I would love to hear from other artists as to how they approached their selected song and what process/equipment they used to record it.

I was on a very low budget so this is what I did:

 

had a hard time finding the song, but when I did it seemed to be missing an opening or intro, so I created my own to lead into the song( basically all choruses).

simple recording in steps(much like using 2 old tape recorders- does anyone remember those!?!)

1. recorded a "scratch" track of me singing and clapping to keep time using my cheapo flip camera.

2 downloaded video and separated video and audio using  Aoa audio extractor(free version).

3. opened up audacity and imported the audio track

4. put on my headphones, played the 1st track while recording the next track with my flip and so on....

5. I found it was easy to add too many effects and how it can effect the overall mix in a negative way- sometimes simpler is better!

I learned that while multiplying tracks you are also multiplying noise- I was recording too close to my hard drive and it got into the mix! Although the mix came out dirty and a little noisy, i'm proud of the results and can't wait to do some more. This method I believe was a success because there was no lag or skips in sound that can occur when relying on the computer(especially a relic like mine!) to do the playback and recording

just bought a zoom h2 digital recorder online and can't wait to try it out.

 

Thanks,

 

Wade

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That's great... Thanks Wade. I'll add my process to the mix here when I have a few minutes.
Wade, you will love the Zoom H2!

 

I listened to "I Know His Blood Can Make Me Whole" at least 10 times. I love Blind Willie Johnson. I started playing my concept of the tune and decided to turn on the recorder. I recorded the vocal and cbg at the same time with a Zoom H2. I liked the first attempt so much that I did not re-record. I transferred the file to my computer and imported it into Audacity. I played it back (ear buds in) and recorded another vocal with the Zoom. I imported the new vocal into Audacity and lined the tracks up. I used the RCA Victor 1938 effect for that old record sound. I converted the file to an mp3 and sent it off.

 

 

OK, let's see...

 

1. laptop computer, audacity program

2.  simple 4 channel mixer

3. Shure 57 mic

4. Fender Champion amp...

5. Cat bowl

6. wine box

7. bluestube stomp box

8. piezo equipped 4string fretted CBG

 

The iconic "If I Had My Way", also known as "Sampson and Deliah" lives large in the mythology surrounding Blind Willie Johnson.  It is claimed that BWJ got arrested for singing this song in front of the New Orleans Customs House, the second largest POE for African Slaves into the Continental US.  It blends religious and protest.  It personalized it by adding a turnaround that featured a different tempo, chord structure and ''scratch strummed" the guitar.... and by adding a final verse of my own (protest).

 

I recorded thru the mixer being feed by the Shure 57 that pick ups both the amp output and the vocal.  Once balanced, this technique adds a low-fi feel to the recording.  The blues tube stomp box "fattens up" the piezo output.  The Audacity allows you to "fix" problems in the recording (no "one take charlie" needed.).  The rythmn tracks are achieved by finger tapping the edge of the cat bowl and later by doing finger rolls on the side of a wine box.... I used headphones to hear the vocal/instrument track so that the mic heard only the rythmn instruments.

 

Nothing complicated musically to mess with the story and emotion of the song.  It is a song that will always stand up in the street busking environment, with plenty of energy to keep the crowd engaged, will get knowing knods from informed listeners....

 

thanks for the opportunity to join a great group of performers on a great project.

 

the best,

 

Wichita Sam  

 

 

 

 

i cheated. i got really hammered the night before smoked cigars and then made shane speal record me. not glamorous but true ........al

-Found the youtube version of "Leave it there" and watched it a billion times.

-Found a chord sheet, and played a long to get the feel of the song.

-Printed out the chord sheet, figured out the way simple lead in and turn around and marked that and other changes I made on the sheet.

-Played that a billion times with the intent I was gonna play and my youngest daughter was gonna sing. ( didn't happen)

-set up my 6 channel mixer with mic, cbg/eq,effects unit for drums, all going to the laptop with Audacity.

-After several bad attempts with Audacity throwing the 2nd track into a digitally garbled mess, I dropped the effects, set it all up direct into the mixer, and set the levels to play and sing all in one shot.

-after practicing that and laying it down a few times ..... I got one I liked.

 

AFKAM

 

All my stuff was recorded on the same Zoom 8-track that used for my last albom.

 

"Somebody on Your Bond" (with Al Hamilton):  Instrument is my beat-up Macanudo.  Went over the song with Al a few times and recorded one or two takes.  We then recorded Al's main vocals, my backup vocals (which I erased in final mixing) and then finally, the opening "sermon."   The opening sermon was recorded with a CIGAR BOX MICROPHONE loaded with a telephone transmitter. 

 

"Jesus Is Comin' Soon":  I've had this version in my setlist for two years now.   Guitar and vocals recorded one take each.  I used my Daddy Mojo Dolorosa cbg (originally 6 strings but currently only strung up with 5).  Vocals were heavily processed (doubled, chorus effect, reverb).  I used an old harmonica mic for vocals.

How I Did It

I recorded two versions of this song. The first was a straight-ahead guitar/vocals at the same time, two microphones- a Shure SM58 for vocals and an old SM57 (Unidirectional) for the guitar.

 

The one on the album is the second version. I recorded this without much of a plan and very little know-how. It was learn-as-you-go. I made mistakes and then tried to make the best of the mess with the very limited time I had available.

 

I used two three-string cigar box guitars, both fretted. One is strung with the lower three from a six-string and tuned to open E, the other with the higher three strings and tuned to open D-- then capoed to open E.

 

Though both are equipped with piezo pickups, I opted to record the higher-pitched one with the SM57 microphone.

First I laid down a rhythm track using the lower-pitched cbg. I plugged it directly into a Zoom H4N. I recorded it to one channel of a stereo track.

 

I put that into Garage Band and added a delay effect and a little reverb. I then ran it through iTunes to create a true "mono" track of it. A mono track can be panned left or right, but not so with one channel of a stereo track- it's either L or it's R.

 

The rhythm track came out a LOT more ominous and dark than I had planned, but I LIKED it.

 

On to the vocals!

 

I connected the Shure sm58to my computer with a Shure XLR-to-USB adapter, and just sang it over and over, into Garage band, with the rhythm track in my headphones. I created maybe 6 different vocal takes.

 

I picked the track I liked the best, but there was one verse I didn't, so I pulled that one verse from an alternate take.

 

When I felt the vocals were to rights I went back with the higher-pitched cbg and did little fills. Some of these are spackle.... there were a couple of dead spots on the rhythm track I tried to cover over.

On the whole I'm pleased with my first attempt, keeping in mind it's a first attempt and not quite what I'd hoped for, but really, I'm feeling quite satisfied to have committed to the project, then to have gone through the process from beginning to end. I hope to do many more, and I hope to see them get better and better.

 

I am sincerely honored to have this modest achievement stand in such great company.

 

 

My Song is I Just Can't Keep From Cryin' Sometimes.


David Sutton said:

How I Did It

I recorded two versions of this song. The first was a straight-ahead guitar/vocals at the same time, two microphones- a Shure SM58 for vocals and an old SM57 (Unidirectional) for the guitar.

 

The one on the album is the second version. I recorded this without much of a plan and very little know-how. It was learn-as-you-go. I made mistakes and then tried to make the best of the mess with the very limited time I had available.

 

I used two three-string cigar box guitars, both fretted. One is strung with the lower three from a six-string and tuned to open E, the other with the higher three strings and tuned to open D-- then capoed to open E.

 

Though both are equipped with piezo pickups, I opted to record the higher-pitched one with the SM57 microphone.

First I laid down a rhythm track using the lower-pitched cbg. I plugged it directly into a Zoom H4N. I recorded it to one channel of a stereo track.

 

I put that into Garage Band and added a delay effect and a little reverb. I then ran it through iTunes to create a true "mono" track of it. A mono track can be panned left or right, but not so with one channel of a stereo track- it's either L or it's R.

 

The rhythm track came out a LOT more ominous and dark than I had planned, but I LIKED it.

 

On to the vocals!

 

I connected the Shure sm58to my computer with a Shure XLR-to-USB adapter, and just sang it over and over, into Garage band, with the rhythm track in my headphones. I created maybe 6 different vocal takes.

 

I picked the track I liked the best, but there was one verse I didn't, so I pulled that one verse from an alternate take.

 

When I felt the vocals were to rights I went back with the higher-pitched cbg and did little fills. Some of these are spackle.... there were a couple of dead spots on the rhythm track I tried to cover over.

On the whole I'm pleased with my first attempt, keeping in mind it's a first attempt and not quite what I'd hoped for, but really, I'm feeling quite satisfied to have committed to the project, then to have gone through the process from beginning to end. I hope to do many more, and I hope to see them get better and better.

 

I am sincerely honored to have this modest achievement stand in such great company.

 

 

PLEASE say which song you recorded. It's not always obvious.

 

Nice idea Wade.

It's good to hear how other's put their tracks together.

 

I covered 'The Soul of a Man'. A long time favourite BWJ tune that I often play on a six string.

For this project I used one of my home made 3 string CBGs, fitted with a Juju magnetic pickup.


I did all the recording to my old Yamaha AW4416 hard disk recorder.

I started by jamming the guitar track along to a metronome. I think I recorded about six takes before I was happy.

Then I had a go at the vocals using an SM58 via a Joe Meek VC3 compressor. I recorded about 4 takes of the vocals and used two of them in the final mix, double tracking certain sections of the vocals.

I added tons of reverb in the final mixdown using the AW4416 built in effects. 

 

It was a lot of fun to do and a little different to the stuff I normally write, play and record.

It's been an honour and privilege to have my humble recording included in this outstanding collection. 

 

 

I recorded you'll need somebody on your bond with the sermon in the beginning
Hi all-

Mine was pretty simple. I did Church I'm Fully Saved Today, and I felt like it needed a couple more verses. I wrote new verses and then worked out the tune (similar to Low Country Messiah's version) on the diddley bow. Once I had that fairly smooth, I tried to sing along, and finally started recording on a Zoom H2 on a Mic stand. I had to move the recording location around in my room so I didn't get a lot of echoiness.

I recorded three sessions of 6-12 takes each over three weeks (practicing for 30 minutes or so each day between recording sessions) as the playing and singing got a little more polished. Take 11 on the final session was the one I screwed up the least, so I normalized it on the Zoom, uploaded it into Audacity to trim off the loose ends and convert it to mp3, and sent it to Shane. The result of all the practice and done-shot takes is that I have a version I can do live.

"Church" was fun to do, and it got me jump started on working out some other country blues riffs that I am trying to write lyrics for.

Best regards, Willie

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