A Steel Guitar Recording From My Heart
By David J. Stewart | August 2015 | Many More Of My MP3 Recordings
Here's a beautiful song I found on YouTube this week. I added a pedal steel guitar. I've learned that particular songs motivate me to really get into the song, and this is such a song. I have a hard time playing along with a song or track that doesn't emotionally move me. I thank God so much for putting the desire in my heart to play the steel guitar, and for the health to still play it after two failed neck surgeries. The pedal steel guitar is a very expressive instrument.
Below are some different quality recordings (192 kilobytes per second is CD quality) with me playing pedal steel guitar on the recording. I miked the amp (Nashville 112). I used a Rode condenser mike so I could record a live amplifier. I turned the amp away from my guitar, so the mike wouldn't pick up the sounds of my pedals being pressed. I put the mike right by the speaker cone. I used a Boss DD-3 delay pedal. I kept the delay level at 3 o'clock, so the echo wouldn't ruin the recording. I set my feedback on one repeat, set to the timing of the song. I record with MixCraft software. I use a Lexicon (Alpha model) USB interface. I used a Rittenberry S-10 steel. I hope you like it as much as I enjoyed recording it...
- I've Been Through Enough - 192 - iZotope Mastering Essentials (this is a really great software mastering tool. In MixCraft audio, which is what I record with on my computer, it is called “iZotope Mastering Essentials.” I also changed two steel guitar parts in this last final mixdown. I didn't like the first lead in steel guitar part, so I removed it.)
Here below are the original recordings, unedited, so you can compare recordings. I like what the iZotope Mastering Essentials tool did on the previous recording to adjust the overall sound of the song. I didn't use it on the recordings below. I'm still learning how to record, and to use the tools available. iZotope is not an effect, but software to enhance the audio of the song without changing the dynamics range. In other words, it's an intelligent audio mastering tool. I just learned about it this week. ...
- I've Been Through Enough - 192 kbps
- I've Been Through Enough - 320 kbps
- I've Been Through Enough - 192 kbps - Normalized Audio (I'm not a recording engineer, that's for sure. I did some reading this week and normalizing audio simply raises the overall volume. If you like more volume than the original recordings offer, this recording is for you. It doesn't change the dynamic range (high and lows). I would never use compression, which does change the dynamic range and kills the emotional expression of the musician and singer. I'm still trying to learn how to record better, but I think it's pretty ok for a home recording with $99 software). God bless and thank you for listening!
There are many beautiful recordings online by churches, but the sound quality is so bad that I can't record along with them. A lot of churches, bless their heart, don't understand recording, so they set their input signal too high and everything is distorted. If your church records music and sermons, please keep your source signal low. Most audio equipment has an LED monitor. You want to set your signal to where it's in the green, just peaking at times in the yellow, but NEVER in the red zone (which is distortion). It's much, much, better to record with too low of an input signal, which can be boosted later to a degree, then setting the signal too high, because the distortion cannot be removed afterwards. I'm always looking for great songs to play along with, but the distortion ruins many of the best ones.
Lord willing, as my health allows, I'd like to make some more music videos, some of ukulele and some pedal steel. I battle with depression at times because of my constant neck pain, burning, tingling, stiffness and medications. It stifles my ambition. Both of my hands always feel like I'm wearing gloves, and my arm veins feel filled with air. It's the new norm for me since my second failed neck surgery in 2010, and I've pretty much become used to it, but it still gets me down often. Since my neck is so close to my head, the spinal cord compression (stenosis) and pain affect me constantly. I live alone like the Apostle Paul, so there's no one to get irritable with. Thankfully, I've got the Holy Spirit living in me, so I'm never truly alone (Hebrews 13:5; 1st John 4:4; 1st Corinthians 3:16-17; Romans 8:9). I've been encouraged a lot by recent sermons from Pastor Jeff Owens (Growing In Your Ability To Handle Depression) and Pastor Steve Anderson (Your Body Is The Temple) on coping with depression. Also, Pastor Danny Castle, especially his sermon on Starting Over. I love those guys. I love preachers!
I've been playing acoustic guitar since I was 15 years old. I have fond memories of my mom playing Gospel piano while I was growing up. That's all she played, Gospel hymns. In this second recording, you can hear my mother singing along as she plays the piano. I sure miss those times. Both of my parents are in Heaven. The Lord has blessed me with a good ear for music. I give Him 100% of the credit for all the blessings in my life, good and bad. Yes, there are bad blessings, like my health afflictions, but they keep me humble. I choose to view my burdens as blessings instead of obstacles. God can do anything!
I took up ukulele a couple years ago. Here's some recent recordings that I finally put together. I just made these melodies and titles up. I recorded the strumming first with MixCraft software on my computer (the same as my steel guitar recordings). Then I play the melody along with it and recorded it. So in these recordings, there are two ukuleles. I recorded direct into the Lexicon USB interface (not live amp). I recorded these songs with an Oscar Schmidt electric ukulele, with a pretty spalted maple body. I was about $200. I got it from Amazon.com if you are interested. Ukulele is easy to play. I have my own unique method of playing stringed musical instruments, because steel guitar is my favorite musical instrument. ...