Welcoming in 2012

Happy New Year all,

This is my first blog entry for 2012. I spent my New Year’s Eve and most of New Year’s Day recording audio tracks in my home studio all while simultaneously capturing video in my new Sony HD video cam. Then I spent allot of time in post production, arranging the tune, mixing and then finally synchronizing all the video clips of the recording with the final mix down.

I am about 1 year into my serious playing of guitar and bass. I still do not know how to play chords. I have no interest to play ‘cover’ music, only what I can come up with in my own mind. I think I need to get serious and learn chord progressions so I can further tap into my creativity.

For this recording, all guitars and bass were recorded through the Johnson J-Station. Compression, EQ and Delay effects were all done in the digital domain by plug-ins within the DAW.

The bass guitar parts were all done on a real bass (not on a keyboard), a Fender Jazz Bass. I have after market Fender Vintage Noiseless pickups and a Babicz full contact bridge on this bass. If you listen to this with headphones, the bass tone is awesome. No matter how I try, I cannot duplicate this sound with keyboard.

I did the guitar intro part with a Gibson Trini Lopez (2009 re-issue model). If you had a mint condition original mid-late ’60’s model, they can fetch over 6K~10K USD easily. This guitar was reintroduced to a new generation of guitarists by Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters. Many people mistake it for a ES-335, but if you look again closely, yes it has the 335 body style but diamond shaped f-holes and a Firebird neck and headstock (6 on one side tuners) instead of the traditional 335 headstock with 3 on each side. Of course electronics wise, it has two Humbucker pickups, each with tone and volume controls, plus the three-way pickup selector switch.

For all the lead guitar parts I used my newest guitar and the one I plug-in most frequently, my 2011 Fender American Special Stratocaster. I especially like the bridge pickup combined with the J-Station’s Solo setting. Nice sustain and cut through. The maple fingerboard lets the strings slide easily and I’m using 009’s

For the two-guitar harmony part (inspired by Boston), I used the Paul Reed Smith Modern Eagle for the main theme and the Strat to do the doubled harmony. I still think this is the coolest part.

During the keyboard verse, I used the Yahama keyboard as a MIDI trigger only. The sounds are all from the Steinberg Halion software synthesizer module, which runs really well now that I have 6-core processor.

On the purely technical side, the audio was all recorded through Presonus Firestudios into Steinberg Cubase 5 on the 6-core PC, running Windows 7 Pro 64-bit and 16G DDR3. The final mix was mastered in Sony Sound Forge 10 at 96K/24bit. The video was edited and rendered in Sony Vegas 10 to H.264 (HD 1280×720) with ACC audio (44.1k/320bps) for Vimeo upload. Then further down-sampled (480×360) to Flash Video format (DVDVIDEOSOFT.COM) for this site.

Enjoy it as much as I had fun making it.

Have a look in HD quality on Vimeo.

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