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Guitar Lessons with Chris McIntyre 2017/2018


Hello friends, I hope you’ve all had a great summer! It has been a busy one for me with lots of gigging and recording to keep me busy. It is that time of year where people are looking for activities to keep them busy during the school season, and I am again accepting new guitar students. I have quite a few returning students and will have some slots for newcomers available. Though I suspect my schedule will fill up quickly so don’t miss out if you are looking for a teacher.

For this blog post I wanted to share a recent photo of a student of mine doing some recording here at the studio. Sean came to me as a beginner guitarist, and over the last year or so has really blossomed as a player. In a short amount of time he has gone from knowing a few chords to being able to read music on the guitar, learn songs by ear and tab, and play acoustic and electric guitar in a variety of styles. I’m sure his piano and choir background helped with the reading aspect, yet guitar can be a challenging instrument when it comes to reading music. Sean is currently working on an EP with his brother James here at the studio. It’s very cool to see a student grow musically from being a beginner to being a player capable of recording original music in the studio! I hope to get the chance to record more students of mine in the future.

So if you are a beginner, or someone who plays already and just wants to expand their knowledge and abilities feel free to get in touch. All details about lessons with me are available here.
I look forward to hearing from you!

Cheers,
Chris.

Latest Single, “One Chance In A MillIon”

Happy New Year Friends,

Now that the hectic holiday season is over, I’d like to release my latest song, “One Chance In A Million.” It was actually recorded last spring, and Cam Belseth of Dark Mass Productions, shot some video footage for us shortly after it was recorded, which I edited together later. The song is a duet that features my partner, Lenie. After we met I realized she had a very nice singing voice, and she had told me she had always wanted to perform.  Creating a duet for us to sing together was a fun project for us to work on, and a way to introduce her to the world of the studio. It is available for download on iTunes here, and the video is here in this post on youtube. We had fun working together on this project, I hope you enjoy. Thanks to Cam Belseth of Dark Mass Productions for his video skills.

 

Season’s Greetings and Thank You!

Season’s Greetings!  Thank you to all my students, studio clients, venues, bands, and directors who have supported me over the past year. I’ve worked on lots of really cool projects, played with many great musicians at lots of great venues and events, and taught a bunch of hard working students this year. I look forward to serving you all in the new year, and working on even more great stuff! While growth has been slow during what has been a hard year for many economically in this region, the studio is growing, and my client list, student list, and musical network continue to grow. I am excited about the future in music/audio. It is not a career for the faint of heart, but when projects come to completion, or a great show is wrapped, or a student can now play something that before seemed impossible, it is all worth it. I look forward to continue helping other creatives pursue their passions and projects, while pushing forth with my own. So if you have a music or film project, but have been putting it off for one reason or another, come see me in the new year and lets make it happen! Maybe you’ve been wanting to pick up that guitar that has been collecting dust for years and finally learn to play it…January is a perfect time to come see me, I’ll have some lesson slots available. I’m also currently taking bookings for events as a soloist, duo, or trio, and as a freelancer for hire in 2017 so give me a shout! Happy Holidays everyone, enjoy a little down time to recharge those creative batteries!

Chris McIntyre.

 

New Single “My Little Ones” by Chris McIntyre

Hello Friends,
So this months single is here! “My Little Ones” is written for my three kids, Ava, Harper, and Summer. As any parent will tell you, time flies and they grow so fast. It’s a simple, honest song from a Dad to his kids, and I hope when they grow up, they can listen to this song and it will remind them of our time together when they were little. For the release I’ve made a simple video from candid video footage over the last year, which my 2 younger ones really enjoy watching. My youngest gets very excited every time she hears the song, and it makes a pretty good lullabye to sooth her to sleep. My Little Ones is available for purchase or streaming on iTunes, apple music, spotify, cdbaby, and other digital outlets. The video is available here on youtube. Enjoy!

Chris.

New Single “This Old Friend” by Chris McIntyre

Hello Friends,

I’m happy to announce the release of my new single titled, “This Old Friend.” It is the first single in a series of monthly releases I’m planning to do. The song is an upbeat tune with a bluesy feel featuring slide guitar. The inspiration behind the song came from thinking about how music has been a big part of my life for so long. I started playing guitar around age nine, and music has been a part of my life since then. I’ve always found that picking up the guitar and playing, or creating something in the studio can make time evaporate and take my mind off whatever might be troubling me at any given time. Through good times and hard times, music is a constant companion that is always there. Though it may sound cliche, like many other musicians, I often have an easier time expressing thoughts and emotions through music than any other means. Life is a lot like music, at times we simply make it up as we go along, improvising our way through the years. The great thing about music is that most people can continue to make it until late in their lives. For me, I hope that is the case, and I hope I have many more stories to write about in song. While making a living and supporting a family as a musician can be a challenge at times, I am thankful that so far in my life I have been able to continue to pursue this career and pass music on to others via my performances, recordings, and through teaching others. This track is currently for sale on CDbaby, and will soon be available at all major digital outlets such as iTunes. If you like it, head on over to CD baby purchase it for 99 cents and help me keep passing on the joy of music to others!  Or if you prefer iTunes, it will be posted there soon. I’m also making the track available on my Youtube channel and my Soundcloud account, for those who may wish to stream it. I had a lot of fun creating and recording this song and I hope you enjoy it. I’d like thank Steve O’Dell for playing a great bass track on this tune!

Update: Now available on iTunes here!

Credits:

Vocals, Guitars, drums, keys – Chris McIntyre

Bass – Steve O’Dell

Engineered, mixed and mastered by Chris McIntyre.

Creating The Song “Finding A Way Not To Hurt”

Here at the studio I often get a lot of singer songwriter types who play an instrument and sing. These clients often ask me about the process involved in creating an arrangement and recording of their song. I thought why not make a post about the process involved in a recent recording made by a local artist,Trinity Potratz, here at the studio. Trinity is a songwriter who sings and plays acoustic guitar, and writes his own chord progressions, melodies and lyrics for his songs. The song he recently recorded here is titled “Finding A Way Not To Hurt.,” and will be the subject of this post.

Sometimes clients choose to make a simple voice and say guitar recording, with both parts recorded simultaneously as in a live off the floor recording, or sometimes they choose to overdub the parts if we choose to have more isolation between the guitar and vocal tracks. For “Finding A Way Not To Hurt,” Trinity came in and first laid down an acoustic guitar track to a click track to outline the basic arrangement of the song. We actually tracked guitar parts for a few songs that day since the mics were set up and ready to go. Then we had him lay a quick sketch vocal so he could take this basic recording home to practice some melody ideas. A few days later he came back and laid down a solidified vocal track.

For this tune, Trin asked me to fill out the arrangement with other instruments. Some clients choose to be part of this process. For example for a couple of Trin’s pervious tracks, he helped me create some drum and bass guitar tracks. Other clients may choose to bring in other musicians to create other parts. But for “Finding A Way Not To Hurt,” since Trin and I had worked together before on previous tunes, he trusted my judgment, and had me fill out the arrangement on my own. He didn’t give me whole lot of direction, just that he wanted drums, bass and some electric guitar, which is a pretty typical instrumentation you might find in a country act.  I had a pretty good feel for the kind of parts he liked so I went to work!

First I created a custom basic drum track in MIDI using a virtual kit. This is pretty critical as it really establishes what the groove of the song will be. I came up with a basic groove for the verse and chorus. As this was a ballad, it didn’t need to be too busy. Once the basic grooves were outlined, I added a few fills at transitional sections of the song, which is pretty typical. I started with the drums first because the kick drum pattern often establishes the groove for what the bass will play in country music.

Next I added a simple bass part that fit the drums and his previous guitar and voice recording using a Fender Precision special bass. Again since this was a ballad, the part was pretty simple, not too busy.

Next up were guitar tracks to be overdubbed. I started with some simple padding parts, basically outlining the progressions already established with a clean tone. Once that was done, I wanted to add a bit more of a country feel to the tune, so I added some steel guitar like licks using my trusty Strat with a slide. I used a slightly different tuning to accomplish this, but it sounded good so I went for it. It was really more padding, with a few fills sprinkled in for variety. Once the “steel” parts were tracked, I went back and decided to add an opening motive with the electric guitar to kick the tune off since the vocal didn’t come straight in. The motive is repeated a few times throughout the song, and helps establish that there is a lead guitar for the solo later. Next I tracked the solo. So all in all there was an electric rhythm, electric steel, and electric lead track. These were all done with a Fender Strat and a Vox AC30 through a Celestion greenback.

The tune was starting to come along nicely, but I decided I’d try a few other little things to spice up the arrangement. I added a bit of piano, playing similar chords to the acoustic, with a few nice suspended chords for a bit of flavour. I really liked the piano during the breakdown and the end of the song to bring things to a close. I also added a basic organ part doing some more padding to fill out the track. I love the modulation of a leslie cabinet spinning to give the mix a bit of motion. I used virtual instruments for these.

Finally, Trin asked me if I could add some background vocals to the track. Basically I added an upper and a lower harmony around his melody, with each part double tracked for some nice stereo width.

It’s common in ballads for a tambourine to be used on the same beat as the snare, often soaked in a good bit of reverb, so as a final touch I grabbed the tambourine and played that in.

Having done all this, Trin previewed the tracks for final approval . He could have chose to use or not use any of the parts I created. Sometimes less parts are better, but in this case he chose to keep them all! Once the parts were approved, I went on to editing, and then the final mix. Often I will edit and mix with the client present so they can see the process, and contribute, particularly to the mix. But in this case, Trin was quite busy at the time and just asked me to mix it. Once the mix was completed, he came by the studio for a preview in case we wanted to make any final tweaks to the mix. I could create a whole separate post on how the mix was created, but I digress. He was happy with the mix, so from there I did a little sweetening with some mastering processing, and then delivered the tracks electronically. Mastering is usually done in the context of an album, but for these one off projects, I like to add a little bit of polish, which can be removed and redone later in the context of an album master.

There are many ways to go about making a recording, and there are many variables involved in choosing how to proceed. In this case, Trin didn’t have a band ready to just play the tune live off the floor, so we chose to build it in overdubs. Ultimately it comes down to how one prefers to work, the tools available to them, budget etc. This workflow has worked pretty well for a number of my singer songwriter type clients, but I’m always open to new ideas and methods! So for anyone curious about the process here at my studio, this is one way we can work together. Now enjoy Trin’s tune, “Finding A Way Not To Hurt!”

Free Guitar Lesson Offer For One Student In Need In Grande Prairie

In these hard economic times, it can be hard for families to afford extracurricular activities like music lessons for their kids. Many lower income families miss out on the opportunity to have their child study one on one with a qualified, professional music teacher. I’d like to do my small part to help this situation by offering 1 free weekly 30 minute slot in my teaching schedule from September to December to one student in need. So this brings me to how shall I find and select this student? Here is where I need help. I’d like interested students between the ages of 9-14 to email me a short letter or video telling me why they want to study guitar and think they should be the one I select. Parents can help younger students with this. I really want to find someone who not only could not afford the lessons, but also someone who really desires to learn to play and is willing to make a commitment to practicing and learning. While I’d love to offer more slots, I run a small independent studio, and also have my own kids to provide for. But I’d like to help someone with this small gesture and gift of music.

Criteria: Ages 9-14, can be beginner or already have some experience, low income household, real desire to learn to play. Student will need their own guitar.

Terms: Lessons will run once weekly from September to December during a time slot that I select. Lessons are not transferable. Cancellations will not be made up or lessons carried over.

Deadline for submissions: September 5th. I will review submissions and select the student I think most suitable based on the criteria. Only the student selected will be contacted. Please include contact information, name, phone number, email, address etc. I will announce the student selected with a picture of us during their lesson on my blog.

Email submissions to chris@chrismcintyre.ca.

Music cues from the short film “Leaving Sid”

Often when composers work on short films, the music created gets shared during screenings and while the film is on the festival circuit, but then is never shared again if the film is not widely distributed or made available online. With permission from the directors of films I work on, I always try to upload the music to my soundlcoud as examples for other directors to listen to when considering me for the role of composer on their films. Of course video is even better to really show how the cues fit the picture, but the actual films are not always available online. Here are a few cues from the short film “Leaving Sid”, directed by Monty Simo. Most of the scores I work on rarely feature guitar, so it was cool that Monty was open to the idea of using it in his film. For this film we played with the idea of acoustic vs electric guitar representing a couple different locations/characters. It was nice to be able to feature the guitar as the instrument is one of my strengths, plus I enjoy recording real instruments along with the the virtual instruments that get used in many scores today. Enjoy!

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