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Recording Journal: Day 13

We started recording in the morning today, as is normally the case when we record on Fridays. It was a little later than we typically do, but not enough to really limit our productivity.

When I arrived, Stephen was reviewing some of the stuff we did last time, specifically the work I did on Track 4. That's the one where I did a few takes all the way through. He was concerned with the choruses. I'd been thinking the same, so we agreed those needed to be redone at a later date. It's more of a background part anyway. I use those parts to fill out the sound by playing the full chords with a cleaner sound. The louder guitars sound more appropriate when I just play power chords. I wrote the songs using the full chords though, so I like to keep them in there.

The first part we decided to track was the breakdown on the same song. Jake came up with a fun drum part that everyone liked, but it forced us to rewrite the guitars and bass to match. We did most of that today. We used an old Ibanez acoustic that was strung with what Stephen told me is a folk string set. It sounded cool, and was fun to play.

As we listened to the part I recorded for the breakdown, I came up with a fun lead part that we decided to track. We recorded it on the same acoustic since I was still holding it. We put it through some virtual amps, I think. Either way, we thought it sounded pretty sweet. All of the tracking on that song was fun and easy.

After that, we decided to try a song that didn't have any guitars yet. It's the second to last song, and it's basically split into two parts. The first half is primarily just guitar and vocals, and the last half is basically a full rock band setup. We started recording the guitar part for the beginning of the song, but we wanted a way to make it sound more interesting and dynamic, since there's so little going on. Initially I tried playing with the backside of a pick that has some little grip-type stuff. Then Stephen suggested using various coins (dime and quarter). He's been trying to get me to try that for a while, but this time it seemed appropriate. In the end we wound up using a mixture of the tracks, and it gives us the sound we wanted.

On the same song, we decided to approach the big rhythm guitars in the back half of the song. For that, we needed to set up the real amps. We wound up using an old Epiphone amp along with my Marshall cab. It gave us a nice fat sound. On top of the rhythm guitars, I wanted to hear the full chords that I originally wrote, so I tried recording a stripped down version of the rhythm using full chords. It sounded cool, but wasn't quite making it all sound the way I'd hoped, so we also recorded a Nashville-tuned acoustic guitar playing the actual rhythm. Both of those will mostly be in the background though.

We were pretty hungry by that point, so we decided to break for lunch. We went to Don Pedro's. You may remember this place from Day 3, which is when I grabbed breakfast burritos. The breakfast burritos were solid, but the lunch I had was tremendous! I'll be returning, for sure. While at Don Pedro's Stephen asked his friend, Trey, if he wanted some tacos dropped off. I assume Trey had tried the Don Pedro's tacos before because he said yes. We dropped them off at the bank, which I'm pretty sure is where Trey works. Trey is Stephen's friend who let us borrow the telecaster to record previously. After dropping off the tacos, we went to Trey's house, and grabbed one of Trey's strats to record with. That seemed odd to me, but I guess Trey's cool with it since Stephen had the alarm code and such.

On our way back to the studio the lunch really started to make me sleepy. At least I think it was the lunch. I hadn't slept a ton in the days prior, so maybe that was it, or maybe it was a combination.

The next song we went for is track 8. We wanted to use the strat for some fun lead parts. We'd previously recorded some intentionally crappy acoustic sounds and growly bass, so I wanted to juxtapose those sounds with a really pretty lead guitar sound. It was a bit of a struggle to find the right sound, but I think we did a great job. The recording went pretty smooth, with the exception of one part. We tried adding a transition from the lead in the verse to the chorus. We got it eventually, but I'm still not sure if it's better than not having a transition. I'll have to reevaluate next time we listen to the song.

Overall, it was a massively productive day. We were able to figure out a solid breakdown part for one of the songs. We're pretty sure we tracked all the guitar parts for another song. And we recorded all but one or two minor guitar parts for another. Plans are to record next on Sunday and Monday.