Warts And All EP Track-by-Track: Cascades (Instrumental)

Posted on: October 28, 2019, by :

Back around 2006 or so, I was fooling around with this old Alvarez folk-classical guitar I used to own and got the idea to write and record some instrumental demos featuring the guitar. I had been working entirely with electronics and keyboards and wanted to change things up a bit.

The first thing I came up with for this little tune was the three-note figure at the beginning. Two notes were harmonics and the third on the fretboard. It’s possible to do that third note as a harmonic up the neck as well, but I was having too much trouble hitting accurately up the neck, so I played it further down on the fretboard. I fit chords with those three notes and then messed around some until I came up with a melody to fit the chords.

To change things up a bit I came up with a key change and a contrasting section to act almost like a chorus. Other than that, the tune has a really simple form: Intro, A, A, B, Repeat intro, A, B. I laid down a rhythm guitar track without a metronome to guide me. It sounded really organic (which is to say I messed up the tempo), but I was able to work around it laying down two more tracks. I put a shaker in there to give it a little more rhythm, and then tracked the lead.

Before I mixed down I put in a little digital delay on the lead. The sound reminded me of the effect of a cascading waterfall and that’s where I got the idea to call it “Cascades.”

I don’t have that guitar anymore. I gave it to my son Alex, who still has it out in Utah. I’m thinking about getting another one though.

Please check out the Warts And All EP, which includes this track, on my Bandcamp site. (Opens in a new window/tab.)

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