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SOS HELP: Guitar player who wants to make an album

All about the tools and techniques involved in capturing sound, in the studio or on location.

SOS HELP: Guitar player who wants to make an album

Postby daltonwene » Thu Mar 07, 2019 7:15 am

Hi, my name is Dalton.

Recently I've felt confident in my playing and songwriting. So I decided to buy a Scarlett 2i4 interface. So I thought everything was on the right track. I downloaded the software, Ableton Live 10 Lite, and Pro Tools first and all available plugins.

I then tried to record some stuff, and then I was having some trouble. But through some meddling, I was able to record on Pro Tools. Great right? Well, I had not been able to figure out how to record/program drums or bass. I have to program them because I'm on the other side of the world for school and do not have access to a studio or a bass or drums. I still cannot figure it out.

So I then tried to focus on my guitar amp and tone. I have a Yamaha THR10, and while it is great for bedroom playing and you can record through it, I wanted to get different tones all together. So I bought the BIAS FX application from their website. Now it works by itself, with some latency. And so I tried to use it in Ableton and Pro Tools, and I cannot get it to work correctly, or even show up in my plugins and inserts on my DAWS.

It feels like no matter what I do, nothing is working. It's like my computer doesnt recognize the software that I buy and download no matter how many times I try to move files or whatnot. I have an 2015 Toshiba computer btw.

I need advice on what to do. It feels like I should take a dang class on this stuff in order to get things to work. I just get wo frustrated spending hours and hours with nothing even reading each other.

What would you do? Should I uninstall everything and start from scratch? Would I upgrade to a new computer? Should I stop and just go to a studio in a large city? Should I Pirate the full versions of my DAWS and plugins? All I want to do is recording music man. It shouldn't be this hard, and all this "easy guide" mentality isnt working for me for some reason. I'm willing do to just about anything to record music. If anyone has been in a similar situation please help me, or if anyone has any knowledge that might lead me to an answer, please let me know.

TL;DR: my computer and software isnt working together. All I want to do is record music and make accompaniment for it like drums and bass. Please help

Thank you
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Re: SOS HELP: Guitar player who wants to make an album

Postby desmond » Thu Mar 07, 2019 11:47 am

Pro Tools First doesn't support any third-party plugins, other than ones you buy through their own closed system, so if you want to use those, the free version of Pro Tools is out.

None of this stuff is particularly complex, but there *is* a learning curve for those new to recording and DAWs, and you'll need to spend a little time figuring out how everything works before being able to use it in anger. Try not to get frustrated at this and use it as an opportunity to learn a new set of skills, which empowers you to do things you couldn't before.

Take things one stage at a time. Pick the DAW you want to use. Figure out how to record audio from your guitar. Figure out how and where to load up plugins. Figure out how to use instrument plugins (if you don't have a MIDI keyboard, you might want to get one to help playing non guitar parts (keys, drums, bass etc) - otherwise you'l find it frustrating creating musical parts from a computer keyboard.

If you you get stuck, or are not sure what to do, post with the specific issue (ie, "How do I create a drum track) and I'm sure people will help get you up and running.

So... what is it you first need to figure out? Start one thing at a time, until you have the main blocks solved to let you start making the music you want to...
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Re: SOS HELP: Guitar player who wants to make an album

Postby daltonwene » Thu Mar 07, 2019 11:59 am

Thanks Desmond. I'll be working on it today. Cheers man. I'm glad to know I dont necessarily need to have brand new equipment like computer and stuff. But I'll look into the MIDI thing.

I really appreciate your reply, thanks
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Re: SOS HELP: Guitar player who wants to make an album

Postby Bob Bickerton » Thu Mar 07, 2019 12:01 pm

Without going into specifics, it sounds as though some one-on-one tuition would prove really useful.

Is there someone near to you who can help set up your system - so you have confidence it is working - and then give you training on how to get started?

It’s a far better way of getting underway than starting classes or asking questions on forums - even very helpful ones like this.

Bob
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Re: SOS HELP: Guitar player who wants to make an album

Postby Wonks » Thu Mar 07, 2019 12:15 pm

Hi Dalton and welcome.

I'd recommend getting one of the cut-down versions of Cubase (say Elements 10), simply because it has the best and probably easiest MIDI implementation of any of the DAWs. But Ableton should be able to do a similar job, though it's aimed a bit more at 'making beats' and playing loops and samples live than more traditional recording methods.

I started out on a simple version of Cubase and that was good enough to put many tracks together, with programmed drum, bass and keyboard parts with guitar over the top.

But let's start at the beginning. What are the specs for the Toshiba laptop - processor, hard-drive type and size, amount of RAM? What OS are you running? Presumably WIN10 64 bit?

Ableton 10 should be able to host your bought plug-ins, but it will only run 64-bit plugins, so if you've downloaded a 32-bit version, you need to install the 64-bit version.

Ableton 10 (as will Cubase Elements 10 ) will have two VST folders, one for VST2 and one for VST3 plug-ins.

Your plugins are best located in a subfolder for that plug-in there, VST2 plugs in the VST2 folder etc. So point the plug-in installer at one of those folders when loading You will often be able to load both VST2 and VST3 plugs, but you don't need both versions so I'd load the VST3 one.

The installer may well install its own directory with other files elsewhere, but the important thing is that the main .dll file is somewhere in that VST directory, then the host program will find it. There are normally options to add other directories to the list the host program searches for VSTs for, but it is easier to keep them all in one place.

It's also important for low-latency performance from the computer that you are using the latest ASIO driver for your interface, and that the ASIO driver is selected as the audio driver in your DAW.
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Re: SOS HELP: Guitar player who wants to make an album

Postby Watchmaker » Thu Mar 07, 2019 12:43 pm

My first foray into digital recording was intensely painful, and I had the benefit of both electronics training and a formal education in studio based audio engineering.

As Desmond pointed out, there's a learning curve, so go easy on yourself. I started out on ProTools 8 and hated it. PT is, IMO, terrible for small studios and I found it adds a lot of unnecessary pain to the process of recording. I use StudioOne, and I think there's a freeware version of it.

It's important to keep the ideas of recording audio, and recording MIDI instruments clear in your mind. They are different in terms of how you approach creating a track. I'm still regularly flummoxed by instruments tracks, drums, samples, etc.

Also, try to find someone who's already been through it and get some help. It's a much faster way to learn and probably a hell of alot more fun too.
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Re: SOS HELP: Guitar player who wants to make an album

Postby ef37a » Thu Mar 07, 2019 12:43 pm

Hi Dalton and welcome to SOS forum.

Now, I am very much "the junior" here (in my 74th year!) but I might have the odd pearl?

Firstly, have you any experience of recording to tape? Even the most rough assed cassette or old 3-3/4ips open reel kit will have given you an idea of "process". That process is duplicated to a large degree in most DAWs but Ableton is not one of them, it is of the "cut and shunt" type as I dub it. I know nothing if PT but it seems of little use to you anyway.

"Start again"? I would. Download Reaper and get a pack of Red Bulls and munchies and dig in for the weekend! No DAW is simple, they all need hard work (if you also get a swear box you will pay for Reaper in no time!) but then how long did it take you to get proficient on guitar? Do you know any music theory? Baffles me, I can cope with EGBDF and FACE but then I am lost. My son is an accomplished guitarist and has all the theory but HE put in 1000s of hours in his bedroom from about 13 (now 46, still pretty broke but happy).

MIDI? get a cheapo dumb keyboard and that can input drums. They all have USB but try to find one with at least a MIDI out port. Huge amount of free instrument software around and I am sure fellow forumites can point you to it.

Recording guitar? MASSIVE issue, more written about electric guitar sound capture than I would guess all other instruments combined? As ever, find the Bible, SOS Aug 07.

Dave.
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Re: SOS HELP: Guitar player who wants to make an album

Postby CS70 » Thu Mar 07, 2019 2:46 pm

daltonwene wrote:Well, I had not been able to figure out how to record/program drums or bass. I have to program them because I'm on the other side of the world for school and do not have access to a studio or a bass or drums. I still cannot figure it out.

Hi Dalton! You make it sound like it's just to buy something. :-) How much time did u use to get okay-sh on the guitar, after buying one? Programming drums (and recording, and mixing, for what matters) are similar endeavors.. buying the kit is by far the smallest step :)

Programming realistic drums from scratch is very hard, especially if you aren't already a good drummer, who knows how things should sound. The easiest is to use pre-recorded loops and samples, which then you tweak a little (or a lot, depending on your goal). For demos I use EZDrummer and can get out a workable track in few minutes. I'm lucky to record with a drummer in a studio but if I had to use the programmed drums, I'm sure I'd use days beyond these first 10 minutes to make them sound good - and probably they wouldn't. It's a skill and requires an investment in time and practicing.

So I then tried to focus on my guitar amp and tone. I have a Yamaha THR10, and while it is great for bedroom playing and you can record through it, I wanted to get different tones all together. So I bought the BIAS FX application from their website. Now it works by itself, with some latency. And so I tried to use it in Ableton and Pro Tools, and I cannot get it to work correctly, or even show up in my plugins and inserts on my DAWS.

It feels like no matter what I do, nothing is working. It's like my computer doesnt recognize the software that I buy and download no matter how many times I try to move files or whatnot. I have an 2015 Toshiba computer btw.

I need advice on what to do. It feels like I should take a dang class on this stuff in order to get things to work. I just get wo frustrated spending hours and hours with nothing even reading each other.

There's two distincts aspect to your predicament, one is the use of the computer for getting the guitar sound, the other is getting the sound (from wherever) into the computer. For the former, I'd absolutely advise to use the Yamaha. It's not (to me) a very inspiring amp, but it's an amp - you turn it on, it's on, you pick a string, it plays.. nothing beats that. Doesn't it have a recording out already? Simply plug that it into a line input in your interface, and forget the bias stuff. Your chain will be guitar -> pedals -> amp -> amp line out -> interface line in -> computer. Disable the monitoring feature of your DAW so you hear only the direct sound and you'll be happy as a bunny.

For the tone, forget all the marketing tricks to make you buy stuff... 90% of the tone is in your playing, and your playing only. This morning I recorded a demo which includes a short lead line. I was home and had just my Martin acoustic guitar - and normally I play the line on a Heritage H355.... well, I thought, what the heck, so did it anyways... and tell you what, it doesn't sound so far off :D At most, add pedals in front of the amp to shape your tone (and the Yamaha should have some effects on board, innit?).

What would you do? Should I uninstall everything and start from scratch? Would I upgrade to a new computer? Should I stop and just go to a studio in a large city? Should I Pirate the full versions of my DAWS and plugins? All I want to do is recording music man. It shouldn't be this hard, and all this "easy guide" mentality isnt working for me for some reason. I'm willing do to just about anything to record music. If anyone has been in a similar situation please help me, or if anyone has any knowledge that might lead me to an answer, please let me know.

There I think is where you've got it wrong.. it's far easier than its ever been, but it still not so easy that you can just dive in without a little practicing and failing. Again, remember how you learned to play the guitar, you weren't able after a day or a week, right? And the guitar is as easy as it gets when it comes to instruments.. If you dont have the patience for that, by all means go to a studio! But there you'll find other challenges -for example, the stress of having to do your bit in one hour because otherwise you're paying double :D

TL;DR: my computer and software isnt working together. All I want to do is record music and make accompaniment for it like drums and bass. Please help

Thank you

An option to actually do just that is to use auto-accompanying tech, and use a PC+DAW simply as a recording device. For example the Digitech Trio pedals give you virtual bass and drum player which follow more or less what you do and are quite immediate to use. You can then record the result on the DAW. There's also some software (dont recall the name) which provides you with a full band and hundreds of song style so you can make songs, play along and record the result... all depends on what you really want tough, and as a hint, it's difficult to know when you're just starting. Take it easy, approach it like learning an instrument (knowing you've got to put down the time) and you'll be alright.
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Re: SOS HELP: Guitar player who wants to make an album

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Mar 07, 2019 3:40 pm

Band In A Box may be that software CS :thumbup:
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