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 Step 1 for recording
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mike2jb
Lokahi

USA
213 Posts

Posted - 05/05/2009 :  05:19:33 AM  Show Profile
Help. I can't find step 1.
All I want to do is record my beginner guitar practice so I can listen for mistakes. No fancy editing wanted and I'm hardly planning a professional CD just yet.

I presently have access to:
A Taylor acoustic/electric guitar.
A Mac with GarageBand on it.
A PC.

The tutorials for Taylor and GarageBand, and other sites I've researched, all start with something like:
"Step 1: Connect your guitar."

How?

The archives of on-line guitar forums give confusing and contradictory advice, including:
Find a cable with a 1/4 inch plug on one end and a 1/8 inch on the other.
Never ever use such a cable.
Plug in a different cable from your amp. (What amp?)
Use your stomp box. (What's a stomp-box?)

The TaroPatch archives seem to deal with subjects far beyond this one.

It seem to come down to this question:
Can I just go to Radio Shack and buy a cable that fits holes in my guitar and my computer and hope for the best, or do I need to buy some sort of intermediate device (there are dozens described in the archives here, some of which cost more than my guitar)? Do the electronics in the Taylor or the features of GarageBand take the place of any such intermediate device?

Can anyone offer advice on the cheapest and easiest way to take step 1?

Fran Guidry
Ha`aha`a

USA
1505 Posts

Posted - 05/05/2009 :  05:46:23 AM  Show Profile  Visit Fran Guidry's Homepage
quote:
It seem to come down to this question:
Can I just go to Radio Shack and buy a cable that fits holes in my guitar and my computer and hope for the best, or do I need to buy some sort of intermediate device (there are dozens described in the archives here, some of which cost more than my guitar)? Do the electronics in the Taylor or the features of GarageBand take the place of any such intermediate device?

Can anyone offer advice on the cheapest and easiest way to take step 1?


You can in fact buy an adapter at Radio Shack that converts a 1/4" plug to a 1/8" plug. If you don't already have a regular guitar cable (1/4 male to 1/4 male) you can get one of those at RS as well. Then you can plug that into the mic jack on either computer (I'm assuming your Mac has a mic jack, it's universal on PCs in my experience) and record away.

Garage Band works fine on the Mac, of course. For the PC, download Audacity.

The fidelity may not be what you're hoping, unfortunately. The raw sound of a pickup is usually not very much like what we hear in the room when we play. But it will certainly work to give you feedback on your playing.

Fran

E ho`okani pila kakou ma Kaleponi
Slack Key Guitar in California - www.kaleponi.com
Slack Key on YouTube
Homebrewed Music Blog

Edited by - Fran Guidry on 05/05/2009 05:48:58 AM
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mike2jb
Lokahi

USA
213 Posts

Posted - 05/05/2009 :  07:15:52 AM  Show Profile
Thanks, Fran. That's exactly what I wanted to know. I'm sure I'll want better quality at some point, but right now it may not matter if the quality of the recording exceeds the quality of the playing .

BTW, I seem to remember seeing a recent YouTube of you recorded with only a Flip Mino (I've got one of those, too). Yours was surprisingly good quality, I thought.
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Mark
Ha`aha`a

USA
1628 Posts

Posted - 05/05/2009 :  08:06:54 AM  Show Profile  Visit Mark's Homepage
Fran's advice is, as always, right on.

One thing: if you really want EZ, just use the internal mic on your Mac & Garage Band

Here's how:

1) Open "System Preferences" --- choose "Sound" and select "Built-in Audio" for output & the "Internal Mic" as your input source. With the "Input" screen active, play a little bit to make sure you have enough input level-- the meter should light up almost all the way, say one or two blips shy of the far right. Adjust the input level accordingly.

2) Open Garage Band & check "Preferences" ---"Audio/MIDI" to be sure the internal mic and built in audio are selected for input and out put.

3) Create a new "Real Instrument" track. I'd suggest "no effects" for now. Also, make sure "Monitor" is off so you don't create a feedback loop.

4) Hit "Record" and play your guitar. Then, when you are done, hit "Play" and hear what ya did. It's magic. (If you want, trim the dead air at the beginning and end of your masterpiece.)

5) If you want to add a layer of complexity & fun, insert some headphones into the 1/8" audio out jack on the Mac. Now you can monitor your guitar while you play, handy if you want to play around with effects; but even better, now you can add virtual instruments like drums to help with timing, or just use the Garageband metronome.

How's that for EZ?


Edited by - Mark on 05/06/2009 07:27:54 AM
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Fran Guidry
Ha`aha`a

USA
1505 Posts

Posted - 05/06/2009 :  06:18:57 AM  Show Profile  Visit Fran Guidry's Homepage
quote:
Originally posted by mike2jb

Thanks, Fran. That's exactly what I wanted to know. I'm sure I'll want better quality at some point, but right now it may not matter if the quality of the recording exceeds the quality of the playing .

BTW, I seem to remember seeing a recent YouTube of you recorded with only a Flip Mino (I've got one of those, too). Yours was surprisingly good quality, I thought.



I often record the audio on a separate system and sync the audio and video in post production. But in a quiet room the audio from the Flip isn't bad.

Fran

E ho`okani pila kakou ma Kaleponi
Slack Key Guitar in California - www.kaleponi.com
Slack Key on YouTube
Homebrewed Music Blog
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hapakid
Luna Ho`omalu

USA
1533 Posts

Posted - 05/06/2009 :  7:05:34 PM  Show Profile  Visit hapakid's Homepage
I don't know as much as the previous guys on this thread, but I do a simple recording rig by adding a couple of mics (inexpensive/cheap condensers) for a little under a hundred bucks
http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com/product/MXL-MXL-909-Vocal-Condenser-Microphone?sku=273100
and a small mixer for which I paid $115, but you could spend as little as $50 to get a sort of interface that adds phantom power to power the condenser mics give you a place to plug in your guitar.
http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com/product/Behringer-Eurorack-UB802-Mixer?sku=631238
I wire up the mics and guitar, take the "tape out" feed from the board to the 1/8" inch input on my macbook. If you don't have an audio in on your mac, get a USB mixer instead. There are many out there to choose from. I use Garageband to record a track at a time. For my Youtube videos, I use the same rig for the audio but use the webcam and iMovie.
Jesse
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mike2jb
Lokahi

USA
213 Posts

Posted - 05/09/2009 :  06:30:58 AM  Show Profile
Mark and Jesse-
Thanks much for expanding on Fran's helpful advice.

Mark- I really appreciate the tips on what to do with Mac and GB after I get plugged in, because the GB program looks a little intimidating on first glance. I'll admit that I do own your "Getting Started in Computer Music" but my "Step 1" dilemma above was even too elementary for that book to bail me out.

Jesse- Thanks especially for the links. In your YouTube videos I can sometimes see a mic in the frame, sometimes two, and sometimes none. When there is just one visible mic, is it for your voice and your instrument, or is the instrument plugged in and the mic just for your voice?
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hapakid
Luna Ho`omalu

USA
1533 Posts

Posted - 05/09/2009 :  6:47:00 PM  Show Profile  Visit hapakid's Homepage
Hi Mike,
I use a pencil-style condenser for my guitar and a so-called "large diaphragm" condenser for my voice. But of course they both pick up both sounds anyway.
With Garageband, it's only one track at a time, so even if I had a way to isolate the voice from the guitar, I couldn't run the two sounds onto two different tracks for later editing. All I can do is try and balance the voice and guitar and start recording.
So once you get sound going into the computer, open GB and ignore the first track that seems to be set up for a piano. Open a "new basic track" and hit record play around until you get some sound showing visually on the track. If you want to monitor the recording with headphones, but can't hear it, you need to go into the effects panel (hit the button that looks like a lower case "i") and turn "on" the monitor. Then have fun! One of the downsides of GB is that three-minute song files are massive, often more than 100 megabytes, so it doesn't take long to fill a machine with files.
Jesse
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mike2jb
Lokahi

USA
213 Posts

Posted - 05/12/2009 :  6:11:04 PM  Show Profile
Mahalo again, Jesse.
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