unfortunately, by the time I got that far I was toast. My right hand was too tired to play. I still have a chunk of the song to finish but I had to take a break. I ate some lunch, I watched an episode of The Flash. All I have left on that song is to do that one super hard part about six more times. It’s going to take all day, I think.

Okay, break time is over. Bring on the pain.

How to Spend Election Day

So how have you been spending your election day? In lock down, I hope.

I rewatched The new Mandalorian episode and a few recent Archers and a South Park. I popped into work for an 11:00 meeting. I played quite a bit of electric guitar. I used my new bluesbreaker clone paired up with the Klon Centaur klone I bought back in May. With both pedals set to really low gain, they add up to a pretty freaking wonderful mid-gain tone. With the Klone gain off and the Blooze Maker set very high it’s… not as wonderful, but still pretty cool. I put guitars on two new November songs and three old re-recording songs. My fingers are screwy now so I’m taking a break in case I need to blow off stress steam later.

I’ve done a little doom scrolling on twitter. Not much. I’ve managed to stay away. I don’t know if I’ll be able to stay away for long. The draw of rumor and speculation is strong. Very strong.

Vote out the nazis.