Recording a Scratch Track


Intro to Home Recording


Lesson Info

Recording a Scratch Track

So we're going to roll for the song and record quick scratch track here and then we'll sort of look at that and figure out how we can start to build from there yeah, here we go wait from my city yeah shines on the way a man I got nothing give man now you know I got another give me playing my song like a bruise way last night and I don't even know what it was don't wait don't know adam bad when maybe they just didn't like my songs but I got nothing men down long you got nothing to keep me from playing my song it shines on this shot then I got another give me you know another give me playing my song well, I have seen me get takers walking streets I got a feeling I'm not a tomorrow maybe shot ways daisy is I guess a strict long time time can make things seem I believe most fast before needs to slow way god give me down wayne got maybe my shines on, okay, awesome. So we have a scratch track down it's pretty good a lot of times to if you ever have a part of the song which you're getting the...

scratch track and it starts tow, you mess up a little bit or maybe screw up the verse you don't have to start all the way from the beginning again. You can often punch in different parts really quick just for an illustration I just want to show josh, you can help me how we would punch in a section if we wanted to do that. So the first thing is if you wanted to punch another section let's say you had gotten through the first verse the course, the next verse, the next course and then like towards the end of the course, he started to screw up right as you went into the bridge, so we want to go through and just punch in the bridge really quick so we're going to do is first, we're going to find wherever the bridges here, so we're going unused each of those tracks so what's going on fine with way that's whatthe the bridge starts right at the end of the second course, so we want to punch in right at the beginning of that, that next section, so first thing we did was go to options and make sure that quick punches checked so that quick punches turned on. If it's not turned on, you can't punch, um, and we're going to go ahead and start josh right there. So josh, I'm gonna start you just a little bit before the course or that they just play along yeah, just play along and then I'm gonna go and punch you in and they do have that delay now yeah yeah I'm gonna mute injustice okay? So as soon as we start a new his guitar part while it's playing and then once I hit punch he'll just hear his new part playing videos he has to hear what he's playing in order to figure out what is in the song so we're going to go and set up right towards the end of the course just a quick punch right here just so we can show how that works and yeah, we're gonna just do that I'm going to go ahead and newt um the speaker's again and get ready to go. The cool thing about pro tools also is that when you're doing punches as soon as you hit play it's actually recording even though you haven't record yet, so if you miss the punch a little bit a little bit later limit early you can actually always go back and dragged that audio it's being recorded whether or not you're recording or not so that's a really nice future portals um we're gonna go ahead and play wait I gotta be that I'm not a maybe a shot of whiskey cool. Okay, you won't do it again. Yeah. Let's do it again. I'll have to do is I'm gonna undo and we're gonna do the exact same thing again. You ready? Yeah. Wait a swell streets. I gotta be a not so love. Tomorrow may be waiting a few days days is against the law for a long time no time to make things seem I please most best meets too slow in a young men down long you see me play my song and the sun shines on the city the sun shines on say the same. Awesome. Cool so I also did something different there that you might have noticed, right? Is he finished and strummed the last chord, I muted the click track while he was recording that's really helpful to do, especially when you're doing the tracks that you're actually keeping it's. Not that big of a deal now that it's a scratch track but it's a good habit to get into a lot of times put tracks khun bleed through the headphones into the microphones that you're recording two s o at the end, it's usually only apparent when did the song starts to fade out like the guitar is just ringing out as you start to hear the click track bleed so it's sometimes a good habit towards the end of a track just to hit newt on the click track really quick? Why does the song ends so that they could tarkin fade out and you don't get any of that bleed coming through the headphones cool, so we're gonna go ahead and just adjust this really quick we're gonna go back to slip mode and then go back to where we did the punch and like I said, you can see here where the the punch actually started where the new recording was, but it's actually was according this whole time before here too, so we're going to go ahead and click on the guitar track and then hold downshift and the vocal track keep holding shift and that we can adjust where this punch actually does does happen, so we're going to go ahead and find a spot that makes sense so we're going to jump in right here and you're just looking at the way form exactly just so did you do that visually pretty much and then absolutely yes, we're going to listen to it too, but visually we're just trying to find a spot where there's not a lot going on so you don't hear sort of abrupt change, so we'll listen to that really quick way e that's pretty good the next thing we do now that we've done that little punch there's, we're going to actually put across state in between these two audio regions that basically just brings down the volume really, really fast so that there's not a little pop pro, jules makes it really easy with the multi tool. You basically just bring the cursor in between the two regions to the very bottom and this little box pops up and you click and you can drag the size of the cross, say that you want and then let go. So what is going to do a little cross fade for each of these that way? There's a smooth transition way cool and like I said, it's, just a scratch track, but just to get in the habit of doing that, um, ok, so we have the basic song structure. Now we've got the whole song sort of mapped out with a with a scratch track in pro tools. The next thing is going to help us as we start to build the song is just to go through and put in some quick memory locations for each spot, so the very beginning going to go back to grid mode so these are all in the same spot here, so this is the beginning and tow adam memory location all you have to do is hit enter and then it pops up this dialogue and you can name it. So the first location is going be intro. And then the next spot when he starts singing is the verse one. Then we're gonna go, teo so right there is course one. This is a first, too. And keep in mind we want to put the marker right where the bar actually starts, not where he starts singing because there's a little pick up going into each verse, of course. All right, there's where the courses and like I said, being great mood helps you click on exactly the downbeat so we know where that is. So this is course too. We'll see. You think so? This is the bridge. They this's verse three me, am I in this on? We'll call this last section just an outrage. Cool. So if I ever wantto jump around from different parts of the song, I can pull up the memory locations here in a list. I can see each of the sections and I could quickly jump. Do I want to go on course to reverse to bridge? It just helps me as I start to build the track to have those kind of sections in place, ok, so I've got get a good spot I've got the whole song laid out of all the different parts laid out I've got everything said to a click track I think it's time to start adding a rhythmic elements so before we move on this next section which is using virtual drums and start to building rhythmic tracks, is there any questions that you want to ask about what we've done so far? He has ac larry wants to know how do you deal with noise from your own laptop? So assume you're a singer songwriter and you're actually doing this for yourself? You're recording yourself you're sitting and pretty close proximity to your laptop. A lot of the older mac books have louder fans, the newer ones air quieter and yeah, from yeah that's always a challenge for sure trying to remove any noise in the room, especially when you're recording at home, is a huge challenge studio spend millions of dollars trying to isolate sound and keep computers out of the rooms or recording our the nice thing like you said about the new mac books is that they don't have physical hard drives, they have flash memory so it's it keeps a lot quieter without the fans some things you might want to try as being able to set up something in between your computer and the computer and the microphone that you're recording like even just you know a blanket that you put over your laptop or something while you're recording thing you can do is use a wireless keyboard her mouth so that you can keep the actual physical computer farther away from the microphone anything you can do to try to get the actual spinning fan and hard drive away from the mic that you're recording with us you know it's gonna help awesome really wants to know how are you putting those markers in there? Is there a pro tools hot key to put in markers sure yes so to add any marker you just click on where you want the market to be and then you hit the enter button and because it's a laptop the enter button is actually just a function key above the return key so you just hit enter in the ads a memory location awesome I think we're going to keep crazy cool also do we have any questions in the in the room guys they're tracking no pun intended yeah so what I'm doing this at home I'll be doing by myself and I didn't see if you did it or not but was the punching automated no it was play along is that an option? It's yes so the way that you could you could do a punch automated if you're playing and recording the same time the way that she would do that is with what's called a pre roll so I would set up the sex and I want to record. And then I would start right at that section and have a pre roll of two bars. So I go ahead and click pre roll here, hit punch and then play, and I could set it to be two bars for bars wherever minibars I want in the transport. And what that will do is that it'll start playing four bars in advance but not recording until it gets to the point where the cursor is. The prewar function really helps a lot with that kind of thing. Cool that's, a great question. Ok, so we're going to start putting in some virtual drums. So there's a couple different ways. Tio set up virtual instruments, and in pro tools, the first thing we're going to do is go back to track and add a new instrument track. We're going to make this a stereo instrument track so so we can pull this up.

Class Description

We’ve got the training you need to get started with home music recording. In this course audio engineer, Zach Varnell breaks home recording down into simple, easy-to-understand steps and sets you up with the skills you need to record music using minimal gear and a basic computer.

In this course Zach will walk you through the basic set-up you’ll want to create to start recording music at home. You will learn how to record vocals with a microphone, capture bass and guitar tracks and how to work with virtual drums and synths. Zach is an industry veteran and will share shortcuts he picked up from a career in music. This course will set you up to start recording immediately and give you a solid foundation for taking more advanced courses.

Music recording doesn’t have to be overwhelming or complex – join us for this foundational class and learn how you can record songs that sound great using very basic equipment.


Don Trapani

This was a great course for beginners, it was a true introduction. Of course the instructor used high-end software and equipment; he is a professional music producer, and is comfortable with the tools he uses on an everyday basis. I did not hear him say you had to get the products he was using, he just identified the tools so anyone watching can do their own research. After watching this class, I checked out several sources for more info, and found that you can get a basic interface that comes with the DAW software, for as little as $100. If you have an interest at all in home recording but don't know where to start, this is the course for you. 5 stars.

a Creativelive Student

Very interesting stuff! I also record music from home and this video gave me lots of good tips.