Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Original Tune

I’ve been dabbling with writing my own songs for a few months now. This is the first one with lyrics that I’ve felt like keeping. I was wondering if anyone was interested in turning it into a Netgrass project.

It was inspired by John Prine’s ‘Paradise’, which is obvious immediately. Lyrically it’s about my 75 minute commute home, with a bunch of references only a local would get, but hopefully it’s still general enough. Key of D, and 160 bpm here. I tried playing it at 180 and felt rushed. Butchered bits repeatedly, seemed to get worse with each take so I packed it in after about 10 attempts. … s.mp3?dl=0

I like it Jim. I had fun playing along on guitar. I’d be glad to jump in with whatever anyone else doesn’t do.
A couple comments:

  1. Your mandolin is in tune with itself, but is a little flatter than standard. With many people 100% dependent on tuners for getting decent tuning, you may end up with some issues with people not being in tune with each other. With that said, I kind of admire it when I start playing with an album and find that they tuned to each other instead of a tuner.
  2. There were a couple places where the chord progression changed a bit or was unclear (for example the A chord coming out of the last chorus started on “Guy” whereas on the previous ones it seemed to go to A on “Me”). I’m not sure if that was intentional or not. It’s great either way, but it may be helpful for people collaborating to have a lead sheet (lyrics with chord changes above each lyric line).

With all that said, most of our recordings have been very technology based. That is we record against a click track, we tune to A=440. We mix in parts with digital tools. I think it might be fun (and make a more organic mix) to just have folks start recording tracks to go along with your track and you can mix them as you wish. If you’d prefer to make a click track and record all the parts like we have on other projects, that’s great too. There’s not a right or wrong answer, it’s just however you want to proceed.

Oh yeah I totally botched the timing and chord changes in several places. And one track was my vocal and chinese mando and on a whim put a second track down with the Collings and didn’t check the tuning first. Didn’t plan out that break either, but you could have guessed that. That was one of the places I blew the timine.

After 10 takes I figured it was just a scratch track and didn’t matter too much. I do envision breaks after each verse, maybe an opening and closing break too, but didn’t leave any space on that rough cut either. Maybe I should’ve cleaned it up some more to help get a few more bites, ah well. If it happens we’d be starting over from scratch, right?

— Begin quote from "Jim_G"

If it happens we’d be starting over from scratch, right?

— End quote

However you want to go at it :smiley:

I’m happy to help however I can Jim.

I can still run private projects on kompoz if you want to put it there.

just decide how you want to go about it.

I like it. Kinda has a Steve Earl feel.

I’ll be glad to help too.


Thanks Guys! I’ve been reading through the 9LB Hammer thread to see how these things come together, and gack, it’s daunting. Especially that kompaz thing. I have no idea what it is but doesn’t sound like fun.

fiddlewood, it sounded like you had an account there for a year, which is coming to an end in a few weeks. Could we do this in time before that expires? Should I drag my feet until it does? :wink:. I can pitch in financially if needed to renew it, if it is a useful tool.

So, I’m already messing with the song again. The 3rd verse turned into a bridge with a key change, (Em,F#m x 2, Em G), change to half time in the tempo, and one extra line. It will be a few days but I’m hoping to have a newer scratch track up. As for the structure of it:


Verse 1 /Chorus
Break 1

Verse 2 /Chorus
Break 2
Break 3 (heck it can turn into an extended jam ala the Dead/Phish/Allman Bros)

Bridge / Chorus
Last break and out.

My membership will automatically renew, so no time worries.

The $ is insignificant, I’ve got it covered.

Kompoz isn’t really that bad once you find your way around a bit. I did like the older version better though; I think it was simpler to navigate.

Basically, once you get a scratch track you are satisfied with you can put it in your dropbox again.

I believe I can just download from your dropbox and upload it to kompoz as a new project.

I then send links out to the participants and that gives them access to the project.

We will have to decide who are administrators of the project. This gives the ability to accept audition tracks, and let other people in on the project. Jim would be one as it is your song, and whoever will do the mixing would be another.

Several of us can do mixing. Mike is probably a bit more equipped for it than I am depending on what you want to do to it.

I believe you have to register an account to upload tracks if I remember right…it’s been a while since we did this and I can hardly remember this morning… :unamused: I think the link messaging worked via invitations to members though kompoz also.


— Begin quote from "Jim_G"

When I do get a scratch track, most likely on Sunday, I guess I’ll do an mp3. But later on should I be using wav files?

— End quote

WAV files are better quality sound. MP3s are compressed and repeated compression causes loss in quality. With that said, first and second generation MP3s are good to my ear. I think you have to have a paid account to upload WAV files. For a scratch track, MP3s are perfectly fine (they have one advantage in that they are smaller and easier to manage).

I’m glad Fiddlewood and JW are involved. They are fine players.

Sounds good Mike. I know those wav files can get big, usually 10X larger than a vbr MP3.

I spent a little bit of time jotting down a chord chart for the song last night and found what I already suspected and you noticed right away, but this was a seriously crooked tune. I’m trying to straighten that out now. The chorus is now a nice 12 bars. My verses seem to be 8 bars. I don’t know if I’m going to leave that alone, or stretch it out to 12 as well. And haven’t even touched my new bridge yet. But I hoping to have a chart and a more even scratch track up by later Sunday afternoon.

I think crooked is ok too as long as everyone is on the same page. I look forward to hearing it.


Wow, that’s a high tech chord chart! I like it.

I’ll be glad to mix it. I will apologize in advance that it might take me a bit in turning things around. One cool thing about having a bunch of people involved is different people hear things in unique ways. If we keep all the individual tracks available anyone could pick them up and make a mix and get a totally different sound from the same tracks.

As far as not playing anything, whatever you want to do is fine. With that said, it might mean a bunch to your brown eyed girl if she had a song that you wrote, played on and sang. Again, not trying to push and whatever you want to do is fine with me.

You mentioned adding more breathing room after the bridge… that could be manipulated with the mixing if needed, but we probably want to err on the side of waiting too long so we get the ringing chord on A. In essence, it’s almost like mixing two different songs before and after the break, and we can adjust the time between the two “songs” in the mix. Coordinating coming in wouldn’t be a problem with a click to kick it back off. If you have the layout you want, I (or someone else) could make a scratch track with clicks and cues that could serve as a base for adding tracks.

I’m hoping to spend a little more time on this over the weekend, it’s been a hectic week in and out of work. I’ve been watching the kompoz tutorials and playing around with that a little. And trying to figure out how I’m going to function within this.

I have an older Zoom H4 that I’ve mostly only used to record shows and record single track mp3’s. And audacity is the only SW I’ve ever touched, and that mainly to cut parts out of longer segments. So I’m finding I have alot to learn. (My Apple Macbook died, so I’m back to using a Windows system). I think both these tools will get me through. I just need to get up to speed, before I lose everyone. A guitar track with clicks would be a good start. Is fiddlewood still following this? I can upgrade to that kompoz plus plan so we can work with wav files and start a collaboration. Or I can wait for him. Either way, doesn’t matter to me.

I’m sure Fiddlewood will check in from time to time. I used to be able to start a project, but I think that changed at some point. To get started, we can use dropbox or something similar.

Okay here’s a mando click track. I’ll need to redo it, but it’s a starting point. I decided to leave the space coming out of the bridge alone for now. … 2.wav?dl=0

I’ll try to add a vocal track tomorrow.

I’m still here Jim. Only check in time or 2 per week though.

I’ll see if I can get a project started up and get you guys an invite to it.

Invites are sent. You can both do anything I can I believe by the way I licensed it.