365 DotU, Day 90 is Re-Gifting A Song

I’m back, baby, and I’m calling a mulligan on an earlier entry in the series. Once upon a time, I posted my first humble attempt at something approximating finger-pickin’, a cover of a Lynn Miles tune called “Surrender Dorothy.” It was OK. I adore the song, and I really enjoyed learning it on the tenor guitar.

Lately, though, I’ve been trying to improve my skills on the 6-string, and I decided I wanted another shot at the song. The original involves much more pickin’ goodness than I can manage (Lynn Miles is a much better guitar player than I am), but I found a way to adapt, so I dropped my pick, tuned up the ol’ Epiphone beater, and took a shot at it.

The tricky part, as it turned out, was not learning and performing the song; I got that down pretty quickly, and it isn’t terribly complicated. The tricky part was the recording.

By “tricky,” in the context of that last sentence, I mean “royally *bleep*ing annoying.” Josh recently gave me some recording tech homework, and I’m coming to understand just how bad I’ve been at this stuff all along. Sheesh! Garage Band helps the user quite a lot, but there are things it cannot do, mistakes from which it cannot save you, and bad habits it cannot correct on its own. Balancing the sound of a (fairly soft) finger-picked guitar with a vocal takes some careful thought, and I may actually visit this song again after I’ve done some more of that homework. Here’s how it turned out this time:

Actually, it sounds better than I thought it would. The hardest thing was working with the Mackie and the mic to make the guitar sound clear instead of ringy/muddy (without going all the way into thin or reedy noises). The next hardest thing was balancing the vocal to the guitar (I ended up recording them separately, mostly because I didn’t feel like using two separate mics to catch vox and guitar, which is what would have been necessary to balance it all right if I just performed both together). I think the vocal’s a little much right now, actually, but when I tried dropping or compressing it differently, it didn’t sound any better, so I left it as-is. I ended up using the version I ran in Garage Band, but I’ve got a track of it up in Tracktion, and I’m going to play with it a bit there so I can learn some stuff.
Keep an eye out for more music this week — instrumentals, mostly, that I’ve wanted to do, and perhaps something fun (we’ll see). Yaaaay!
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About L. M. Bernhardt

For a good long while (15 years or so), I taught philosophy at a little private university in northwest IA, and occasionally branched out into playing music, dabbling in photography, experimenting with food, and writing nonsense on my blog. The philosophy teaching part ended in 2017 (program elimination via prioritization), but never fear! I've just finished my MLIS at San Jose State University, and I'm currently on the market looking for new adventures in either philosophy or LIS. Otherwise, I labor to support my dogs in the lavish manner to which they've become accustomed.
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