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IMG_6420I want to start this post by telling you about some things that are true. They are absolutely 100% for real. The truth.

  1. You can, with minimal gear and cost, make recordings of your own songs that you can be extremely proud of.
  2. You can take these songs and share them with the world. You can make money from them. You can even make a career out of them.

How do I know these things are true? Well, because I’ve done it. Over the past few years I’ve recorded and released a bunch of music under the name Lowercase Noises, I’ve worked really hard, and I’ve turned this into a career for myself.

And where did all this start? Really it started when I realized that it was actually possible to record my own music. And that it could actually sound good.

And this is what I want you to realize as well. I want you to get excited about it. Because I’m excited about it.

There is a joy and a satisfaction seeing a song through from writing and recording, all the way to the point where someone else can listen and enjoy it, that I can’t fully describe. I am hopelessly addicted to it, and I know it’s something that I’m going to be doing for the rest of my life, no matter what happens. But I didn’t always know what this felt like.

I grew up a guitar player, but eventually I wanted more from my music. I wanted to contribute more than just a guitar part to someone else’s song. I wanted to create something bigger than just my guitar. And so I decided that I would figure out how.

My first album was recorded on a laptop, in an apartment, with a USB interface and a couple of mics. That’s it. You can actually listen to this album here, if you want.

That album is almost four years old now, and I believe that I’ve gotten much better at recording since then, but I am still extremely proud of it. I had an intense desire to create those songs, I had some of the cheapest recording gear you can find, and I was determined to make it work. I didn’t know a single thing about how compressors work, how I was supposed to EQ a guitar, or what the heck an aux send was. But I worked hard, I learned a lot, and I made an album that I am still proud of to this day.

People will tell you this isn’t true. They’ll tell you this can’t happen. They’ll tell you that you need to spend thousands of dollars on gear and years learning about this stuff before you can express your creativity through recording.

But I’m here to tell you… it isn’t true.

Do you want to know the joy and satisfaction that comes from bringing a song to life through recording? You can do it. You absolutely can. It might seem overwhelming at first, but I know I’m not the only one with an intense desire to create songs. And THAT’S really the only thing you need to carry you through this.

I want you to be excited. I want you to know that there is nothing stopping you.

Now, this has been a lot of talk. Let me quickly share a few resources with you. If you have no idea where to start with recording equipment, check out this blog I wrote about the basic tools you need to record yourself. If you’re looking for tips on how to use what you currently have, I highly recommend Graham from The Recording Revolution. He has some of the best advice for home musicians that I’ve found. He’s been an invaluable resource for me.

Lastly, do you know someone who needs to hear this? Do you have a friend/coworker/family member who might be interested in recording but doesn’t think it’s possible or has no idea where to start? I’d love it if you shared this post with them. I really want to enable as many people as possible to have this experience and be able to create music that they are proud of.

Are you just starting out on this journey? Tell me about what your goals are in the comments!

 

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  • Andrew Elmore

    This is really encouraging, man. :-) I just released an electronic EP and am working on a post-rock full length using nothing but my guitars, my midi keyboard, my macbook pro, and a bunch of mics and an interface that were all loaned to me by gracious friends. Your work has always been inspiring to me on that level, proving that you can make excellent music in a bedroom, and especially now that I’m actually working on an LP, this is really helpful and encouraging. I really appreciate it, man. :)

    • http://www.andyothling.com/ Andy Othling

      That’s awesome Andrew!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jordan.taylor.94043 Jordan Taylor

    Yeah, I’m just starting, hahaha, I have an iPad and GarageBand, but as soon as I get the money I want to get a laptop, a decent tracking platform, interface, SM57, and drum tracking program…I can record all of my instruments with an SM57, but my drum set isn’t in working condition anymore. Hopefully from there I’ll be able to improve my drum set and get some better mics to record the drums with. This was encouraging man!

  • http://www.facebook.com/pete.mcjames Pete McJames

    This much is now clear to me. I’d made some pretty dang good recordings some years back with the help of professional engineers and such, but lacked the confidence to recreate the same level of quality on my own until last winter or so. I did some demos that were meant purely to get the point of some songs across to bandmates, and lo and behold, by not pressuring myself to create a masterpiece, those demos transformed in to full-fledged studio recordings that ended up being what I was trying to create all along. It seemed that when I let go of my need for perfection, the results just came with ease. You have to embrace yourself where you’re at, do what you can with the tools and skills at your disposal, and build it in to something one step at a time, giving your creation the space and time it needs to grow. It’s pretty exhilarating to see your own artistic vision come to life, and as long as one doesn’t expect a fully polished product instantaneously and is willing to embrace the artistic process, incredible things will happen.

  • Matthew

    Thaaaaaaankssss , this is really helpful and your a inspiration for me man , Thanks Again :-)

  • http://www.brendanjboyd.com/ Brendan J Boyd

    HI Andy. Thanks for great the blogs. I’m with you. I found the first step was to commit to making an album and believe that I could do it. I made some expensive decisions that I could have avoided had I have known better (or been better informed). However the learning curve I went through was well worth it. I started with a micro boss 4 track and a free editing program (wavepad) and eventually did my pre-mastering in Garageband and invested in professional mastering and cd’s.

    Set yourself the challenge to learn how to use your software and hardware better. This can avoid the problem of spending extra money buying software/hardware that you don’t need or won’t use or feeling that you constantly need to upgrade. Upgrade your skills and you will learn to use your tools more efficiently and effectively.

    Don’t underestimate your tools. I created a whole album of virtual music using Garageband that was picked up and released by a record label.

    I’ve released 3 albums and a few ep’s and what I keep coming back to is stripping things down to the basics. I now have a daw that I’m comfortable using, a mastering suite I’m learning to use, a few instruments and some software/hardware and that’s it. It’s cheaper now to make an album than it ever was and you can do it yourself in the luxury of your own home.

    It’s inspiring reading the blog and reading about the other people here producing their own music with a d-i-y attitude. Would love to see some links here so I can hear what other people are up to

    Cheers – Brendan

    http://www.brendanjboyd.com

  • Lineker – Brazil

    Thank you, Andy. Thank you very much!

  • Lineker – Brazil

    Thank you, Andy. Thank you very much!

  • Lineker – Brazil

    A few years there’ve been thinking the same as you. Not to be just a guitarist in a band (not that that’s bad), but I want to do more for the music, you know?

    Play and infect people with the sounds makes me truly excited.

    I have invested time to study enough time listening to good music (including his own) and also investing money buying some equipment for guitar.

    Few people around me understand all this time and money invested, but when we love music is like that.

    I created a project PostRock / Ambient with a friend, I hope it works and you can hear my music soon! ;)

    At the moment I have my Strat / Tele + some pedals and a Hot Rod Deluxe, and a macbook with GarageBand and a FastTrackPro. I intend to buy a Mic E609 and start making my music get far. Would you like to help me with tips on how to make the recordings. Which platform to use.

    It would be like this: Guitar> Pedals> Amp> Mic> FastTrack> Macbook (which platform?)

  • Lineker – Brazil

    A few years there’ve been thinking the same as you. Not to be just a guitarist in a band (not that that’s bad), but I want to do more for the music, you know?

    Play and infect people with the sounds makes me truly excited.

    I have invested time to study enough time listening to good music (including his own) and also investing money buying some equipment for guitar.

    Few people around me understand all this time and money invested, but when we love music is like that.

    I created a project PostRock / Ambient with a friend, I hope it works and you can hear my music soon! ;)

    At the moment I have my Strat / Tele + some pedals and a Hot Rod Deluxe, and a macbook with GarageBand and a FastTrackPro. I intend to buy a Mic E609 and start making my music get far. Would you like to help me with tips on how to make the recordings. Which platform to use.

    It would be like this: Guitar> Pedals> Amp> Mic> FastTrack> Macbook (which platform?)

  • http://www.facebook.com/SpunkyMcCallister Carlos Torres

    Home Studio Corner is also invaluable as a resource!
    http://www.youtube.com/user/HomeStudioCorner/videos?flow=grid&view=0

  • http://www.facebook.com/TheOneAndOnlyBrandonJoswick Brandon Joswick

    One thing I have always wondered is how much of a difference in sound quality is gained from recording a guitar with a mic vs. a direct input? If I purchase a mic to record with I feel like I will need to upgrade my amp as well because all I have now is a simple practice amp. Is it worth it for me to purchase a new amp and mic so that I will get a better guitar sound on my recordings? What is your opinion about recording with a direct input to a USB interface?

    • http://www.andyothling.com/ Andy Othling

      I think that recording with a mic and real amp has the potential to sound much better… but if you have limitations like a poor amp, quiet apartment, etc, you might find recording direct into an amp simulator will serve you better until you can upgrade whatever you need.

  • Rainy

    Hi Andy, I’m still in the process of buying pedals. I have an El cap, volume pedal and compressor. I’m now looking to buy a reverb pedal but I’m stuck. I was first interested in the neunaber stereo wet reverb because the el cap is also stereo. Then I came alone the mr black eterna shimmer verb pedal. I absolutely love the sound but its not stereo. If I buy the mr black eterna and run it before the el cap, will I only be able to hear it from one amp because the el cap is in stereo? Also as I use the el cap as a looper, will I be able to hear the eterna in the loops or will I just be able to hear the el cap while looping? I wish I had your email adress because I always come up with questions lol thanks and please reply back at rlalonde78@hotmail.com my name is Rainy. Thanks man! Love your stuff and thanks for all that you’ve done to inspire me.

  • Rainy

    Don’t get me wrong, I truly do love the sound of the wet reverb. How do you feel as far as reverbs being stereo? Is it a must to you? Does it make that much of a difference? I’m just wondering if it makes that much of a difference because I like the shimmer on the eterna and its cheaper too lol.

  • Ryan Miller

    I’m just starting out on this journey! My goal is to record with the least amount of things possible. In other words, the a great sound with the simplest setup possible. I got my guiar, pedals, and amp of course. I’m gonna record video through my iPhone 5 and plug in an external mic(sm-57. I bet you wouldn’t have seen that coming) using a converter. Then upload directly to YouTube. What do you think?

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