JRS Wings of Gold

Inner Resonance Solar Voices

JRS Spank Your Inner Child

JRS Despair to Peace

JRS Loss for Words

JRS Spank Your Inner Monkey

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Saturday, December 29, 2007: Maybe get a blister on your little finger...

      Last night I finished the strummy rhythm gtuitar on three songs! Most productive recording session in a long while.

      On one of the songs, I ended up doing hybrid picking: using the pick and the middle and ring finger of my right hand. I hardly ever do this, so I don't have proper callouses built up. So, I ended up with a nice blister. Here's a picture.

      Tough work, this music making. Hopefully this weekend I'll be able to finish the strummy guitar. Next up is the acoustic guitar. Not too many acoustic parts to play, so it should go quickly.

      Almost the end of 2007! I gotta, gotta get this album finished. I've been whittling away at it for almost three years now, which is way too long. One of my New Years resolutions is get New Old Stock done by March 2008.



Thursday, December 20, 2007: More counting: 3 of 8?

      I finished the strummy acoustic/electric guitar (using the Dean Palomino)on the Cowbell Song tonight. By my imprecise count I have 8 songs remaining that need the strummy stuff.

      Then, I'll go through all 14 songs and add acoustic guitar parts. Most are just double tracking the previous acoustic/electric stuff I recorded with the Palomino.

      That leaves vocals, backing vocals, and guitar solos.

      I can't decide if I feel like the project is halfway done, or only half done, y'know? Is the cup half full or half empty...

      I do know that I don't have my lyrics completed for all the songs! I am a lazy bastard.

      In related news, I bought the Sonar 7 Producer upgrade, but haven't loaded it yet. I usually wait for one maintenance release before loading new software, though Cakewalk's software has been quite stable the past couple iterations.

      I'm also trying to figure if I want to video tape myself recording parts for the album. I figure video of me double-tracking rhythm guitar parts would be pretty boring, so I've been waiting until I get to vocals and guitar solos. Again, I am a lazy bastich.

      Let me finish with a picture of my two dogs. Cindy is 7, Carl is 5 months. Carl is already bigger than Cindy. He's going to be HUGE!


Saturday, December 08, 2007: Recording the Palomino

      Tonight I recorded the Dean Palomino on two New Old Stock Songs. I'm recording both the electric guitar tone and a miced (acoustic) tone.

      Here's what that looks like:

      The Palomino's live acoustic tone sounds kind of like a resonator guitar, partly because of the electric guitar strings I'm using, and partly because I have the action set so low it buzzes a bit. It's a very cool, distinctive sound that I stumbled on totally by accident.

      For this application, I'm using a Rode NT1-A, a large diaphragm condenser microphone. This a very nice sounding mic, with a non-hyped top end (in my opinon). It's also very quiet -- very low self-noise. I'm sending the mic into an ART TPS tube mic preamp, which has a limiter that comes in real handy preventing overloads. The ART TPS is an inexpensive, basic mic pre-amp. Very quiet and clean.

      I'm also recording the guitar's plugged-in sound, though it is going in direct-in (no guitar amp). I like the P90 style pickups on the Palomino, so I wanted to make sure I got that sound captured too. I re-amp it later, either with the Line 6 Gearbox VST plugin, or through one of my guitar amps.

      So, as I mentioned, I finished the Palomino parts on 2 songs tonight. I think about 10 of the 14 songs will end up having Palomino parts on them. The recording goes pretty quick, since the parts are pretty basic, strummy rhythms. I'm going to try to include pictures in this blog more often. Maybe make it a little more interesting to digest, yes?


Friday, November 23, 2007: Bass is done!!

      The bass is finally done!!

      I took a deep breath, sat down and recorded the bass on song 14. This tune, currently called "The Cowbell Song," has the most difficult bass lines on the album. Not hard for a real bass player, but then I'm a guitarist :)

      The remaining things to do are: Vocals, backing vocals, acoustic guitar parts, lead guitar parts. Mix, master and release.

      I wanna buy a Presonus Eureka pre-amp to record the vocals, and perhaps a new microphone. I have a Rode NT-1A which I like quite a bit, but I'm considering a tube condenser mic. Probably a Rode NTK or K2. I like the sound and build quality of Rode mics. They're affordable too.

      So, I'm thinking I'll get cracking on the acoustic guitar parts until I can afford the mic pre-amp. I'll use the Rode mic I have and the ART TPS. The TPS is a tube pre-amp, and it's pretty transparent for guitar stuff.

      Also need to finish the lyrics. That's another thing I've been putting off :)


Monday, November 12, 2007: Lucky 13

      I listened back to song 13 this week, and decided the guitar and bass parts are good enough for the album.

      Fortunately I recorded both a distorted tone and a direct in tone for the guitars. So, I can run the DI tone back through the Line 6 Gearbox plug-in and/or my tube amps. This is called re-amping.

      This past weekend I played with re-amping using the Gearbox plug-in. It's fun! You can mess with all the Gearbox parameters, while you're listening to the guitar track. I can try different amp models, cabinet models, etc.

      Perhaps equally as cool, you can automate Gearbox paramters from Sonar. This means I can automate drive level change for different parts of the song. I can have the verse semi-distorted, for example and then crank the drive for the chorus. This is great for adding dynamic changes to the songs. I like it.

      Still have to record the bass on song 14, which will be the hardest I think. I'm gonna go practice it now.


Thursday, November 01, 2007: Twelve down

      Tonight I finished the bass on song 12, "Come Back to Me." I played this one fingerstyle, which was a challenge for me.

      The bass I'm using has a large dynamic range, so it's a challenge for me to play as evenly as possible. If I don't, you end up hearing random bass notes suddenly pop out of the mix. Doesn't sound very professional!

      Now, I can fix much of this at mixdown just by putting a compressor on the bass track. Best to have good source material though. An evenly played bass line doesn't require as much "squashing" of its dynamic peaks, so you're not messing with the bass sound as much.

      So, two more songs to do. One really hard one, and then a re-record of the DOA 2005 song, which will now become a vocal song. The bassline on the DOA song should be pretty easy to do. Hopefully I can finish it tomorrow night.

      See how I'm putting off the hardest for last? Time for sleepy...


Monday, October 29, 2007: Number 11

      Tonight I finished bass on song number 11. Yea me.

      Next up is the hardest bass part, on song number 12.

      Then I'm re-recording the bass and the chorus rhythm guitar parts on the song "Come back to Me". The bass is actually ok, but the guitar part I played is annoying me. Must fix! So, that will be song 13.

      Song 14 is a slow song, originally called Driving. I recorded guitar and bass, and have decided the tempo is WAY to slow. Also, I'm thinking I have too many slow songs on this CD. So, I think this song is going back on the shelf in favor of a new song.

      The new song is going to be a slightly modified version of the song I did for the Dean Owners of America 2005 compilation CD. I think it will make a decent vocal tune. I might put the song I did for the 2006 DOA CD on Loss for Words too, as instrumental. Well, that's the plan.


Monday, October 22, 2007: Number 10 finished: ouch

      Finished song number 10's bass line tonight. Like song number 9, it took about an hour to record the parts. However, my wimpy little fretting hand callouses are killing! Tonight's song was much more work.

      Next up is the tune on this album with (I think) the hardest bass part. It's the bridge, and I'm doing unison lines with the guitar. Sounds cool, and I hope I can pull it off cleanly. So, four songs to go and I'm done with bass!!

      Which reminds me to make another back up of all the songs. I would HATE to lose all the work I've done, and I've been burned before. I lost everything but the final mixes on the album Wings of Gold, thanks to crappy late 1990's Colorado tape backup media. This was before burning CDR's was widely affordable (by me).

      I'll NEVER trust my music to tape backup again. Not that optical media is so much better :) However, I burn duplicate or triplicate copies of all my music stuff. I'm thinking this time I might do that, and also copy all the data to a removable hard drive...

      Ok, I'm rambling at this point. Time to go to bed!


Monday, October 15, 2007: 9 finally done

      Finished number 9 today. It went quickly; about one hour to complete the bass parts. This is one of the songs (a ballad) that I wanted to play fretless upon. As I mentioned earlier though, I'm gonna have to practice mightily on the fretless bass before I'm ready to record songs with it.

      Next song to work on has a pretty difficult chorus part, and uses a shuffle or swing feel. This is not something I normally do, so I'm having some trouble "feeling" the groove. I suppose I should listen to some John Lee Hooker for inspiration on the groove. Maybe I'll watch the Blues Brothers movie tonight :)

      Off to bed now.


Monday, October 08, 2007: 8 of 14

      Finished the bass on the song "Romantic Depressant" tonight. That's number 8 of 14. It only took an hour and half. I had to stop midway to replace the battery in my bass. That thing eats batteries like...well, I don't know what it's like exactly.

      I'm hoping I have time tomorrow night to finish the bass on the next song, "Dreamtime." This song is a ballad -- no super-tricky bass to sweat over. In fact, there is no bass in the first verse. That part should therefore be easy to record. As I mentioned before, I'm putting off the hardest bass parts until last. I am a long-time procrastinator, you see.

      Actually, I'm betting that my bass chops will be best at the end of this round of recording bass. At least my callouses will be thicker!

      Sleepy time now.


Tuesday, October 02, 2007: Dean ML Green Ghost Flame Custom

      I've been so busy, I've forgotten to mention that I finally received the Dean ML. Fed Ex found it and shipped it to me. Here are some pictures. Enjoy! I am :)


Tuesday, October 02, 2007: Fretless

      Got the fretless bass today, and immediately took it to the studio to try it out on songs on the new album. I immediately learned three things:

1. Fretless bass is a whole different beast (compared to fretted).

2. I'm going to need to practice fretless bass A LOT.

3. One of the slow songs on the new album is TOO slow!

      I now know what I'll be working on for the next several weeks. I'm also thinking now that I'll record two versions of the bass track on a couple of the songs: one fretted (picked) bass version, and a fretless (fingered) bass version. I want to cover my back in case the fretless track ends up sounding weak.

      As mentioned above, I realized tonight that the tempo of the song "Driving" is currently too slow. Need to increase the tempo several bpm. That will mean re-recording all the guitar parts since I don't like artificially speeding up already-recorded parts. What a drag.

      I've had a feeling for awhile that I recorded the song too slow. Tonight I had to face the fact. I know I'll end up re-doing the song, 'cause it's bugging me too much to leave it alone. Don't mean to sound to depressed. I'm actually glad I've made the decision to re-record "Driving." Now, back to practicing fretless bass!


Sunday, September 23, 2007: Halfway done

      Well, today I got to the halfway point on recording the bass tracks! Seven of 14 done. Feels good. I tried playing the Dean 12 string bass on the song I worked on today, but I think it didn't quite fit the song. Will have to save the 12 string for another day.

      I have three more songs to record using the 5 string bass. Like a slacker, I saved the hardest ones for last. Gonna have to practice these last three a bunch before recording. The remaining four songs are slated to have fretless bass. Unfortunately I haven't yet received the fretless. It's supposed to arrive on or around 10/04/07. I'm not going to hold my breath, given my recent experience with shippers (I'm staring at you, Fed Ex).

      If I get the regular bass songs done and the fretless bass hasn't arrived, I'll just switch gears and work on the acoustic guitar parts. Plenty of those to do. I have a Dean Performer 7-string acoustic guitar that I'm going to try out on some of the tracks. The Low B string sounds pretty cool on the acoustic.

      I'm also planning on borrowing my Dad's 12-string acoustic for a couple of the songs. I think I've mentioned this before, but my plan is to record more parts than I need for each song, so that I can do different arrangements: a rock version, a country-fied version, and acoustic version, etc. This should also give me some flexibility when I try to pitch the songs. I can 'target' multiple audiences.

      Sounds crass and commerical, I know :) One major aspiration of mine is to be a professional songwriter. I haven't seriously pursued this yet -- I've always written songs just for my personal music career.

      I plan to start pitching to music publishers starting with the songs on this album. Going forward, I'll probably try to write a song or two each month, without the expectation of putting them on a JRS album. I need to build a catalog of music to offer publishers. I will probably join Taxi again, as they provide a connection to music publishers, music libraries, etc. Should be interesting!


Friday, September 21, 2007: 6 of 14

      Finished the bass on the 6th of 14 today. I feel like I'm making decent progress again. I'm considering using the Dean Rhapsody 12 string bass for the next song I'm working on. Probably I'll end up doing two bass tracks: the 12 string and the 5 string. Why decide now when you can put it off until later? One of the many benefits of recording digitally in the 21st Century.

      Still waiting to receive the ML I ordered. Actually, Fed Ex has lost it, but that's a whole story/debacle in and of itself. I write about that at some later date when I'm not so angry. Also waiting to receive the 5 string fretless I ordered. Waiting is not something I'm good at!


Saturday, September 15, 2007: 5 down

      Finished bass today on the 5th of 14 songs. Might be able to squeeze in another tonight. Would be cool to get to 7 of 14 this weekend.

      Still haven't received the 5 string fretless I ordered. According to the online build tracking, it's still in "Finishing and Polishing". It's been in that state since Aug 22nd. Hurry up!

      I'm planning to use the fretless on at least 3 songs. Maybe more. I'm also thinking about incorporating the DOA songs I did into this project. They're currently instrumentals, but could pretty easily be turned into vocal songs. This would push out the completion date on the album, since I might redo the existing bass and guitar parts. This will give me 16 songs total to choose from for the album. Still not totally decided on this.

      In other news, I ordered a Dean ML guitar from Carlino Guitars. Eddie Carlino has been working with an airbrush artist to create custom flame-style designs on Dean guitars. He recently had a black ML with Floyd and EMGs airbrushed with green flames. He posted pictures to the Dean forum, and I was immediately smitten. Had to have it. I'm very excited about getting the guitar.

      It was supposed to arrive Friday, but did not. So now I have to wait all fricking weekend. Ahhhhh!!

      The green ghost flame will be my first ML shaped guitar. Should be fun to play, and maybe a little more comfortable (than my Dean V's) to play sitting down :)

      This will also be my only Dean guitar with EMG pickups. Should be very heavy metal. I normally use Seymour Duncan pickups, so this will be a change.

      Alrighty then, that's all for now.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007: Cheetos

      Words of wisdom: Do not eat Cheetos at 1:50 am and expect all to go well. Lesson learned today :(


Thursday, September 06, 2007: Summertime done

      Finished the bass on Summertime tonight. Actually, that's a temporary title until I can re-write the lyrics. Funny how stuff I wrote at age 18, which seemed pretty cool, now looks pretty dorky.

      I want to blame this on the music I was listening to at the time (80's metal and hard rock); I mean, some of those bands didn't have the most intelligent / thoughtful lyrics. Thank you to Bon Jovi, Ratt and others :)

      Really though, it's my own fault. I was so busy trying to impress people with my guitar playing back then, I didn't put much thought into lyric writing. Shred!! Who cares what the singer is doing! I think I'm a little more musically balanced now. I'm hoping when I put pen to paper again (I mean fingers to keyboard), I'll write some better lyrics. Should be interesting!


Tuesday, September 04, 2007: Another song down

      Finished bass on another song tonight! This one took about an hour and a half to complete, partly cause I kept making so many mistakes. Bass players generally hit one note at a time, but there seems to be an infinite number of ways one can strike the string. Picks, fingered, slapped, an on an on.

      I played this song with a pick because I like the attack. I'm finding that the difficult part is to play the bass lines as evenly as possible, dynamically. If I'm not careful, I end up with lines that get loud and soft at strange parts. I'm sure I'll end up throwing a compressor on the bass track, but I want to have at least semi-decent lines to start with.

      So, my respects to all bass players. It ain't as easy as it may seem!


Wednesday, August 29, 2007: Tighten the Chains

      Finished the bass on Tighten the Chains tonight. Only took an hour. I think my little guitar player fingers are finally getting used to playing bass.

      Let's see; that makes 12 more songs to go! Hmm, I can't remember now how many songs on New Old Stock. I'm not good with numbers, and it's late. I'll work on the math tomorrow, and maybe finish another bass line on another song tomorrow night.

      New goal is to finish the album by the end of this year. Gotta get it released before Chinese Democracy comes out.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007: One down

      Tonight I finished the bass on the song "Bang Your Door." That's one song out of fourteen total. Well, it's a start, yes?

      Next up is a song I haven't written lyrics for yet. So until that happens it's being referred to as the cowbell song. You see, ever since Def Leppard's Pyromania was released, which I believe was 1984, I've been trying to sneak cowbell into my own songs. I think this is the first time the cowbell has survived to this point in the songwriting/recording process. If it survives the mixing process, I will have (in part) satisfied my cowbell needs.

      Susan bought me a cowbell a few Christmas's ago. It's a big, loud mother. I plan to record it for the Cowbell song, rather than using a sample. Maybe I can get Will Farrel to help me out. In other news, Wayde Cooper is moving back to Washington state this week, so the shredding will likely commence soon after. I'm not sure what he and I will collaborate on musically, but I promise it will contain many notes :)

      Time for bed...


Monday, August 06, 2007: Fretless

      Music I just ordered a 5 string fretless bass. It's going to rule! Now I have to wait 6 to 8 weeks. Ouch.

      Tonight I also ran through all the songs (to be recorded) on the new album, working on the bass parts. I gotta keep doing that, cause my little guitar callouses are not match for my bass. Gotta toughen up.

      Good news: my friend and longtime musical collaborator Wayde Cooper is moving back to Washington! That's going to rule as well. Look for music from us sometime soon. Wayde is a stellar guitarist and composer and I'm excited to be working with him again.


Wednesday, August 01, 2007: Basses to Mike Lull

      Took my basses to Mike Lull today for tuneup. My Mike Lull M5 needs a neck adjustment. My four string is getting a new Hipshot bridge, shielding, and perhaps new pickups.

I've been taking my guitars and basses to Mike Lull's Guitar Works since the early 1990's. Mike and his associates do great work.

      Last night I did some test recordings of the various basses, to help me figure out which one to use for the new album. What surprised me is how very different each bass sounds. The Mike Lull M5, strung with Mike Lull (Dean Markley) stainless steel strings, has a solid, well balanced piano-string clean tone. The volume balance from string to string is very good. The Jazz-style Bartonlini pickups are very clear. Very good sounding bass, and plays like butter.

      The American Made Fender Jazz four string, strung with Dean Markley Blue Steel strings, has a very Geddy Lee-ish sound. This particular bass has a maple on maple neck. The tone is excellent, but not as refined as the Mike Lull M5. I have the action set very low on this bass, so I get a lot of clack against the frets when playing fingerstyle. Again, very much in the vein of Geddy Lee from Rush. This bass has traditional single coil pickups, which hum when I'm not touching (grounding) the bass. I'm having Mike Lull see about fixing this by shielding the control cavity. If that doesn't work, then I'll probably have him install some Lindy Fralin split-Jazz pickups. This bass also came with a (in my opinion) flimsy bridge, which I'm having replaced with a big fat Hipshot bridge. This should increase sustain.

      The DOA 2007 Dean Hardtail five string bass sounds very much to my ears like Doug Pinnick from King's X. The tone has a big low bass, scooped mid, and ringing high end. This bass has EMG HZs, with a three band Eq. I always run the Eq flat, to minimize noise. This bass has a brass nut, which adds some sizzle to the sound. This bass in its current configuration works great for rock and metal. Very fun bass to play. The strings are spaced a little closer together compared to the Mike Lull bass, so left hand string crossing is actually a little smoother for me.

      So, have I decided which bass to use for the new album? Nope!! I do know I'll be recording two channels: one is a direct sound, the other goes through a Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver DI. The direct sound will allow me to play around with re-amping the bass during mixdown, using Line 6's Gearbox Plugin in.

      The Gearbox plug in has some excellent bass models, including a Gallien-Krueger model I like a lot. The GK model allows me to get some mid to late 1980's hi-fi bass tone. Remember those silver metal coned Hartke cabinets? That sound. The Gearbox also has an Eden model that I like. I find the Fender Bassman model and the Ampeg models to be too grungey and lacking in high end, though that's probably an accurate model of those amps.

      I wish I had more time to work (play) music. The fun is just about endless!


Monday, July 23, 2007: Rhythm Guitars Done!!

      I finally finished rhythm guitars for the New Old Stock album.

      Next up: BASS Bass should go faster, since I'm not double-tracking (like I did for the guitars). Not sure which basses I'll use. Also not sure If I'll keep the bass old-school (4 string bass), or if I'll use the 5 string and go for a more modern bass sound.

      Geddy Lee and Billy Sheehan do pretty well with their 4 strings...A bunch of the songs could take good advantage of the D note on the 5 string basses.



Monday, July 16, 2007: Getting better, time to get back to recording

      I think the sinus infection is about gone, so I'm gonna get back on the recording rollercoaster again. Need to finish up some rhythm guitar, then decide which bass and bass setup to use to record the final bass parts.

      I'm leaning toward using the Dean DOA 5 string bass. I've got the action set pretty nice now. Will have to see what it sounds like recorded. I also have a 12 string Dean Rhapsody bass, which I'd love to use but am not sure which songs it would work on.



Sunday, July 08, 2007: Sinus infection and Spinal Tap

      This past week my wife and I went on vacation. Right in the middle, I got sick. I'm enjoying (not) a sinus infection this week. The doc put me on antibiotics, which is very rare for me.

      Everything tastes like metal, but not heavy metal. I don't know what heavy metal tastes like. I'd like to!

      Hmm, maybe I don't actually want to know what heavy metal tastes like.

       Right now I'm watching the 1992 reunion of Spinal Tap on You Tube. Love it. I'm trying to decide which Spinal Tap song to cover for my upcoming cover album (cover album?). Probably Sex Farm Woman.

      I updated my website to include Nigel Tufnel on my list of most influential guitarists.


Thursday, June 21, 2007: One down, one to go

      Finished rhythm guitar on another song tonight. This song was one of the more difficult ones to play. Some slightly tricky (for me) double stops and some pinch harmonics to cram in smoothly during the bridge.

       I need to spend some more time practicing my John Sykes-style crazy vibrato pinch harmonics. For anyone reading who thinks Zakk Wylde invented that technique, I must refer you to John Sykes and Jake E. Lee.

One more song to do, then it's BASS time. Yahoo :)


Friday, June 15, 2007: 'Nother One Done

      Finished the rhythm guitar tonight on a song called "Six Year Itch." And no, it's not a song about veneral disease!! It's a play off of the 1955 Marilyn Monroe movie "Seven Year Itch", only in my song I don't hang around for seven years; I've had enough after six.

      Reminds me for some reason of Days-of-the-Week Underpants from "When Harry Met Sally." Something I think is kinda funny, but maybe no one else does.

      By my admittedly poor count, there are two more songs to go!


Wednesday, June 13, 2007: Another one bites the dust

      Just checking in. Got another song finished last night. Two more kinda difficult ones to work on next. One has funk vibe, the other has some country style stuff going on.

       I'm also practicing bass like crazy, 'cause recording bass is next. I'm undecided whether I will use pick or fingers for the songs. Probably pick, 'cause I want good attack from the bass on this album. Might play fingerstyle on the ballad type songs, not sure.

      Actually, I'm wishing I had the $$'s for a fretless bass for the ballads. Maybe I'll sell some more old gear and get myself one :)


Monday, June 04, 2007: New Old Stock

      Two more songs taken care of. I'm on a roll! I'm using the Soldano amp emulation from the Line6 Gearbox for recording the distorted rhythm guitar. I'm surprised to be using it, as I had just kinda stumbled upon it awhile back. Nice tone though, kinda like a hot rodded Marshall in my opinion.

      I also have a patch using the Line 6 Spinal Puppet amp, but haven't used that yet. It has more of a Mesa Boogie sound to it. I've also been practicing bass like crazy, cause that's the next instrument to record. Gotta build up those callouses.


Friday, June 01, 2007: New Old Stock

      Finished distorted guitar on two more songs this past Wednesday. Woohoo and all that. 10 to go!


Monday, May 28, 2007: 3 down

      Finished distorted guitar on three songs this weekend. 11 more to go. This portion of the recording process is going relatively quickly. Hopefully I can get all the tunes hit in the next week or so.

      Then time for bass. Then, vocals. My DOA bass arrived just in time to make it on this album. And, I've noticed again one of the benefits of practicing bass is that it makes guitar easier, I think because it strengthens the hands.



Wednesday, May 23, 2007: Finally finished

      Finally finished the clean guitar stuff for all the tunes. Next up, DISTORTION Always the fun part for me.

      Also recieved my Dean Owners of America Limited Edition 2007 5-String Bass this week. It rules!

      Check out my website for more info.

      Sleepy time now.


Tuesday, May 15, 2007: I cannot count properly

      So, I went through all the songs on the album, to make sure I'd hit them all with clean guitar. Lo and behold, I'd missed 2 whole songs! Last night I was able to complete the clean git on 1 of the 2. Added some new parts that really change the character of the song. I think they make the song, gel better with the bulk of the album.

      This particular song, tentatively called "Never Surrender" is actually an old song I originally wrote and demoed roudabout 1988, or maybe a little later. It got added to the setlist when I was in Wayde Cooper's band, "Axis". And, it was one of the songs recorded on the yet-to-be-completed 4 song Axis EP. Thus, there will eventually be two versions of this song. One on "New Old Stock", and if Wayde and I finish the Axis EP, a version there too.

      They'll likely have different lyrics too. I'll use the old lyrics for the Axis EP, and write new ones for the "New Old Stock" version. By my new count, I have exactly one more song that needs clean guitar. It's a song with temporary title "Let You Go." Maybe I'll get it done tonight.


Monday, April 30, 2007: One song left

      One song left for the first pass of guitar tracks for my New Old Stock album. Gonna try and get that last tune finished tonight, while the wife is watching Dancing with the Stars. Or, maybe I'll watch Dancing with the Stars. It's quite titillating. Literally. I guess the dancing is good too. I wouldn't know.

      Right now the dark cloud hanging over me, musicwise, is the lyrics for New Old Stock. They aren't complete. I keep telling myself I can postpone that chore until the music is complete. I do things kinda backwards when writing vocal tunes. I usually write a song first, and maybe scat sing some vocal melodies. Once the song form is pretty well written, I'll then go back and write the lyrics.

      Traditionally, I think the process usually works the other way. Or there will be a situation where one person writes lyrics (and perhaps a vocal melody) and another person takes those lyrics and creates music. In riff-oriented music though, often the music is written first, or independently of the lyrics. 'Course, some people just light up a fatty and let the music happen. Not me, of course :) I'm WAY uptight for that.

      Still need to fnish those lyrics!!


Tuesday, April 17, 2007: No 7

      Finished clean electric on No 7 last night. Also finished the last clean electric rhythm part on Romantic Depressant. Just a few more songs to hit with the clean tones. Hopefully finish them this week.


Friday, April 13, 2007: Romantic Depressant

      Finished the main clean electric guitar on "Romantic Depressant", on the new album. This song is very Cure-ish. Still need to do the solo, and some additional parts using my Dean Palomino jazz box (which has 3 p90 pickups BTW).

Just a few more songs to lay clean electric guitar upon. Then it's raging distortion time. Always funnest to record the heavy electric guitars. I think I'll post the album song title list this weekend.

      Not all the songs have lyrics finished, so some song titles are temporary.

So far, the Line 6 Gearbox hardware and software is working well for recording guitar into Sonar. I have to tell you that the new RME multiface records some excellent tracks, even better than my previous Yamaha DSP Factory system.

      The RME tracks sound to me more solid, with stronger and deeper bass. Also, the RME is dead quiet. When I have headphones on, and am just idling in Sonar (not playing back tracks), there is no discernable background noise.When I first got card, I would sometimes wonder if it was turned on.

      Sonar is running well too. I'm on version 6.2. No blue screens, crashes, or weirdness.

      Toontrack updated their Drumkit From Hell Superior software, now allowing me to replace some unused rides with more crashes. Much more flexible now. The previous version had like 5 ride cymbal "slots" wherein you could choose from a few different ride cymbals. Well, I don't generally use 5 ride cymbals :) Who does? So, they modified the interface so one can replace the ride slots with crashes.

      Very cool!


Monday, March 26, 2007: New Old Stock Progress

      Ok, I've finally begun recording final, keeper tracks on the New Old Stock album. I'm doing the clean rhythm guitar parts first. I have 14 songs to get through, and I've finished (I think) 5 of them. I've found that it's easiest to do all of one thing, on all the songs.

      So, I do all the clean guitar for all the songs. Then I'll do all the distorted rhythm guitar for all the songs. Then the solos for all the songs, etc. I used to work on just one song at a time. It's a nice feeling of accomplishment to have that one song done. But, it's a huge pain to have to break down and then set up all the gear, for each part, for each tune (if done one song a time). Much easier to get a good clean guitar tone (for example), and then play all the clean guitar parts on all the songs.

      An analogy might be painting layers. I apply layers to all the songs, one layer at a time. This means that when I'm finished applying the layers to the tunes, all the songs will pretty much be done. Plus, I'm mixing the songs as I compose and record them. By this I mean, I'm applying effects, compression, eq to the tracks as they are recorded. I'm not waiting until mixdown to get the song sounding good. I'm doing that as I go.

      Still don't have a release date chosen. I need get a quite a bit more parts recorded before I commit to a date. So, after clean rhythm guitar I'll do: Distorted Rhythm Guitar, Bass, Vocals, Guitar Solos. Then I'll complete editing of the drums and keyboards. Any special effects or weird guitar sounds will get recorded. Then a tentative final mix.

      I usually mix the song, then copy to my wma player (I like 'em better than mp3), and listen to the mix for a couple weeks. I check the mix in my truck, on a boom box, through tiny little PC speakers, through my TV and its speakers, and of course through headphones. Gotta check that mix in the enviroments it's likely to be played.

      I make written notes about anything I notice that needs attention, like boomy bass, or maybe a vocal part is too loud or too quiet. Then it's time to master the songs. Then another round of listening. By then the songs should be ready, and I'll probably be sick of hearing them.

      Oh yeah, I haven't mentioned all the stuff you gotta do to release an album. Artwork, promo photos, disk duplication. I'll usually start working on that when I'm about 3 months from finishing the music. That assumes I know when the music will be finished!

      That's the plan, folks.


Monday, January 22, 2007: Chinese Democracy and New Old Stock

      Music It has been almost two years now that I've been working on my album, New Old Stock. Axel Rose has been working on Chinese Democracy for a little over 10 years.

      Axel is rumoured to have spent $13+ million dollars on Chinese Democracy. I've spent about $3,000 on New Old Stock. I bought a new computer, new sound card, new software, and some other neat new toys.

      Both albums will contain a mix of old and new songs. After much thought, I've decided to consider promising that New Old Stock will be released before Chinese Democracy, and at much less cost.*

      I also believe that for every 1,000,000 units of Chinese Democracy, I will sell at least 1 unit of New Old Stock. We'll see how it goes.

      * Don't hold me to it!


Wednesday, January 17, 2007: American Idol

      I'm watching American Idol, Seattle edition right now. Oh my God. Awful. A talentless freak collection. Pitch, people! Pick a key and stick with it! Are good singers avoiding the show? This is like watching a trainwreck, set to music.


Tuesday, January 09, 2007: New DOA CD: Audible Portrait is Available Now

      The 2006 Dean Owners of America CD is now available. Visit www.deanguitars.com/forum and hit the DOA message board for more details. I also want to mention that one of my favourite vocalists, Mike Vescera is on the DOA CD! Obsession, fronted by the vocal god that is Mr. Vescera, has contributed a song from their new CD. You MUST check it out!!

      Actually, the DOA CD is excellent from start to finish. Quite a diverse group of artists are represnted on the CD, from blues to shred to metal. Good stuff, man :)

      Now, go check out.


JRS Blog: 2007