Posts Tagged ‘Slice’


In the past weeks, Slice has done great progress with the recording, he has laid down most  the electric guitars and bass tracks for the STW project. The process has not been an easy walk through the woods, we have had to go over and over again with some tracks to get them nailed or as close to perfect as possible, well lets say the best possible performance that we could reach.

In the mean time I have not been idle, my attention has been on mixing all week long, there is a ton of material to put together.


The way we are doing this, is certainly not the standard procedure, for obvious reason it is not the most efficient way to get it done. In our discharge I must say that we do have some very highly imposed constraints, that force us into this manner of proceeding. Usually in the music business the recording of tracks for a record or a song will be done at the beginning before  mixing, and in a short time frame, well at least the main tracks, usually when this is completed everything is ready and the mixing can start. This is the ideal scenario with no doubt, but we are far from this possibility in the STW Project. Slice is only available to record on weekend mornings (due to school, and other youth duties), so only so much can get done with this time limitation. He does have the entire week ahead for him to get all rehearsing of what he is going to record in the weekend, this normally makes recording very smooth, even so, while getting the perfect take and sound are everyday challenges that consume time, time that can not be spared. This leaves us with between 4 and 8 tracks per day and not much more that 10 per weekend on a good one. Just as a reminder the STW is a project where Slice will be doing over 140 separate tracks.


All the track’s are parts of individual instrumental pieces from different songs, we don’t record one song top to bottom in a consecutive session, on one week he will lay down the rhythmic guitar to a given song and the solo will be laid down two or three weeks later, the bass maybe another three or four weeks further back, it can take even longer to add piano or acoustic guitar. We have songs that have may have as few as two tracks or as many as five or eight to be recorded, meaning that wont have them complete for another two months yet. Among the different reasons for doing it like this are, first we need to rearrange the room when we change between instruments, the limited room acoustics need to be setup, and that has to be done with some time and planning, Secondly Slice is borrowing some of the instruments form some friends, This means that he need to schedule all parts with that instrument into a fixed agenda, so he plans the rehearsing and recording with this in mind. The consequence being that the tracks I can start working with are a mixture and only a partial part of the material I need to get a finished result.


Given this situation, ¿how do I work on it? ¿What can I do to to move ahead with the mixing? Well there is one advantage to working on Cover songs with the original recording as a backing track. You can fit in, one part at a time and work on the individual contexts of each instrument and how it merges with the original song. This provides a benefit giving me a chance to, massage each instrument individually and make sure it sits in at the best place with the original while giving it’s best as a cover part. It is like mixing that instrument as the last one, I will eventually pull all the cover tracks up and listen to the full mix, but to start I work on the individual instruments, making space and accommodating them in the picture. When everything is there I star with the full mix I usually do the initial accommodation with all the tracks and the original keeping a fair amount of volume on the original to maintain it’ as a reference for the mix, then when I feel that everything is square, I bring the original volume down to see if the covered instruments sit in well in unison. I trim volumes and all the automations here so that I feel I have as close enough a cover as possible to the original. I usually solo Slice’s tracks to make sure there is no hidden bugs or stuff. If the mix of the covered instruments sounds good It will merge well with the original. and that is my final stage. I pull the original back up and write the automation for the original track I usually bring the original down 3 to 4db while there is a cover part playing but bring it back up to unity if there is no content recorded by Slice, I try to give the mix a uniform volume as much as possible with the limitation that Slice’s covered parts do stick out over the original so that they can be heard and distinguished on the videos.


As a final thought, we are working from the inside out, putting the main parts that Slice will be covering in first. The first to go in is obviously always the original song,  on top of this we start building our music, using the foundation of the master piece as a guide. It does help but it also means that you have to be extra careful, any mistake or difference gets magnified you are put up against the master and there is little room for fiasco, you need to focus and find the details and breath on them, find the energy and transmit it on the cover, feel the music and reflect it as your own as much as possible without damaging the original.

Slice makes covers of music he like, musicians he admires and artists he respects.

keep up to date with Slice @

Thanks for reading I hope you enjoyed.

Ian A. Burt ©

Little Wing Intro

I a 47 year old dad of a kid of 16 (Slice), am as good or bad as any other dad, my imperfection as notorious or rare as any other human. But when it comes to my son there is a passion that burns me from the inside and I can’t help myself. This is my statement. 


What am I trying to say? Well, I honestly believe in Slice and his tremendous talent, of course I am his father, but more than just that, I see his ability with music, it flows naturally and it seems to be effortless for him. He still has a limited technique, something he will have to obtain with hard work, time and perseverance. His talent however resides in the ease with witch he gets the music flowing, it seems to pour out of his hands naturally as if it where always there, he reads a song or a melody with only a few bars. He has a special ear for details and can print the feel and the soul of a song, a solo or a lick up to the most unappreciable detail, squeezing the soul out of every note  he plays or silence he creates. 

“I have a dream”

I know it’s a sentence that has been used before, but I do, I have a dream, and is to see Slice get the chance. Yes a chance only that, I am 1000% committed to helping him get the chance he need, he will have to do the trick and convert it into anything else. but my priority is to work him up to the point where he can get the opportunity.


I believe in luck, luck as Julius Caesar said is where opportunity and preparation meet, Slice is working on the preparation part and I am focused on the opportunity bit. I am running  al kind of social networking on his behalf, investing every penny I can get my hand on, working my personal relationships to the limit. I am learning any craft that can provide the door to opportunity, building every possible bridge, road, anything that can help me get Slice the one chance.

I have invested money in gear, instruments and training. I have invested time in many other ways. I am perfectly aware how hard the music business is, and the kind of life it is just to survive in this world. But I also know that there is no greater satisfaction than making music and sharing it with the rest of humanity, a concert is an electrifying experience in witch a musician reaches a binding with his audience that exceeds any other experience and makes it all worth while.   


What father wouldn’t do the same? I want the best for him,  I am also very strict on his studies, he is in Collage now and doing very well, he is already looking ahead to determine what University he will be attending in two years time. He understands that he can not place all the egg’s in one basket. Having options is not an option it is a must. 

I can understand this is to no interest to anyone, but this is my blog and I felt like writing this.


Really, if you have anything, idea, or any resource that can help this dad make his own dream come true. I will be so very thankful.  contact me at I will answer to every email.

Thanks for your time once again.

follow slice at

Ian Burt © 2012

A great cover version.


I have just finished seeing a video, that has marked me profoundly. It has been a real eye opener for me. The information has been there all along, but it has all come into context watching this video. The video is in Spanish, thou the main stream of the video is Eduardo Punset (Spanish Presenter) interviewing Ken Robinson. The interview has been dubbed to Spanish but you can make out the interview in the back ground. If you can spare the time I recommend you pay a visit and view the video, I also recommend you get Ken’s book:

"The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything"
Ken Robinson; Mass Market Paperback; $10.20
In Stock
Sold by: LLC


Creativity, ¡wow!, what a word. I have always been a creative person, creativity is in most everything I do in my personal and professional life, But so are you in more than you may realise, I try to be as creative as possible in anything I undertake, posting an article every week or twice a week, requires a fair amount of creativity. But so does everything else we do on our every day lives, when we dress in the morning we use creativity to choose what to wear (some with more taste than others). Creativity is about the science of looking ahead into the future and taking decisions that affect the outcome of it. When you send an SMS, an e-Mail or comment on a social network there is some degree of creativity. From the video, I specially liked Ken’s comment explaining, that creativity is not something we have or we don’t have, like given thing, everyone in their own ways are creative. Creativity is like reading or writing, in the sense that are one is not incapable of writing or reading all they need is to learn how to. Creativity needs to be exercised and learnt but we all have it in us in a different ways. We all have a different approach and different ways of being creative but it is one of the fundamental differentiators of the human race for good and for bad. Bad because creativity is the basic ingredient in a lie, a lie is a product of someone’s imagination created for a purpose. But let me get back to my post.       


For Slice, creativity is a territory still to be explored, a virgin land where he needs to take his first steps. Sorry, let me take that back. For Slice, creativity is something he is submerged in, however it is musical creativity he needs to focus on and explore. You can use a process or your knowledge and technical skills to create, anything that works for you is good. The thing is I don’t think this on its own would produce music as an art form, it may produce music but if it is limited it will be missing the soul. Slice has the technical skills and the knowhow. He is young so he still need to make the trip down into his inner self, into his own soul and find for himself what he wants to express and how as an artist (only then will we know how good he can get to be).

Varios March 2010 113

There is a moment in all musician’s life (Maybe all artists life but I cant tell for the rest) when they hit the source of inspiration. It is something they will never forget, it all becomes clear as water for him. It is a life changing moment, light is all of a sudden illuminating everything that was already there but not discovered. it all falls in place, he has done the journey and found the source of inspiration, the vehicle to express his personal self. There needs to be a communion between this new discovered world and the skills, where skills are put to the service of this realisation. From that moment on, it is all about working on both in parallel. Work is surely not the right word for it, it is more a vital passion that drives the process and when you give way to passion time seems to bend. Creativity in music is normally a combustive event a spark that captures an idea one instant that ignites a more complex process. The spark comes from inside and the moulding of this spark into a complete finished result is a process. during the process one take the spark or idea and dives into it, exploring it, breathing it, dissecting it, building on it.

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There is not much that can be done to reach the point of inspirational and find this muse or spark. I don’t have the silver bullet and can’t tell anyone how to get there, but I am convinced that dedicating time to experimenting with music and lyrics will smoothen the path. discipline is an effort that always pays back.

Slice has a long way to go and I am betting on him. There is nothing anyone can do to make him find the way, he has to find out by him self, the awareness of needing to find this inner fountain of ideas, won’t bring it up on its own, there needs to be a sincere process of personal meditation and interiorizing.

He is on his own and I hope he succeeds on this life trip.

Keep track of slice at his channel at 

Ian Burt © 2012

Slice has been working on his main guitar for the last couple of week. this is a project to take his main axe form its original look and sound to a complete new level. in this first phase he has removed the original colour


And repainted it Black.


The neck has be repaired and smoothened out. A complete fret levelling, re-crowning  and polishing was done. There has been some minor work done on the electronics but majorly to clean the wiring in the back, the nut needed a bit of scarfing, the instrument has been reassembled with the original pickups, neck and tremolo. because of the work done on it it was re setup. the intonation was checked and needed no further twitching.     

DSC01709DSC01778(1) Before and After.

Only on thing still to accomplish, we need a name for her.

Thanks for reading.

Checkout slice’s channel at

© Ian A. Burt 2012

RecordinBass22012012 Slice recording Bass tracks for STW

I had said on a previous post, that I would further explain my limited knowledge of amp mikeing. mikeing is an art form in it’s own way. There are a number of techniques and user specific trick but at the end it relies on a trial and error procedure and your own ear.

Before I start, I have my way of doing things. This is my personal approach, it is not a silver bullet and please do not take it as rules to follow, just use it as an ideas to investigate your own way on.

STW ABTW2 a Mix with several guitars most via miced amp.

The first thing when mikeing an amp is to know what you are after. This requires that you have spent time with the artist and the producer and understand what it is they are looking for or better said listening for. I am going to narrow this post to guitar amps, but the same is true with almost any other instrument that may be amped.

It is impossible to set a rig up in any way if you don’t have a target, make sure you know all the parts that are going to be recorded and what tone and quality you are out to nail. There are normally a few things that are a given and you don’t have much influence on. The instrument, what guitar is going to be used is a very personal choice, and the relationship artist vs. instrument is almost a religious one. to a similar extent amps and stomp boxes or effects are also mainly artist chosen.

Brian May Brian May

Guilmour David Gilmour

Van Halen Eddy Van Halen

So how can you contribute to the sound. Well that is a no brainer, when something comes out of the amp it needs to be captured and in the capturing lays the secret. A bad mikeing and recording can ruin the best performance/guitar/amp combination and turn it in to noise. and in the same way a good mikeing and recording can bring trough another way’s mediocre take. Needless to say joining the best of both, will deliver a spectacular track.

It seems there are some boundaries that we don’t want cross, but who say’s we can’t provide some advise and tips to the artist, that may help us in our job of getting it right.

First ask what choices of guitar he wants to use or has available, the same with the amp. Ask him to do a test track for each guitar (you won’t usually have to do this, they will request this them self’s, specially if they are accustomed to working in studio). To record the tests ask him if you can rig all the different amps he is thinking of (again this may not be needed) and if you have any specific amps available that you may think are suitable for the sound you are after and ask him if it is ok to mike them up also for the test. Who knows a blend may be just the right thing to get the ultimate tone. Get him to play around and listen to the different amps in the room, move them around until he is confortable. Try to avoid that he puts them to near any wall

tobywright2multiple.l Amp array for test. Picture not mine Smile with tongue out

Let the artist to review all the recorded tracks for all amps separately and in different blend combinations. use your own ear to find sweet spots or problems an point them out to him.

Once he has settled on a number of amps (there is no limit other than common sense). you need to have studied the room you are going to record in. Share with him what areas suit the sound he is after the best. As a rule I keep all amps at least 1 or 2 feet form a back wall. Spend some time looking into the ambient sound of the room. Depending on what he is looking for you may or may not need an ambient mike so make sure you find the spots in the room that serve a good ambient and don’t mud up the sound. Highly saturated guitars in my experience don’t win much with an ambient mic, there are too many harmonics that the ambient resonance is not quite clear. In contrast clean sounds are greatly enhanced if you have a good ambient mic.

now we have the amps in place it is time to mic. I usually start one amp at a time and one mike at a time. I first work on the close up mike’s setting them at about one inch from the grid.

There are several standard locations for mikeing based on the distance of the mike form the cab’s grid.  In the following figure I have label mike positions A through E         

MicSeparation mike positioning

Position A is a close up mick flush the grid. Position B is a mike 1 or 2 inches from the grid. Position C is between 1 or 2 feet from the grid. Position D is further than 6 feet from the grid. Position E is an open back and mike is generally 0 to 6 inched form the open back.

Positions A & B are close up mikeing positions and will capture only speaker info depending on the mike choice, Positions C & D are ambient mike’s with the difference that C will produce a tighter room image than D. Finally E will depend on the amp type, D is great to recording fat sounding guitar. The norm and needles to say this is choice, is to have 1 or 2 close up mike’s and one ambient mic.

As we have said already ambient mike positioning depends on the ambient characteristics of the room. how ever close up mike’s have a full array of different positions and settings that have to be experimented with. In general there are 3 positions to place the mike in front of the speaker. from the outside inwards as shown on the figure bellow.

MicPosSpeacker mike placing

The position further away from the centre is called the rim, the sound captured here is darker with greater amount of low and mid lows. On the cone or second position, the sound mellows up a bit and gets brighter. On the dust cap or centre of the speaker the sound is much brighter and losses some of the low frequencies retaining the mid lows. placing can be in any position you like but these are the three most common. 

Several Mic mike testing

Warning! when using two mike’s in a close up configuration on the same cab or speaker, the distance form the grid should be equal and if by choice you use different separations you will have to check for phase issue. Bare in mind that a phase issue can render on of the mike recordings useless. how ever there are plugins that can help solve the problem.

DSC01703 Possible phase issues.

When placing a close up mike there are two ways you can position your mike in front of the speaker. Head on or off axis. In the head on configuration the mike is place perpendicular to the speaker at a 90º angle from the grid. The other configuration requires that the mike be at an angle between 30º and 60º form the grid (Note this applies basically to cardioid pattern mike’s).

It is paramount that you experiment with different settings and configurations, testing all positions and different mike choices. Never walk away from an amp and start recording without checking for as long as necessary for the tone you are looking for. This process may be very time consuming but will save lots of time and money later. It is best to do all this process before the artist arrives and save him from going through the hole thing. It is very lightly that the artist will want a twitch here and there but the Core has been done without him being there. they tend to get inpatient.      

Microphones, this is a subject in it’s own and I don’t intend to extend on this topic here, but it is important that you understand the different patterns that they  correspond to. In the figure bellow we have an example of the three basic patterns. A Cardioid, B Omnidirectional, C Bidirectional. 

Patterns mike Patterns

When used for recording an amp Cardioid is the predominant choice in the industry, however when recording ambient it is often a omnidirectional mike that is preferred. Unless certain reflections or room noise bleeding into the mike produce un wanted result. A Cardioid mike will capture sound coming in from the front of the mike and will filter out other sound coming from different sources. while a Omni will record 360 degrees around in all directions including sound coming from behind the mic.

Finally the consideration of the amp volume. it is best to get the sound from the amp without over saturation. This will require that the artist understand that a balanced output from the cabinet is fundamental for a good capture, it cant be too low or too loud (obviously depending on the desired result). 

As I said at the beginning there is only one way trial and error, you have to try and try and try again until you get what you are looking for. I assure you that the result is worth the wile.

Thanks for reading and I really hope you enjoyed.

follow slice at

© Ian Burt  2012