Tag Archives: acoustic

Singing Silence – New Song Demo

Because you’ve all been so nice about the sketchy recording I posted on here a week or so ago, I thought I would treat you to a bigger better recording!

I have a confession to make. I do not appear on the recording! Nope, Jakco bought an iPad, and has been going into to creative overdrive with GarageBand (I’ve got GarageBand on the Mac, but never really figured how to use it). He plays both guitars, bass and tapped out his drum beat on the app. He’s a talented young man, and I would be very jealous of him if I weren’t riding on his coattails.

It’s a beautiful song, and I can’t wait to get it completed and play it to people!

There’s a few changes I would to see made to this before can be satisfied that it’s done. A few of the lead parts need to be played an octave deeper. We’ve also come out with better strumming patterns for my rhythm parts too.

Let me know what your thoughts are!

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Demo

A Bit Of Work In Progress

So I’ve been promising you all a bit of music, and I’ve been promising you this for a very long time.

Well today I’m finally delivering!

I strummed out a chord progression on Sunday, and played it to Jacko on Wednesday, and almost immediately we turned it into this.

Now this is a real rough and ready recording. There’s clearly a lot of mistakes, but we did record this mere minutes after we wrote it and through my laptop’s built in mic. Despite all that, we both really like it!

I don’t know if we’ll be making many changes to the song and its structure. I quite like the idea of having a nice and simple song, lasting for not much more than two minutes.

But we’re not done yet! The next steps will be to get it tight and pen some lyrics.

Let me know what you think, any suggestions will be most welcome! If you’re nice I’ll pin up some other recordings for you!

7 Comments

Filed under Band, Recordings, Song Writing

Lacking Direction

Tonight I have been jamming with Jacko, my long time musical collaborator. We carried on with some songs we began writing a few weeks ago, where we both brought some chords together, and Jacko started picking this really magical picking melody over the top of it.

But beyond that we struggled to get anywhere with the song. We lacked an overriding idea driving the song forward.

So the plan we devised is that over the weekend we will both, separately, write some lyrics.

I’ve already decided that I will write a tune based on the picking melody we already have. The bigger problem is what to write about.

In many way I’ve disappointed myself with the quality of my lyrics in the past, and suppressed myself from writing any more god-awful songs. I’ve got get over that little fear, and just put pen to paper.

I feel that this is probably the same old problem that I have written about before, so if you are getting deja vu, then I apologise.

Whilst digging around for an entire song I wrote some time ago, I found an old scrap piece of paper on which I wrote a line on. By way of apology, here it is!

20120425-222949.jpg

It reads; “Take it fucking easy, you got all day long, flexitime and pension plans, you forgot whats right and wrong”.

I wrote this not long after I started my very first job. I was clearly unimpressed with my colleagues.

Leave a comment

Filed under Song Writing

Keep It Simple vs Making It Interesting

With my intentions of becoming a singer-songwriter, and the recovery of my acoustic guitar from the clutches of my parents house, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to acoustic guitar based songs.

Whenever I listen to my iPod or see a band, I’m always listening out for what makes their music good or bad and how I can use this to make my own songs better. What I have been doing a lot of lately is trying to figure out the structure of acoustic songs.

With pop, rock and punk this is something I figured out a while ago. It goes; intro, verse (often palm muted), chorus, verse, chorus, middle eighth, chorus, chorus – or some variation of this. But with acoustic songs the structures can be all over the place, and moreover, when I’m writing, I’m not sure which riffs would be best suited for a chorus or verse etc.

This feeling was further compounded when I went to the see Revival Tour recently.

The Revival Tour is a fantastic touring showcase of mostly american punk band members who have solo singer songwriter projects. Orchestrated by Chuck Ragan (of Hot Water Music fame). I had the pleasure of seeing Dan Adriano (Alkaline Trio), Brian Fallon (Gaslight Anthem) and Dave Hause (The Loved Ones).

What immediately struck me when seeing Dave Hause on stage that what he was playing were really simple open chords with some pretty basic strumming. Every chord was there to act as a platform for the vocals.

On further listening to other songs that I love, I realised that great songs don’t have to be complicated. I don’t have to write some complex mathcore folk tune. New rule; keep it simple and focus on writing a good song.

This idea is quickly shattered every time I listen to Frank Turner, who has some really difficult pieces. Then I don’t know what to think.

I should be finding all this freedom in songwriting liberating. Instead I just get a little confused.

1 Comment

Filed under Song Writing

Cool Guitars – A retrospective

I’ve just read an interesting post on musical instrument stereotyping, by Canadian Bassist and blogger Adam McKay-Allen Jarvis. Check it out here!

In his post Adam talks about guitars that are cool, and in vogue. This got my thinking about my choice of instrument (guitar) and reminiscing over my choice of guitar (Mexican Fender Stratocaster in a wine red colour).

I was inspired to play the guitar because when I was fourteen I wanted to emulate the bands I saw on television (in particular The Offspring and Sum 41). I chose guitar because I knew my parents would never let me have a drum kit in the house, and at the time I didn’t know what a bass guitar was.

In retrospect I often wish I had taken up bass. Because there are so few bassists around it may have been easier to slot into bands, and maybe any tuition I had would have focused more on timing rather than chords.

But I asked for a guitar for Christmas and that’s what I got.

My current guitars I obtained around this time. My first was a cheap Encore acoustic which my parents bought me for Christmas. I hated it! It was heavy, slow, painful to play and moreover, boring. The thing is now that I’m ten years older, I love this guitar! For a cheap first guitar the tone is brilliant and has really become my main guitar.

Because I hated the acoustic so much, I saved up for an electric. I was 17 and had a weekend job washing dishes in a local restaurant. Anyone who has worked in catering will know how difficult it is. It’s hot, hard work, you stand on your feet for the entire shift, you rarely get breaks (let alone food) and the working hours are quite unsociable.

I worked all summer saving for a guitar. When I reached the three hundred pounds mark in my bank account I quit, and headed up to London’s West End after school one evening with a friend.

My intention was to buy a Gibson or Epiphone SG (you know, like Angus Young from AC/DC). This was because I was really into metal and hardcore at the time and just wanted to fit into the demographic.

In and out of each of Denmark Street’s shops we went, trying them all out. To my disappointment I found that I didn’t like Gibsons! The fretboard was flat, and the body unbalanced.

Thankfully, we ended up in a second hand shop, where I asked to play a Fender Stratocaster. I knew from the moment that I slipped it into my lap and strummed an E Major chord that this was the one for me! The body was perfectly balanced, solid but not heavy. And the fretboard! Rounded. Perfectly rounded. It fit my hand perfectly. I told my at-the-time girlfriend that it compared to holding her hand (she was quite flattered by this compliment). I haggled the price (twenty five pound discount!), and walked away very happy.

I still love my Strat. Her colour may not be punk, or even rock and roll, but I like that even more. I don’t fit in with everyone else on stage, it makes me stand out. I love the strat’s versatility, I can play virtually any form of music with her.

Despite the fact that I can afford a much more expensive guitar now, I have absolutely no intention of replacing the Stratocaster. Maybe this goes to show, when looking to buy any kind of instrument, don’t think for the short term and try lots, try them all.

6 Comments

Filed under Band, Gear

Acoustic Jams

I’ve been playing a lot of acoustic guitar lately. This is for a few reasons:

i) it’s a lot easier just to pick up an acoustic and strum away than it is to set up a strat and plug everything in.
ii) I’ve been listening to a lot more acoustic guitar based music lately, like the ever fantastic Frank Turner, and Alkaline Trio’s amazing reworking of old songs on their album Damnesia.
iii) I’ve brought my acoustic guitar from my parents house to my flat.

The main driving factor in all of this is that I realised that I’m unlikely to ever be in a punk band again. Most people in their twenties just are to focused on their careers and watching telly with their girlfriends to harbour any ambitions to play in a band. And let’s be honest, punk-rock is a little childish.

I thought it would be much easier to get somewhere with writing songs and playing them to people if I wrote them all myself as cut down singer-songwriter tunes.

It would seem that my good friend Jacko has had similar ideas. He text me out of the blue a week or so ago and said about giving the music one more go. We did. Just two guys playing acoustic guitars. It was great! We came to the conclusion that less is more and we really should refrain from over complicating songs. Maybe if I learn to sing the two of us will be enough to complete a band after all.

Here is a nice video of Frank Turner

No songs from Damnesia are available of YouTube, however Dan Adriano (Alkaline Trio bassist) has his own solo album, Hollow Sounds, which is brilliant. Here’s a track from there.

Leave a comment

Filed under Band