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Creating presets for the instruments and effects that you use often can help you solidify a consistent sound, and help eliminate extra time spent changing parameters in stock presets. Personalized presets can also be helpful when tracking vocals and instruments by giving you a head start in the rough mixing process. The more confident you can be in your presets, the less you have to worry about laying down tracks that just don’t sound right.

My wife and I had moved to Nashville and were just starting the process of buying a house. We talked to several lenders to get pre-approval (my understanding was that it made the process go smoother), and every conversation went something like this.

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When saving your projects, make sure that you label them clearly so you can recall their specificities. You can also use folders to organize different projects and versions of songs. Here’s an example of how I often label my tracking projects:

At the time (six years ago), that literally meant listening to hours of music until I found the right song. The aim of the tool was quite simply to speed up the creation process and improve the quality of my playlists.

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“You can’t really beat them for that warm, saturated sound that you can only get from analogue tape. I picked up a digital version recently, an RE-3, and it’s nice for what it does but it doesn’t have the magic of the real ones. I like the crunchiness when you overload the tape and the spring reverb is really good… We’re always picking up interesting old analogue gear, but we’ve never found a tape echo that’s better than the Space Echo yet, so yes, I guess it is something of an icon.”

You can also vary the motif by lengthening or shortening the notes within it, and make it change direction by inverting it, creating its mirror image. You can add notes to extend it. And later in the song, you can even create a new motif, usually for the chorus. Contrast is the songwriter’s friend.

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(If you find yourself lost in all the music theory below, check out our free series of courses, Theory for Producers, and catch up on the fundamentals, even if you can’t read sheet music!)

All of our mentored online courses come with six weeks of 1-on-1 professional coaching and feedback on your work. It’s like having a personal trainer, but for music! Whether you’re interested in diving deep into a production-related topic like Modern and Advanced Mix Techniques, Songwriting for Producers, or Making Music in Logic Pro X, or just in working with a Soundfly Mentor directly to achieve a musical goal specific to you, we can help you get there!