Home Recordings

old microphone overlaid on a guitar diagram and musical sound wave

cover image of a microphone

old microphone overlaid on a guitar diagram and musical sound wave

Having a little fun home recording in GarageBand

Life's too short not to have a little fun so here it is. While I'm not a big fan of listening to myself play or sing, sometimes it's helpful and even a necessary part of the creative process. In fact it's a little scary to put ourselves out there and stretch our comfort zone but in the long run it's an important thing to do.

So with that in mind I've setup this blog post to put together some links for folks to download and listen to various covers of some stuff I like to play. Unlike my wife Paula's nephew Parker Mays , I don't possess the song writing gene. but it's fun none-the-less to play and goof around. In general what you'll hear here are all covers and are laid down in a single track. That is to say - both lyrics and guitar are laid down at the same time. Sometimes I go back in Garageband and add a little effect or split the track to adjust balance and add some depth to the recording.

Tunes

Click a song title below reveal additional details including links to play audio.

Original Artist: Gordon Lightfoot
Recorded Feb 2010
click here to play
Comments:
Played on the Martin HD35 so there's both the bridge pickup and mic on the sound board for this recording. I have a small screw up in the last verse but that's what you get for laying it down in one take :D
Original Artist: James Taylor
Recorded Feb 2010
click here to play
Comments:
Played on the Martin HD35 so there's both the bridge pickup and mic on the sound board for this recording. I screw up the lyrics and say September instead of December in the second version - oops...
Original Artist: The Beatles - John Lennon/Paul McCartney
Recorded Feb 2010
click here to play
Comments:
Martin HD35. One track applies a little bit of British rock type amp settings to twang up part of the track for fun. I also used the Shubb CB8 Partial capo to simulate drop D tuning. That really adds another deep level of base, particularly when strumming the Dm/Em/A7/Em7 chords. I need to hit this one again as the tempo is too fast but it's fun just the same.
Original Artist: The Beatles - John Lennon/Paul McCartney
Recorded Feb 2010
click here to play
Comments:
I need to do this again - the tempo is too fast. This was recorded with the K.Yari so it's mic'd only, no additional pickup. The ultralight strings and 7th fret capo give it a pretty high pitch.
Original Artist: Unknown - old time folk song
Recorded Feb 2010
click here to play
Comments:
One Mic (MX990) and the guitar but no preamp - I used the internal preamp of the FireStudio Mobile to drive the Martin HD30 as opposed to using the LR Baggs preamp.
Original Artist: America
Recorded Feb 2010
click here to play
Comments:
Uses two mic's and the LR Baggs preamp into the FireStudio Mobile driving the Martin HD35. I’m not totally happy with this cut recorded and mixed in GarageBand 09 - I may try recording and remixing in Studio One Artist to compare.
Original Artist: Bob Dylan
Recorded Feb 2010
click here to play
Comments:
I was always partial to Peter Paul and Mary’s version so this is kinda my take which is in between the two. I do a pretty funny Bob Dylan impersonation live that’s worth a chuckle.One Mic and the Martin HD35 but no preamp - I used the internal preamp of the FireStudio Mobile. I think it’s a bit fast and I may cut another version when time permits.
Original Artist: Ralph McTell
Recorded Apr 2011
click here to play
Comments:
I was noodling around with a Baby Taylor guitar and capo’d it up 5 frets for fun - trying to simulate a mandolin. Here was a very quick, first pass single mic recording to see how it sounded. I ended up returning the Baby Taylor in exchange for a Taylor GS Mini which has a much fuller and less twangy sound. If time permits I’ll try and post this same song recorded with the GS Mini for comparison.

For the technically sick and twisted

Here's a breakdown of the various bits I use for my mobile home recording setup. Where practical I've provided kinks to products for additional information.

Taylor GS Mini acoustic guitar (added 2011). For such a small body guitar it really throws out some great sound! Intended for travel, it made a snow shoe trip to 11,000 ft on it’s second day after being added to the collection.


Martin HD-35 acoustic guitar (added 2009), made in 2008. A wonderful instrument that was a gracious birthday gift from my wonderful wife! The Martin has a K&K Pure Western Mini Passive Bridge Pickup (very tiny, neat piece of hardware) connected to an LR Baggs Venue DI preamp. For optimal sound I normally mic the soundboard as well with a Marshall MXL991.


K.Yairi AR375 acoustic guitar which I’ve had since it was new in 1980, hand made in Japan in 1980. Don’t confuse this for the newer Alvarez Yairi guitars. This baby has seen plenty of miles during it’s +30 years of travel. It’s had some major work done recently to entirely refinish the fret board (it was grooved from use!), a new bridge that lifted and cracked, and some minor re-gluing of a loose brace and a splice added behind to small cracks in the sound board. Sounds extensive and it was, but again after 30 years of use and travel it was well worth the cost and it still sounds GREAT! My parents John and Kathleen gave me this gracious gift for my 16th birthday and it has truly been the gift that keeps on giving!
Computer: Apple MacBook Pro: 2.66 GHz, Intel Core i7, 8GB RAM, 250GB SSD Hard Drive
Microphones: Marshall MXL990 and MXL991 microphones
Preamp: LR Baggs Venue DI acoustic guitar preamp
Interface: PreSonus FireStudio Mobile Recording System (Firewire 400 (IEEE 1394) Input)
Sound Control: Auralex Acoustic Foam : I have a few sheets that are 2’x4’ to help dampen equipment sounds or deal with highly reflective surfaces that might be a nuisance.
Capos: Shubb Deluxe and CB8 Partial (Drop D simulated), Planit Waves Dual Action , and an Elliott capo (my favorite thus far is the Shubb Deluxe but these are all excellent capos).
Pickup: The Martin HD-35 has a K&K Pure Mini pickup glued to the underside of the bridge. Makes for a fairly bright sound so I find I get a fuller sound by also adding a mic to capture the sound board.