Recording with Go Long (!) music

An instrument always sounds better if it's played by an expert musician. I'm certainly no musician. Pat is much better, but a pro could do even better to show off an instrument.

Pat Hawley knows the group "Go long(!)" (now disbanded) quite well, having built guitars and a ukulele for them, and Lucas Haneman is awesome guitar player. He's the guy that Pat built the 8-string guitar for. I figured this would be a cool way to show off my homemade ukulele, and the folks from Go Long figured this would be good exposure. So Pat organized the get together, and we recorded this in his basement rec room. In fact, the door you see open on the right side in parts of the video leads to his workshop.

I recorded the song with two cameras and two audio recorders. The stationary front view was shot with my Nikon J2 camera (recently bought on clearance), while the hand-held shots were taken with my Nikon 8200. We did two takes of the song. On editing, I realized it was a bit boring to always flip back to the overview when I moved the hand-held camera, so synced up the hand-held footage from the first take, effectively giving me a second hand-held view to chose from.

I synced that other track by lining up the audio. Playing the audio from both takes at the same time made for a very rich sound that I really liked, though definitely less of a pure sound so we used the sound from just the second take. The audio is actually mostly from the Nikon J2 built in microphone. Both of the dedicated audio recorders (a Zoom H1 and Zoom Q3HD) had an annoying treble roll off, so they sounded muffled compared to the Nikon J2's built in microphone. But then again, I bought that J2 because I liked the sound from it. The J2 has a bit more hiss than the audio recorders, but that isn't very noticeable during the song.

I needed to give the video some context, but I lack the musical talent to add anything musically. So I focused on my lack of talent. I tried to strum as dissonant and fret-buzzing as I could. We even de-tuned the instrument for that first shot!

Lucas Haneman doesn't normally play ukulele, but he figured it out pretty fast. The tuning on a low-G tuned ukulele is the same as that for the high four strings of a guitar, but transposed up by three notes (or a fourth, as musicians would call it).

This was also when Danielle received the new all koa ukulele that Pat had been building for her. He had been showing it at a guitar show the previous weekend.

That koa ukulele sounds better than mine, but all the fancy playing is by Lucas on mine, so you don't notice the other ukulele as much.

Pat and Nick also went over the plans for an acoustic bass guitar that Nick has commissioned. You can see some of the wood for it on the coffee table, which I resawed for Pat.

That bass guitar is going to be large, though not quite as large as the upright bass that Nick mostly uses now.

I also recorded a bit of Lucas playing on my ukulele, just to show off the sound of that one a bit more.

And finally, a big thanks to Go Long(!) music (the band has since split up) and Pat Hawley for making this happen.

You can also buy their songs on iTunes

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