Saturday, July 19, 2008

More Info on The Future Soon Guitar Parts and Rough Cover

OK, for those interested, here's a lot more info about the Jonathan Coulton song.

"The Future Soon" is played kind of freely, unlike some of his other tunes such as "Chiron Beta Prime," which has a very steady rock beat, so I did not record it using a click track reference (although maybe I should have). I recorded the guitar line. It took a few takes to get a reasonably good one, and a couple of very minor edits (yes, I must confess, I was not able to jump to the Aaug chord on the 5th fret at the end of the the line "when Laura calls me home" smoothly, so I had to do a little edit there. JoCo wrote a while back in a forum post that he finds that chord difficult to jump to and so skips it when playing the song live, so I don't feel too bad. I'm sure after playing it a few dozen more times, I'll get it.)

Anyway, this guitar track has some string buzz and some timing flaws, but I thought it was good enough to let other people hear (I have to stomp on my perfectionist tendencies, or I never finish anything). I'd welcome any feedback.

Technical details for recording geeks: I played this on my Ovation acoustic/electric, an Elite 1778T-PTF (with an outrageous purple flame design painted on a spruce top), directly into my Apogee Ensemble, and recorded and edited it in Logic. I'm not entirely satisfied with the sound of the Ovation going direct like that; the preamps are very clean, but the dry result seems a little toneless. Maybe I just need to play with the EQ a bit, or maybe it needs an amp simulator. I'm also considering adding a tube DI box to my recording rig at some point, like the Summit Audio TD-100.

Taste in guitars is very personal; JoCo seems to play Martin acoustics, which sound a little more hollow and woody, while the Ovation has a plastic body and thus sounds a little more artificial. This model Ovation also has an ebony fretboard, which makes it sound even brassier. I'm biased towards more "modern" instrument materials and designs, I guess, although at my age you might expect that I'd prefer more traditional guitars. I really like the sound of the Parker Fly (steel frets and carbon fiber and piezo pickup), Chapman Stick (steel fret-like bars), Steinberger basses, and graphite-top guitars. But for electric guitars tones I also like single-coil pickups on instruments with hollow, more natural, woody tones like my Peavey Limited ST. No, I can't explain it either, but I know what sounds good to me.

Anyway, my son is also learning guitar and bass. He's pretty new to both instruments yet, and although he's making a lot of progress, this song involves some very quick chord changes, so he can't quite play it at speed yet. But he can sing! He used to be in the Boy Choir of Ann Arbor. His voice is half-changed now and he's not quite gotten full control over it yet, but it is still a lot better than my scratch vocal for the song (it is right off the high end of my range, so you really don't want to hear me sing it). I'm very proud of him for doing this!

If you would like to learn this guitar part yourself, and I highly recommend it to aspiring guitarists because it is a really nice set of chords, I refer you to suuuupaadave's YouTube channel here. You can also find the videos on his blog. The lesson for "The Future Soon" is in his very first post. I don't claim to play it exactly like either suuuupaadave (or JoCo) does, but I think my play-through is pretty close.

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