Introduction: In the world of music production, exploring different techniques and experimenting with instruments can bring a fresh and exciting dimension to your tracks. One such technique involves doubling parts with a clavinet, a keyboard instrument known for its funky sound. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the creative process of Mark Daniel Nelson, as he adds a touch of funkiness to a track using a clavinet and a wah pedal. Join us on this musical journey and discover how you can incorporate this trick into your own productions.
Setting the Stage: Mark Daniel Nelson, in collaboration with the renowned Chicago-based jam band Mr Blotto, embarked on a special project. Drawing from his previous experience recording live jam bands, Nelson aimed to capture the essence of a jam session by infusing reggae and groovy elements into a track. Inspired by the practice of doubling bass parts with different instruments, he sought to add a unique texture to the song.
The Clavinet and Wah Pedal: Through his research and inspiration from classic recordings, Nelson identified the combination of a clavinet and a wah pedal as a key factor in achieving the desired funky effect. He noticed how this combination enhanced the melodic aspects of the bass, making it more prominent and engaging. To recreate this effect, Nelson employed a clever technique using MIDI conversion.
The MIDI Conversion Process: Nelson’s first step was to convert the original bass audio into MIDI data. By right-clicking on the bass track and selecting “Copy Audio as MIDI,” he created a MIDI representation of the bass performance. This MIDI data was then placed onto a new instrument track, providing flexibility and control over the bass part.
Refining the Performance: Working with the converted MIDI, Nelson proceeded to edit and refine the performance. Since the clavinet has a distinct attack and faster transients compared to the bass, careful editing was required to prevent any clashes or robotic-sounding artifacts. Nelson embraced the editing process as part of the creative journey, meticulously adjusting and shaping the performance to achieve the desired effect.
Introducing the Clavinet: With the MIDI performance in place, Nelson chose the Arturia Clavinet V as his virtual instrument of choice. This software emulation not only provided the authentic clavinet sound but also allowed him to incorporate a wah pedal effect. By physically playing the wah pedal while the track played, Nelson introduced a sense of performance and humanization to the sound.
Automation and Mixing: To capture the wah pedal effect, Nelson utilized Pro Tools’ automation feature. By recording the movements of the wah pedal as he played, he ensured that the effect would be an integral part of the track. This approach added a dynamic and expressive quality, enhancing the overall groove and feel.
Balancing the Mix: During the mixing process, Nelson emphasized the importance of tasteful integration. Careful attention was paid to ensure that the clavinet did not overpower the vocals or any other essential elements of the mix. By finding the right balance and muting the clavinet during specific sections, Nelson achieved a cohesive and engaging sound.
Expanding the Possibilities: The technique showcased by Nelson is not limited to the clavinet alone. Doubling parts with other instruments, such as pianos or organs, can also create interesting textures and add a funky edge to your tracks. The creative process encourages exploration and experimentation, allowing you to infuse your own personality into the music.
Conclusion: Adding a touch of funkiness to your tracks can elevate them to new heights. Mark Daniel Nelson’s approach to doubling parts with a clavinet and a wah pedal offers a unique and exciting way to enhance your productions. By incorporating this technique and exploring various instruments, you can infuse your music with personality