OK guys, I really need help here

The link below is of a raw take.

Just me and guitar. No metronome (ain’t it obvious! LOL), no regards to singing well, nor playing well. It’s just as the song came out.

I redid it, tempo tight, tuning tight, and made a technically good mix.

But it sounded absolutely soulless. And the same is true of the other songs I’ve done.

I’ve looked here, Audiominds, and elsewhere for tips and clues, but nothing tells me how to retain the feeling.

So, how do I do that?

Anyway, this is the raw first take; the final takes and mix I deleted in disgust, they’re empty of feeling.

Any help please on how to keep the soul of my music? :)



EDIT: seems you have to right click and select “save target as” I ain’t got the hang of FTP yet! LOL

Aaaaargh ! Over chorused guitar - aaaaarrrrghhh !

Erm, sorry, what was the question again ?

yeah, well, I’d over chorus my voice too if it helped hide it! LOL

But the point is, it’s not intended as a proper take, it was just a musical notebook type of thing. :)

And the question is, how do I keep the feeling in a proper take and mix" :D


(and remember, I make no claims to being a singer, nor musician, nor sound engineer; just a total amateur trying to justify the purchase of several fairly costly programs!) :)

I find the vocal on this to be immediate, compelling, moving and altogether outstanding. Period. I kid you not.
The guitar… Chorus-ey, yeah. How bout this:

Up the chorusey guit VOLUME between vocal sections using volume envelopes, drop during vox.

Put the chorus on an aux channel then use effects envelopes to keep the chorus EFFECT ‘up’ between verses—but drop the effect during the vocals… I’m guessing here, but during vocals the guit may then have the same ‘immediacy’ as the vocals, while retaining the Pink Floyd-ey type feel between verses. And, hey, if that doesn’t work—experiment! Go wild! See what works…

This is a wonderful tune, Ali. The author Phillip Jose Farmer once remarked: “one man’s nightmare is another man’s wet dream” —OK, I hope I don’t have a wet dream about this, but it has a touch more depth and feeling than you may be hearing at this point.


Nice moody song.

I agree the guitar volume levels need increasing inbetween the vocals.

(Quite a few fret squeaks at the beginning, try lifting your fingers, so avoiding sliding them up and down the frets.)



I hear it as a very moving and powerful song. I like the vox a lot. And I finally got to hear your Scot’s accent! Well done my friend. Let’s hear more.


Quote (Ali @ Sep. 24 2004,20:43)
it's not intended as a proper take, it was just a musical notebook type of thing. :)

Heh - tell me about it :)

What are your thoughts on the finished song ? Do you keep it as a guitar & voice piece or do you add more to it ? Either way I think the vocal can be used (edit timing if/where needed) but the guitar needs a little help IMO. Without a click it's a much more cumbersome job - time consuming but not impossible. I'd lay down a click track and align the voice to it, then get busy with new guitar takes.

The feeling of a take is in the performance, but also in how you're used to hear it. It doesn't take many playbacks before I start thinking that what I hear is how it should be, even if I know better.

When we did Panic In Detroit ( http://fartones.phootoons.com/ ) the vocals were meant as a placeholder only while we waited for the real singer's file. Both phoo and me thought my yelling didn't fit the song at all. When the intended singer got occupied elsewhere and couldn't deliver his track, we had listened a few times to the temporary vox and suddenly they felt OK. Not great but not really crappy either, so they're still there.

Just another thing to be aware of...

t :)

I love spooky minor-chord stuff. I’m assuming the raw take was recorded with you playing and singing all at once, whereas, the ‘technical’ mix was done in the standard fashion of laying down the tempo, then the guitar, then the vocals, yes? If so, I can understand why you’d be losing some of that raw emotion, inspiration, steam…etc. I’d start asking myself what I want to convey with the song (feelings, emotions, imagery) rather than how it’s conveyed (a man and his guitar). Let the listening audience do that. If I follow you correctly, I’d suggest either start recording all your songs with vocals and guitars together in one take and hoping that raw emotion comes through, or start regarding yourself as a guitarist and singer, recording your respective instruments separately, and developing a sense of raw emotion that way. The former suggestion is a potentially limiting practice, whereas the latter can help you to become a more versitile, well-rounded musician. Just my 2 cents. ~ Jack

Thank you all, a very encouraging set of responses, (well, to my song writing abilities anyway :D).

Yeah, it was recorded guitar and vox at the same time, through an FX unit, so the chorus is part of the recording.

But no, it wasn’t recorded as the basis of a mix, rather just to see how the song sounded.

On the proper recording I recorded vox and guitar separate and clean, and I used a click track. I then added various fx. etc, added some midi, and ended up with what I thought was a fairly good sounding mix. Not up to the standard of much of what I’ve heard on here, but I was pleased with it.

I then put it aside for a couple of weeks and came back and listened to it, and as I said, it sounded completely soul-less.

Although I gotten a far better song technically, I’d lost the feeling.

So as you say Jack, I’m going to have to work on that. Somehow I have to learn to be an emotion driven performer, and a critical engineer at the same time.

Schizophrenia anyone? :D



I really don’t think that there is anything wrong with the song. It would probably never be picked as a major label release (just based on the fact that it isn’t the “right” length :( )

If you really want to “fix” portions of the song you could go about it as if you were restoring or remixing the song. Record a new guitar part while playing along to the current mix. That way you could keep the original sense of “flow” that this version has while being able to change the tone and fix any technical problems you may have had.

Then, after you get a good instrumental mix, you could come back and replace the vocal.

I don’t think you will ever be able to duplicate the feelings that you had while recording that sonic sketch, but those aren’t really captured by the recording process anyway… all you really get is digitized waves. The trick is to try to duplicate the musical intangibles that come through on this recording without worrying how you feel or how you felt while recording (which no one else can feel, anyway).

Well, that’s just a philosophy that might help (hurt?) your efforts to fix this song.

Good luck,

Weighing late here, but why re-record something that works musically? To heck with technical perfection, go for soul. Art matters more in the end than anything technical. Anyone with ears can tell the difference, and if someone hasn’t the ears, well, are you writing and playing for them anyway? :)