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Lee Shapiro

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  1. Thanks for your comments! I use GG Audio's Blue 3 (with it's built in Leslie Speaker sim) I'm a HUGE fan of the Hammond Organ, and even though I was never lucky enough to own or play the real thing, I've tried (or used) just about every Hammond VST plugin available. In years past, my go-to plugin was NI's B4. But when Blue 3 came out (IMHO) it blew all the other's away. I tend to use a Hammond Organ in many of my songs, (maybe too many) which is why I chose to push the organ down in the mix. But now I'm thinking maybe you can't have too much Hammond Organ in your songs. LOL! (you can check out some of my other songs that have the Hammond louder in the mix from my link below) I'm also kind of proud of how I've learned to use the slow/fast rotator control for the Leslie speakers. I found it's kind of an art form of knowing when and where to add the emphasis (fast rotation) on my keyboard parts. I think it's just as important as what keys you play. I don't think enough Hammond players realize how influential the timing of the speaker rotations can be. I'm also a big fan of the "gliss", sliding up the Hammond keyboard with the fast rotation on, makes an excellent musical punctuation mark in the song. Sorry for babbling on about the Hammond Organ, but you brought it up.
  2. Thanks noynekker, I appreciate your compliments and suggestions. And I know exactly what you're talking about with adding power and dynamics. One of my favorite songwriters is Rickie Lee Jones, I love the way she builds her songs. There is so much dynamics in most of her songs, going from quiet passages, to powerful loud parts, and then back again. For years I've been trying to emulate her song structures, with limited success. But with my vocals, I don't have very much range so I have to depend on instrumentation for those dynamics. (That and adding harmonies, sometimes using Melodyne to create higher registers). With this song, the dynamics were a bit too subtle. I added a lead guitar part in the background of the 2nd half of the verses. I thought it sounded good, but unless you're really listening for it, it kind of gets lost in the mix. But I'll definitely keep your suggestions in mind for my next song(s) and try for a wider range of dynamics. Thanks again!
  3. Hi Craig, Thanks for the suggestion and I have considered trying something like that. Originally, I just held out the one note for that time of the echo, but with my vocals it didn't sound good at all. So I got the idea to do the echo. But that sounded, as you said, a little too predictable. So on the other vocal track, I actually blended the sustained vocal note with the echo'd vocal track, and I thought the two together sounded good. I don't think I've tried anything like that before, so it was a fun experiment in using digital delay for just one word. I used an automation lane to turn the delay on and off.
  4. Thanks for the feedback, it's always appreciated. Jack C. I think what you are probably hearing is the percussion track (Indiginus Brio for Kontakt) which runs throughout the song, buried just below the main drum track. I often use this instrument when I think a song needs a little more energy. I'm also a big fan of the early Santana sound (Guitar, Hammond Organ, and lots of percussion), so, again, that often appears in my songs. 😁 EDIT: Upon giving the song another listen (specifically to the drums), I realize that, yes, there are a fair amount of drum fills (from the main drums, Superior Drummer 3). I tend to write many busy parts in my songs and it take a conscious effort to make things less busy. But again, it's a habit of mine for trying to make a song feel like a live band and energetic.
  5. As a songwriter, there's nothing worse than being stuck in the middle of a massive dry spell. In the past, I could write about one song per month, but this is only the second song I've been able to write in over a year. Admittedly, not my best work, but not my worst either. Just something to get myself going again....even though I fall back on the same familiar topic of past loves, regrets and time. I'll try and do better next time. For now, this is "Just Another Try". Scroll down song page to read the lyrics. Just Another Try
  6. I don't know if this has been mentioned yet (sorry I didn't read through every single post in this thread), but for me, you have to have two (video) monitors. I set it up with the tracks view, instruments, and synth rack on the left monitor, and the mixer console and (tabbed) piano roll screen on the right monitor. Then all the main functions are right there in front of you. I can't imagine trying to use this program with only one video monitor. (Once you have two, you'll never go back)
  7. Hey, I haven't check this forum for a couple of days, so sorry for the delay in replying to all the new posts. Thanks again for listening and for posting your thoughts and suggestions. Yes, I always prefer a live sound, whether it's music I'm listening to or creating myself. To me, some great songs are done a great disservice by the cold, sterile feeling created by studio recordings, where they are recorded one track at a time, losing that energy and emotion of playing together live. (In the old days of buying vinyl records, I'd always start with a band's live album, if there was any, then work my way through their studio albums) But for me, even though I am recording everything myself, one track at a time, I still try to create that "live band" feel. Also, I appreciate the mixing suggestions. I did have a little trouble with the final mix, having my vocals and solo instruments not quite loud enough. I'll eventually get around to remixing it. Thanks again for all the positive feedback, as always it's most appreciated.
  8. Thanks for listening guys, I appreciate it.
  9. After a long period of writer's block, I'm finally finished with a new song for the new year. An unusually uptempo song for me, it's a mixture of optimism for the future and trying to rid myself of feeling down. Even though I fell back on some old writing techniques, I think this one is interesting all the way through and I'm really happy with how it turned out. BUT, I'm always open for comments and suggestions. Thanks for listening! (Lyrics are on the song page) Better Weather
  10. Thanks Fred. I also think the harmonies at the beginning of the chorus turned out well. I actually was surprised at the unintended complexity of the harmonies (in the transition between the pre-chorus and chorus) It's usually a hit or miss endeavor, using both Melodyne and actual backing tracks. But I'm slowly learning what works and what doesn't, along with the mixing levels of the lead and backing vocals. Thanks again, for listening and commenting. I greatly appreciate it.
  11. Thanks S, I usually get quite a few Dylan comparisons for my songs (or for my vocals) I got that east coast nasally accent thing going for me. I've gotten a few Tom Petty comparisons on some songs as well. It's all good, I guess it's better than being compared to Yoko. (A nice woman, but her singing.....not so much)
  12. Tom, I just posted a revised version taking some of your suggestions into account. Let me know if you think it sounds less muddy. For me, there's a sweet spot where the kick drum and bass guitar sound perfect together, sonically locked together like one instrument. So I think I got a little closer on this pass. (Revision is on the same link from above)
  13. Thanks for your feedback Tom, I appreciate it. I like my mixes with a strong bottom end but as you know, that could be one step away from being too muddy. I mixed it with headphones, I mastered with my studio monitors, and played it back in my car and on my laptop. But I'll try your suggestion of adjusting the EQ. I've been trying to make my investment of EZBass worthwhile, although I still haven't found a decent bass sound that I like (one that mixes well with the kick drum) I like the EZBass patterns and other features, but after 3 sound packs, I still haven't found one that sounds as good as my Go-To bass: Scarbee's Rickenbacker Bass.
  14. Thanks Bjorn. If it's a vocal glitch, there was a couple of those that I need to fix. But if it's just a general audio glitch, I believe that might be due to an ongoing unsolvable problem I've been having between Cakewalk and my computer. You can see my specs below, and I've spent a couple of years trying to track down the problem, especially when I add in Ozone to master the final version. I get a lot of clicks and pops. And believe me, I've read almost everything about this issue and have tried almost every option and tweak. I think maybe I just need a beefier computer and/or faster hard drives.
  15. Thanks, I appreciate the feedback and compliments. I figured I wrote so many sad, angry songs about you-know-who, it was time for an uplifting, faster tempo song. And as for channeling my inner Springsteen, that's possible. When I sing, I never know what style is going to come out of my mouth. Many times I get a country sounding vocal, but this time (during parts of the song) it was definitely a punk/new wave style of singing. Kind of strange but I just go with the flow.
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