Navajo Flute

I recently visited southern Arizona and bought a 6 hole Navajo Flute while there.

After playing with it for a week, I decided to oil it. The pamphlet I got with it said to oil it with olive oil or woodwind oil. I poured a small amount in and spun the flute around to coat everything.It took a bit to get everything oiled, but I did notice a difference in the sound afterwards. The lows were easier to sustain and the higher notes were more clear.

I looked around for a simple scale and there were lots of different versions that didn’t contain all the notes I was expecting. Here is my revised scale for my flute.

Low Quality Sounds Good?

As audio equipment has changed over the years, so has the ability to produce higher quality sounds. When I say higher quality, I mean less background noise (white noise), or just more realistic, or normal sounding audio. I don’t know if you’ve ever used a cheap microphone, but often they tend to make your voice fuzzy, muted, and there is a lot of extra, often unwanted noise. This Lo-Fi (low fidelity or low quality audio) sound, just like with old TV shows, video games, or T-shirts has become retro. It has become a recognizable sound that is used all over in the music world, and there are whole genres built around Lo-Fi music. Another example of lower quality sounds being used is rock with it’s distorted (extreme audio clipping) guitars. Here are two ways to incorporate lower quality sounds to actually enhance a song and not detract from it if done right.

The first is, as I mentioned, distortion on a guitar. Probably everyone who listens to music has heard a distorted guitar at some point, and equates that sound as what a normal guitar sounds like not realizing it’s an audio effect. Here is a song that I made with distorted guitar in it: On the Horizon (from my Neon Mist album). One thing to keep in mind is that it is easy to over do the distortion and drown everything else out which might not always be what you’re going for.

Another low fidelity effect is a Vinyl emulator. It just adds the crackle and pop of a vinyl record as nice background sounds. A song I made with this Lo-Fi sound is: H2O (from my Chill Zone album).

Delay Changes Atmosphere?

Now I’m sure you’re probably wondering what the difference is between echo and delay, but trust me there is a difference. Echo forms a train of delayed sounds, whereas delay gives you complete control over how much delay, and unless you use different channels it will only delays once. It really gives you a more hands on control of what happens to the sound, and there are some cool things you can do with it. Here is a dry demo that I will change later to show the effects of delay.

Dry Delay Demo Track

Here is a fun little trick using delay to change the stereo feeling of a sound. I just set one channel to have slightly higher delay than the other, and came out with this closet feeling.

Muffled Delay Demo Track

The reason why it works is because in given natural environments sound bounces back from different places, some further away, causing the audio to be more delayed. This, in a way, emulates that natural effect, and it changes the atmosphere of the sound.

Here I used a different delay effect and did the same thing with different levels of delay and came out with this tin can feeling.

Tin Can Delay Demo Track

Just from messing with differing levels of delay I found it changed the feeling of the environment many different ways, which makes sense, because different rooms and landscapes have their own unique sound delays off of different objects reflecting the audio. The delay effect is certainly one of the more versatile effects when it comes to creating an environment.

Echo Effect

I think most of us have at one point or another yelled in a large building or tunnel and heard our voice echo. This effect will add that kind of sound to your music, and if timed properly, it can greatly enhance the overall feel.

Here is a little demonstration of the echo effect. This is a little beat I made with a boring chord section.

Demo No Echo

So, the chord section is too basic. Now, I could go and repeat the notes, or change their velocity, but I just added the Guitarix echo plugin.

Demo With Echo

As you can tell, that echo really adds to the chord section. The Guitarix plugin had two inputs. One was the release time which changes how long it will repeat for. The other input was the time which just changes how fast or how slow it echos. With just a little playing around you can get your instruments echoing in no time.

Chorus Effect

Another key effect that is used in many different types of music is chorus. Chorus takes the main signal and changes the pitch up or down to create a fuller, shimmery sound, kind of like playing a single note versus a whole chord. You could create multiple tracks with different pitches, but chorus effects are built to properly mix the sounds so nothing sounds off key.

Chances are that any of those shimmery guitar songs you have heard had some chorus in there. This effect tied with some reverb and a flanger produces that classic guitar vibe.

Here are two little bits of guitar I recorded. I added plate reverb to both, but the first has no chorus. Try to see if you can tell the difference.

Guitar Snippet With No Chorus

Here is the same track with reverb, only some chorus was added to make it complete.

Guitar Snippet With Chorus