So I showed the blog to my friend Phil the other day, and this is what he had to say:
“this is interesting. but, i mean… all this theory is sorta meaningless until you start recording”
And I thought, Wow. Spot on, Phil. Spot on.
So, as it went, I decided that it was time to sit down and record my first attempt at blackgrass, or bluemetal, or… whatever we’re doing here. I strapped on my electric guitar, and plugged it into one of these:
the Line6 POD X2. it's for people who can't afford amps.
and out to a macbook with garageband. This is not the best setup, as you will plainly hear. The tone is awful and there are all sorts of static and crackling. I will be looking into other options, and soon.
Anyhow, here is the progression I started with:
It’s almost kind of bluesy/jazzy, but then again, bluegrass was influenced by jazz. There are indeed many similarities between the genres. Please keep in mind that this is also recorded on electric guitar. I’ll definitely be doing this on acoustic guitar when we get closer to a final version. Needless to say, it wasn’t bluegrass enough for me, so I added some ukulele. I know, I know, that’s not bluegrass either. However, if you play the ukulele with a pick (usually a no-no) it almost sounds like a mandolin. I strummed away on the 2’s and 4’s, and this is what I got:
Ok…better. We’re definitely getting there, but something is missing. The guitar and uke put out plenty of highs, but we need to balance them out with a strong low end. Andrew is the bluegrass bass player here, but for right now, I just used a midi keyboard to play what I thought was a bluegrassy bassline. I’m no expert, so you’ll have to let me know what you think.
The player below will take you through the three tracks in succession, which is pretty neat. The last one has the bass line added (use headphones.)
I think that makes all the difference! We have a full spectrum of sound and a fun little progression to work with, good deal. It clearly needs percussion too, but this recording is way off tempo and thus unusable for recording drums.
"Always use a metronome, kids!"
Anyhow, I added an intro to create some tension/build up (this may also allow for some dialogue.) Distorted electric guitar was also necessary in the middle so we can bring in the black metal. To spice things up a bit, I also sprinkled in some uke here and there. Our new friend atleastimhousebroken mentioned on this blog that he liked the tremolo guitar in our experimental track. Just for him, I brought that back in ukulele form at minute 1:21! Finally, I added some more uke picking at the end… I think we really need a mandolin player…
Without further ado, here is the first official Blood and Banjos rough draft (whatever that means.) My apologies for the abrupt ending…I still have to figure out where to take this song!
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