Background vocals. They can make such a big difference in your music. However, a good background vocal takes some planning, especially if you’re doing a three- or four-part harmony. 

It’s best to figure out the arrangement before you begin recording. Otherwise, you’ll end up recording eight tracks of BGVs, only to decide that you don’t like the note choices. Suddenly you’re back at square one.

In this video I show you how to use an instrument track to build great background vocals. And yes, in this video I’m using Logic! You may have read my article on why I use Pro Tools, but for this video, I dug through the archives for a song I recorded in Logic that showcases this particular technique.

The same concept applies whether your on Pro Tools or anything else. Enjoy!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RAvSmykJMo

Check out my other videos here.

It’s that time again. I’ve got three new questions, all Pro Tools related. (If you have a question, please submit it via the Ask Joe form.) Let’s dive in.

Martin R. wrote:
I have just recently installed Pro Tools 7.3 LE on to my Mac and I have an Iomega hard drive that I was going to use for recording however when I try to change the audio settings from ‘T’ to ‘R’ I get an error message which reads “IOMEGA cannot be designated as an Audio Record volume because it is not a valid audio volume.” Could you tell me what this means and if there is any way to use this hard drive for recording.
Many Thanks
Martin

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protools-leSean over at KeyofGrey.com posted a great article recently called “Why I Use Logic Studio.” The following post is in response to that article, so take a minute to read his article first. (Go ahead…it’s okay.)

What I liked about Sean’s article is that he gave his honest opinions about why he uses Logic. He also makes it very clear that he doesn’t use Logic exclusively. There are some tasks that he prefers to do in Pro Tools.

Having used both programs extensively myself, I feel that Sean paints a very realistic picture.

As you know (and as several readers have pointed out), I’m a pretty big fan of Pro Tools. All the tutorial videos I’ve done so far have been in Pro Tools.

So am I anti-Logic? Not at all! In fact, Logic was my primary DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) for a couple years. I got to know it very well. I even won a songwriting contest with one of the songs I recorded in Logic.
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joel-sacs-pedals

This guest post is brought to you by my brother-in-law Joel. Joel’s a great bass player/producer, and he’s been building up his home studio over the last year. His Crummy Church Signs blog, while unrelated to the topic of home studios, is hilarious. You can also follow him on Twitter here.

I’ve always been nervous about having my own home studio. You see, I wasn’t reared on the low-key singer/songwriter scene that seems to be the forte of many home studio owners. Nor was I content to totally lean on MIDI for all of my sounds. I wanted to make loud music, and I wanted it to sound authentic. I always just assumed that there was no way to do that on a low budget (or with neighbors on every side of me who would strongly disapprove if I miked an 8×10 Ampeg bass cabinet at full volume).

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Limitless audio. That’s the beauty of digital recording. I can record a lead vocal as many times as I want. I can have a guitarist come in and play a hundred different versions of a guitar solo. Then I can stay up until the wee hours of the morning, sifting through all the different takes to find the perfect one.

That’s a good thing, right?

Well, it can be. However, having all this hard drive space at our disposal can simply lead to more time-wasting than music-making.
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Here are several links I came across this week. I shared them on my Twitter account, but I thought it would be nice to post them all here as well. Enjoy!

If you like what you find, be sure to leave a comment on their site!

In my last two videos, I showed you how to create a click track in Pro Tools and how to customize your click track using Xpand

Before we leave the land of click tracks, there are a few more little tips I wanted to share. Enjoy!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8KeFyqIAYm4

Do you use a click track?

I came across a really interesting article today at MusicMachinery.com called “In search of a click track.” In the article Paul Lamere analyzes various recordings — from the Beatles to Britney Spears — to discover which ones were recorded to a click track. It’s a good read, I’d highly recommend checking it out.

In all this click track talk, it’s important to remember that the music should come first. We should use a click track to enhance the song, not sterilize it. Sometimes it’s just appropriate to NOT use a click track. 

So, do you use one? Leave a comment!