Mark 'Spanky' Gutierrez's Blog

It's Me.. Honest Its Me!!

Archive for the category “Recording notes”

Music Theory Induced Tune…

I was working on a new tune the other day and it took an interesting turn. I have all this music theory stuck in my head and I wanted to let it out. So, I started with I VI then noodled my way thru substitutes for four and then back to I and then did a V of V walk down thru the true V and wound up at I again. It sounds nice and feels like a million other Jazz tunes.

For the B section I went to the IV and treated it like a one for a while then flatted the third to make it minor and walked thru ii V changes back to one. It sounds nice and feels like a million other Jazz tunes.

I am working on the lyrics now… which often inspire melody for me.

This is a lot more clinical process for me and I am not sure I like it. Once its done, I will post the tune.


Mark Spanky Gutierrez


Recording Woes part two…

So, it turns out that you’re done mixing when you’re done. It’s a lot like a drawing or painting and some point it looks great. At some point it sounds great. The advantage in digital mixing is you can always back up a step or two. Its like a big eraser, “no that sounds like crap” back up, DO OVER… Mixing can not be rushed or at least shouldn’t be. You need time to walk away come back and listen again. I found myself listening to the music on multiple speaker sets. The crappy computer speakers, my expensive headphones meant for mixing, a boom box, good computer speakers and when I got real close the bomb proof test the car stereo. Listen take notes then go make changes and start again.

My biggest problem with the recent project was I recorded us live. I only had two live channels to work with so the Bass and Ukulele resided on one track and the vocals lived on another. Not the best situation but fair enough. The bass and ukulele live in pretty different sonic worlds so separating them was easy. In doing so the upper harmonics of the bass were lost so I had to gently let them back in using EQ. The ukulele wasn’t that tough but again it has harmonics that live where the violin and my female vocalist is. My instructor at the university used to say “something must suffer”. Many times it was the ukulele.

Lessons learned: Take your time, perform live but put everything on its own track (if possible), limit bleed through (more than one thing coming thru a channel due to ambient sound), listen on multiple speaker sets, know the sound you want and don’t give in till you get it.

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