Archive for the Creative Tools Category

How are you panning your tracks?

Posted in Creative Tools with tags , , on March 11, 2011 by The Buddha Rats

How are you panning your tracks? This is a fairly simple question, and one that is worth asking.

I grew with my Dad playing  a lot of albums from the 60’s, and I still love that sound. I’ve been thinking a lot about panning lately, and I think it’s an essential mixing tool.

Here are some combinations that can give your songs an interesting vibe:

  1. Bass left, drums center, vocals hard right or left, rhythm guitar right, lead guitar center.
  2. All rhythm instruments left, Vocals, leads, etc. right.
  3. Bass, drums, guitar hard panned left. Guitar, piano, percussion hard panned right. Vocals sent to center.

You see that you can take a conservative approach to panning, or take a chance and try something bizarre. You’ll also know right away if what you’re doing work for the tune, and it just might help your mix.



Playback Volume Consistency

Posted in Creative Tools with tags , , on January 22, 2011 by The Buddha Rats

The web is a funny thing. Sometimes I’m just surfing around and then I hit paydirt…

MP3Gain is a program that will analyze and adjust your mp3 volume so that it all has the same consistency in volume. No more reaching for your volume knob every time your mp3 player changes to a new song!

According to the website:

MP3Gain does not just do peak normalization, as many normalizers do. Instead, it does some statistical analysis to determine how loud the file actually sounds to the human ear.
Also, the changes MP3Gain makes are completely lossless. There is no quality lost in the change because the program adjusts the mp3 file directly, without decoding and re-encoding.

Get your FREE copy here:

Chord Progressions

Posted in Creative Tools with tags , , on January 14, 2011 by The Buddha Rats

Unfortunately this is an XP-only app, so you Mac people are S.O.L., but it’s a great writing tool.

I’ve been using this for quite some time to help me through times of writers block, etc.. You simply choose the key of your song, tell KoZong how many chords you want and it spits out a verse, chorus and bridge for you.

If you couple this program with something like Harmony Navigator LE you will be able to hear how the progression sounds.

Additionally, Harmony Navigator lets you swap out the KoZong chords for cooler ones which you can export as a MIDI file to be used in your DAW with a proper sampleset in Kontakt, or whatever it is you are using.

You can find KoZong here.

Check out Harmony Navigator here.

Songwriting Strategies

Posted in Creative Tools on August 1, 2010 by The Buddha Rats

Rikky Rooksby wrote this book called “How to Write to Songs On Guitar“, and there’s some pretty cool food for thought on how to approach writing:

  1. Compose away from your instrument You won’t fall back on familiar patterns, and will force you to shape the music in your mind before you pick up your instrument to flesh it out.
  2. Write on a different instrument than you’re used to If you only play guitar, sit down at a keyboard. Keep it simple. Broad strokes.
  3. Take a song you like and keep the basic structure Eliminate the chords, but keep the form, tempo and length.
  4. Choose some limits This could be a key, tempo, time signature, a theme or a style. For example:
  • Keep your tune under 2 minutes.
  • Start with the chorus as the intro.
  • Write the verse in A, and the chorus in F.
  • Start in 4/4 then switch to 6/8.

You get the idea.

Happy writing.

Writer’s Block?

Posted in Creative Tools with tags , on February 7, 2010 by The Buddha Rats

Every now and again I search the net for new tools that can get me through creative blocks.  I recently found this lyrics generator, and it’s geared towards writers & musicians.

It’s called The Song Lyrics Generator. Here’s what the website says about their tool:

Writer’s Block?

Rest assured, the best song writers of our time have suffered the same problem and asked themselves the same question: “Why isn’t inspiration coming to me?” What you have (and they didn’t) is access to this invaluable resource: The Song Lyrics Generator. Simply sign up for an account (it’s free!), select your preferred genre of music, answer a few questions, and presto! Your song is written. Once you have your song, either save it or share it with your friends.

There are several different song genres available: The Break-up song, Love Song, Unrequited Love Song, Song expressing nostalgia for a place, Song expressing nostalgia for a time, and Political dreams or ideals.

I tried it out, and while I would not use the generated song in it’s entirety, I was able to find a few choice sentences and phrases worth keeping.

I’ve got a couple of other creative tools that I’ll be sharing with you all in the months to come.

Now go make some music!


Custom Reaper Theme

Posted in Creative Tools with tags , , on January 31, 2010 by The Buddha Rats

Hi all,

Thanks for checking back. I haven’t posted in about a week, as I’ve been busy recording with Mitch, as well as working on a custom GUI interface for my Audio program Reaper.

The tune we’re working on is an old one from 2002 called “Marigold”. It’s not complete yet (I need to get rid of the scratch track vocals), but it’s got a good vibe to it. Very lazy, like a good Summer’s day.

Now the Reaper GUI theme I’m working on is based on the color scheme and sliders from the old TG mixing desks from the 60’s. I wasn’t too concerned about scanning, and using stuff without changing it too much because I’m not profiting off of someone else’s trademarked/copyrighted work. It’s strictly for my own amusement and love of quality Old School workmanship. So don’t sue me, EMI.


I’ll leave you with a screenshot of “British Console”: