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After finishing up Acoustic Hymns Vol. 2, I messed around with Be Thou My Vision (played it through 10 different grand pianos – see: Grand Piano Shootout – Be Thou My Vision on SoundCloud) .

I also did a tad more research on subtle EQ adjustments on the Yamaha CP88 “Hamburg” (Steinway) preset grand piano and determined a 1.0 dB push of the bass and a -1.0 dB reduction in the mids gives it basically the sound I’m looking for. You can see my overall settings for EQ, Relab (reverb) and Compression (Vintage VCA in Logic Pro on MacOS) in the screenshot at the bottom of this page.

This album is a little more upbeat and dare I say, “happier” than perhaps Emmanuel or Acoustic Hymns Vol. 2. There are reasons for that. Partly it was the particular hymns I chose, partly it was just the flow of life. I’ll tell you this: I experienced a LOT of joy hammering through “All Things Bright and Beautiful”, “Morning Has Broken” and many of the others. Neat tunes and I am happy with my arrangements.

Hoping this blesses you! It sure blessed me in the arranging/recording process.

Oh…speaking of that…a quick discussion of “my process”:

  1. Determine the list of songs (by the by, I have enough hymns on a list on my phone for: Vol. 4, 5, 6, and 7…please pray for that…let’s get them done).
  2. Start going through each song individually and, beginning with the simple arrangement in the hymn book (I use two different hymn books just for grins), begin to practice/develop MY arrangement.
  3. After playing a given hymn probably 30-50 times (seriously!), I then usually have the overall arrangement nailed down to specific notes, “feel”, and overall song structure (how many times through, will we play in the upper register at all, will there be a key change, how do we intro the song, how do we end the song).
  4. I then usually spent about 2 to 5 hours for each song during the recording process to get the recording EXACTLY how I want it.
  5. Then once the album begins taking shape (after the first 5 tracks or so are done), I begin to obsessively listen to it (probably 3-5 times per day) via:
    • SoundCloud playlist usually on my iPhone or iPad or MacBook pro – always through my studio in-ears.
    • Burn a CD (yes, I still use CDs!!) and listen to it in the car while going about bidness throughout the day…
    • As I listen, I’m looking for:
      • Consistency in volume levels/energy across tracks.
        • I changed three tracks by subtly adjusting their overall mastered volume.
      • Track Order (interestingly, I never changed the track order once I started recording them in the order I had laid out at the beginning of the project…make of that what you will…).
      • Anything GLARING that I should fix (nope…I never fixed a single note or phrase).

Things I would do differently (but I won’t because I don’t have time and I want to get to the next album):

  1. I sort of wished I had spent a tad more time on “Balm in Gilead” (Track 10). This is a tough song to arrange well because it’s an old “spiritual” that is very simple, chord-structure-wise. Thus, you can’t do a lot of gymnastics without altering the overall “gist” of the tune. That said, I’m pretty sure I’m missing 6th notes (the note: D, specifically, which in an F triad, is the 6th) in certain areas that I THOUGHT I was going to include it. Also, it feels almost TOO slow (I know…it’s already SUUUUUUPER SLOOOOOOW). In my defense, I purposefully left this track for the last track because it is very contemplative and I purposely recorded it glacially slow because I want the listener to REALLY contemplate that yes, Virginia, there is a “balm” (not BOMB…eek!) in Gilead and that “balm” is Jesus and you need Him (especially now in these crazy end time daze).
  2. Perhaps “Nearer My God to Thee” could have been pared down. It’s over 7 minutes long…but again, it’s meant to be contemplative, so hopefully it’s okay.
  3. Finally: I’m noticing a continuing trend of playing major 2nds too much, perhaps too much use of typical transitions to get from the I chord to the IV chord, little annoying things like that. But the average listener might not even notice those things (but other piano players WILL notice those things…heh heh).
  4. That said, I will go to my grave absolutely LOVING the little turnaround on “I Need Thee Every Hour”. LOVE THAT! Sigh…

Logic Pro X settings (click to enlarge):