Thursday, October 25, 2007

Guitar Trouble

The guitar is fine. I just liked the title, which I borrowed from a Tommy Conwell album. It's my fingers that aren't working so well. I stayed up until 1 a.m. trying to record a song. You'll notice there's no link to the results. That's because what I have so far is terrible. Granted, that's not much worse than anything else I've recorded but at least I like some of that.

This is a song I recorded years ago and am re-doing now that I have better instruments. The basic track of the bass and percussion with some synth fills still exists so all I needed to do was re-record the guitar parts -- one acoustic and one electric.

Before I could record them, I had to re-learn them. I don't read music (which might help explain why it's so hard for me to write) so recordings are the only way I can "write" the song parts down. Learning the parts of old songs works just like trying to learn any song by ear, except that having played it before gives me some confidence that I can learn it again.

The acoustic part is simple. There are only four chords. But simple doesn't mean easy, especially for underpracticed and overly sore fingertips. It hurt when I recorded the original version and it hurt again this time. The acoustic guitar serves as a rhythm instrument on this song so I have to play the chords very fast. Unfortunately I did not realize this until later.

In the meantime, I move to the electric guitar part. This took forever for a number of reasons. First, since this part consists of individual notes rather than just four chords, learning the sequence of the melody took time. Then once I knew all the notes, I had to practice playing them so that I could do it accurately enough to record it. While neither terribly complicated nor hard on the fingertips, the fingering is unusual and I ended up having to use my pinkie a lot. Finally, I had to find the right sound using the knobs on my guitar and the settings on my Guitar Port computer software. I don't know how long I spent going through different setting hoping to stumble across the right combination. I know I never quite found it. But I got close enough to record a demo.

And it stunk. The playing was poor and the sound didn't work. I thought I could use a slower strumming rhythm on the acoustic than I did on the original. I can't. So I'll have to re-do that. And I have to play the electric part much more precisely. The sound still bothers me. Maybe I'll have to pull the old Korg pedal I used on the orignal out of the closet and try that.

You deserve a reward for reading all of that for no reason. So thanks to a fan who built a tribute site, below is a track by Tommy Conwell. It's not from the Guitar Trouble album. Can't be. That would have worked and nothing else here has.

Here I Come

1 comment:

DJ Caterina said...

Tommy Conwell is the man! Enjoyed reading your post...