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A six month long journey Finishing a personal project

#1 User is offline   Lars68 

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 06:00 AM

I sent out home recordings of twelve of my songs to have them printed on CD today. It has been a dream project of mine for a long, long time, ever since I first picked up a guitar at age thirty. I do realize that my singing abilities are not quite there yet, but at the same time life is short. I have no illusions of grandeur. I am aware that there are shortcomings, but I see this project as a benchmark for myself, and a document of a period of learning. Hopefully, I can play this CD a few years down the road and laugh at my naive abilities. If not, well that's okey too (as Neil Young so often says).

I have tried my absolute best on every song, and it now is what it is. It has been an extremely frustrating six months of trying over and over again, but also at the same time immensly rewarding. A few times I have had to compromise with the song I heard in my head. I just couldn't get it out, while other times I was a little surprised. Some songs I initially thought of as weaker turned out to please me the most. I have learned a lot simply by doing this. I know now that I can go back to the first song I did, and do it over, and chances are I will be able to improve on it, but I have to stop somewhere... [biggrin]

Music has been a constant companion throughout my life, and the realization that I wrote, performed, and recorded twelve songs of my own is, well, nothing short of amazing. Going back just three years, when I didn't have any songs and couldn't carry a tune to save my life, the idea of 40 minutes of my music in the form of a CD was laughable, at best.

The music was recorded at home using my iPad, an Apogee soundcard, and an Aston Origin mic. The sound quality and simple production is far from perfect, but neither am I... [biggrin] I got some tremendously valuable input from my neighbor, who added vocals (to support my weak ones), keyboard, and accordion. I could not thank her enough!

If you care to have a listen, you can sample the songs here:
https://soundcloud.com/lars1968

In relative terms, I think the first couple of songs turned out the best.

I know there are many, many of you reading this who are much more talented then I, and I would encourage you to go ahead and record yourselves this way, have you not done so before. It is very rewarding, and in, at least my case, surprisingly cheap at about $250 in total for fifty CDs (didn't need or want that many, but that was the minimum quantity)

Lars

By the way, the CD-cover will have a Gibson guitar featured on the front, on the back, and on the inside flip. Only a Gibson is Good Enough.
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#2 User is offline   Cougar 

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 06:17 AM

That's one way to do it. Congrats, Lars!
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#3 User is offline   george wooden 

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 06:29 AM

Lars, I am enjoying listening to your new effort as I make my coffee and start my day. I like what you have accomplished, please don't sell yourself short, you are lightyears ahead of most of us here. Well done, my friend.
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#4 User is offline   Lars68 

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 06:37 AM

View Postgeorge wooden, on 16 April 2018 - 06:29 AM, said:

Lars, I am enjoying listening to your new effort as I make my coffee and start my day. I like what you have accomplished, please don't sell yourself short, you are lightyears ahead of most of us here. Well done, my friend.


It's kind of hard to believe sometimes that posting music on this forum means that other people, often very far from my Scandinavian home, actually listen to something I did. I very much appreciate the kind words, George!

Lars
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#5 User is offline   Jinder 

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 07:17 AM

Will you have copies for sale, Lars? Would love a copy to play in the car.
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#6 User is offline   Lars68 

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 07:32 AM

View PostJinder, on 16 April 2018 - 07:17 AM, said:

Will you have copies for sale, Lars? Would love a copy to play in the car.


I don't have any plans to try and sell the CDs. I really don't think I'm up to par for charging anyone to listen [biggrin]
However, I will gladly send you a copy once they are in my hands. I'm honored just by the fact you are asking. I will drop you a PM asking for your address once the CDs arrive, which should be in about two to three weeks. You will have to promise me your honest opinion once you have listened. That is something I will look forward to, going ahead with my music the coming years.

I really saw this little project as a way to aim for something tangible. I loved to go the record store as a teenager, and riding my bike home eagerly awaiting to drop the needle on a new purchase. I miss the physicality of music consumption. I guess in many ways that is why I want to get CDs printed, just to have the music in physical form, like the old days. I will place the CD on my bookshelf next to Cash, Dylan, Young, Springsteen, and van Zandt. I will be in good company (by the way, the only proximity I will see between those greats and myself will be the placement on said shelf, which is incredibly cool in and of itself for a music nerd like myself).

Lars
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#7 User is offline   kwalker201 

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 08:20 AM

Well done Lars! You will have to send me a digital copy. Keep your dream going!!! [thumbup]

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#8 User is offline   zombywoof 

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 10:41 AM

Very nice. Who was that singing along with you? I particularly liked the duet.

The technology though makes my analog mind wobble. My daughter spent the weekend recording herself on vocals, bass, keyboards and uke. I just bought her an electric guitar this weekend (she liked the purple plexiglass one) so I am sure that will be showing up soon. Sure is a far cry from walking into a sound booth and coming out with a 45 rpm.

This post has been edited by zombywoof: 16 April 2018 - 10:41 AM

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#9 User is offline   Lars68 

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 11:49 AM

View Postzombywoof, on 16 April 2018 - 10:41 AM, said:

Very nice. Who was that singing along with you? I particularly liked the duet.

The technology though makes my analog mind wobble. My daughter spent the weekend recording herself on vocals, bass, keyboards and uke. I just bought her an electric guitar this weekend (she liked the purple plexiglass one) so I am sure that will be showing up soon. Sure is a far cry from walking into a sound booth and coming out with a 45 rpm.


The lady singing is my neighbor. She is retired but very active gigging around town in a duo. She has been helping me along the way. Without her help I would never have gained enough confidence to see this through. Hearing her sing my tunes really made me believe in them. She showed me what was behind the veil.

As for the technology, recording with an iPad/iPhone and the Garageband app is actually very easy. It is very intuitive. I tried on a windows PC some time back, and it was much, much more complicated. In fact, I hate it when technology takes over. I want to make the music real, not artificial in a computer.

Lars
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#10 User is offline   drathbun 

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 12:24 PM

Well done Lars! Excellent recording. I'm really enjoying your crystal clear acoustic sound and your lovely vocals.

Can you give us some details on your recordings, like what are you mic choices and setup for your guitar and your vocals? What recording software do you use for mixing or mastering?
Beware of Doug

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#11 User is offline   Lars68 

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 01:07 PM

View Postdrathbun, on 16 April 2018 - 12:24 PM, said:

Well done Lars! Excellent recording. I'm really enjoying your crystal clear acoustic sound and your lovely vocals.

Can you give us some details on your recordings, like what are you mic choices and setup for your guitar and your vocals? What recording software do you use for mixing or mastering?


Thanks for the compliments!

I do all the recording on my iPad in the Garageband software app.
This is the mic I use: https://www.astonmic...uct/mics/origin
and this is the soundcard: http://www.apogeedig...oducts/one/ipad

Aston is a pretty new British mic manufacturer. The Origin is their budget mic, and I like it a lot. I think it looks cool too!
The soundcard I bought used, and it is just one knob to set the recording volume, nice and simple. So it is mic to soundcard, then soundcard to iPad. No more.

I have recorded the various instruments and vocals on seperate tracks. When recording guitars, I found that I got the best sound when having the mic about two feet out, pointing slightly downward towards the twelth fret, from an angle of about fortyfive degrees from the direction of the headstock. For vocals, some of my first recordings have slightly sharp ess-sounds. Later I learned to sing facing just a tad outside of the mic. That kept the ess- sounds reasonably in check.

For some tracks I also played some ”strings” in real time on the iPad. You can set the chords in the Garageband app and then pick from a selection of instruments to play. So you actually play by hitting chord boxes on the iPad, it is not like programming the chords. It is a very cool feature, actually, and the keys are even touch sensitive!

All EQing is done in the Garageband app, along with left/right paning, and track volumes. There are also some effects, like reverb and compression, which I used modestly. I sort of learned this stuff along the way, and it was not that hard after all. The software has great help features. I'm looking forward to learning more about recording in the future, but for now I'm just pleased that the technology didn't get in my way.

I hope this helps, and it probably sounds more involved than it really is. If I could do it reasonably well for a first try, anybody can do it!

Lars
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#12 User is offline   drathbun 

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 02:31 PM

Thanks for the details Lars. It shows that the fundamental points (good mic and good interface) are essential. You get an excellent, quality, clear tone from a simple setup, using a simple DAW. Garageband has a lot going for it.
Beware of Doug

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2018 Taylor GS Mini Walnut
2014 Godin Multiac Classical
2013 Martin 000-28vs 12 fret
2012 Gibson "The Golden Age 1930's" SJ200
2012 Squier Vintage Modified 70's Jazz Bass
2010 Gretsch Electromatic G5122DC
2009 Taylor GA3-12e
2004 Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster
1981 Rickenbacker 320JG
1968 Yamaha FG150 Red Label
My Soundclick Music Page

My YouTube Channel
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#13 User is offline   kelly campbell 

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 04:04 PM

Well done Lars...congratulations on completing your goal..hope it does well.
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#14 User is offline   Murph 

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 04:14 AM

Quite a journey indeed.

You should be very proud my friend, many, many people never make the effort to do something this complex.

[thumbup]
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#15 User is offline   Lars68 

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 05:18 AM

View PostMurph, on 17 April 2018 - 04:14 AM, said:

Quite a journey indeed.

You should be very proud my friend, many, many people never make the effort to do something this complex.

[thumbup]


Thanks, Murph! Yes it took a long time and demanded quite an effort, but as a learning experience it was well worth it. I improved in several areas along the way, which would never have happened otherwise.

Lars

This post has been edited by Lars68: 17 April 2018 - 06:26 AM

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#16 User is offline   flatbaroque 

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 04:41 PM

Well done mate.That's a good achievement.You are a determined feller.
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#17 User is offline   fretplay 

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 03:28 AM

This is a really excellent piece of work Lars well done. I like the way the songs fit together some in English and some in Swedish, so it holds a musical story and makes an album.

I think there is a little Neil Young meets Nils Lofgren and some of the songs feel as if you are about to go into Neils 'Out on the Weekend' but there is nothing wrong with that.


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#18 User is offline   Lars68 

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 05:29 AM

View Postfretplay, on 18 April 2018 - 03:28 AM, said:

This is a really excellent piece of work Lars well done. I like the way the songs fit together some in English and some in Swedish, so it holds a musical story and makes an album.

I think there is a little Neil Young meets Nils Lofgren and some of the songs feel as if you are about to go into Neils 'Out on the Weekend' but there is nothing wrong with that.


Thanks!

Lars
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#19 User is offline   MissouriPicker 

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 12:21 AM

Glad to see you’re still at it, Lars. You are one of the most determined people I’ve ever known. I admire your dedication. You never give-up. You’ve got some good stories in your songs that are easy to identify with. Lots of real life in them. You have brought a lot of people along on your musical journey and have courageously shown your flaws and strengths. I believe you’ve reached a point where your strengths far out number any flaws. Excellent, my friend......and like others, I want a copy.
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#20 User is offline   Lars68 

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 04:27 AM

View PostMissouriPicker, on 19 April 2018 - 12:21 AM, said:

Glad to see you’re still at it, Lars. You are one of the most determined people I’ve ever known. I admire your dedication. You never give-up. You’ve got some good stories in your songs that are easy to identify with. Lots of real life in them. You have brought a lot of people along on your musical journey and have courageously shown your flaws and strengths. I believe you’ve reached a point where your strengths far out number any flaws. Excellent, my friend......and like others, I want a copy.


First of all, welcome back MP. It's been a while.

Yes, I am determined and dedicated about learning to make music. Even though I get frustrated from time to time, when I don't get it like I want to, it is never hard work. I enjoy this hobby and it is a very welcome and needed distraction from everyday life.

Thanks for the nice comments! I will reach out to you with a cd once it is printed.

Lars

This post has been edited by Lars68: 19 April 2018 - 09:47 AM

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