This one I wrote to showcase the JABB clarinet(s). Unfotunately all of those clarinets sounded more like synths than real instruments. Had a wide Jazz range but the attack sounded wrong. So I switched the line to GPO's solo clarinet with good results. Later I added a lead guitar line to showcase Musiclab's RealStrat. Still working on that sound...
Composition is simply 12-bar blues with piano, drum and bass making up a very simply rhythm section and the clarinet/strat sharing the lead.
Piano: Akoustik Piano, "Steingraeber 130" upright piano patch. Very convincing in the upper register(s) - rather thin in the mid-range, even for an upright, bass can be a bit boomy.
Bass: Fender J-Bass. What can I say, I can still play the darn thing...
Drums: Addictive Drums + Retro, "Live on Stage", used out of the box. This can sound very good at times. The toms aren't bad.
Lead Guitar: RealStrat run through "Tube Screamer" and "Fender Twin" VSTs from SimulAnalog's Guitar Suite freeware. This needs a lot of work but I think RealStrat may work out well in the end. A Strat probably doesn't sit well in this arrangement anyway, but is just a demo vehicle.
Clarinet: GPO, "Bb Clarinet Solo" with compression of 2.5:1 with 2.3 ms attack, 43 ms release (trying to punch up the attack a little). Also slight boost at 218 hz for more body. Output was converted to mono. I find that I can use this patch right out of the box with excellent results. All registers sound convincing and works well with even the fastest phrasing.
Altiverb: One instance for each instrument (except drums where I used its "overhead" mic for ambience), "Clubhouse (Rhinebeck, NY)" patch mono-to-stereo mic'ing with 20% wet.
Your mix had a lot of presence to it ... everything sounded crystal clear; really nice. I probably would have taken the drums down a tad and raised the bass a bit, but that's probably because I like bass better than drums! . BTW, so that was a 'real, live' J-bass and not a sample? Cool.
I like that you posted all the various instruments (libraries) used, as well as some EQ and other effects settings. It's always nice to see how others get their sound and I always learn something from that.
Did you create this piece in a notation s/w? I ask because the rhythm sounds very quantized ... spot on every note; no slop. And if you called this a rock tune, I probably wouldn't even have mentioned this. But if this is a rock-blues number, I think it would sound more authentic having the feel a little less mechanical. IOW, the notes are all there, but the soul aspect needs a boost.
1) Presence. My hearing is bad, really bad (right ear is down 40 dB but flat response, my left is down 10 and cuts off sharply at around 200 hz). So all of my compositions and their mixes have a lot of clarity since normal sounds are very muddy to me. Also, I tend to get the HF a bit boosted (I rely on spectrum for that). Stereo field is just based on guesses!
2) For my rock numbers everyone always tells me to boost the drums! They particularly like to have the snare up really high for some reason. I agree with you though.
3) Yeah, real bass, though with a few... errr, edits. I can fall behind some time in my old age. Bass, Piano and Clarinet are my instruments.
4) I think posting the stats is important for others to see what I am doing to better comment on. Doesn't take that long either.
5) Wrote it my normal way, pencil and paper. Then input via Roland A-37, but here I hard quantized since it was just a demo for the clarinet and strat and I didn't want to spend the time to perfect my performance of it (just a bunch of cliches anyway). The bass I always lay in last (like Paul McCartney!). Could have used more swing/shuffle rhythm (only place it shows up is in the drums during the first clarinet solo).
Anyway, fun little tune, demo'ing GPO's solo clarinet in yet another environment. Got another 12-bar that I am just finishing up - uses JABB for trumpets and bones but still using GPO for clarinet (JABB clarinets just don't sound right).
To have accomplished what you did in your "Log Cabin Blues" (as well as 3-4 of your other tunes I had downloaded for my Garritan music library) with such severe hearing loss is nothing short of "WOW". I am humbled and inspired. And, man, you'd never know it by listening to your mix.
OK, back to "Log Cabin Blues" ... so what sequencer do you record your parts into? And thanks for explaining this was mainly to feature the clarinet/guitar sounds (I'd say your goals were met!).
I found it interesting that you lay in the bass last ... for me, it's almost the opposite. I always first lay down a temp piano track as a rhythmic and harmonic roadmap. But then I almost always lay down the bass, which in turn has me editing the piano voicings to take advantage of the evolving harmonic texture the bass line influences. I didn't know McCartney does it like you do ... I guess you are in good company with that method!
I'm looking forward to hearing what you do with the JABB trumpets/trombones ... keep them coming!
Thanks for the kind words and encouragement. Don't pity my ears, I have had the condition since I was very young (deformed eustachion tubes and one ear perforated) and is the only hearing I have ever known. At least I don't have tinnitus to go along with it. I do have a special set-up using a Sony MDR-V900 (about the most powerful headset you can get) and a stereo equalizer with independent gains that allows me to hear something like real stereo. The biggest help though is feedback from friends and folks like you.
For sequencing, I use an Edirol UM-1SX USB/Midi interface connected between the Roland A-37 (midi side) and my PC (USB side). This connects to Cubase SL 3 (yeah this is all old equipement). The delay is something like 5-10 ms which is a little irritating by I manage. I then use the piano roll screen to make corrections. If the peice is worth keeping or sharing with band members I export out a Midi file and inport to Finale PrintMusic 2010 (an unfriendly program so the tune has to be worth it).
Yeah, I needed a testbed for RealStrat (and clarinet) and a 12-bar cliche is the fastest thing to write. I am really happy with GPO (esp. the winds) but RealStrat (and RealGuitar) is very difficult to work with (with dozens of contrllers it is very flexible but can be overwhelming). The clarinet is not in the 12-bar blues style, more jazz than blues - and differs considerably from the guitar line (reflecting the fact that one was added later).
Most of my pieces are composed (and arranged) directly to paper. I'm pretty good at hearing music in my head, maybe as compensation for the loss of hearing? (Or a prelude to insanity?) and have a pretty good theoretical background to help figure out what I am hearing. Unfortunately I take dictation poorly since, after inputting the lines I never quite get the sound I was hearing! Anyway, the bass lines are just part of the composition so there's no sense of "feedback" between it and the rest of the rhythm section.
Read about McCartney's bass'ing in "Here, There and Everywhere" by Geoff Emerick (ummm, or was it a different book?). He started putting the bass in last on Sgt Peppers and also started using direct-in instead of mic'ing the speaker (which may have been an innovation at that time). He also was punching in almost every note individually (pity poor Geoff!).