First I must state that I enjoy owning numerous musical doodlings (that others may call original "riffs") on my guitar. They are fun for me to play repeatedly. When I concentrate well enough I can play and even further develop them in my head as well. I store them in my memory. Sometimes I record them on a CD and label it "musical doodlings." Sometimes years later I will listen to these CDs and wonder, "How did I do that?" Or I may be reminded of a forgotten riff and decide to work on it more. Then when I have a composition or performance goal I will try to develop one of my saved ideas more often than trying to create a new one. Sometimes these ideas mature when I step away from them for a while. Other times I ponder, "That was weird. What was I thinking?"
I do not restrict my musical compositions with music theory rules, however my familiarity with the intellectual standards, no doubt, influence the characteristics of my musical expression. Many times I do not discover that I have violated some rule until I try to record my tune aurally (on a digital audio device) or literally (scripted on paper or composition software). When I realize that my musical idea violates traditional convention, I do attempt to squeeze my little oddly shaped creation into one of the culturally acceptable sound "holes."
For example this song has many measures that are in 6-4 beat with the rest in 4-4. So to assist the forward momentum and consistency of the pulse, I treated the song as if it was in 2-4 time signature while emphasizing the downbeat with an extra electric bass and bass drum to make it sound like common time (4-4).
Here is a list of the hardware that I used to make this recording in my home (in random order).
Aston Stealth Cardioid Studio microphone (Sweetwater Sound $380),
Aston Microphones SwiftShield - Shock Mount/Pop Filter Bundle (Sweetwater Sound $119),
Pro Co EGL-20 Excellines instrument cable (Sweetwater Sound $20,
Pro Co BP-1 Excellines Balanced Patch Cable (Sweetwater Sound $14)
Pro Co IPBQ2Q-10 Instrument Cable (Sweetwater Sound $35)
Pro Co EXM-10 Excellines Microphone cable x3 (Sweetwater Sound $45),
Pro Co DK-3 Excellines Dual Instrument Patch Cable (Sweetwater Sound $30),
EBS PG-58 Premium Gold Flat Patch Cable x2 (Sweetwater Sound $32)
Clayton .63mm triangular guitar pick (Sweetwater Sound $0.25),
Superscope PSD450mkII Portable SD Digital Audio Recording System Demo (Sweetwater Sound demo $809),
Behringer HPS3000 headphones (Sweetwater Sound $20),
Behringer MicroMIX MX400 mixer (Sweetwater Sound $25),
Jimi Hendrix Dunlop JH-1wawa pedal (thrift store $2),
Boss Katana 100 mkII guitar amplifier Demo with the Boss GA Foot Controller (Sweetwater Sound $566),
MichaelKelly Hybrid Special electric guitar with case (Music To My Ears $770),
D'Addario NYXL1355W NYXL Nickel Wound Electric Guitar Strings - .013-.056 Medium Wound 3rd (Sweetwater Sound $13)
Blackstar FLY 3 Acoustic Pack 3 Combo Amp with Extension Speaker (Sweetwater Sound $130)
Electro-harmonix Pitch Fork (Facebook Marketplace Yard Sale $20),
Cordoba Orchestra CE classical guitar with case (Sweetwater Sound $924),
Roland Fantom G8 keyboard remanufactured (Portman's Music $3,000).
Furman PST-8 surge protector and filter (Sweetwater Sound $150)
iMac Desktop Computer refurbished (The Tech Toy Store $gift),
APC BR1000MS Back UPS PRO (Sweetwater Sound $170),
and a Mackie Mix12FX mixer (Portman's Music $150).
I connected my guitar to a wawa pedal to a morley ABY mix switch pedal to the guitar amp. I connected a cable from the amplifier line out port to the mixer board that runs through a Steinberg UR22mkII USB audio interface into my iMac computer into a dedicated track on the Steinberg Cubase Elements 11 personal music production system with the equalizer preset to "metal guitar."
I connected my classical guitar to an octave blend pedal that matches my note one octave above and one octave below. While I do own an actual acoustic/electric bass, I thought that this combination added a little bite while still giving the harmonic rhythm plenty of momentum. I turned the treble and medium to minimum and the low to maximum in the built-in equalizer on the guitar and on the mixer board. From the pedal I connected to the guitar amplifier with the channel equalizer programmed for "acoustic guitar."
I connected my keyboard outputs into the mixer board on different channels with the pan of each turned in 90% in opposite directions (to the left and right respectively).
I turned off all the effects available on the board because I wanted to be able to add them universally to the completed song rather than to individual tracks. I think this ensured that no exaggerated effects are inadvertently embedded and thus would become very difficult to correct later. I expect that expensive mixer boards have much more features that can control such things, but I have $0 budget (actually I am very much in debt).
The riff includes a little oddity in the rhythm that (I think) says that, "While familiar in some aspects, this is not a typical arrangement of melody and chords."
The snare drum announces the beginning of the percussion that includes a bass drum, snare drum, floor tom drum, medium and high tom drums, cymbals, and a tambourine (all created on a Roland Fantom G8 keyboard). At the same moment the lead guitar repeats part of the introduction with an added part that prepares the song for the verse section. The characteristic common with distortion of the "metal guitar" sound is that it loses a lot of the higher pitched notes of the chords so I doubled the part with a clean electric guitar sound with the equalizer preset of "strummed acoustic guitar" and adjusted the volume so that it is just barely heard. I think this gives the part some clarity in the mix to add some balance to the aggressiveness of the distortion fuzz. The church organ sound fills the empty spaces with a percussive staccato until the IV7 to V7 chords are played. At this point I hold the chords to accentuate them. The Fantom G8 mimics the characteristic of an actual organ by the way it makes a sustained chord rise in volume. To maintain a certain consistency in volume I marked my volume slider to guide the accuracy of my adjustments while allowing some swelling of the sound as I played, but also to limit it from blowing out the speakers. This took quite a few practices runs.
Verse one begins after eight beats of only playing the E chord. I record in a spare bedroom in my prefabricated home (double wide trailer). The walls are thin so my Aston Stealth microphone picked up everything (voices from the other side of the house, the bathroom activity, the ticking of a nearby clock, my central air conditioner, my neighbor's dog barking, and my other neighbor's lawn mower. So to minimize all these sound competitors I gutted a mattress of it's springs and nailed the rest to one wall and the door. I built and suspended a dome of foam formed with a PVC ring with a round pillow filling the top and wrapped it with two layers of felt material that I purchased from a thrift store. I hung a battery powered light inside and I got up in it with my microphone, but even that only helped a little. Maybe I need to use a lower quality microphone, but I do not think that my voice is not of high quality so I was hoping that a better microphone would help. The microphone also revealed to me that I must have a nasal flap somewhere that vibrates more as I increase volume. I say this because I noticed what I thought was a distortion coming from my equipment. It took me hours of experimenting and adjusting to realize that the problem was in my nasal cavity. So I tried to sing softly enough to stay below that threshold.
I added a third verse and rearranged some lyric lines from a previous version of my song. This increased the time length to a new total of nearly five minutes. I know that the average time length of a pop tune is between three and three and a half minutes, but I thought that another verse was needed to complete the message that the song is supposed to convey.
After verse two I added a very short electric guitar solo. I replaced the rock drum pattern and instrumentation with a different beat and drum pattern to accentuate the listener's attention to the solo. At the end of this small bridge I made the bass and the drums play a downward melody to mark a pronounced end of this section and the return to the introduction of the last verse.
I repeated the refrain of verse three and at the end I repeated the distinctive B7 and A7 chords to inform the listener that the song was about to terminate.
I hope you enjoy listening to it and even more than that, I hope that the message of the lyrics reminds you that it is more rewarding to share what will not last in the temporal material world for that which will never disappoint in the eternal heavenly world.