I just recorded a cover of the song, That Thing You Do, (written by Adam Schlesinger). And I recorded it from scratch on my computer-based home recording studio right here in a spare bedroom. The band consisted of me, me, me, me, me and me:-P. The reason I did it, besides just loving the song and always wanting to, was to demonstrate what kind of thing can be done in a very modest home recording studio.
Before I talk about how I did it and what equipment I used, take a listen to how it came out!
I intend to follow up with a more complete step-by-step how-to, along with a video tutorial later this week. But here are the basics.
- Voices – All me (a twisted version of narcissism?). I double-tracked the lead vocal to get that Beatlesque sound. I also sang the two harmony parts and double-tracked each of them. So there are 6 voice tracks in all.
- Guitars – Carvin DC200, 1985 model. I used this same guitar for both guitar parts. If I had vintage Rickenbackers I would have used those, but you work with what you’ve got.
- Bass – A Samick LB-11 4-string bass guitar I bought used in 1995.
- Drums – All sampled drum sounds (meaning “I don’t have a drum kit”) from an acoustic kit in the virtual instrument software package called StormDrum, by EastWest.
How Was It Recorded?
I used Reaper software to record it all. I started with the drum track. I created a MIDI track and loaded StormDrum onto it as a virtual instrument. Then I listened very carefully to the original recording of the song from the movie soundtrack. That allowed me to build the drum part hit-by-hit using the MIDI editor in Reaper.
Next, I recorded the bass track by plugging my Samick into a Line 6 POD Studio GX, which is a little box you can plug electric guitars and basses into. The POD then attaches to your computer via USB, and you use the Line 6 software to choose amps and effects to get the right sound.
Then I recorded the electric guitar parts the same way as the bass. I recorded 2 parts/tracks, one panned to the left and played as the “rhythm guitar” part. The other guitar was panned to the right and played with the little riff happening during the verses.
Last but not least, I recorded the lead vocal. As I mentioned, I sang it once on one track, and then recorded it again (listening to the 1st in the headphones) on a second track to get that double-tracked sound. I did the same thing with the low harmony part and panned it to the left, and the high harmony part, panned to the right. All vocals were recorded with the Rode NT2-A microphone hooked up to the computer via a USB audio interface – the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 interface box.
Then I mixed and panned everything to make sure the sounds could all be heard and rendered (mixed down) the result into one audio file, which is what you heard above.
Check back here in a few days and you should find a bit more detail and a video.
Now go forth and record your own pop or rock songs!