Marcel (Siff)'s Learning Log

@DavidP

Thank you for the feedback and the advice.
Overcompenstated mixing my voice this time as I often got the feedback it‘s too quite. I will also try to reduce proximity and saturation for a less blocky sound.
(Some people advise on kissing the SM58. I‘ll try to only be very close instead of making out with it next time. )

@brianlarsen
Hehe, yeah if done with intent it‘s great. But funnily enough it trips up my guitar playing when vocals go awol. Gotta learn to embrace happy accidents.

Regarding melody I meant more that I didn’t yet play the melody from tab on the guitar. Never thought my picking could influence my singing melody though.
Now that you say that. I will keep an eye (ear) on it.
„Merci viumal für d’tips“!

@roger_holland
Thanks for checking it out, yeah vocals are still something I got to get better at mixing too, always hard to find a balance between loud enough and not egregious. Especially when the singing is still not very developped.

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Indeed they do. Personally I have found no need to do that with my dynamic mic. But of course one sees performers on stage doing that. Perhaps that is necessary on stage with mics setup to try and minimise bleed from the PA system and on-stage monitors. As I said, I think backing off and perhaps turning the gain up a little to get the right level delivers a good enough result.

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“Rehearsal Nr. 3: The thrill is gone”

Played with capo on two as per Justin Beginners Book.
I tried to add some little sus notes to make up a little for the lack of lead playing.

There are sadly some stutters due to technical problems. Hope they are not too jarring.
Sometimes it’s my playing :stuck_out_tongue: , but other times they are digital problems.

I’m still figuring out some stuff with my phones as cameras. Either the Wi-Fi connections or having too many things running on the PC may be the cause.

There’s always something in the recording process to tweak too. A checklist may be appropriate.

Here some thoughts on what to put on a setup checklist
  • Check…
  • …lighting (had light reflecting back from the window, should lower blinds)
  • …if doors and windows are closed
  • …if there is some untidy object in the frame (ashtray next to my family pictures, rag visible etc.)
  • …if the guitar is plugged in (this time I forgot so I only got the mic sound recorded)
  • …the tuning of the guitar
  • …the position of the capo
  • …all microphone positions
  • …all gain levels
  • …the posture
  • …the framing of the cameras
  • …the PC for unnecessarily running programs (could introduce stutter)
  • …if video and audio are set to record in OBS and DAW
  • …if OBS is set to record both videos with different names

Next Up: Good Riddance (Time of your Life)

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Sounding good, Marcel, making good progress. Liked the percussive strum and vocal expression. Keep on doing what you are doing to continue to polish it up.

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Sounds good, Marcel! Your progress truely reflects the effort you put in practicing and consolidating. It’s paying off nicely. Without the technical stutters, I bet the rhythm would have been quite solid, so well done on this one. :+1: Looking forward to “Good Riddance”. :smiley:

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Lagging behind with the recordings. On the positive side, more time to consolidate before moving on :wink:

Overhauled the recording setup and ironed out dozens of technical problems. Hope I finally have a fast workflow to make videos and can learn to perfect them. Now need a better camera someday.

4 - Good Riddance (Time of your Life)

Had some technical issues. Not the best take and after listening a lot to the original I find it hard to gel with the vocals cadence in relation to the guitar (that’s why I still get hiccups in the rhythm when trying to fit in the voice).
Maybe it just doesn’t really fit my vibes or maybe with some practice and more listening it will click with me.
Otherwise, I feel this is a candidate for future replacement with another song in my core repertoire for me. Still, I’ll try to get it up to some standard to be able to play it in this set for the “exam” at least.

Spoiler

I put a bit of Autotune on the voice so it’s a bit less grating. It couldn’t salvage it without sounding too artifical, but I feel it tamed some parts okay.

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Very good self assessment on this one, Marcel. For the parts in between your rhythm seemed nice and solid to me and playing was smooth, but as soon as you also were about to sing, it kind of fell apart a little. Is it, because you “think” too much about how to sing it right? Is it, because on the whole it is too fast to do both at the same time? Lots of possible reasons, I guess. :sweat_smile: But if you take your time analysing what it is that throws you off, you’re halfway down to solving it. :smiley:

I’d share my advice, if I may: You’re doing good listening to the original a lot. What about singing along with Billy Joe? This helps you get a feel for the melody and rhythm of the vocal track. Secondly, try figure out the melody line by ear on the guitar - this really helps me for singing melodies I’m unsure of. And next, if you want to put singing and playing together, slow it down and simplify the guitar a little in the first instances (simple strumming). Gradually add complexity and speed. I spent probably 3-4 months on this tune before I got it in a way to be happy with it and still not even close to the speed of the Original at all. :sweat_smile:

I recall your first post of this one and see huge progress already, so all the effort you put in pays off. I think, this is a more tricky tune as one would expect and needs time to develop. If you will stick to it, you’ll be able to play and sing it solid someday.

I hope you read it in the way I wanted to say it: Positively and constructively. :smiley: To my view, you’re on a very good way and learned a lot already in the past months and doing good in strengthening all these things. :+1: Further, your production skills impress me and it kind of gets better with every post you share.

Looking forward to the next one! :slight_smile:

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Thank you Lisa for the analysis and tips! :blush:

I recently watched your version and saw you with a capo on one and nice ornamentations on the "d"s. Thought about tuning the guitar down for me, but then I noticed my singing was rhythmically and melodically totally different anyway than the original. :sweat_smile:

So thanks to checking out some other avoyp like yours it helped me listen better where others focus the attention to details I’m maybe missing out.

I like the song, but I was never a punk rock aesthetics guy. I love how he sings, but even in the ballad, he uses this unhinged cadence that’s hard for me to feel.
But as you say. I’ll try and improve it some more. It’s fun to play and the more one plays it the less one needs to think about the guitar and finally the voice can get more attention.

Good tips thanks. :ok_hand:

Oh yeah, I forgot to say in my last post:

Next up House of the Rising Sun :city_sunrise:
(hopefully a bit sooner, still so eager to finally really start to consolidate all the barre chords I already started to lear)

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I think you can be well played with progress, Marcel.

Lots of good advice from @Lisa_S already. All I can say, from personal experience and observation, is that it appears to come quite easily for some people to play and sing together in a natural sounding way, and others (very much like me) find it quite difficult to marry the playing and singing together, irrespective of how well one may be playing the song. I have found over the years that there are songs where I am able to get into a natural groove playing and singing and others that I just struggle. The good news is I have found that sometimes after much time passed I could go back and play and sing songs that were previously beyond me. And I stress, this has nothing to do with the chords and strumming pattern (which of course is sometimes a problem on its own)

I only know the song from watching and listening to people here in the Community. I know it is up tempo but it felt a little rushed to me. It may sound and feel a little better if you slow down just a fraction.

Nothing wrong with the camera from what I can see.

I am interested in recording and expect others may benefit if you share some details of your workflow. And to continue to develop that, if possible a hint of reverb on your voice may add something. Not so much that it sounds like your voice is echoing around a chamber, just enough that nobody might notice reverb but you notice its absence rather than its presence.

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Glad I could help a little, Marcel. :blush:

Thanks for checking it out. :smiley: The Capo is on one to get back to Origianl tuning, as my guitar was tuned down a half step for another song I had hands on by that time and I didn’t want to tune up and down all the time. :joy:

But experimenting with the Capo is basically never a bad idea to find a range suiting your voice.

Looking forward to House of the Rising sun! :slight_smile:

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Thank you David for your comments and suggestions.

I’ll keep at it exploring the singing technique.

Glad the phone’s camera seems to be enough. I think good lighting gets a lot out of it.

Sure a good idea, I will make a detailed post about my current setup and and process after my next song, so I can take screenshots of the process in the daw too. Was already working on some checklists, that would help to showcase the recording process itself better.

There is a reverb on the voice, but I only used it very slightly. But good to know that I could crank it up a bit.

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I’ve been closely following your progress, Marcel, and you are coming along leaps and bounds. I think @Lisa_S and @DavidP have given you lots of good advice. Our resident Green Day Fan and Super Player @adi_mrok can probably give you more advice amd tips with that particular song.

Absolutely. I’m just thinking about recording full band production of the three originals I posted along with the latest on in the pipeline and any tips would be appreciated.

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Thanks for calling out @Socio luckily I was just browsing the forum :grinning: Marcel nice to meet you, well done on the recording! Definitely some positives there as steady rhythm where vocal was not involved, good chord changes, nice production. I would do was Lisa suggested which is to play along the original at a slower tempo and only then build up the speed. Also a useful tip - try to use your pinky finger to mute high e string during verses and let it ring out only when chorus. This will introduce some nice dynamics to the song :wink: all the best

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Thank you @Socio for the kind words and summon and to you adi, hello! and thanks for the input. I knew about the pinky idea, but I gave up on it for the moment as it hindered my strumming so much. I will try to slow down and implement it in the future when I get my strumming hand to move less and have the pinky anchored muting.

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Alright, inspired by @DavidP’s request to share more of my process, here is a “little” rundown of my setup for the interested:

This is from the player’s perspective:

The softbox as the main front light from the front left.

Close up of Softbox

An old bedside lamp with a cloth over the front as additional light from the front right.

Close up of 2nd front light

2b.
Still have the normal overhead lamp on (I feel there’s never enough light when recording).


iPhone on a stand with a ready power cord (you never want to lose power while recording) transmits picture to an Apple-TV to check framing.

Close up of phone stand with a mirror behind it (it's slanted so I can see what I'm doing without taking it out of position)


Shure SM 58 dynamic vocal mic, coming from the top left seems to obstruct the body and guitar the least so far.
Trying to position the vertical rod of the stand out of the side of the frame.

Superlux D10B dynamic instrument mic clamped to the stand with a fixture it came delivered with.
It’s directed to the 12th fret

Audio Technica AT2020 condenser mic, on a mic arm connected to shelf, set to face bridge at bridge height

Close up of AT2020 (I added a tape marking to better see where it's exactly facing

I try to have the instrument microphones just below the camera frame cutoff now. When getting close and cutting off my legs in the videoframe it’s doable while still roughly getting the desired recording triangle distance.
As suggested in Technique 1 of this article: Stereo Miking Techniques For Recording Acoustic Guitar

When using this technique, remember to follow the “Rule of 3:1,” where the distance between the two mics is at least three times the distance between each mic and the acoustic guitar… This will help keep phase cancellations to a minimum and provide a smoother sound that will translate well to mono should you decide to do that later.


All the lamps and the monitoring stuff is connected to a power hub to not have to turn off each thing separately


Close up of UMC 404 interface with headphone distributor, control iPad on a laptop stand with an arm attached to the table with a workstation

Having that movable laptop stand on an arm I can gainstage the interface and start and stop recording over the “DAW Control” app on the iPad without reaching far back to the mouse and keyboard.

The little black thing on top of the iPad is a remote that came with a cheap tripod for the phone to start the video recording.

I use in-ear headphones connected to a portable mini amp (Behringer Powerplay P2) which has a volume pot closer to me for fast monitoring changes. I tried to record without headphones, but I think it’s better to hear your voice a bit more objectively while singing.


Close-up of the other side with stand for tabs, light and TV controls and the newly added checklists

Current checklists, what do you think? Any more ideas to add?:


Now only a few rudimentary thoughts on the Post-Processing:

Red: After that my current process is to import the video into the DAW and align the first and last clap.
Sadly there always seems a tiny discrepancy in timing so I have to stretch the video a few milliseconds to fit the audio perfectly (in Ableton enable warp of the video track and adjust length with shift and mouse).

Yellow: I have a standard empty track called track length to quickly set the start and endpoint of rendering without cutting around the tracks. In Ableton at least you then select the length track and hit render, and it will only render the space of the set track.

Green: For the moment I try not to mix it too much and only use a reverb on a return and mix it in to taste on all the tracks

Purple: I also have the guitar mics already panned respectively to the position they record.

Additionally, I often use a tool called Vocal Rider Stereo to help me level the voice before maybe adding compression.

Depending on the song or recording there can be said and done much more for the mixing of course.

(Ignore the upsidedown video. This I had to fix in an external editor…)


Alright hope this post is somewhat readable and not too cluttered and that somebody gets something out of it.

Otherwise, it was a good exercise to recapitulate what I learned so far when trying to set up a “sound and video recording booth”.


Bonus Pic: After the recording the stand can be put out of the way and the arm too (that's what the markings on the floor are there for). Best to cover them with their pouches when not using them.


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Thanks for sharing, Marcel.

That is quite a setup you have going.

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5 - House of the Rising Sun

A few rushes and some missed chords. Still have to work on dynamics, bridging sections, and not botching the outro.

Still, much to learn in trying to get a more steady voice dynamic. This time I didn’t use as much gain or pitch correction in the post-process, as it also changed the guitar bleed on the voice track. This can sound fun sometimes, but it’s quite unnatural so I tried to do as little as possible this time.

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If you want people to see your videos you should consider posting them in a thread in AVOYP, more people look there than learning logs. Quite a collection you’re starting.

Your playing is coming along nicely. HOTR was a mix of animals & dylan. Something is slightly odd about the video? Did you speed the video up a bit? I’m not quite sure what it is but it must be in the post processing.

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Hi Marcel, that was an enjoyable listen. Thought you did a great job singing and playing. I liked the dynamics in your performance - changes in strumming pattern and volume worked well for me and I wasn’t aware of any missed chords. I guess outros are last in the list of things to work on for a song and you have gone for a harder option of including picked individual notes. Overall job well done. :clap: :clap: :clap:
Best wishes,
Alan

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Cracking job there mate :grinning:

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