Playing engineer

I’ve been listening to our takes so far.

We’re using Cakewalk’s Guitar Tracks Pro, which our guitarist Craig has on his home computer. Cakewalk also has a trial version, which I’ve downloaded. Craig gives me the takes as Cakewalk bundles, which means I can not only listen to them, but adjust the mix, panning, effects, etc. The trial version does have limits, but it’s sufficiently functional for this.

What fun! One of the things I loved about my studio recordings (No Loose Threads, recorded at Outback Studio in Virginia, and What Child Is This? at Electric Wilburland just south of Ithaca) is getting a close look at the engineering part of things. Mixers, effects, editing, etc. It’s fascinating to me. Now here I am getting a little chance to try it myself.

Today I’ve been listening to a set of reels: Star of Munster and Old Copper Plate. We start Star slow with just fiddle, then dulcimer, then hit dance tempo and the guitar joins in. There’s a dramatic transition, then on the last Old Copper Plate, while the fiddle is playing the melody, I’m playing a march called Down the Brae that fits with it in interesting ways.

I’ve decided that I like the medley best when the guitar is panned 50% left and the dulcimer 50% right, fiddle center; I’ve adjusted the volume for a good balance; and with the right reverb, the fiddle soars on that opening solo. Now I need to figure out which of the thirteen takes are good enough all the way through, and then we can choose the best of those.