TASCAM DP01-FX 8-track; Peavey PVMi mic for acoustic guitar and vocals; drums and bass guitar from BOSS DR-670; Yamaha Eterna acoustic guitar, Fender Squier Bullet electric guitar, “Not sure of make and model of the lead guitar.”
Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Recording: Recorded on some very basic gear, Patrick’s track is characteristic of many solo or “one-man-band” efforts that we receive. Often in these scenarios, the artist is not fully accomplished on all of the instruments that are presented. In Patrick’s case, it seems to us that the guitar is probably his main strength, followed by the bass and then the drums. While there is no law against this, it does often lead to a recording that presents itself as more of a sketch or demo than a finished piece of work, and that is the case here in our opinion.
Now that we’ve established that, let’s examine things a bit closer! We liked the full present acoustic guitar in the intro, and the bass certainly rang through loud and clear, but from there things were somewhat less successful. The electric guitars had a strident, small sound to them, while the drums, as is so often the case with machine-derived tones, were less than convincing.
Compounding the tonal issues, there were also some timing fluctuations during the drum performance that were distracting. Lastly, Patrick’s vocals, although void of any sibilance or other digital artifact, seemed a bit buried in the mix, especially when compared to the lead guitar.
Suggestions: It is certainly not our intention to dictate how folks choose to do their art. We have had more than a few exemplary “one-man-band” efforts come across our desk, so we know that it can be done. That said, it can be a difficult undertaking. After all , it’s often hard enough to fashion a successful project when each person is responsible solely for only his or her area of expertise! If you look at the credits for most successful CDs. you are likely to see a pretty long list of writers, players, engineers and so on. In the words of a former First Lady, it can often “take a village.”
With this in mind, our suggestions to Patrick are somewhat determined by his access to other players. We would encourage him to offer his recording services to friends and others, and to really focus on just that part of things until his recording chops are honed to a level that would allow him to take on the added task of being the “artist” as well.
If that is not to his liking, we would then suggest that he simplify his recordings, and learn how to skillfully record and mix each individual sound source before moving on to the next. Start with a song that is acoustic guitar and vocal only, and really get it right... then add more sound sources, one at a time, in order to understand the complexities involved. Recording really is one discipline where practice makes perfect, and lucky for us the practice is usually a whole lot of fun!
Summary: Keep on truckin’, Patrick—you’ll get there!
Contact: Patrick Brooks, firstname.lastname@example.org.