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AIM - Rothgar

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I love the look on this guys' face. Looks like the kinda guy who ain't gunna stop for NUTHIN'! And so...I composed this instrumental piece using nothing but a single guitar and a mic and my DAW. All sounds are me playing guitar, no samples.

And here's the link to the artwork:


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* This is an official 2017 NGUAC review *

Oh man, this one. Really great talent, really not-so-great production. Into the details...

Mixing, mastering and production: This was the real weak point. Now, it wasn't THAT weak - I could hear all the parts clearly and I was able to get into the emotional space of the piece. But at the end of the day it's just a bedroom recording, and you're competing with people who have studio-level production quality.
For acoustic guitar, getting a great recording setup is a bit of of an investment, but certainly it's the next production step I hear for you. I would get (if you don't already have) a decent condenser mic (and a little interface to give it phantom power) as well as a Shure SM57. Point the condenser where the neck meets the body of the guitar, and have the SM57 a bit away from the body of the guitar, pointing at the soundbox hole. Once there you can play with levels and distances - putting your condenser closer to the strings will pick up great plucking, while having it away will pick up chords and louder guitar much better.
I would also recommend recording to a click track if you're not already. There were a couple slight timing problems.

From a post-recording standpoint, definitely play around with reverb and panning; try to add to the character of the guitar without stripping the real, raw, live sound you have.

Mastering shouldn't be too difficult from there if you're sticking with just acoustic guitar, but it's still a crucial step. Simply having a multiband compressor, an EQ, and a maximizer + limiter on the premaster will do a world of good.

Composition: Beautiful, atmospheric. I really, truly enjoyed it. Now, to nitpick!
Your main melody is great, and is a beautiful moment when you play that EM and F#M chord in the A section. Solid solo in the middle of the piece. I definitely liked the idea of the harmonics, but they weren't quite executed perfectly - a couple minor performance errors took me out of the moment. After the solo is finished and you go back to the A section, the melody gets a bit drowned out a bit by your background layer - I think were it blended well, it would work fairly well however.

My only other note is in regards to the rest of the elements of the composition as a whole - structure, texture, atmosphere, etc. The reason you didn't get perfect scores in these other sections is not for any deficiency, but that I wasn't wowed by the other elements too much. There are some great moments, but to get that perfect 10 I need to be enthralled and wowed the whole time. Rest easy though! I didn't give anyone super close to a perfect composition score. But I just thought I'd clarify.

I'm certainly looking forward to what you come up with. If you can improve your recording, mixing, and mastering then you'll certainly be a top contender. That's a lot to say for just one guy with an acoustic guitar. It's a testament to your talent!

Ceevro responds:

Thank you for that. I think that the mic I have is decent (certainly better than what I started with...which was the built-in mic in my laptop), and where my recordings are really lacking is actually in the acoustic space itself. There's a moment which you probably caught where my chair squeaked loudly. There's a high hiss from my computer fan. There's the gaddamn neighbor with the stupid-ass Harley he simply MUST rev for an hour every day. I can mitigate a lot of that on the cheap by setting up a recording wall before I record, but I simply don't have the space to leave it up, and so it adds an hour on to every recording session.

On the mixing/mastering side: I've been taking some online courses in mixing/mastering. I'll have to be careful in the future with what I've learned, because most of what I've learned is that I tend to overdo FX that I find really cool. ESPECIALLY reverb. I just love the sound of loud reverb, and it seems like most people...don't. Most of what I could do to make things better would be to get a cleaner recording in the first place.

And performance: This was really, really hard to play. Yes, there were some errors in timing, and I deliberately let them be. I recorded for several hours, discarding every single part of the song at one point or another and eventually settled on the version you see here. I could have time-stretched or quantized a point or two, but it just sounded too mechanical to me. Better, I felt anyways, that you hate me for what I am, than love me for what I am not.

Thank you so much for the review! I will continue to improve!

Credits & Info


4.65 / 5.00

Mar 28, 2017
1:07 AM EDT
File Info
5.6 MB
3 min 5 sec

Licensing Terms

Please contact me if you would like to use this in a project. We can discuss the details.