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Tracking Guitar

Lesson 17 from: Studio Pass with Steve Evetts and Ben Weinman

Steve Evetts, Ben Weinman

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Lesson Info

17. Tracking Guitar

Lesson Info

Tracking Guitar

We I dialed in our tone with the two mikes we're doing the on access off axis uh technique and we've got the basic tone that we were thinking we're liking um so let's um maybe do a little tracking on one of the songs and the big thing is obviously you know, these air again basic things focus on playing, not writing you should be prepared you should have everything is close to dunn is possible before you get into the studio I mean, you know, I've had plenty of records where they write while they're in the studio and that could be fun that active discovery is great, but I you know, I'd rather have people have their act together but you know, you leave room for improvisation um so it's always good uh again tone comes in her hands and I'll be showing a little bit more about that we didn't get the string mute, but the tone comes from your hands and we're going to dive into that and then it's I this is a statement I use a lot and it's like it's hard tio to when you were in in the in a critic...

al listening environment and you're really like telling people like what they're doing is like no that's wrong that's wrong like pay attention what you're doing and it's like it's a hard thing to you know people get like even me doing this like you know that the red light fever when you know the cameras on or when you know you're being recorded and teo like shut off that so that you know, self conscious kind of idea this whole mission work yeah, thank you um but you have to shut the brain off enough and don't think about what you're playing but be aware of what you're playing and I really know how to really quantify that like but you know, it's just think but don't think it's just this thing of like really then that's why I try to a lot of times getting our players to stand up while they're playing and not sit down because when you're sitting you're so focused like ok, here it goes I'm going to record now don't mess up and it's like you can't think about don't think about messing up obviously because you will you know invariably but you should be aware of what you're doing so it's just more just kind of like letting the game come to you just be conscious about everything about your surroundings but just really just focus on you're playing and focus on what you're doing and focus on just feeling the song and feeling the music which goes to the next thing in tracking number one I can't stress this one enough I do it so money I see it so many times time and time again bands come in there with me and they're tracking and they're looking at my pro tools screen they're looking at the edit window as I'm recording and they're looking at the kick drum like I'm like, what are you looking at in the dissipating and they go well, I have to know where to come in like you have to know where to come in what if they're what if you're playing live, how do you know where to come in? You know you're listening to the music, you're feeling it, you know, the drummer, you know the drummer generally counts off to start the sorrow listen for that react to that, you know, if a lot of times I will literally shut the monitor off no don't look at that listen, look at the speaker's, listen to the speakers, listen to focus on the music what's going on feel it, react to it and the same thing goes with, um even like click tracks and stuff like that, you know, we've had our share a few rest few songs, you know in dillinger that due to quit, but most of dillinger is not to a click and it's like you have all these parts, like the end of feral mona lisa with those hits were on on and it's just like this random, just, you know, there's no click it's not like we weren't doing day ing saying no no it's and he had to feel it and it's like honestly, I it's the craziest thing this half the time with those kind of thing especially you know you're playing it and you burn it with the driver with billion he worked on it and played it live in a zoo home he demoted at home and you know so it's just like you tell you tell the entire player close your eyes and feel those parts and it's the craziest thing because nine times out of ten he nails it well just goes feels just go picture the drummer you have to picture the drummer your head how they would determine where they're going to make those around him heads and things like that the way they so yeah that's a lot of video and again it's like goto here so it's your eyes will deceive your ears you look at the screen and even just that like looking at and you will you'll be late, you'll be earlier you're just going to deceive it, you know your eyes will deceive your ears so it's like that's why I always loved in the tape because there wasn't you but there's no screen you are looking at it so like feel it how you're locking and really perceive how you're locking in like that just feeling the drums and like what you're focusing on and you can go through this because I know you you actually did this in a workshop earlier and talking about like what the focus is and what the locking with the drummer it's like the dillinger stuff is very you know, drum guitar centric that's how their stuff was always written it was always generally written with ben and the drummer whoever the drummer is the original drummer chris or you know what you were thinking like frequencies like we talked about a lot so like low you would be something that would follow more of a kick and a higher court be something would be following more than china near the china whatever but um I think that um yeah, I think I think that it's really uh like for instance when we, um you talk about this a lot you're talking about this now we're hopefully we'll get a chance to show it but I noticed that I record myself a cz well home so I I am very guilty of looking at the screen because I'm actually editing and punching myself in at home so I tend to naturally do that, but I think what was great about doing that tape stuff is that you know, we really did have to feel it and kind of have that you never heard of you don't rarely hear older records described a sterile no, they might be good, they might be bad, but that kind of description of the record is a newer thing. Yeah, that and so why is that? Why is that? Because people weren't looking at screens, they weren't editing to transience, they weren't cutting and pasting parts they weren't trying to make things is that they weren't the ability for to be still, there wasn't the ability for it to be sterile will see that it was either good or bad, you know, and that it's interesting. I just thought of that while you're talking, I never heard that description of the older records before there was a computer st s o and even even the click track thing to you know, like I know this, this goes towards more drunk tracking and everything basics philosophy of recording, but yeah, like click tracks like I said, like, we've done stuff where there's a click in on some of the more like straight ahead rock songs, we have done things parts and sections two a click, but how often would I ever really run the click in the control? More jacking? Never, never because, like, you know, it's like and I have had done other records words like pretty much all clicked out, um and they'll be like, can you put the click up like no because I don't edit the drums, the drums are edited to a grade they're not to the that clipped the clique is a guy it's a road map, you follow it and you kind of flow with it, and I do a lot of things where I headed the click two I'll do a temple map what's called, and I will read it to click to how the song flows without any tempo guide, you know, just part pushes this part, polls I will ramp and move the click. I'll move the click around to the player as opposed to making the player moved to the collective, and when I want a charmer, andi were saying drummer because the guitar player typically plays to the jumper so the performers because our players really depending on how they react to the drums. But when you are playing to a set click, people need to realize the drummers, particularly that being good at playing to a click does not mean being able to land on a click. It means being able to play around a click, so that means when you're playing to the drum track that was played to a click as a guitar player, you need to be following the drums and the performance and the tug and pull, not the click, so that's ah, good point about not having the click on when when you track but um you should pull I've I've literally heard instances of people that bad that I work with and they work with other producers where, you know, I mean, this technique might work great for them it's just not my philosophy I'm not degrading what they do with that, but I mean, I've literally heard instances where they shut everything off. It is like, ok, let's get this part and they'll shut the drums off and just put the click of a show all the other instruments off and put the click up and just have the guitar player playing more times than not. Now, when I'm watching these kind of behind the scenes webisodes of bands making their angers see that's what I'm seeing click and jeans on everything to have click and I'm like it blows my mind because then why have a person in there at all? You can cut and paste every note on a front board and every drum on it on a drone map and it's like so the life and the push and the pull and the mistakes and all the weird noises and all that all that started making a record that's part of the the vibe in the part of what that person of the soul in the essence of the track is so you know, I try to capture all yeah, and not to get too much into the drum stuff. But again, on our last record, just through working with steve and having all this time trying to figure out the best way to maybe create temple maps and things like that. So then I can go back in and do more complex sound design and midi, which I do a lot of, um, I actually temple mapped all our demos. So, um, first songs that we were going to be incorporating more elektronik, which is very common. Now, um, we played in a room like it was just a punk band just haven't like going off, like, sweating our ass off their shirts off freaking out in my basement. And then I took those those demos, and I sat in tempo, mapped all the parts, and created a click, and then in the studio are german, was able to without the stress of knowing this is for riel, or that it's being recorded or not being in the same environment we were able to, he was able to then track to the energy and that vibe that we had in the basement, and then, consequently, I was able to then go do medium or complex programming to that grid that was a natural impulse of how we felt when we were just jamming so there are ways to do things and it utilizes technology and use it to your advantage but doesn't mean necessarily abandoned the human nature of making records so hopefully a yeah that's doing all these electronic stuff and you know you have to look and he has to be something to do, you know, you know, usually a middie program you know? You're needing some sort of tempo great or something so we have toe create this weird, crazy thing that goes just like I mean it's just all over the place and what was that? I'm a man I wish I could remember right now off the top of my head there's a a website about tracking slip find the click track or something like that I wish I knew what it was there's this one anyway congrats quick look that it's like find the click I think there's some find and you can type in almost any song that was ever written and it analyzes it and go so many great records it's like you could tell what was what was that of a clicker what's not because you do others click and it's like two a click and it's like it's like this draws a map and then you draw like leads up a whole our love and it's like yeah, they're like similar metallica song it's like, uh, just all over the place, you know, and that that's interesting is the mental state of tracking the things we were talking about, like, you know, like that type of stuff and all those kind of variance and all that kind of those mistakes was happy accidents that just the push and pull, but that's so important to maintaining that vibe. Yeah, kind of a question for both of you, from a philosophy perspective and for dillinger, since the guitar and drums air are so intertwined with each other. Do you guys generally record each individual part in isolation? Or do you do or do you try to get the band together and record, you know, the guitar and drums at the same time question kind of both we we've done both. We've done both the early stuff. It was always the genesis of it was never ah, full band, because ben generally always and we'll get into the wisconsin late. A little bit later, ben basically always tracked all the guitars on the village of records. The second guitar player, uh, through the years, uh, they track some parts. But for the most part, it's because it's been it's always been ben vision and it's like the genesis of it was always been writing with the drummer so you know, like unlike the miss machine record but all the basic tracks were always done with you and chris in the room like together in the studio yeah, but typically I would delete it and then go back and try and get better tones and figure things out because the point of me being in that room wasn't necessarily first of sound good, sometimes I wouldn't even play the right chords running I was trying to coax our drummer in texas have country only I'm sure and also sometimes would be like, wait a minute, they're supposed to be one more that isn't there like one more time. Oh, really? Yeah, because I felt like, so there's uh some people in these rock bands or stuff like that feel that there is a vibe and some that bleed you were talking about, unlike that van halen, yeah, that's tracks were thinking, I've done plenty of records back, everybody certainly basic tracks air live and we go for keeper take keeper tones, you know, I've done a couple of records like that were more in a couple of where we're going for let's let's really were dialing and not just like you know normally like basic setup ok, we got to get drum tones wherever but you know as long as we have enough mikes and inputs and everything like that ok let's go for keeper guitar tones let's go for everything and let's get the capture the entire band playing live the guitars either in the same room or cabinets isolated so to minimize bleed sometimes you want to bleed sometimes we do it all together threads on time frame and all those things it spends on budget I think a lot of it specifically to dillinger you know our combination we are technical kind of band predominantly I guess into some degree so our combination of of precision and live energy and punk attitude I think is best achieved by combining some of these philosophies and, you know, coming back into this control and like we're doing now and having a little more control over those things but also making sure we don't ignore the energy and the feeling when we're starting out and laying down the groundwork in the bed absolutely I'm just trying to you know, if you couldn't just for just another second here I'm gonna I need to actually pull up a click which there's no click here but I'm going to actually give us well I know I'm going to need to pull up a click tio start the song I eliminated whatever was there this was from pulled from the actual mixed section. Did you have you? Yeah, I was just I was curious, like on the temple mapping to say like you been you were in the basement, you play through the songs. Um, how many songs sections were you doing? And I'm curious, like, I mean, did it change every day bar or what? I mean, how dynamic was that? How much time? It's a great mysteries is really a question um, sometimes it's about kind of finding that that medium ok, so I'm sitting here and I'm theory out large number billy is in the one, sixty tow one, sixty five range let me make it one sixty three and make that like, ten seconds stay static alone sixty three sometimes I literally temple map the entire thing I used steinberg q base as my dog. Ah, and that has a great feature called tempo detection, which has changed the game for me a lot for especially for things like that. So you know, sometimes it's not perfectly accurate to do an entire song. That's going three hundred fifty bpm and changing as much as the dollar goes on goes on, but you can fairly accurately get sections and pieces and and use that tool to detect it, so sometimes honestly it's changing by the millisecond you know it's it's it's constantly changing like I literally temple matt the entire song and let it change as much as it has to and then just fix where in the sixth spot to be like, you know, this would be a little more beneficial to be a little more stable released this amount of time, so it really is a combination, but yes, sometimes it will be section by section and sometimes it will be second by second you know, I can't say how many times we've played with bands that when their computer broke, they couldn't play, they walk off stage, you know, or or something like that. So I think that going into a recording with that mind state set enables you to then present your band in a way that is as natural as possible and serves the emotion of what you're trying to do even later when you're performing these songs on stage, um, because you're still kind of serving that energy from the beginning but also taking advantage of these awesome tools that we have now so it sounds like always like the most natural thing that you can dio is the best so like yeah again I feel like you play it for you that's the that's, the temple it's not set the set, the b p m for the song track, sand I've had records where you know we've done clicks and like one bpm does work for a song, but again I don't do things to a grid um ever but it was like I literally like we'll take the I'll listen to the band and I will not in pro tools I have like a little tama rhythm watch like a little mattress ip separate metro gnome and it's got a tap temple feature and I will sit there and listen to the band listen this section and I'll be like play that section and I'll tap out of tempo for that section is like, ok, well that sections here on the next section all the course actually slows down okay, bring down the course you know like and then as a drummer plays overfill like you know I ramp it up over the focus generally drummers had to speed up over drum fills and that's fine, but I wanted I don't want to force him to pull back and have a whole back when he's when he's tracking the same with guitar, I wantto where I want to adapt to what they're doing yeah feeling that makes people double what I'm doing are you know, were made in order to enhance what we already know and then on and and some of them were made because they have to stay marketable for all the lazy people you know, so I think certain being able to, like, perfectly fix ingrid bad takes some of that stuff's really convenient, like I do, like a commercial spot or something that's just for a paycheck and it's really easy to just be able to sit down and play jobs really crappy and fix it just because, you know, motion and stuff like that is not risen important, and our is not as much, but for the most part, yeah, like try to use this stuff to enhance the goal on and, you know, looking on to the er back to the slide and just determining how you're locking in and what's the focus and, like, we'll show you on the thing we're about to track, like, what's your focus? What do you listening to? What are the what? Where you actually locking into, um, because it's important and it can change, you know, from song to song on, definitely within parts in the sunday well, that's electoral, you're asking me about the thing I did, yeah, when you're talking about locking in a good example of that is I recently did like a one of these kind of classes, and it was mainly on performance, and so I had our general billy play this really technical fast. Piece of a song that was very syncopated and complex a lot time signatures and very fast at the same time but I had him play with absolutely no dynamics everything was at full power and it was very impressive in the audience clapped they were like oh my god you know it's like a drum machines guys like you know and then I said okay now play it right and he played it with all these dynamics and ghost notes and all these things and we recorded it and when you looked at the transient the way of the snare track the first one was just flat it was just like everything was loud and then we we recorded the second take where he was doing all these dynamics and doing you know, accents things were going up and down you could see where the where the accents or you could see where the focus was, where things turned around where the one started again on all these things and I said, ok, well the base is kind of following these things I follow with my higher courts I'm following that and then my louise following mohr these notes and the things that and then like that so we're create this is actually there's pulse there there's rhythms there's syncopation, there's polly rhythms there's all these things that are actually working on this human thing and this you can program this is very difficult to program this one, you know, take one that could be a job machine this cannot you can I know in this and people were really pretty blown away by the difference when you actually normally heard it but actually looked at it on the screen, you know, saw the difference yeah, and I know where we're really saying like, if I go back to like, you know, think but don't think don't you know don't think but be aware and were really deconstructing this, you know, to its simplest element because he doesn't come in here thinking that he's going to lock in with occasion, he just he just does that's just that's his process that's what he feels is an artist that's how he creates that's just what he automatically does and, you know, sometimes he does things and I'm like, where did where you coming from? Where did you think of this? You know, like it's just but that's his thought process so, you know, and for somebody else in another band, I'm going to focus in and saying, ok, what do you listen to? What do you, what you're focused on, just trying and and I don't necessarily ask him what his focus is, but I'll pay attention to what he's doing and what his focus is and I'll kind of try and hone in and determine what you know when I say from from a guitar player, if you're tracking yourself and you're saying how you locking in, then you I guess you have to give a little more thought or or not, but it's it's ah, but when I'm trying somebody else and I will kind of automatically just I feel like I'm just listening just just the same way I'll listen to a sound, I'll say I'll focus on just the high end, I'll focus on just the lohan and I'm dialing in the high end. It's the same thing I'm looking at what he's focusing on and then I'll make sure that make him aware to make sure that he maintains that focus because if he's if he's doing that it's like, ok, well, you're following the kit, you know what I mean? But mental illness has been my best friend any without mental if we could just fix everyone's deficits that we know nirvana, there'd be no, absolutely no zappa and there'd be, you know, there'd be no dylan, if you could the auto tune every vocal, you know, so one hundred, but yeah, it's just it's, like, really just focusing like being aware of what their focus is and trying to be be like, tune in and hone in on what it is and that's what they're doing to try to get them make sure that when I'm coaxing the performance out of a player, try and get them to like accomplish that so you obviously playing a lot of attention tio getting the temple mapping correct and doing all the custom work into that what do you need to be aware of when you're going cross platform? Obviously going from q based approach tools and well, what what are some things again? That's a whole other issue because unfortunately, um to my dismay way and we all just get along and the question is the answer is no we can't because every seems like temple maps from pro tools do not translate to q base and vice versa and logic to pro tools of logic tube it they don't none of them none of them have the only two that work together our q base innuendo because they use the same engine thie other ones they don't work logic and pro tools don't nope have have you been like exporting them as many notes or and then just so not even that export as an audio clip? Yeah, I will actually have to if I do it I'll have to print the have them print an audio click and then I can do the same thing I could do a tempo detect from their audio click but I can't just grab his session because when you do it, even when you do it is the mini temple map for some reason it doesn't work, they're always off has to be its critics to create five, and if somebody out there in, you know, in the internet, land knows of away and everybody I've talked to, they're all like, yeah, it doesn't work you let us know, let us know because way love to know from the click and then I'll like, you know, turn mitt that and to many in my environment and vice versa, you know, because and then it's our own combination of yeah, and the cross platform thing, which is interesting not just for the tempo thing, but, you know, obviously there's, no direct translation software, so, like when we were getting it will get into the revamping thing in the d I think way touched on that yesterday and this door plenty instant on the last couple of records where I was tracking vocals with greg downstairs in my main control, and he was upstairs with his cuba set up up in the little closet and it's like hunold away like like rumpelstiltskin it in there, just like tracking his guitar like for like, a little extra to guitar parts that go, I got this little extra like clean leader listen look your little part or whatever and he'd be up there like doing some extra stuff so I would have to make audio stems. Yeah, we do a lot of things that we used them well, your stats also trump standing makes them and then, um it and then you give it to him and then he just tracks to that and then gives me the files bounce back yet so that's a damn good job box and flash sticks are amazing. Really? Yeah, this day and age it's just wonderful. I mean, he could be in the other side, you know, he was giving the guitar parts back from london last restaurant he was getting his stuff back from new jersey. We have to go back to new jersey and I was just back there if actually was he flew back because he had to get back early and liam and greg route stayed well, greg lives in l a but and so we're finishing a base and then vocals and he was like all of a sudden I'm getting e mails like up is there's more guitar parts of my dropbox okay, grab them like, what do we do now? You know, it's wonderful, the collaboration that's available now was with, you know, files and high speed internet and like, you know, and drop box and all that is just is amazing. So does that. Answer your questions, okay, okay, so, unfortunately, we couldn't answer it. You answer a question we can't answer. Yeah, just try to figure it out, still trying to figure that one out.

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bonus material with enrollment

Steve Evetts - Studio Pass

Ratings and Reviews

Ashton Thebault

Some really great stuff in here that helped me better understand how to coax out the nuances in mic placement, amp and cabinet selection and performance. Tips and tricks are sprinkled throughout the course that deal with guitar technique, recording, performance, etc. and are nice to make note of. Towards the end it gets a bit focused on Pro Tools functions, which is not useful to me as a non-Pro Tools user, but you can take some concepts and apply them in other circumstances.

Joshua Rathbun

Good basic knowledge, which delves into more detailed stuff later on in the course.

Haunt Luma

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