Cotton Fields - AVYP

Grade 2 student here … This is my second AYP, but will be the first AVYP because honestly, I was too self-conscious to record video up to now.

Here’s the song:

(on this one I have the backing track mixed-in, which came from Justin’s guitar app, filtered for emphasis on the vocals - I hope that falls under fair use and not copyright infringement, but if the mods rather I remove it, just let me know)

For a version without the backing track, I’ve also uploaded it to Sound Cloud

What’s challenging for me on this song is keeping a consistent tempo. I first recorded it over a month ago but when I listened back the strumming was all over the place.

Since then I practiced it at different tempos, such 60% of the original, with a focus on getting the strums to land in the right place. It is still not super solid, but much better than that first attempt :slight_smile:

Happy Easter everyone!


Happy Easter!
Blessings to you!!!

Hi Claudio,
That was a good pratice session :sunglasses: :clap: and really super well done, grade 2 is consolidating nicely…well done and keep it up…

Congrats on a second share and first with a video, Claudio. I think lots to be well pleased with in this.

Firstly, I think you got the mix of the app-supplied BT just right. I’m far more interested in your play than hearing the BT and guitar mixed as if it was a studio recording. There was just enough of the faint backing and vocal to support your play, giving it the context of a song rather than strumming a chord sequence.

Strumming action looks smooth and relaxed, blend of wrist and arm. And good job keeping in the groove by keeping the strumming going in the quiet bits.

Impressive use of the thumb over the top to mute or hold down the F# on the D chord.

For the rest rocked along in fine style.

Good stuff Claudio. Clean chords, steady strumming and steady tempo. Well done. Next thing to do is perhaps change the strum for parts of the song. That’ll up the dynamic.

The practice paid off for sure. Your rhythm is really good here.

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Good solid rhythm right there! I liked it!

Hello Claudio, that was very enjoyable to listen to :blush: . Steady strumming, clean chord changes, transporting the positive vibes - lots of things to be proud of :+1:t3: :clap:t3: :smiley: .
And congrats on your 1st AVOYP :+1:t3: :bouquet:.

Thank you! Same feeling here: if the BT was mixed too loud I just can’t isolate and judge how well my part fits, and the learning gets diminished; but on the other hand, with no BT it’s hard for me to spot the occasional tempo mistake, so having a faint background definitively helps :slight_smile:

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Thanks everyone for the encouragement and kind words!

I’ve been recording audio since the beginning, and have accumulated over 30 recordings now, but I’ve been dreading recording video for too long. Well, it did not hurt and I will do it again - although if I’m honest, it’s a lot more work than just capturing the audio, and not that much better for evaluating progress - one’s ears are still the main tool for that purpose, as it should :wink:

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Claudio, perhaps share some of the details of how you make audio-only and video recordings. Personally, I find little difference. Maybe there are some pointers to share that may be helpful.

Good point! So, for a bit of context, I play at night with the kids asleep or getting there, so I only do it with headphones - at this early stage I don’t even have an amplifier yet.

Setup: the guitar is plugged into a Boss GT-1 effects pedal which provides all the pre-amp, effects, etc. I need to play, and also has an aux P2 input (where I feed a backing track and/or metronome), and headphone output, which I use to monitor what I’m playing.

When recording, I plug the GT-1 into the computer via USB and it acts as an audio interface, sending the guitar sound + effects (and without the BT / metronome) to the PC, where I record it with Audacity.

If all I’m recording is audio (most of the time), then at that time I’m done, maybe trim a bit the ends of the recording and adjust the level a bit. If I want to mix in a backing track I add that as an additional track layer and align them, easy enough.

If I’m also recording video, that gets captured from my phone (on a tripod), and then I move the file to the PC and use VSDC to edit it and layer the audio from Audacity into the video.

To allow for the precise synching of the audio and video tracks, right before the moment where the published video starts I “tap” the neck of the instrument, and that gets picked up in all channels (audio and video), making it very easy to line them up.

Reflecting on that just now I tend to agree; there’s the added effort of looking “presentable” for the camera (no playing in one’s pajamas, LOL!), but the extra step of recording it and mixing with the audio is not overly complex or time consuming.

I guess I was putting it off for so long primarily because of not being too used to seeing myself on video - much like it takes a while to get used to the sound of your own recorded voice, I guess.

Grade 2?! That was some fantastic rhythm playing. Keep up the good work!!

The only thing that I thought of constructively is that it drives me nuts not to have a strap on my guitar, half of the time just for the purpose of having my hands to do something else (gig or studio I guess). It’s probably a personal point of preference, but for whatever reason, I thought of it watching your video, ha!!

You are at an awesome place for where you are in the journey. Jam away!

Thanks for the details, Claudio.

I’m not familiar with VSDC and if it has an auto-sync function to sync up an audio with your video. That would make the opst-processing simpler.

Another option to consider is using OBS on the PC to record the video. You can either use a webcam plugged into the PC or a utility to source the video from your phone. You can set up OBS to take audio input from a variety of sources, which would include the your pedal.

It may take a little tinkering to get it set up but once set up then it eliminates the need to copy video from the phone to PC, render audio from Audacity, and then produce the final video in VSDC.

I went from a process much like you described to using OBS and I think the simplicty of just pressing record and having the video saved without further post-processing has paid off in the long run.

Here a couple of links to Topics with more details: Using OBS with an Audio Interface on Windows for streaming to send to Zoom and Producing a video with phone cam and an audio interface

The first has a lot more detail than you’d require, the extra being about streaming from OBS to Zoom for Community Open Mics (which a few people choose to do though one can just connect camera an audio in Zoom directly should you ever be interested in an OM)

Yes, grade 2, but keep in mind that I’m taking my time, I started just before Christmas 2021 :laughing:

I’m following the advice seen here and elsewhere: it’s the journey, not necessarily the destination. So I take it real slow, consolidate everything, then eventually move on.

For my current lesson (Grade 2, Lesson 9, the “appropriately named” F-Chord), I’ve put to myself two objectives as personal goals for being able to move on:

  1. Being able to play the F chord well consistently, not only in exercises but also in some songs (took me a while, but I’m finally there)
  2. Record and publish a video of myself playing (mostly as a way to overcome my own shyness on that front - also done now)

In the end, Lesson 9 was the longest I’ve spent in any part of the Beginners’ Course, I’ve started it last December and now I’m ready to move on. Not that I stayed focused on it the entire time, I did other exercises, and I’ve played a lot, but I held on moving forward until I completed the two objectives, and for me that was the right decision.

@DavidP thanks for the excellent suggestions on using OBS, VDO.Ninja and video production in general. I will certainly put them to good use for my next exercise.

Incidentally, on the OM sessions, I’ve just recently watched a couple recorded sessions and was blown away by how cool it was. Lots of variation in styles, production level, etc. and it seemed like everyone was having a blast. Count on me signing up for one in the future, maybe even still in the current year :slight_smile:

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That is an awesome plan @heckler !!

It sounds like you are very goal oriented, but perhaps more importantly, goal achieving! Props!

I am pretty good when it comes to setting for and building towards goals, but I get side tracked easily, I think mostly by new songs. But really, it’s all about motivation right? And picking up the guitar, even when you don’t want to, and picking up that pencil and paper, even if it seems daunting. Or playing that scale through just 5 more times, even if you are sick of it.

Whatever the case, the key seems to be keeping it interesting enough to want to do it as much as possible. And for what it’s worth, I started in May of 2020, breezed through grade 1, took grade 2 slower, and really consolidated at Grade 3, which is also when I started gigging ( much too early, but I learned a lot). I should have taken more time on Grade 4, but I breezed ahead to grade 5 because I felt like I needed all of the A shaped barre cord material right away, as I was constantly encountering the B chord without being able to play it.

I think that I did grades 1-3 pretty properly, but now I’m convoluted in grades 4 & 5. I admire your approach! Keep jamming!

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That was good, solid strumming Claudio and I thought you kept the rhythm really well throughout the song. Nice job!

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Though I’d mention that I almost always practice with a strap, for the exact reason you describe. But when it came to recording I thought it would look silly to be seated and have a strap on the guitar, so I removed it for the video - and had to be extra careful when reaching for the phone or the computer. LOL!