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My 2021 Videos with Gear, Goals and Guidelines

Started by Zilthy, January 20, 2021, 02:35:32 PM

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I think I am off to a good start this year, 3rd song and video done.   I have mentioned feeling motivated and inspired in another thread, I am going to try to feed and fuel that inspiration through the year.   So I decided to start creating some SMART goals for music.  (For anyone who does not know SMART:  Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realist, Timely).

Goal:  Complete and publish a music video every week this year.  This is definitely a lot more concrete than in the past 'record music and videos and get better at them' and not too taxing, I am not being specific on each song, which leaves me open to style, etc.  The idea behind my thinking is that instead of trying to get better, I will actually improve just by doing it.  I think this weeks video is better than last weeks, which was better than the one before, etc.

Gear: Also a goal of mine, use only the gear I alread have.   And in the case of the DAW, use only what came with Logic Pro even if some of my other plugins become supported.  I think at this time, honing skills on what I already have will benefit me far more than anything additional.  I definitely have enough music and video gear to do quality productions, it's experience needed.  That said, the core gear:

DAW: M1 Mac mini, RME Babyface, Logic Pro and Final Cut Pro
Mics: AT3035, AT2021 and SM57
Guitars:  Gibson Les Paul, Harmony H814 Flying V, Daisy Rock Rock Candy Extreme, Zilth Custom
Amps: Synergy SYN-30 with SLO Module in to Boss WAZA Tube Amp Expander
Cabs: Crate 4x12 (Greenbacks and V30s) and ADA Split Stacks
Bass: Ibanez MiKro
Keyboards: M-Audio Hammer 88 and Roland LX17
Violin: Fiddlerman Soloist, Shar Plug'n Play electric
Drums: Roland V-Drums

That's pretty much my studio setup, and I just finished re-arranging it last month and only have a couple of small things to clean up/re-arrange.  BTW, 'studio' is a fancy name I am using for 'living room'. :)

Guidelines:  I think I have already covered the guidelines I have given myself, mainly do 1 per week, and use only what I have.   (Strings, picks, maintenance don't count) but for example, I will only use the SLO module.  When I got the Synergy, it was so I could have a bunch of amps and more tones without taking up too much room, but, I think I will take this year and really see what I can get out of what I already have.

That's pretty much it, here's to a fun year, and hopefully learning a few things!


I got my second video done over this last weekend, I wasn't sure I was going to, I haven't really felt well this last week, but I did squeak it in over the weekend.   The mix came together a lot faster this week than last week, setting up all of the busses and effects chains was much easier this time around, and not taking two months between songs, some short cuts I learned stuck with me.  I guess consistency is key here too, just like playing. :D

I am much happier with the sound I got on the bass this week, I made a couple of changes there.  I copied the DI bass to another track and then did an amp sim and blended them.  Much punchier sound that way.

Listening to them side by side, I *think* this week's overall mix sounds better than last weeks recording, but it's also a couple db louder so it could be that.  It's a bit too loud actually, but I hadn't noticed it until I played one after another.  And that's another guideline I am adding for myself:  Move on to next week.  Learn the lesson and continue.  I have so many tracks that I have never 'finished' because of this, always tweaking.

I am also getting a bit more used to my new process:  Produce, then mix, then master.

Peter H. Boer

Nothing beats MB-1s and MP-1s with MDRTs



Harley Hexxe

Hey Zilthy,

     Pretty good there! "Play slow to play fast" is nothing more than learning to walk before you can run! It's all about building finger memory so you can do it without thinking about it.

     The bass sounds good too! Next, you'll be doubling your guitar tracks  :thumb-up:

     As far as getting better as a player goes, I can say this from experience: you'll get better the more you get into the music you're playing. It's not a conscious thing you do, it just kicks in when you are really digging what you're playing, and without thinking about it, you just begin getting more adventurous. We all do it sooner or later. You get caught up in the moment, then off you go!
     Your goals are sensible ones, but when you get caught up in the moment, then bend your own rules a little. You're allowed.

Harley 8)
I only have two brain cells left, ...and I'm saving them for the weekend!


Quote from: Harley Hexxe on January 25, 2021, 01:50:11 PM
     The bass sounds good too! Next, you'll be doubling your guitar tracks  :thumb-up:

I did double track them. :D

Harley Hexxe

I kind of thought it sounded a bit thicker than a single track  :thumb-up:
I only have two brain cells left, ...and I'm saving them for the weekend!


Falling a little behind on my one video per week, but at least I managed to get one recorded this weekend.

One big change is that I am starting to feel more comfortable talking to the camera.  Performing isn't overly
hard, but the talking is new.  I still feel like a babbling idiot, but at least a more comfortable one!  Hopefully
I will get to the point where I can actually express what I am learning playing/recording going through this
process. :D



Really great video!  Great sound and goo playing.

I understand the length of time it takes to do a video, it takes me forever.  I need to try and make a few more for our bands webpage so people know we haven't died (yet).
"whadda ya want? we want Heavy Metal"

Guitars:1986 Westone Dimension IV, 1989 Korean Squier Fat Strat Silver Series, 1998 Korean Squier Fat Strat, MIM Fender Fat Strat - FR, Squier Stagemaster Deluxe - Thru Neck x 2, Squier Stagemaster 22 Fret - 1st Gen, 1999 Squier Showmaster - Anniversary Edition, Squier Showmaster, Tokai FV40 Flying V

Effects:  Ada Mp1, Peavey Rockmaster, Boss GX700 Boss SX700 * Amps:   Rocktron Velocity 300 - Koch ATR4502 - Peavey Classic 50/50
Cabs: 4 x Bugera 2 x 12"
Midi Controller: Behringer FCB1010

Harley Hexxe

Good one Zilthy!

    You're doing great, but if I may, I'd like to caution you about the word "Perfect." Perfection is just like taste. It's subjective.
     The best thing to do is play what you want to hear come from your guitar, and if it makes you happy, and makes you want to keep playing and not stop, then I would say you've reached that which is perfect for you! The next person may hear something totally different over the melody and strive to reach that. That would be perfect for them.
     The fact that you're having fun doing this should tell you that you're closer than you think to playing it perfectly. I didn't hear a single sour note in the bunch :thumb-up:

Harley :thumb-up:
I only have two brain cells left, ...and I'm saving them for the weekend!


Your tones are really awesome. Nice playing too, you can tell you're playing a bit looser  :thumb-up: Less inhibited


Thank you for the feedback, input, and inspiration!

So far I have been close to keeping up with my goal.  I have not posted everything to Youtube, some are on Faceb**k and a couple of others are just sitting in the bin, but I am continuing to work on things, and I am learning not only music, but how to use some pieces of software more effectively.

This week is something completely different, it has been years since I have done any artwork, so I grabbed my iPad and went for it!  Add a bit of synthesizer background and some video production, and off I go!   So many interests, so little time!

The next guitar things will be an interesting challenge, although I absolutely love my current rig, I may end up having to sell some gear.  The last couple of months medical bills are piling up, and I may end up making some decisions I would rather not make.  One thing I am keeping in mind though, I can still create and express - even cutting down tools are not my limitation!  :D


This last week's song, recording and video were both great and simultaneously a huge letdown for me.   I was really looking forward to working on this piece, my new electric violin arrived sooner than I anticipated.  I know, the previous post I mentioned selling some gear to cover some medical costs, but in order to cover this I am selling my other electric violin and electric cello.

It arrived, I was going to do an unboxing video and recorded the footage of that (but accidentally deleted, so sad).  But, as soon as I took it out of the case, I knew this was the right instrument for me.  That was only confirmed when I plugged it in and played the first note.  Maybe it's just me, but I tend to put instruments in three categories:

Nope:  I'm never going to gel with this instrument.  It's not necessarily a knock on the instrument, it just means even if a fine instrument, I am never going to gel with it

Okay: Well, I can get along with it, but I am never going to love it.

Oooh, yeah...:  The opposite of 'Nope'.  It could be hard to play and need a lot of love and care to get to that point, but it is just right for me.

This fiddle hit the 'ooh yeah' for me.  Fortunately, it doesn't need the TLC to get there.  And I knew I wanted this week's song and video to be violin based.  I am still looking for that sound in my head with it, but I know it's capable of getting there.  I did not get what I was going for, but I am not unhappy with what I got.  I am confident I will get there in time.  I have a bit to learn finding my way around on the technical side of things recording, and the other is on the playing side of things.  I need to get better at playing, violin sound, even electric is hugely based on bowing technique, and I need to get more comfortable with that aspect.

What really frustrated me was, I wanted to do some guitar in the mix for backing tracks and I tried to use my Yamaha THR 30 II instead of my Synergy SLO setup.  That answered another question though, those are staying.  The THR is okay for doing some quick practice with for me, and although it might mean I am inadequate as a player or sound engineer, that or other modeling amps like Line 6, Katana, even the vaunted Axe FX are not going to deliver what I am looking for in a guitar tone or feel.  They are convenient, yes.  Even on some cost effective, but, I just cannot make them go where I want them to.

So this week ended up with just some synth tracks for backing.   I am getting the stack setup again and looking forward to not only getting some guitar tracks recorded with that setup, but also trying the new fiddle through that setup also.  And doing a lot of playing and practicing... trying to master playing guitar takes a lot of time, adding violin, piano/keyboard, bass and drums so much more so.  It is rewarding though, and rather than trying to approach virtuoso level at any I am going for feeling and competence at the level I am at.


Hey Zilthy, nice one  :thumb-up:   I hear what you mean about the bowing technique, and maybe add a bit of left hand vibrato (like violinist seem fond of, me too BTW), just to add a bit more drama and feel/energy to the notes (hey easy to say, I can't even play violin LoL).  Recording seemed fine to me. Sound was good, notes were in tune (no so trivial on fretless instrument).BTW I like your 3 categories, I never really thought about it like that before, although I realise (after reading your explanations) that I probably am similar albeit with me it's been more I like it or I don't.  Good on you for having a go, the more you do it the better you'll get.... :headbanger:
Studio Rig: Stuff; Live Rig: More Stuff; Guitars: A few