Recording and Production Tutorial

Producing Modern Country

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21 Videos | Length: 4hr 37min 18sec
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Getting Started

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    Tutorial 1

    Introduction

    4:19

    DrFord welcomes you and lets you know what to expect from the series. The final mastered product is showcased.

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    Tutorial 2

    Overview

    15:42

    This video runs down the contents of the finished product and details audio / visual setup and preferences to maximize your workflow and productivity.

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    Tutorial 3

    Setting Up the Song

    10:48

    Starting with an empty session, a pre-recorded 'scratch guitar' is used to place markers and set our arrangement. The session is then prepared for multi-track recording live drums (off-camera).

Multi-Track Drum Editing and Mixing

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    Tutorial 4

    Editing Drums

    19:17

    Learn DrFord's method for 'quantizing' multi-tracked drums to the grid without loosing feel or creating 'out of phase' problems.

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    Tutorial 5

    Mixing Drums Pt. 1

    17:06

    DrFord shows you the importance of the 80hz high-pass filter, talks about the basics of compression and types of compressors, and begins the mixing process for the live drums on kick, snare, and live claps.

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    Tutorial 6

    Mixing Drums Pt. 2

    12:44

    DrFord mixes the hi-hat, stereo overhead mic’s and toms. Two special reverbs are set up just for the drums.

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    Tutorial 7

    Mixing Drums Pt. 3

    7:07

    Bus compression is added to the live drum group, several effects are 'printed' with bus routing to save processor power, and our drum section is visually 'cleaned up' in preparation for recording bass guitar.

Instruments

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    Tutorial 8

    Bass Guitar

    15:30

    DrFord edits, and mixes the direct input (D.I.) bass guitar.

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    Tutorial 9

    Rhythm Guitar

    11:36

    DrFord edits and mixes the multi-tracked Les Paul Custom electric guitar through a Genz Benz Black Pearl amplifier, playing the backing riff and chorus parts.

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    Tutorial 10

    Lead Guitar

    18:31

    DrFord edits and mixes the multi-tracked G&L semi-hollow Telecaster Electric guitar through a Genz Benz Black Pearl amplifier, playing the stage rhythm and lead guitar parts.

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    Tutorial 11

    Organ & Fiddle

    13:28

    DrFord records and mixes the genre specific 'Country' instruments.

Vocals

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    Tutorial 12

    Vocal Tracking & Theory

    12:29

    DrFord reveals the secrets to professional sounding vocals by divulging the custom 'Expanded Country Scale', and gives a brief introduction to the 'Nashville Number System'.

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    Tutorial 13

    S.T.E.P. (Tuning)

    12:08

    Using the 'Expanded Country Scale' and Melodyne Editor, vocals are properly tuned to maintain Country performance bends, flips, and vocal tricks without 'Auto-Tune' like sound artifacts.

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    Tutorial 14

    S.T.E.P. (Vocal Editing)

    7:32

    Post-tuned vocals are now timing adjusted for feel, and sections are composited together to create the best possible total performance.

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    Tutorial 15

    S.T.E.P. (Sibilance & Plosives)

    9:05

    DrFord shows you how to properly remove harsh 'S' sounds (De-Essing), and hard 'P' sounds (Plosives) by hand with gain and EQ plug-ins. No expensive third party plug-ins needed.

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    Tutorial 16

    Lead Vocal Mixing

    17:03

    Lead vocal is properly mixed to control volume changes, compression is applied in series, and the Waves 'Vocal Rider' plug-in is used.

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    Tutorial 17

    BGV Vocal Mixing

    15:24

    Background vocals (BGV’s) are recorded, edited using the S.T.E.P. system, and mixed to create 'lift' and harmony.

Final Mix, Master and Delivery

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    Tutorial 18

    Volume Automation Pt. 1

    15:40

    DrFord shows you the basics of recording automation, and begins writing volume changes to the guitar and vocal sections.

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    Tutorial 19

    Volume Automation Pt. 2

    15:03

    Off-camera volume automation work is shown and the mixing phase is completed. Preparations for the mastering phase are also made.

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    Tutorial 20

    Mastering Pt. 1

    14:38

    DrFord’s mentor, Grammy nominated engineer Derek Jones, is invited to help master the track where his choices are explained and demonstrated.

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    Tutorial 21

    Mastering Pt. 2

    12:08

    The second half of the mastering processors are explained. The series of EQ’s, compressors, and parallel compression adds volume, punch and excitement to the final mastered project.

Want to learn how to produce the radio-quality modern country music heard on today's airwaves? After watching this awesome series by DrFord, you'll know how to get that huge, kickin' sound out of your county productions. Also, you can apply what's shown to any genre of rock, so don't think this series is for country folk only.

Nashville and Los Angeles producer DrFord takes you step by step through the series starting with showcasing the Hannah Anders Band's final mix of their rockin' track "Turn It Up". DrFord then breaks it all down from the beginning showing you how he arrived at that mix, covering topics such as session setup, multi-track drum editing, drum sub-mixes, bass, guitar, organ and fiddle editing and mixing, vocal tracking and scale theory, the S.T.E.P. vocal system, Final Mix, Master and delivery and much, much more.

If you're ready to get serious about your Country or Rock productions, this collection of videos paves the way. Learn the secrets to creating those big, radio-ready mixes now... Get "Modern Country Production" today.

Marc A.
Submitted 4 months ago

Hard to Review: Nuggets and Pebbles ...

I have seen other tutorials by this presenter and I am personally uneasy with his "I am the guru, you have to adore me"-attitude that he is showing in this (old) video as well. Your mileage may vary and maybe you are a fan, so I apologize for any doubts I may have.
The series begins with the presenter telling his audience that the tool he is going to use it absolutely not up to the job. Odd? Well, it seems that he believes in "industry standards are to be used, even if they are bad, fail you and make your work harder than necessary". I have dumped quite a lot of "industry standard" software tools because of their bad programming, lack of stability/performance, bad Q.A. and have never looked back. There are alternatives - starting a tutorial by telling you that the tool is known to fail is ... weird.
The presenter builds up the production the "standard way", starting with a sketch, creating a drum track, bass, guitars, vocals. This is fine and easy to follow along if you have got some basic understanding of how your tools work.
However, the presenter seems constantly unfocused. I consider it a didactic misconception to just open a ready-made project and explain "what you've done". People can learn more if you build something from scratch (which he claims he's doing, but in fact, he is only redoing some of the steps he did before, he is not EXPLORING the project but blindly repeating. That's where he's losing focus!). He is making minor, unimportant mistakes that probably irritate the beginner without ever going back and correcting himself. He repeats marketing claims by software vendors without thinking about what he's repeating (example: his beloved 10 microseconds on 44.1kHz sampling is HALF a sample. Telling the audience that this is "the fastest attack you can get" is just missing the point, since these 10 microseconds just have no meaning on the frequency he is sampling at - he's often confusing digital workflows with analogue workflows, where I am absolutely certain he knows EXACTLY what he is talking about, but chooses to ignore it because he doesn't take his audience seriously).
He ends more than every second sentence by "right?" or "OK?", starts with "I want you to do this ...", as if he's speaking to school kids, which I find highly disturbing.
Yes, I am bragging about the tutor, not the content - that is because TEACHING is an art, just like producing is. If the teaching style gets in the way of getting the content across, something's wrong.
The content IS GOOD. I can recommend watching this - and other videos by the same tutor - for the knowledge (despite the lack of focus), if you can get around his know-it-all-attitude.
That is why I find it hard to review this course. I am getting old. My skin is getting thinner when it comes to being treated like I am stupid.
(I am giving lower ratings on the viewing quality because the videos only show a very small part of an actual screen - partially due to the age of the videos, obviously.)

I am a: Semi-Pro, Professional, Musician, Audio Engineer, Sound Designer, Sound for Film/TV, Studio One, Samplitude

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Dingo
Submitted 8 months ago

Great Job

This Section On Country Music Helped Me Immensely, I Cannot Thank Them Enough.

I am a: Semi-Pro, Musician, Audio Engineer, Studio One

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NationProductions
Submitted 9 months ago

Awesome video! Really helpful

Explaining everything in detail has really improved my mixing!

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driedger68
Submitted 1 year ago

Finally A Country Mix Tutorial!

No Complaints. It's a little old but ideas still apply.Very thoughtful delivery and I picked up a ton of Protools tips. I think anyone looking to learn about Country Mixing will enjoy. I especially liked the theory on Vocals and tuning. Thx Doc..

I am a: Semi-Pro, Producer, Audio Engineer, Musician

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PhilStuttard
Submitted 1 year ago

Some really Interesting Ideas and applications.

This video gives some great insight into modern production. I really enjoyed the series.

I am a: Producer, Professional

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reginald123
Submitted 2 years ago

Good content with a spattering of errors

The general content and stuff that is presented is good. He has plenty of good tips and techniques that are applicable to many styles. He tends to make mistakes quite often like mistaking a tom hit for a snare hit, missing some cross fades, 3dB at 4Hz to a high pass filtered high hat? Generally good but some of the technical things he says just don't make sense.

I am a: Hobbyist

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1. When did you start dabbling in music?

I vividly remember the beginning of the 4th grade, being asked if any students were interested in learning music. Without a pause I volunteered. At the time, and I can't tell you why, I asked if I could play Bass. At this point in music education, this specifically meant Concert or Upright Bass. I was measured, tested for Rhythm and Pitch, and given the OK. I was so excited that I ran home that day and told one of my sister's what I had done. If you knew my sister Jessica, it wouldn't surprise you that her response to me was, "You don't want to play the Bass, you want to play the Drums." Jessica has actually always wanted to be a Drummer, but in the late 70's, girls played instruments like the Flute. So she decided if she couldn't do what she wanted, I would do what she wanted. 20 plus years later, I am just glad that I had encouragement to and the opportunity to study music in school regardless of what instrument. In my Senior year of High School I sat first chair in the Jazz Band, played Timpani in the Orchestra, in secured the lead role in the school's musical theatre production of "Anything Goes." Along the way, as most young groups of friends do, I picked up the Acoustic Guitar so that I could strum with my friends outside the local coffee house and on the beach. I studied Classical Guitar Community College, and knew that music and education was both my passion and my career to be. I continued my music education at Musician's Institute in Hollywood, and earned a Degree from their Keyboard program. While there I also completed their 6 month Recording Engineer program, "R.I.T." I look back on my time at M.I. as some of the best times in my life, and I wish I could start my studies all over again.

2. What training have you had?

Most real studio training is done under a mentor, on the job. I was lucky enough to find two. Ronnie King is a famous Los Angeles session player, and his studio keys can be heard on albums from Tupac Shakur to The Offspring. What was great about working with Ronnie was his ability to switch genres on the fly, whether he was producing Punk Rock or Pop ballads. He is very talented, and taught me a great deal about instrumentation and arranging. Ronnie introduced me to my first real Engineer mentor, Robi Banjeri. Robi is a fantastic engineer who I worked with and trained under at "The Mint." "The Mint" is a famous live music venue in Los Angeles, but what most people don't know is that it has an amazing vintage recording studio hidden behind the stage. In fact, the equipment housed in that studio was purchased from Daniel Lanois (U2). I would attend M.I. during the morning and daytime hours, and then head to "The Mint" and study with Robi for a few hours. Robi would leave around 7pm, and I would work with clients until usually 2am producing and engineering. Even now, I remain great friends with Ronnie and Robi, and I have even picked up a new mentor and friend in Derek Jones (Megatrax,) who truly deserves the name Engineer. Every time we talk he teaches me new things about electrical engineering and mixing. Generally I feel honored these great engineers and producers feel like keeping me around.

3. When did you get into recording?

My first foray into recording was during the late 90's. Growing up in San Francisco during the 90's, House music and Techno was emerging and Raves were "the thing to do." Naturally I was transfixed the first time I watched a DJ spin Vinyl and complete captivate the crowd. I decided I would DJ, saved up money from my job at a local Burrito joint, and bought my first real piece of Audio equipment, two Technic 1200 turntables and a Gemini mixer. My bedroom was beginning to look more like a band rehearsal room than a place to sleep, and that suited me just fine. At that time, if as a DJ you made your own Vinyl records, it was really an accomplishment. So I asked other DJ friends of mine, and was recommended to a local Producer / Engineer named Bill Williams. Bill was sort of a Bay Area legacy, as he had his hand in creating early SF dance music. I bought studio time, and began my studio journey as a DJ / Artist. After a year of weekly sessions with Bill, I decided to buy a Pro Tools mBox1 and a Mac computer. Not long after I moved to Los Angeles and attended Musician's Institute.

4. People you have worked with/for?

I have been very lucky in the studio world, and have had the opportunity to work with some amazing artists, engineers and producers. At Studio Atlantis, I was able to assist Ronnie King on Tupac Shakur remixes and "new originals" by Johnny J, assisted sessions with 3LW, and was generally very lucky to experience working in a true "million dollar studio," which nowadays are rare. Studio Atlantis was recently purchased by "Rodney Jerkins" and is now his personal studio. After that I had the opportunity to work with the incredible Hip Hop producer Dj Battlecat, know for taking west coast funk, and morphing it into the music that created the Crypt walk. It was incredible to watch him work an MPC. Nothing was quantized ever, and he radiated an aura of cool. Just by being in the room with him you felt cooler by association. He critiqued my beat making, gave me tips, and even leant me the use his famous silver faced MPC 3000 customized by Bruce Forat. Since then I have had the opportunity to travel the united states working in studios, and playing live shows in several genres, from Country music in Nashville, to Pop Rock in Florida, and now back on the west coast I recently had the opportunity to engineer a session with Robben Ford, Jimmy Haslip, Gary Novak, and Mike Landau. Watching these professionals work is nothing short of amazing. I have also had the opportunity to work with some fantastic local talent, both in Los Angeles and every city I venture to. The best music doesn't always come from the Pro's, and the best learning experiences are the ones where you have time to make mistakes, fix them, and move forward. Up and coming artist sessions are just as important as pro sessions.

5. Why are you so good at training people?

Music has always been a staple of my life. It has been the driving force that brought me to my biggest life decisions, achievements and disappointments. Without music I wouldn't be a shadow of who I am today. For me it all goes back to the 4th grade, when I raised my hand to join the band. Being able to give others the opportunity to learn, is something I don't take lightly. Music has a huge impact on people's lives. It's proven that children who study music have better Math and Science scores, and show advanced thinking in abstract problem solving. I enjoy teaching because I want to pass along my passion, and become the mentors that took me under their wings without any consideration of payback. They taught me because I wanted to learn, with no ulterior motives. I have heard many people use the phrase, 'Those who can't do, teach'. I think this is bogus. My challenge to every professional out there is, 'Those who can do something well, should teach'.

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    Want to learn how to produce the radio-quality modern country music heard on today's airwaves? After watching this awesome series by DrFord, you'll know how to get that huge, kickin' sound out of your county productions. Also, you can apply what's shown to any genre of rock, so don't think this series is for country folk only.

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Producing Modern Country is rated 4.4 out of 5 by 6.
Rated 3.5 out of 5 by from Hard to Review: Nuggets and Pebbles ... I have seen other tutorials by this presenter and I am personally uneasy with his "I am the guru, you have to adore me"-attitude that he is showing in this (old) video as well. Your mileage may vary and maybe you are a fan, so I apologize for any doubts I may have.
The series begins with the presenter telling his audience that the tool he is going to use it absolutely not up to the job. Odd? Well, it seems that he believes in "industry standards are to be used, even if they are bad, fail you and make your work harder than necessary". I have dumped quite a lot of "industry standard" software tools because of their bad programming, lack of stability/performance, bad Q.A. and have never looked back. There are alternatives - starting a tutorial by telling you that the tool is known to fail is ... weird.
The presenter builds up the production the "standard way", starting with a sketch, creating a drum track, bass, guitars, vocals. This is fine and easy to follow along if you have got some basic understanding of how your tools work.
However, the presenter seems constantly unfocused. I consider it a didactic misconception to just open a ready-made project and explain "what you've done". People can learn more if you build something from scratch (which he claims he's doing, but in fact, he is only redoing some of the steps he did before, he is not EXPLORING the project but blindly repeating. That's where he's losing focus!). He is making minor, unimportant mistakes that probably irritate the beginner without ever going back and correcting himself. He repeats marketing claims by software vendors without thinking about what he's repeating (example: his beloved 10 microseconds on 44.1kHz sampling is HALF a sample. Telling the audience that this is "the fastest attack you can get" is just missing the point, since these 10 microseconds just have no meaning on the frequency he is sampling at - he's often confusing digital workflows with analogue workflows, where I am absolutely certain he knows EXACTLY what he is talking about, but chooses to ignore it because he doesn't take his audience seriously).
He ends more than every second sentence by "right?" or "OK?", starts with "I want you to do this ...", as if he's speaking to school kids, which I find highly disturbing.
Yes, I am bragging about the tutor, not the content - that is because TEACHING is an art, just like producing is. If the teaching style gets in the way of getting the content across, something's wrong.
The content IS GOOD. I can recommend watching this - and other videos by the same tutor - for the knowledge (despite the lack of focus), if you can get around his know-it-all-attitude.
That is why I find it hard to review this course. I am getting old. My skin is getting thinner when it comes to being treated like I am stupid.
(I am giving lower ratings on the viewing quality because the videos only show a very small part of an actual screen - partially due to the age of the videos, obviously.)

Date published: 2017-10-31
Rated 4.5 out of 5 by from Great Job This Section On Country Music Helped Me Immensely, I Cannot Thank Them Enough.
Date published: 2017-06-17
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Awesome video! Really helpful Explaining everything in detail has really improved my mixing!
Date published: 2017-06-04
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Finally A Country Mix Tutorial! No Complaints. It's a little old but ideas still apply.Very thoughtful delivery and I picked up a ton of Protools tips. I think anyone looking to learn about Country Mixing will enjoy. I especially liked the theory on Vocals and tuning. Thx Doc..
Date published: 2016-11-20
Rated 4.0 out of 5 by from Some really Interesting Ideas and applications. This video gives some great insight into modern production. I really enjoyed the series.
Date published: 2016-11-07
Rated 3.0 out of 5 by from Good content with a spattering of errors The general content and stuff that is presented is good. He has plenty of good tips and techniques that are applicable to many styles. He tends to make mistakes quite often like mistaking a tom hit for a snare hit, missing some cross fades, 3dB at 4Hz to a high pass filtered high hat? Generally good but some of the technical things he says just don't make sense.
Date published: 2016-07-17