Adding Acoustics to Welcome Home

After listening to the tune a bit on my iPod I really got the sense that the last chorus needed a lift. I thought about maybe adding an organ part or electric guitar part but that seemed a bit overbearing for the track so I decided to try some acoustic guitar. My Bourgeois Slope D is great for strummed tracks. Pick selection is also very important especially with acoustic instruments. In this case I wanted an airy quality to the sound so I selected the old standby Fender Medium celluloid pick. I had thought originally about putting acoustic guitar as the basis of the entire track but that would not have filled in too many of the holes. So, here is the acoustic guitar track I recorded. I recorded two tracks and panned on hard left and one hard right. I used an Audio-Technica AT4041 condenser mic, about 2 feet away from the upper 14th fret point back at the body. Because the track was to be a background part I didn’t want a lot of bass of fullness in the sound and putting the mic a little farther away helps. Also, I eq’ed the track with a shelf tapering off starting at around 300 Hz. Here are the acoustic tracks by themselves…

Acoustic Guitar Tracks

…and here is how they sound in the track…

Welcome Home with Acoustic

So, that’s in for now on this track. I will come back to the track to do a final mix and mastering later on but now its time to start work on another of the tunes recorded that fateful Friday in July.

<a href=”″>First Guitar Track</a>

Adding Electric Guitars to Welcome Home

Time to add some guitars to the track. With vocals being the focus the tone of the guitar has to stay away from those midrange frequences. I selected my Telecaster through the Swart Atomic Space Tone. I took a quick picture of the rig before recording. The item on top of the amp is an attenuator that sounds pretty awesome and reduces the volume of the amp. Check out the Night Light from the Swart website. It’s a great alternative to having an amp with a master volume. Sweat tone. Here is a sample of the guitar sound I started with…

First Guitar Track

Here is the track with that first electric guitar in it…

Welcome Home – Rhythm Guitar Added

To balance this first guitar track a second stereo part recorded twice, one mixed far right and one mixed far left…

Welcome Home – With Additional Rhythm Guitar Tracks

Now for the intro, solo, and outro…

Welcome Home – With Intro, Solo, and Outro

The mix isn’t final and the vocals have to come up in places. Parts still need to be placed properly in the mix but something is missing in the choruses…but its late, that will have to wait until next post.

Compression on the Vocals for Welcome Home

The vocal track is very brooding and breathy on this track and so I wanted to accentuate that in the mix. There are a few notes that are slightly out of tune so I tried to AutoTune just a few spots but it just using AutoTune can sometimes kill the spirit of a track. In this case I decided to just leave it alone and instead play on the vulnerability of the vocals. I selected the Vintage Channel plug-in and set it to some relatively radical settings and turned on the DeEsser feature to take some artifacts out of the vocals that I found not as pleasant after using the compressor. Take a listen.

Matt Horner – Welcome Home – Compression on Vocals

After this step its clear to me that the vocals will have to be very much front and centre in the track. This will effect how I play the guitar parts as you will hear in my next posting.

Fixing the Keyboard Track on Welcome Home

The keyboard track was recorded using the TruePiano plug-in so the recording made was that of the MIDI (musical instrument digital interface) messages being sent to the plug in. So, I am now able to edit the keyboard playing not just the audio. This allowed me to fix the timing. The picture here shows the track prior to fixing the timing of some of the playing. I was able to remove erroneous notes and sustain notes in the intro that were accidentally played staccato. So take a listen to the fixed version of the track with the revised keyboard and hear how it locks in with the bass and drums.

Matt Horner – Welcome Home – Fixed Keyboard Track