Blue Christmas

Last week I posted a link to a video of a band I was in a few years ago, and someone asked for more “gringo music”. Got me thinking that I should put something together for the holidays for the family back home. This time of the year, I know a lot of expats are thinking about the folks back home, and we are no exception. So I decided to dust off the musical instruments and recording equipment I brought to Ecuador, and put together something for our family. So here it is, a Christmas slide show set to a version of Elvis Presley’s “Blue Christmas”.



I know, but just try to imagine if it had been recorded by someone with talent! At least everyone can agree that as a musician, I make an excellent article writer.

For those music and techno nerds, here’s the equipment that I used.

First, the instruments. The string tracks were made using a charango from Bolivia, a Hawaiian ukulele, and a Kaia Ukulele Bass, not to be confused with a bass ukulele. Here they are:

Charango, Ukulele and Uke Bass

Charango, Ukulele and Uke Bass

The song was recorded on a Korg D3200 Digital Recorder, and a Peavey PV14 Mixing Board for the (weak) vocals:

Korg D3200

Korg D3200



Peavey PV14


For the keyboard tracks, I have a Casio Privia PX-310 (doesn’t everyone?).

If you are interested in the gore-y details, and if you are still reading, I assume that you are, the procedure was roughly as follows:

  • Picked a tempo (105), and set up a click track
  • Played the bass line first. It is really the only instrument I’m moderately proficient on, so I often get that track down first. I’m more likely to complete it in one or two takes, and with less screaming and frustration
  • Recorded a rhythm guitar track with a Fender Strat
  • Recorded a lead track with same
  • Recorded a test vocal track
  • Decided to dump everything except the bass track, as it all sucked way too hard
  • Recorded the uke track to replace shit-canned guitar track
  • Had the bright idea to add some charango, used that for the lead-ins as well
  • Added the vocal track
  • Recorded the keyboard chords in the background (synth voice setting. with chorus)
  • Recorded the keyboard solo section (fantasy setting, chorused)
  • Mixed everything, decided the vocals were a scourge on the face of the earth, dumped the track
  • Re-recorded the vocal track, wept bitter tears of regret, dumped that attempt as well
  • Came back the next day, recorded the vocal track used in the final version, deciding that while you couldn’t say it totally did not suck, it at least did not suck outrageously
  • Dumped it onto iTunes on the MAC, created the movie in iMovie with Christmas photos from the last 4 years.

What could be easier? At least it keeps me off of the streets.

Merry Christmas, everybody!

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