Magazine article Guitar Player

Tighten Up! Use Manual Quantization to Fix Pesky Timing Problems

Magazine article Guitar Player

Tighten Up! Use Manual Quantization to Fix Pesky Timing Problems

Article excerpt

I'M NOT A BIG FAN OF QUANtIZING everything to a grid--aside from genres like dance music, where metronomic timing is part of the gestalt. However, sometimes you do want super-tight timing (think Tower of Power's horn section). Some DAWs have tools that can quantize guitar parts, but that's like using an AK-47 to kill a mosquito. Manually quantizing only the notes that sound wrong is equally effective and more subtle.

FIXING NOTES THAT LAG THE BEAT

Figure 1 shows the steps involved in quantizing a note that lags behind the beat. Zoom in to see the note clearly, and then make sure snap-to-grid is off, so you can place the cursor at the lagging note's precise beginning (the yellow line in the top waveform). Split at the note's beginning, but also split where you want the attack to start, as indicated by the red line at the start of measure 2. Add a third split at the end of the note (not shown) to isolate it from the rest of the waveform.

Delete the clip between the start of the measure and the start of the note (see the middle waveform), and then slide the note to the left, so its attack lines up with the beginning of measure 2. This is the reason for the split at the note's end. Only the note should move forward in time, not the entire track. To snap the attack exactly on the beat, turn snap-to-grid back on.

This transition might produce a click, so slip-edit (extend) the beginning of the note you moved toward the left so the audio preceding the note attack crossfades with the audio at the end of the previous note. …

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