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Old 11-06-2017, 08:59 AM
rmsstrider rmsstrider is offline
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Default Help recording Demo CD

I am thinking of trying to land some gigs as a solo guitar / singer. I have been playing some small venues like art shows, marinas, etc and keep getting asked where do I play out. Well , I have never played for money, but would be interested in seeing if I could land an occasional gig at say a private function. I have 4 hours of music and all my own equipment.
So, my question is , can i make a decent demo CD to hand out using my Zoom H4n and the Audacity program I have on my laptop. Do you think the quality would be good enough to present a selection of my songs? i only have a basic knowledge of how Audacity works and i am wondering if the condenser mic on the Zoom is sufficient. I do have a quite area to record.
And if not, any suggestions?
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Old 11-06-2017, 09:11 AM
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You will probably get something close to this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7MWDYk_3io

What do you think?
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Old 11-06-2017, 09:51 AM
rmsstrider rmsstrider is offline
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Originally Posted by rick-slo View Post
You will probably get something close to this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7MWDYk_3io

What do you think?
Impressive performance! Very Nice, Thank you. Just maybe my Zoom will work for me too. Now if it would just make me sound and play as good as you....LOL
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Old 11-06-2017, 09:54 AM
KevWind KevWind is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmsstrider View Post
I am thinking of trying to land some gigs as a solo guitar / singer. I have been playing some small venues like art shows, marinas, etc and keep getting asked where do I play out. Well , I have never played for money, but would be interested in seeing if I could land an occasional gig at say a private function. I have 4 hours of music and all my own equipment.
So, my question is , can i make a decent demo CD to hand out using my Zoom H4n and the Audacity program I have on my laptop. Do you think the quality would be good enough to present a selection of my songs? i only have a basic knowledge of how Audacity works and i am wondering if the condenser mic on the Zoom is sufficient. I do have a quite area to record.
And if not, any suggestions?
As far as gig promo the Zoom should be ok. But in today's world besides a CD or even instead of , you may want to also consider putting music on a USB flash drive and or setting up a Youtube channel . Many modern laptops do not have CD drives
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Old 11-06-2017, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by rmsstrider View Post
Impressive performance! Very Nice, Thank you. Just maybe my Zoom will work for me too. Now if it would just make me sound and play as good as you....LOL
That is not me. Just some example I found on youtube.
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Old 11-06-2017, 10:26 AM
rmsstrider rmsstrider is offline
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Originally Posted by KevWind View Post
As far as gig promo the Zoom should be ok. But in today's world besides a CD or even instead of , you may want to also consider putting music on a USB flash drive and or setting up a Youtube channel . Many modern laptops do not have CD drives
Good point, my laptop does have a CD drive, but you are right, many newer ones do not. The only problem I can think of with Youtube channel is that it seems too compressed?
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Old 11-06-2017, 10:49 AM
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The booking person has several questions in her mind. Are you any good? If you're good, is your CD how you really sound live? Are you experienced and reliable?

The simplest thing is to record yourself performing live with an audience. As a demo for venues it will answer all three questions.
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Old 11-06-2017, 11:08 AM
rmsstrider rmsstrider is offline
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Originally Posted by Al Acuff View Post
The booking person has several questions in her mind. Are you any good? If you're good, is your CD how you really sound live? Are you experienced and reliable?

The simplest thing is to record yourself performing live with an audience. As a demo for venues it will answer all three questions.
Ok, my only recording device is my Samsung phone, which does have excellent video quality. I can plug in my Blue condenser mic which is better than the phone mic. Not sure if the quality would be that good though. As for how I sound live, I think maybe better after going through my Bodyrez and TC Helcion Harmony singer and my mixer to add just a touch reverb and projected through the Bose Amp. Your right, that would give a better impression of how it would sound live. Am I experienced, not really, however i have been doing a fair number of these small events and think I have the bugs worked out. Watching a video of myself live would certainly help pick up any problems.
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Old 11-06-2017, 11:28 AM
Johnny.guitar Johnny.guitar is online now
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All they are going to care about is if you can carry a tune & if you play material people will want to listen to in their establishment.
A phone recording will be just fine if it's not shaky. Throw it on YouTube and your done. Once you are in to several establishments you won't need the promo any more anyway
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Old 11-06-2017, 11:34 AM
RustyAxe RustyAxe is offline
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With the gear you list in your sig, I'd go a different route. Why complicate matters? Set yourself up as in a live gig ... Bose, mics, etc. Then record with your Zoom to a single stereo track. After all, THAT's what you'll be delivering to your prospective clients, isn't it? Upon re-reading your post, why not just record one of your live performances ... a prospective client would be interested in the audience reaction, your stage presence, and such.

Last edited by RustyAxe; 11-06-2017 at 11:40 AM.
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Old 11-06-2017, 11:38 AM
RustyAxe RustyAxe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny.guitar View Post
All they are going to care about is if you can carry a tune & if you play material people will want to listen to in their establishment.
Actually, most small venues (bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and such) don't care how or what someone plays ... as long as they can fill seats and keep people in them.
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Old 11-06-2017, 03:32 PM
DupleMeter DupleMeter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RustyAxe View Post
Actually, most small venues (bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and such) don't care how or what someone plays ... as long as they can fill seats and keep people in them.
+100

The negotiations will go something like this:

You: I'd like to play at your fine establishment.

Booking Manager: Great...how many people can you bring on a [day of the week] night?

Now, unless you can promise a decent showing you're likely to never get to the point where they ask to hear a demo.

Private gigs are the ones who will just want to vet your repertoire & apparent skill level/entertainment value with the expected crowd. They're providing the crowd in those scenarios.

In each scenario you can get by with a simple video of a performance. So, I would talk to a local venue, ask them for a half hour on a dead night. Bring all your friends/family, perform & record the performance. Edit to 2 or 3 great takes and upload to YouTube. Be prepared with another hour or so of music above your 30 minute video shoot, in case the crowd is lively enough that the owner asks you to play a little longer. If you have a good crowd with you they will likely do that to sell more food/drinks/whatever.
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Old 11-06-2017, 04:37 PM
rmsstrider rmsstrider is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DupleMeter View Post
+100

The negotiations will go something like this:

You: I'd like to play at your fine establishment.

Booking Manager: Great...how many people can you bring on a [day of the week] night?

Now, unless you can promise a decent showing you're likely to never get to the point where they ask to hear a demo.

Private gigs are the ones who will just want to vet your repertoire & apparent skill level/entertainment value with the expected crowd. They're providing the crowd in those scenarios.

In each scenario you can get by with a simple video of a performance. So, I would talk to a local venue, ask them for a half hour on a dead night. Bring all your friends/family, perform & record the performance. Edit to 2 or 3 great takes and upload to YouTube. Be prepared with another hour or so of music above your 30 minute video shoot, in case the crowd is lively enough that the owner asks you to play a little longer. If you have a good crowd with you they will likely do that to sell more food/drinks/whatever.
I'm leaning toward private gigs. My set lists are not your typical bar fare. More Americana, Ray Whylie Hubbard, Guy Clark, Towns Van Zant, with a little country, Steeldrivers, and some blues,some Tom Waits etc. Although I did have a working musician approach me and offer to bring me up on stage at their next gig latter this month. He liked that what I brought was different.
Anyway, it seems like a good idea to video the next time I play one of these venues and use that to promote myself. A friend of mine videoed a 30 second spot from the last time and threw it up on Facebook of the establishment, quality was not good, but got a couple hundred likes in an hour. So maybe there is hope for me yet?
Thank you everyone for your kind and thoughtful responses.
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Old 11-07-2017, 12:08 AM
Guitar Slim II Guitar Slim II is offline
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Sorry, but I'm not so sure about using a recording from a gig as my professional demo. Setting up a quality recording at a live venue would be a lot more work than getting similar quality at home. The alternative is, what, cell-phone video? I have to tell you, if I could remove every second of live cell-video of myself from Youtube, I would in a second. I would prefer not to be professionally associated with it...

I agree that you shouldn't misrepresent yourself. If you're a solo act, then you don't want a rhythm section, strings, backup vocals, etc, on your demo. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't put some time into it, make it look and sound professional. These days, you can do that from your own bedroom, for little or no money.

My advice is, learn more about recording at home. Every musician probably needs to know a little about it anyway. And Audacity is fine if you're just working with audio, but I don't think it does plug-ins and soft-synths. You've also got mics, do you have an interface of some kind? I guess you could use the Zoom and import a sound file? Never used one, so I'm not sure.

Anyway, there's nothing wrong with just singing and playing the song and recording it. Do it in your quiet room, set up your mic or mics properly, and add some reverb and EQ afterwards. Make it sound great.

And do it one song at a time. At this point, don't think in terms of a multi track demo to be printed on a CD, to be done by a certain deadline. Build your material one song at a time, and learn along the way. Anything you like, you can share on Soundcloud - or Youtube if you know how...

Finally, I agree that digital, streaming and online media are the most convenient way to share your tracks with prospective bookers. But don't count the old CD out just yet. Once you get enough tracks, you can put them on a CD and sell it as "merch" at your gigs. On a good night, CD sales can be a nice bonus to whatever else you made at the show.

Last edited by Guitar Slim II; 11-07-2017 at 01:29 AM.
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Old 11-07-2017, 05:51 AM
KevWind KevWind is online now
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[QUOTE]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guitar Slim II View Post
Sorry, but I'm not so sure about using a recording from a gig as my professional demo. Setting up a quality recording at a live venue would be a lot more work than getting similar quality at home. The alternative is, what, cell-phone video? I have to tell you, if I could remove every second of live cell-video of myself from Youtube, I would in a second. I would prefer not to be professionally associated with it...
This ++....... by far the vast majority and maybe all of the cell phone video's on youtube, even of successful big name artists, honestly sound like crap. The only live performance videos that sound 1/2 good are when the audio is recorded directly off the mic and or picup feeds or directly off the main mixing board.
The Zoom in your bedroom will be much much better than a crappy live video . And I would not worry about the encoding on youtube for a solicitation video, for example the video that rick-slo posted it totally sufficient to get started for a promo video.
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