This post will be dedicated to the process of creating a cover version of the famous masterpiece by W.A. Mozart. This one comes from Requiem Mass in D minor (k.626) which hasn’t been finished. There’s still a lot of secrecy around this project. Making a cover for Lacrimosa has been in mind for quite a while.
First off, here it is completed:
The “making of” started with analyzing music score for Lacrimosa – track by track, or instrument by instrument. The covering finally came down to 4 guitar tracks, one bass, and drums. Every part went through several reviews and got polished in time. For notations I used my favorite tab editor – Guitar Pro 6. Here’s how the it looks like with the first bar of the first verse:
Some of the tabs got changed during recording but not significantly – mostly position and fingering for better sound and ease of play. Then I exported it into .wav file from Guitar Pro. It’s way far from being perfect but it gives an idea of how it would sound like and what the tempo would be so I could start building up drum track with this reference.
Now that everything is ready tab-wise I move on to creating drums. For that purpose I used the generated .wav file from Guitar Pro as a reference, Acid Pro 7, and one-shot drum samples that I got from a samples website. This is quite manual work and requires a lot of patience laying drum track shot-by-shot. I started with cymbals and then added kick, snare, and toms later.
Cymbals little portion of 5 bars
Some kick and snare
Crazy tom-tom fill
Now that the manual computer ground work is done it’s time to record. This is the most fun part – because it’s the creative process I like the most! I started from recording bass guitar so I’d have the rhythm section. It turned out to be the most time-consuming part as it required accuracy and precision down to millisecond. If I screw the timing up with drums and bass, the whole piece would sound like a piece of “you-know-what”…
First I played the entire bass track several times with the drums and adjusted some of the tabs for easy fingering. Then I started recording the bass guitar part phrase by phrase. In average it took me 3-4 takes to record what I wanted. Each recording portion was adjusted on the timeline right away for perfect timing alignment with drums. It’s good that Acid Pro has timing marks 🙂 If a note’s waveform is a little off on the track, I simply move it to where it should be.
Now a few words about gear setup for recording. I used my DigiTech RP-350 multi-effects guitar processor connected to Yamaha 10-channel mixer that has USB audio-interface built-in. I modeled the sound on RP-350, then it went through the mixer right into the Acid Pro track which I armed for recording. The earphones were plugged into the monitor out. And for instruments – Fender Standard Jazz Bass and Ibanez RG5EX1 guitar. Nothing special… 🙂
Bass guitar – Fender Standard Jazz Bass
Guitar – Ibanez RG5EX1 with DiMarzio Evolution pick-ups
Moving on to recording guitars. What took the majority of time is looking for the “right” sound. I spent some time on modeling the sound for the delayed rhythm-guitar. Finally I managed to get what I was looking for:
Another guitar track was the rhythm-solo piece. I took one of the RP-350’s presets, modified a little and it worked out just fine. Here’s the added track combined with drums, bass, and rhythm:
For solo I was looking for a sound that would be sustained, clean but distorted, with lots of gain, but no noise, and it had to keep the sadness of the original. For that I thought Yngwie would be a good example, so the sound I worked out reminds Yngwie’s quite a bit 😉
There are 2 tracks for the solo – I decided to keep harmony in chorus for it sounds really nice and beautiful.
To spice things up a little I added a basic power chord crunch guitar here and there. This is a piece with drums, bass, and crunch guitar:
When all the recording is done I checked the whole thing for any timing or pitch errors once again, evened out the levels of the instruments so there’s no cacophony. Then I mixed down all the recording parts into multi-track project that had drums, bass, guitar 1, 2, 3, 4
Tracks mixed down by instrument
The final walk-through consisted of more level adjustments, some minor effects like reverb here and there.
And here’s the final track again now that you know how it was done. 🙂
I hope you enjoyed reading this. More projects to come…