Recording on the cheap

Those of you who have followed this blog know that one of the main themes has been skiing on the cheap. Downhill skiing is typically an expensive sport, not one that I can afford at MSRP. But I have been able to do quite well with a self imposed limit of $30 for a lift ticket. You just have to pay attention.
Now that I am getting into audio recording I find that I can do the same thing, i.e. setup a studio with little to no money. I'm quite pleased at how it's working out.
For example, there are a ton of great plug-ins and virtual instruments that can  be had free for the download. Plug-ins are software add-ins for your recording program that create effects like reverb and echo and simulate equipment like compressors and equalizers.
As for real physical equipment, I found a midi keyboard in perfect working order complete with stand, sustain pedal and power brick on the side of the street for trash pickup. A friend gave me another midi controller that he wasn't using any more. When I needed a snare and some brushes, I borrowed them from friends. I borrowed a mic and a djembe drum from my church and so on.

Other essential equipment: my ears and brain ... included at no extra charge! ;-)

21 Days

They say it takes 21 days to either break or establish a habit. That's probably an arbitrary number but the concept is valid. Through repetition we establish neural pathways in the desired direction while causing old ones that we don't want to become less compelling through disuse.
I'm going to take a big step here and make an attempt at changing a much loved but harmful pattern ... bedtime snacks!
It's one of my great pleasures to kick back with a book and munch away.
But I really need to lose some weight. I know I'm feeling the extra poundage both in terms of energy level and in the stiffness and discomfort in my joints. Not to mention the extra company I feel when I bend over to tie my shoes. I don't like feeling like an old man (I'll be 65 in February).
Now, the holidays are coming up, in fact are already upon us and I'm not proposing to change anything about that, just the bedtime snacking. I'll enjoy holiday dinners and parties without thinking too much about it and I'll have a reasonable serving of dessert after dinner. Just see how it goes.

It's Day 2.


I borrowed a snare drum and brushes for one of Mrs. MTBMan1's songs. It has a 123 123 12 guitar picking pattern which could translate into a latin beat but I don't think the song wants that. I tried various combinations of clave, hand drum and tambourine but they were all too strong and the tambourine was too jangly. I'm thinking of more of a soft chuff-chuff than a chang-chang ... maybe maracas?
In any event, I borrowed a snare from one friend who doesn't play but has a trap set he's trying to sell and nylon brushes from his brother who does play. I initially thought I would use the electronic traps at church and record directly out of that but when I noticed that my friend Steve had a set sitting in his rumpus room I jumped at that opportunity. Obviously it will be a more natural sound and i can do it in the convenience of my own home studio.
I pulled up some youtubes on how to tune a snare and then how to play brushes. It's scary how much knowledge is out there and it's all at your fingertips.
I love learning something new and I always wanted to play drums. Heck I've always wanted to play everything! ;-)
Here's a photo of our "studio".