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The Ultimate Guide To Recording, Publishing and Promotion on the Cheap
by Rich Menga – http://www.menga.net
Table of Contents
INTRODUCTION......................................1 WHAT YOU NEED AND WHAT YOU DON'T.................11 THE MIXER........................................16
The mixer may be optional!..........................17 What you need.......................................11 What you don't need.................................13
THE EFFECTS PROCESSOR............................20 MICROPHONES (AND HOW TO MIX THEM)................24
Recording vocals....................................24 Miking a guitar amp.................................26 Miking a drum set...................................27 Which microphones should you use?...................29
THE PC (AND THE SOFTWARE YOU NEED)...............31
The appropriate sound card for the PC...............33 Operating system considerations.....................35 The software........................................36 “A, B, C” Song Structure............................39 DO NOT write the solo first.........................40 A few good examples to draw inspiration from........41 Why go simple?......................................41 Things you can do to get things done even faster....42 In a band? Only concentrate on the singer...........43
SONGWRITING TIPS & TRICKS FOR FAST PRODUCTION....39
DIGITALLY PUBLISHING YOUR SONGS THE EASY WAY.....45
Don't bother with albums............................45 Can you publish songs for sale FOR FREE?............46 Without promo, you will never sell a song...........47 Advertising with Facebook...........................48
DON'T LIVE IN 1999...............................51 THINGS THAT WORK FOR SONGS AND PROMO.............53
“The Golden 4” Topics of Hit Songs..................53 Purposely using a gimmick band name.................54 Engaging social media often.........................55 How to become “local heroes”........................55
CRAPPY SONGS WITH GOOD PROMO ALWAYS DO BETTER....59 Thanks!..........................................63
Since the mid-2000s, I've been showing people both in written form on my blog at http://www.menga.net and in video form on my YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/rmenga how I take dirt cheap recording gear and make it sound like a million bucks. And since I've been doing that, what I've learned is this: “Professional” audio guys hate me with a passion. The reason? I threaten their livelihoods. The more I show people how to make pro-sounding recordings using cheap gear, the more the “pros” realize most people don't need them. At all. The pro audio community says (quite often) that you need thousands of dollars worth of audio equipment to record anything “good”. That's a lie. You don't need to spend anywhere near thousands of dollars to record prosounding audio, and that's what you're going to learn how to do in this book. In fact, most of you who read this will probably be able to make recordings that rival even the best the “pros” can do with under $100 worth of recording equipment.
could you record anything good? Not really. So yes. buy the expensive mixer. buy the expensive microphones. it took you a good long time to even figure out how to work the damned setup. And even if you did have the money to buy the recording system. Once you figured out how to work it all. if you wanted to make a professional recording. because without knowing proper recording techniques. cables and so on. you had to go into a recording studio unless you were willing to spend a ridiculous amount of money on a bulky reel-to-reel audio recording system.Recording gear in 1978 and prior Up until 1978. you were no better off than anyone else. it was necessary to have recording professionals back then if you were a band trying to get your first song recorded on vinyl or cassette (which of course cost extra to get!) 2 .
This changed everything. As great as the 144 was. Now you didn't need to go into a studio just to record multi-track audio when you could do it all yourself right in your home with your 144. a company called TEAC released the Portastudio 144 (seen above). the problem was that it was noisy and had nowhere near the audio clarity as the big 3 . which you most likely know as just “tape”.1979 and the Portastudio – things get better In 1979. a small four-track recorded that recorded to compact cassette.
home studio enthusiasts did buy a ton of little multi-track compact cassette recorders like the 144 from TEAC. Even with later models in the 1990s that featured noise reduction technology. tape was still noisy. As the years went on. 4 .reel-to-reel systems did. Fostex and a few other companies – but the ever-present problem was that noisy cassette.
Things were going great for a while.The 2000s – PC-based recording It wasn't until the early 2000s when PCs started getting low enough in price for most people to afford. Several good audio software titles started popping up. and during this time people were buying PCs left and right. and the PC guys took to them instantly and dumped their compact cassette recorders. 5 .
as if it's just something you're “supposed to deal with”. all you had to do was plug into a guitar or microphone. USB is the absolute worst thing to ever happen to audio recording for the simple reason it introduced a problem: Lag. Pro-audio guys.The 2010s – PC-based recording goes stupid. and it is one of the absolute most frustrating things you can deal with when you're just trying to record a song. But then came the bane of all PC-based recording. feed that to your computer's LINE IN port and use software to record. into the 2010s and still at present. no.. USB. wrong. It is not normal to deal with lag because we never had to deal with it before. hit the RECORD button and go. this got slightly more difficult where you had to have a mixer. What this means is that if you play a guitar into a USB interface. there is a pause before the computer processes it and then comes out of the speakers. Prior to USB. PCbased recording has now become insanely difficult. lag exists. Back in the compact cassette days.. there was no lag. consider the lag “normal”. the software-makers of audio software quickly realized they were running out of 6 . No. But after USB. technically known as latency. In the 2000s. There is no way to record with USB without lag. by the way.. and then insanely difficult just to make a buck In the late 2000s. Now think about that for a moment. it didn't exist. so why should we deal with it now? And if that weren't bad enough..
so they decided to load up their software with tons of useless crap that nobody needs. For each successive release of their software. And this crap does nothing but make the software crash more often.ideas to keep releasing new versions. That's not progress. 7 . all it comes with is more crap. that's stagnation.
The second way to make it easy is to use the old way of how things were recorded on the PC using the LINE IN 8 . small SD card. .. Easy-to-use.. but rather a nice. the same guys that brought you the Portastudio 144 in 1979 once again save the day by offering a small. Yes. like one of these: Above is a slightly-longer-than-a-paperback book recorder from TEAC's brand Tascam called the DP-008. it's a horrible environment with horrible software using a horrible interface that will make you wish you took up knitting instead. No tape used here.unless you know what to use to make it easy. easy recorder that gets the job done in fine style..The now – modern digital recorders (or reverting back to the old-style method of PC recording) Recording with a PC with USB just plain sucks.. inexpensive and can even run off batteries.
the Audacity software and you've got yourself a recording machine ready-to-go. they say this for the following reasons: 1. They wasted their money on a college degree in audio production that taught them nothing that they couldn't have learned just from downloading PDF manuals off the internet. in fact. and feel that what they learned is 100% right when in fact it's 100% wrong. 2.000 computers and spend ridiculous amounts of money on software to do the same thing you could do for under $100. They know they wasted money buying crap they didn't need. You. feel good.port. pick up a cheap used Dell PC made 10 years ago. 4. and now they want you to buy crap you don't need just so they can feel better about themselves. the “pros” will tell you to buy expensive $2. because from this book you'll learn some recording technique that may finally get your money's worth out of all the expensive crap you bought. and that's why you bought this book. You should. :-) 9 . If you did happen to waste some money on recording gear. on the other hand. do know better. They literally don't know any better because they never examined any means of recording prior to 2005. Seriously. You can (and this is no joke). don't feel bad. 3. install Linux. Now of course. All of the above.
10 . this book lists the tools you need to get your songs recorded fast. great tips and tricks on better songwriting to get things done fast. With that said. Anyone can do it and so can you. and how to PROMOTE your songs afterward so you can get on the fast track to realizing the dream of being a rock star.On a final note of this introduction. let's get started.
WHAT YOU NEED AND WHAT YOU DON'T FACT: To record “pro” quality audio. you can “sound pro” using very basic gear that can be bought for next to nothing. generally speaking. 8 channels. Common effects that are used are reverberation (“reverb” for short. you may not even need the mixer (covered in the next chapter!) Need: Effects Processor An effect is anything that changes the original sound. To understand what you need and what you don't. In fact.” To make your recording faster and easier. Most guitar players use an effect in the form of an outboard pedal. is good enough to record not only yourself but also an entire band. commonly called a “stomp box. What you need Need: 8-channel mixer (optional?) The mixer is what you plug your instrument or microphone into. compression and so on. it is needed because you can plug in more than one instrument/microphone at a time and “mix” the volume levels and equalization frequencies of each plugged-in device. you are better off using an effects processor.) delay. Also. here's a quick list of what you do need. you don't need expensive equipment. which basically means a whole bunch of effects contained in a single unit rather 11 .
than spread across many pedals.” as those are horrible for recording with because they're usually designed with way too much bass response in them that you cannot control. a unit which is easy-to-operate and can be used for either guitar or vocals (if used for vocals. But vocals needs a microphone. I'll discuss how to quickly and effectively record drums later in this book. An example of a simple guitar effects processor is a DigiTech RP255. Stick to the traditional larger headphones to get proper asit-really-sounds audio from the mixer. Need: Computer The computer is either going to be what ultimately records 12 . Bass guitar can also be recorded through the effects processor as well. you set it to “direct” mode.) Need: Microphone that is compatible with your mixer and effects processor “Compatible with your mixer and effects processor” simply means a microphone that can plug in either directly to the mixer or the effects processor. Need: Headphones When you need to hear the output from the mixer. Generally speaking. and for drums you'll need at least 3 microphones. the only time you need a microphone is either for recording vocals or drums. For the guitar stuff. headphones are the best way to do it. the effects processor plugged in direct-to-mixer takes care of that task and recording an amplified speaker with a microphone isn't necessary. Tip: Don't use “ear buds.
000 Apple Mac setup. 13 . In other words. and it's 100% free. A cheap $100 microphone can get the job done the same way the $3. Don't need: Paid software You do not need to spend one penny on any recording software. A cheap $50 analog mixer can in fact get the same job done that the $10. What you don't need Don't need: “Studio Grade” or “Professional Grade” anything Anything labeled as “studio” or “professional” grade is nothing but marketing hype.000 one can (TRIVIA: Michael Jackson did in fact record several of his songs using the $99 Shure SM58 – and bear in mind he had the money to use any kind of mic he wanted!) Don't need: Powerful computer A cheap Dell PC built in 2003 can handle any audio processing tasks you throw at it. you can pick one of those up for under $100 easily. the PC or laptop you're using right now is more than good enough to handle your audio-related tasks. because everything required to get the job done on the computer is already out there. or at bare minimum is needed to convert audio to MP3 so you can upload it where you need to. Not necessary.the audio from the mixer. You do not need the $3.000 one can.
14 .this will be discussed further later in this book.
THE MIXER The above image is of a Tascam M-164FX 16-Input mixing board. as you can go much smaller and much cheaper. as shown in the bottom of the photo. 16 . but I'm showing it here mainly so you can see all the inputs on the back of it. You don't have to buy that specific mixer.
You could also use a big mixer for recording a whole band. If the answer is NO. look at the back of it: Two XLR inputs (along with the two 1/4-inch inputs)! Pretty cool. but that requires an even bigger mixer to mic up the vocalist. The only reason anyone needs a big mixer with four or more XLR inputs is to plug in a bunch of microphones. bassist and drummer – assuming you have nothing else to put a microphone in front of. then you don't need a big mixer at all and could go with an 8-channel as mentioned before or even a 4channel if you're just recording yourself and nobody else. the vast majority of which use XLR type plugs. And the only time you need to plug in a bunch of microphones is when recording a drummer. guitarist. you need a mixer with at least four XLR inputs on it (they're the largest inputs seen in the photo). eh? Now while I will cover recording with the PC more in detail 17 . but in addition to that.The first question to answer before buying a mixer Do you intend to record a drummer? If the answer is YES. The mixer may be optional! The little Tascam DP-008 not only has a built-in stereo condenser microphone in the front.
But of course. 18 . Record them track by track. you can't record an entire band all at once using the little DP-008. you may not even need a mixer at all since recorders like the DP-008 have the appropriate inputs built right in. but not all at once simply because there are only a few inputs the DP-008 actually has.later in this book. yes. if you happen to opt with using a digital recorder.
delay. this is marketed as a guitar effects processor. usually containing several different effects (reverb. Because so many people are so misinformed as to how effects processors actually work. I'll explain what this thing is and what it does. What is an effects processor? A device that changes the sound which is input into it. step-by-step. 20 .THE EFFECTS PROCESSOR Above is the DigiTech RP255 as mentioned before.
etc.) 21 .
Can a MIXER be used as an effects processor? YES. all you have to do is turn OFF the “Amp Model” by choosing “DIRECT.Can an effects processor REPLACE AN AMP when recording? YES. many producers when recording bands back before standalone effects processors existed used to use pedals to apply effects to vocals. The Tascam DP-008 as mentioned before does include 6 types of reverb built-in. this is something a lot of people have a very hard time accepting. 22 . Using the RP255 as the example. TRIVIA: Many. it is easier to have the mixer apply the effect instead of a standalone effects processor like the RP255. you can “fall back” to the RP255 if you wish. There are also many songs that exist where the vocal reverb effect was accomplished by using a Fender Spring Reverb originally designed for guitars only. Can a GUITAR effects processor also be used to apply effects such as reverb to VOCALS? YES. that is another option. if you don't have a mixer with onboard effects.” For vocals in particular. Because modern guitar effects processors such as the RP255 contains “amplifier modeling” in it. there are also other mixers with what are known as “onboard effects. However.” which effectively bypasses any amplifier modeling and applies any effect you have loaded in only to the “true” sound of the microphone being used through the effects processor. you can literally plug this sucker in DIRECT TO THE MIXER with absolutely NO AMPLIFIER INVOLVED WHATSOEVER.
First is what I call the “Ozzy Osbourne” method of recording a vocal. record your second vocal and sing it exactly the same as the first. pan both tracks dead center. and the other anywhere from 25% to 50% less volume than the first. record your first vocal. 24 . Most people who dive into the world of recording vocals. I'm going to break this down into the following categories to make this as easy-to-understand as possible: • • • Recording vocals Miking a guitar amp Miking a drum set Recording vocals There are three things you can do when recording vocals that will make them sound awesome. and third is the decreasing of treble on the EQ. On track 2. The “Ozzy Osbourne” method of recording a vocal This is a very easy technique. but I'm going to describe the easiest way. After that. it can be used several different ways. On track 1. Have one vocal at full volume. miking an amp and/or miking a drum set usually end up with something that sounds horrible. every note must be identical.MICROPHONES (AND HOW TO MIX THEM) Getting microphones mixed properly is a total pain in the ass. second is light compression.
Why use compression on a vocal? Because some of the vocal may be too soft and other parts too loud. How do you know if you're using too much compression? If words that start with P or T have large “PUH” or “TUH” sounds to them with the compression on. the RP255 as mentioned before has a compressor effect in it. dial it back a bit. it will sound “tinny” or “mouselike. many tracks Ozzy recorded where he did exactly what I just described. The reason I call it the “Ozzy Osbourne” method of recording a vocal is because there are many. Turn that damned treble DOWN A common mistake many new-to-recording people make is not turning down the treble portion of the EQ for a vocal. adding in light compression can help a great deal. To “even out” the volume while recording.Both these vocals put together will create a natural chorus effect. and give any – and I mean any – vocal the “fullness” you're looking for and sound just like the pros do it. 25 . And yes. If you leave it raised too high. Using light compression The compression effect can be used on vocals as long as you don't use too much of it.” and that's no good at all because it will drown out the other instruments too easily no matter how far back you dial the vocals. and it's very easy-to-use.
However. if you must. Instead. Don't do that because it will sound terrible. Mike smaller amps and not larger ones What most guitar players want is the miked sound of “the amp sounding like it's about to blow up. I don't recommend miking a guitar amp at all because you will have a very difficult time getting it to sound right. this is very difficult to do with a large amplifier because you'll be constantly rattling the walls. point the mic at the outer ring.Miking a guitar amp Said honestly. Point a second microphone at the BACK of the amp (if necessary) If you find that your miked guitar amp sounds very “midrangey” where no amount of dialing back the middle EQ or dialing up the bass EQ of the amp does any good. use a second microphone pointed at the back of the amp.” Without a controlled. If you purposely go out and buy a 5-watt-or-less tube-type 26 . you should use the guitar effects processor exclusively for recording all your guitars. separated audio room. However. this should add in the “fullness” you're looking for. with a small amplifier it's really easy and can be recorded right in your bedroom. here's how to mike an amp: Point the microphone at the speaker's outer ring A very common mistake is pointing the microphone directly at the center of the speaker. which of course the microphone will pick up and ruin the sound. I'll explain.
”) even at a low volume – and that's perfect for miking. Miking a drum set This is. very small. The more drums and cymbals there are.. get the speaker “break-up. the most difficult thing to mike and get sounding right.” and you've got that sound you're looking for. and the second track 25% right.. Record your guitars twice on separate tracks This is almost the exact same thing as the “Ozzy Osbourne” method of recording a vocal. playing the exact same thing you did on track 1. Yes. without a doubt. you can very easily “juice” the amplifier to its “breaking point” where the amplified sound starts to “crackle” (sometimes known as speaker “break-up. Keep the drum kit very. Record your 2nd track of miked amp on track 2.. with a slight variation. 1. Break it down to a 5-piece kit if possible. You can place a mic right in front of the amp. believe me.then be amazed at how “big” your guitar sounds. the more there will be things that rattle and vibrate. pointed at the speaker's outer ring. it works wonders. Get your drummer to use the most minimal kit possible. Pan the first track 25% left. crank up that little amp. .. this will probably piss your drummer off 27 . and that's bad. Record your 1st track of miked amp on track 1.amplifier. But you can make it easy if you perform the following steps.
over his head.. leaning slightly towards the floor tom.. 2. Microphone 1: Placed in front of the kit. If you listen to Led Zeppelin recordings. If he bitches at you. John's drums always sound like their recorded far back in a room. that's where a nylon tip can help. Have at least two types of drum sticks just in case The two types I recommend are wooden-tip and nylon-tip.. The solution was to bring the microphones away from the drum kit. Microphone 2: Placed behind the drummer. .. 3. show him this part of the book so he understands why he has to break down his kit to something smaller. Or. Use the “John Bonham” method of recording drums This is a variation of an “open miking” technique. this is because he played very loud and very hard – so hard that putting microphones next to his drums ended up being overpowered. Microphone 3: Placed almost over the hi-hat. This will also work well for you.when you tell him to do this. mounted low enough to hear the bass drum. because it's easy. and it worked very well. if the cymbals sound to “clangy. You will have to experiment with the mic placement as 28 . pointing towards the snare.” wooden-tip can help naturally tone down the clang.and all it takes is 3 microphones and nothing more. I recommend these specifically because there many be an instance where the snare isn't “popping” enough and you need that little extra to really make it punch.
Why do I recommend Shure? Because tens of thousands of studios across the world 29 . but the point is that at no time should a microphone be placed directly next to a drum or cymbal. The sound may not be “tight.every drum kit sounds different. If you encounter too much room noise when you do this. use the Shure SM-58. and there's nothing wrong with that. Cardboard and foam also works. very reliable and sound great – which at the end of the day is all you want out of a microphone. get some large bedsheets and create a “room” around the kit to muffle the ambient noise somewhat. For everything else. use the Shure SM-57. You'll just have to experiment to see what works best. and it is much more of an “as your ears hear it in person” way of miking drums. the SM-57 can record both vocals and instruments. If you would rather use one microphone for everything just for convenience's sake.” but it will be natural. are very rugged. For vocals. You're basically miking in a way that captures the most-natural sounds of the drums.) just use Shure brand. Which microphones should you use? If you know absolutely nothing about microphones (and most people don't. The reason the “John Bonham” miking method works best is because it takes the least amount of time to mix. Both microphones are built to last.
You don't have to use Shure brand. But if you want the “no-brainer” microphone to go with. 30 . go SM57 and SM-58 all the way.rely on them every day. and they have an amazing track record of working flawlessly. as there are other fine options from companies like AKG and Sennheiser.
and there is not a damned thing you can do about it. If you record via USB.0 and USB 3. No college kid wants to be told that what he's learning is ultimately worthless. you will get lag.” USB 1.0 all have lag. skip to the next chapter as this is meant for the PC – although you may want to read it anyway just in case you ever decide to use a “dedicated PC” for your audio recordings.1. commonly known as “lag. and it directly goes against the useless knowledge colleges are teaching kids right now about how to record using the horrible thing known as the DAW (Digital Audio Workstation.) Do not talk about what you learn from reading here with someone going to school for this stuff. Save yourself the argument and keep the information you're going to learn here to yourself.) The PC is only good for recording if you avoid the worst way of capturing digital audio: USB. you're going to learn the most efficient and fastest way to record using a PC. because you will anger them. USB 2. USB is the worst thing to ever happen to recording for one simple reason: Latency. Tons of it. 31 .THE PC (AND THE SOFTWARE YOU NEED) (Important note: If you are using a LAPTOP computer. And you will hate recording with USB because of that. Some “life advice” for you before reading the rest of this: For what you're about to read in a moment.
switch your major to business management. here we go. Business management NEVER GOES OBSOLETE. You will get way more mileage and useful information out of business management (which is how the music industry runs. I'm not kidding.And if you do happen to be going to school for digital recording right now. Lastly. there are many thousands of producers who have gone back to analog means of recording because it just works better and always did. but digital recording will. by the way) compared to a “digital audio” degree. 32 . trust me on that one. With that said.
then I suggest using a standalone digital recorder instead. If you're using a PC right now. and green is a stereo output. the blue port is the INPUT and the green port is the OUTPUT. or at least not anymore since laptops no longer feature what were known as PCMCIA slots to add in extra cards. Blue is a stereo line-in. that being the blue and green port. There are two ports that are more important than any other on the card above. if you don't have that. but it's exactly what you need to record with using analog means. For that larger black port you see on the image of the sound card. Above is what's now considered to be “dinosaur era” PC hardware.The appropriate sound card for the PC This is for PCs only and cannot be done with a laptop. don't worry about it 33 . To make this even simpler. covered in the next chapter. If you're using a laptop. you probably already have everything you need .
you will need one of the two following “Y” cables: • • Left and Right ¼-inch MONO (MALE) to single 3.) What you need to get an audio signal into the PC is a “Y” connector cable that goes from the mixer to that blue port.5mm STEREO (MALE) Left and Right RCA MONO (MALE) to single 3. 34 .because you don't need it.5mm stereo connector directly to the PC sound card's blue port. and it's exactly what you need to feed an audio signal to your software (and I'll cover the software portion in a moment.5mm STEREO (MALE) Example of left/right ¼-inch mono male to single 3. That blue port is a true real-deal analog stereo input.5mm stereo male: You connect two standard ¼-inch cables to the master left/right output from the mixer. Depending on what mixer you have. then plug the smaller 3.
they will be female.5mm stereo male connector that goes to your PC's stereo blue port. Operating system considerations When recording in the fashion that you'll see in just a moment. Windows Vista or Windows 7. you can use Windows XP. For Linux. you can use OS X 10. Furthermore. if you get a “tangle of wires” (which sometimes happens) in your recording setup. For Windows. you can use almost any Linux distribution made 35 .Example of left/right RCA mono male to single 3. lighter and easier to manage. Which do you use if your mixer has both? Most mixers do have the option of using either ¼-inch master output or RCA master output. so the “Y” cable has to have male RCA jacks on them. you'll never confuse an RCA with a ¼-inch because the sizes are much different. RCA is the better of the two simply because the cables are skinner. For the Mac.5mm stereo male: If the mixer has RCA outputs.4 or later. The other side is the 3. you fortunately have many choices of which OS to use.
Mac or Linux (which is helpful if you bounce between operating systems on multiple computers. To note: 4K-sector drives are not a brand but rather a technology.) Windows 7 has native support for 4K-sector hard drives while Windows XP does not (and all new hard drives sold are now 4K-sector. Macs even when bought used are just too expensive (and can be impossible to work on.net.sf. this software runs in Windows. Download it right now if you like and check it out.) Linux also has native support for 4Ksector hard drives. you'll have the 4K-sector support you'll need. My personal recommendation is to use Windows 7 or Linux. Now while I could write a tutorial here explaining how to use Audacity. should you have them!) You can check out Audacity right here: http://audacity.in the last 3 years. the previous technology was the 512-byte sector hard disk drive. The software A totally free audio editing software that gets the job done for digital mastering in fine style is Audacity. my words would do no justice compared to the excellent user manual that's extremely detailed and 36 . Why is 4K-sector hard drive support important? Because when the hard drive fails (which will happen eventually. As long as you run Windows 7 or a recently-released Linux-based OS such as Ubuntu or Linux Mint.) you can at least go out and buy a new one that will actually work properly in the computer.
37 .online right now.” Here's a screen shot of it so you know what to look for (I've highlighted what to look for in yellow): Believe me. it is time well spent to read through the documentation and tutorials.” and then “View the latest Audacity Manual online. click “Help. Head on over to the Audacity web site.
(A) Bridge. One of the simplest forms of rock music is punk rock.....(B) Chorus... “A..................(A) Verse.. but totally another to practice it regularly.(A) – repeat to end Now I'm not saying you have to write a song that sounds anything like Smells Like Teen Spirit..... If you examine the song Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana.. Bridge..... the important part 39 ... Chorus is B.... Verse is A... Of course... here's how that structure of that song goes from beginning to end: Chorus.(C) Chorus solo.... it's one thing to say that..(C) Verse..(A) Verse.. is optional..(A) Bridge.SONGWRITING TIPS & TRICKS FOR FAST PRODUCTION The recording and production of your songs will go along a lot quicker and smoother if you always bear the following in mind: KEEP IT SIMPLE..... by the way..(B) Chorus.. C” Song Structure This is ridiculously easy once you get the hang of it.. Bridge is C...(B) Chorus. B...........
And yes. If you don't have a bridge in your song. because there are so many that don't follow traditional song structure whatsoever. but when it comes down to writing a stupidly simple verse-chorus-verse song. many players spend many hours learning every soloing technique there is. this is completely backwards from the way a song is normally put together. DO NOT write the solo first A classic mistake many guitar players make is to construct a song around a solo. A solo is meant to be added in after the initial song is completed and not before. that's it. you follow the formula explained just a moment ago. This in turn 40 .” so don't do that. listening to heavy metal is a BAD IDEA for song inspiration. it's that simple. The reason so many guitar players just solo and do nothing else is because they never learned how to write a song. they can't do it. For example. and for inspiration purposely focus on songs that are very simple in nature to get ideas. Sure.here is the song structure. Start with the chorus riff. having a song where the solo is written first is the literal definition of “putting the cart before the horse. In order for you to learn how to write a song. fill in that space with another verse or another chorus. have a verse riff and then OPTIONALLY a bridge riff if you want one. All you need to write any song is 3 riffs.
KISS has many songs that are the essence of simplicity and you can learn a lot from them as far as song structure is concerned. listening to rockabilly is also a BAD IDEA for creating your own songs because so many ridiculously complex chords are used in many rockabilly songs. Only on very 41 . people like simple songs. easy-tofollow and easy to draw inspiration from The Ramones (or any other classic punk band) Punk rock by nature is simple riffing. In the classic rock genre. Why go simple? Simple songs are the easiest to write and easiest to record. The Rolling Stones These guys made a whole sound out of nothing but ridiculously simple riffs. One of the better ones to follow along with is the song Mixed Emotions. You need to start listening to simpler stuff. KISS Love 'em or hate 'em.makes it more difficult for you to actually write a song of your own. You won't believe how simple that song is once you play it. A few good examples to draw inspiration from Black Sabbath Many songs by Black Sabbath are very simple. In addition. Also easy-to-follow.
you're not Rush. use a drum machine If you're in a band now. For example. Don't bother with the drummer. or use a keyboard to play the bass with Again. Tom Sawyer by Rush is very complicated. Buy a bass guitar and play the bass parts yourself. if you write a complicated song like that. this is sure to anger your drummer. Things you can do to get things done even faster If you really want to speed up your recording process after the songwriting is done. this will anger your bass player. Also remember that your first goal should be to COMPLETE songs. it will not get popular. 42 . And it baffles people to this day why it ever got popular. but it will make things go a whole lot quicker. because to be blunt. However. if you're in a band. Don't be one of those people. here's a few more things you can do. but it did. but you're just better off playing the bass parts yourself. whether on a real bass or a bass sound played from a keyboard. There are many thousands of players out there with a million riffs but no songs.rare occasion will a complicated song actually get some good popularity.
In a band? Only concentrate on the singer The only two people required to actually get songs done are the guitar player and the singer. A huge reason why so many bands fail is because of arguing over insignificant details while in the recording studio. Do NOT let anyone tell you otherwise because it just isn't so. nor can they hear the difference. REMEMBER: Non-musicians absolutely do not care whether the bass and drums are fake or real. Just do whatever it takes to get those recordings finished so you can publish them out to the internet and start selling them. but it is totally worth your time because you will save thousands of dollars doing it that way. talk to your singer alone when the drummer and bass player aren't there. drum machine and/or keyboard ready and just GET THEM DONE. If you're in a band and the songs are completed. Sure. Have your guitar. it may take some time before you get good at mixing and mastering. they are EASY to mix and master compared to actually recording the real thing. DON'T tell this to your bass player or drummer. Get your own recording gear. drum machine and bass guitar and record it YOURSELF. because it will make them mad. SCREW THE STUDIO. When you record drum and bass parts with machines/computers. Don't waste your money. get him over to your place and record the songs. Don't even bother telling your bassist and drummer you're even recording anything. 43 .
com. How do you publish? Through CDBaby. you could. we can charge triple for that. Could you publish an entire album? Yes.cdbaby. Or to be more specific.com. the most popular form of distributing music was by what's known as the single. In the 1950s. “You know. Don't bother with albums This one involves a little bit of music industry history to understand why albums are a complete waste of time these days.) just to fill the other side with something. but I strongly recommend you do not do that. http://members. as in a single song. Albums back then were nothing but collections of works and not meant as the primary means of selling music. The music industry then had the thought of.” And then – seemingly overnight – album collections started 45 . these were distributed on vinyl records where the “A” side had the song that was being promoted. and the “B” side a second song (usually a crappy one. First is CDBaby's fee. The cost is comprised of two things. and the second is the barcode assigned so song sales can be tracked. if we have our bands put 1 good song and 6 bad songs on an album collection.DIGITALLY PUBLISHING YOUR SONGS THE EASY WAY At the time I write this book. the cost to publish a single song to Apple iTunes is $15 USD.
BandCamp is nowhere near as popular as iTunes is. Not only is it much easier and quicker to record and publish a single.) Can you publish songs for sale FOR FREE? Yes. Nobody wants albums. Publish singles. Nobody cares about buying song collections anymore and much prefer simply to buy the songs they want individually. and with proper promotion. But if you publish an album. The entire reason why there are so many albums with 1 good song and 6 crappy songs is because that is the way they were designed to be.com. keep the price of your songs low. nobody would buy it. it's much cheaper. You. http://www. so even if you spent the money to publish one. the cost to publish a single is $15. In modern times. they will sell (assuming your songs are any good. On most digital distribution services like CDBaby. as the artist/band. with all costs included that can be as much as $65.appearing all over the place. 46 . will have a much easier time publishing singles over albums. Use BandCamp at I only recommend BandCamp to those with very limited budgets who want to save the most cash possible. you can. the album is totally obsolete. because in all honesty.bandcamp. it's better if you're in iTunes just because Apple has the #1 digital music distribution system on the planet.
so I don't really recommend that one – but it is an option you should consider because Google is the #1 online advertiser in the world.. 47 .. to spend $2. you would take out ads in newspapers and flyers to promote local shows that you would play. . Google AdWords: http://www. most people don't know that.facebook. At the time I write this. but they are. you will never sell a song In the old days before internet.Without promo.. and on the radio you would buy advertising time to do the same thing. Google AdWords to the beginner will be very confusing. In print.google. cheap self-promo are Google AdWords and Facebook Advertising. Facebook is the cheapest. actually.” Today's means of promotion is all about using the internet and nothing else – unless expanding your local audience.com/adwords Facebook: http://www. the two best ways of good. easiest way to advertise because you can use a “Promoted Post” for as little as $5 USD.000 or more in a year on just advertising was not uncommon for bands trying to “make it. the way a band promoted themselves was mainly through print and radio advertising.. Even back in the 1980s. which will be covered later.and that cost a lot of money.com/ads How much will you spend? That's up to you.
I'll explain the Facebook way of advertising because it's the easier of the two.
Advertising with Facebook
You have two ways of advertising with Facebook, that being to use a “promoted post,” or launching a full advertising campaign. The promoted post is the easiest there is, and here's how that works: Step 1. Create a Facebook fan page for yourself or your band Even if you have to create this brand new, that's fine; go ahead and do so. The place to create a Facebook fan page is here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php Step 2. Get a destination page The destination page is wherever your song is posted for sale, such as an iTunes or BandCamp direct-link to the song.
Step 3. Create a promoted post on your Facebook fan page Assuming the Facebook system does not change, you would type up a post and link to your song in Facebook as you normally would, but instead of posting it, you hit the “Promote” button and see this:
...and this is where you can spend some cash to promote the post; it starts at as little as $5 USD as you can see above. 49
Facebook promoted posts are without a doubt the absolute easiest way to promo a song, no question. A full Facebook Advertising campaign, which again is here: http://www.facebook.com/ads ...is more advanced, and it costs more, but not too much more. You MAY GET FREE ADS if you spend 5 bucks first A little secret most people don't know about: If you decide to promote a post for 5 bucks on Facebook, they may email you afterward and give you a free $50 coupon for more advertising. How do I know this? I got one myself without even having to ask for it! :-)
Not happening. On top of that. The only kind of music people care about in bars are stale. Do not “tour. so it's pointless to even play at them. Do not play in bars. In the 1980s when Metallica was touring everywhere. tour” Back in the day. Here are the list of things you should never do as a band if your goal is to be a huge rock star. You'll immediately notice that well more than half of that age group is forbidden from purchasing alcohol legally. tired old hits from 20 to 30 years ago and could not care less about your music. Who defines “cool?” KIDS and YOUNG ADULTS do. people over 30 will not buy your music. But times have changed and you can't do that these days.DON'T LIVE IN 1999 There are many thousands of bands – and you may know of a few of them personally – who do things the same way bands did things in the late 1990s and never get anywhere. usually being between the ages of 30 to 65. everyone had 51 . Ever. tour. Why? Because they use means of promotions that simply do not work. the cost of living in the US was dirt cheap. bands like Metallica did nothing but tour and ultimately became popular because of it. as in people (male or female) between the ages of 13 and 24. which is completely outside of your target market. The people who go to bars are males.
This merchandise is typically t-shirts. The only thing that constantly playing gigs does now is put you into crushing debt. Those days are long gone.) there was no internet. Those sites didn't work in the 1990s. tour. there weren't as many dumb laws as there are now. stickers and CDs...” with merch being a bastardized form of merchandise. tour” for very cheap.. “the only thing a touring band survives on is merch. 52 . and a band could freely roam the country and “tour. buttons. Do not bother with “merch” It's commonly said that..and nobody wants to buy any of that crap at all (especially not the over-30 drunks at the bar!) Do not use “for musicians” web sites Any web site labeled as “for musicians” is 100% worthless and a total waste of your time. didn't work in the 2000s and still don't work today. Nobody will go to your gigs and nobody will buy anything you have for sale at your shows. Use the web sites people KNOW like Facebook and YouTube and don't bother with anything else. .money (the US was a very wealthy nation back then.
”) 53 . do it all night long. Love can include: • • • • Falling in love Breaking up with someone Missing someone Expressing affection for someone You get the idea. and they are: 1. it will be a song people can relate to and like.THINGS THAT WORK FOR SONGS AND PROMO “The Golden 4” Topics of Hit Songs There are 4 and only 4 topics that the vast majority of hit songs use. Sex 3. If you concentrate lyrics about one or more of those 4 topics. Dance That's it. Party 4. Sex can include: • • Describing female attributes (ex: “She has a figure I would die for.”) Instructing the listener how to have sex in a specific way (ex: “Take her. bump her. Love 2.
but if you used Susie and The Rapists – especially if it was an all-male band – that would grab attention. do it right. there's blood on the floor. but if you use something “pop sounding” and fun – even if you're a 54 . Bump the floor. And sometimes it's a combination of those 4 topics.• Describing how “hot” you are (ex: “You know you want me. you will notice that said songs will be about love. then I go dance some more. partying or dancing almost all the time.”) Actually saying “party” (ex: “We're gonna go to the club and party all night. Purposely using a gimmick band name Not that I would ever use the band name I'm about to tell you. Now move to the right.”) Describing a dance floor experience (ex: “After I dance.”) Drinking Doing drugs (whether you do them or not) Instructional dance move (ex: “Wave your hands in the air. I wouldn't suggest using a band name like that.”) More instructional dance moves (ex: “Move to the left.”) Partying can include: • • • • • Dance can include: • If you examine hit pop songs. sex.
but this could make you and/or your band local celebrities in a very short period of time. Do it every day. that's a social media manager where you can connect up your Twitter.hootsuite. Step 1. but it may be worth it if it expands your reach far enough. You don't have to 55 . Be approachable. it's not cheap. The budget to get this to work will cost you around $1. and even future-schedule your posts. and they should. I suggest using www. but you can use this to your advantage since print and radio is getting much cheaper these days. Be social. broadcast to them all at once.com. Post often. Print and radio advertising are dying mediums.com and register your band's name as a web site. Get a band web site Go to a domain registrar like www.namecheap. Like I said. Engaging social media often A lot of bands simply do not use social media (Twitter and Facebook) or blogging enough.metal band – you stand a much greater chance of being remembered compared to something sounding too plain.000. Or schedule a week's worth of posts in advance.” This is not cheap. If you want to make it easier to use social media. How to become “local heroes” “Local” = “being known in your local area. depending on what options are available to you. Facebook and even Google+ pages.
) Find out how much it costs to get a full-page ad for one of the following: • • • Inside front cover Inside back cover Back cover Don't bother going for the front cover page because that will be way too expensive. When you register the dot-com..bother with web hosting.and that's it. Examine local crappy weekly magazines. Examine local radio stations and get their ad rates This one shouldn't cost you too much.site . Top word: ROCK Bottom word: www. Have the entire page contain only two words in big print. The rest is all white space. Step 2. It's usually around 50 to 75 pages and is nothing but ads from local businesses (mostly lawyers and car dealerships. Easy enough. if any This may or may not be available to you. The cost for a full-page space will probably be between $350 to $500. and that will grab a lot of attention. simply point the domain to your Facebook fan page.. 56 . but hopefully it is. there is a weekly magazine that's sent out to all local residents. In most towns and cities in the US.your-band-name. Step 3.
County fairs may be “very redneck.” Buy as many of those spots as you can afford and you will be amazed at how well it works for getting web site traffic. This weather report brought to you by [your band name here]. county fairs attract massive amounts of people INCLUDING FAMILIES WITH KIDS. these are typically called “ad-libbed” or “endorsed” commercial spots spoken by the reporter or DJ. but you will be able to reach a lot of the market that would actually buy your songs. to sell Yes. Example: “.Radio stations these days are desperate advertising. If you're sick of rock music that sucks. The best gig for a “local hero” band to get is the county fair In the US. The best radio adverts you can buy are ones given right after traffic and weather reports .and that's the weather for the local area. Not only is it a paid gig. and you can take advantage of this.. 57 . but they always command a good draw.. go to [your band's web site here]. radio is a totally dead format for gaining younger listeners – but – it's good for gaining local popularity.” depending on where you are in the world.
The people who wrote those bad songs got them done and then put all the rest of the effort into promo. this is why those crappy songs you hate so much do so well. you could have.but you didn't.. and then advertise/promote the crap out of them. You can do the same.. that's the way to 59 .CRAPPY SONGS WITH GOOD PROMO ALWAYS DO BETTER Here's something everyone has said at one point or another: “Why is [popular song] even popular? It SUCKS! I could have written crap like that easily!” Yes.. Should you spend lots of money on “quality” music gear and equipment? NO! Should you spend tons of time crafting “the perfect song?” NO! Should you “tough it out” and tour a lot to get noticed? NO! You need to get your songs done fast. .. The key to getting everything going to make yourself a rock star is to get your songs recorded as fast as possible and then putting everything else into promotion.
Is it NOT an insult to be an entertainer. but believe me.) you are an entertainer. Your song is a PRODUCT.” “So. or studio session people. you need to PROMOTE it. and part of the promotion is performances with the goal of ENTERTAINING people.” WRONG! Music is entertainment. Good promo even for crappy songs always do better than great songs with bad promo (or no promo at all. Some people foolishly believe it is. To sell it. therefore you are an entertainer. and if you intend to sell music and them support that music via a performing act (as in your band. I'm a musician. True musicians are the people who play in orchestra or are “hired guns” that play for other bands.) 60 .. Those who are actually on stage playing songs they wrote for their fans to make a living are entertainers first and always. and you need to SELL that product. You as an entertainer stand a much greater chance of actually making real money doing what you do instead of being the “starving artist. it's not. you're saying the promo always counts more than the actual music itself?” YES..get things done if you ever expect to get known and make any money at being an entertainer at all. that is the key thing to actually making money doing it. If you flip-flop your thinking around and approach what you do as entertainment rather than being a musician. “I'm not an entertainer.
You have to be willing to fail. Never spend any money that you aren't willing to lose It is very rare that anyone who promotes themselves via paid advertising succeeds on the first try – but – it is better to have spent money on advertising and promo than it is on expensive gear. “Why doesn't this band have more views? They sound great!” The answer is that they're not promoting. Gear does not make your famous. whereas expensive gear will NEVER do that. here are the two things that will serve you well for the rest of your life concerning your career as an entertainer: 1. you then understand why it's such a waste to spend money on expensive music and recording gear! Any money spent on needless expensive gear is cash you could have spent with advertising. as in advertise. “Is advertising and promotion the guaranteed path to success as an entertainer?” Nothing in life is guaranteed. 61 . Be willing to FAIL and learn from your failures 2. they would probably be big stars. I cannot emphasize how important this is. learn how to promote. because promo can pay you back. so it is very unlikely they will ever reach rock star status.Have you ever come across a really great band on YouTube and thought. as in market yourself. however. If they did promo properly. then you might as well quit right now. nor will it ever make you any money. Once you realize it's all about the promo. If you're not willing to do that. But they're not. If you want to make money with music.
Each failure you encounter will be a learning experience. but that may take time. Given that online advertising is so cheap.) will not sell at all. “I'm too young/old to do this. If you happen to make any money from song sales. And yes.” Feel too young or too old to go for it? Quit! Seriously.. The way to approach spending cash on advertising is simple. how to publish online for cheap and how to promo yourself for cheap. So do it. and that's the best kind of investment in the world to make. try different ideas with your promotions and learn what works. Losing 5 bucks is not the end of the world.or grow a backbone and actually give it a try. Every time you spend money on ads. . you can afford to lose the money. how to record for cheap. Keep on advertising. it is time well spent.. Spend it on the assumption your product (as in your song. that is an investment in YOURSELF.. Every single thing in this book has taught you what gear to gear... At some point you will find the right advertising that works for you. be glad you did. meaning you will gain knowledge of what does and does not work each time you spend money on advertising. literally. just put down the guitar right now and walk away. If you're going to base your success rate on your age.. The only thing left is for you to actually DO IT. 62 . right? Right.
.net © 2013 Rich Menga 63 . Be sure to check out my other places on the web: Blog: http://menga.com/richmenga Twitter: http://www..facebook. said sincerely.com/richmenga .net Facebook: http://www.Thanks! I really appreciate you buying this book.twitter.or email me: rich@menga.
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