Accordion Recording: Darran Walster

I was extremely excited to record Darran Walster on the 26th April as I really felt the accordion would provide an extra dimension to my songs. Darran brought his son along who was able to take some great pictures for us. I had arrived at the studio early to set up the microphones and after reading up on the accordion I discovered that the sound is produced from the bellows so I set up two AKG 414’s to capture this sound in stereo. The session ran in very much the same way as the violin session did and this time, everything was in key! Before we started I managed to get Darran to sign my musician waiver form.


After setting up I put on a pair of headphones and monitored the sound from each microphone moving them around appropriately to get the best sound whilst ensuring they both remained a similar distance away from the instrument to reduce phase. After doing so I checked the phase invert button on the desk and there were no such issues.


We began with Mason-Dixon Line and I started by showing Darran the track as it sounded so far. He had already played and rehearsed with the demo version but this helped refresh his memory.


After a few run throughs in the control room I described specific parts I liked and subtle chord changes that would be nice. We were ready to record.


Darran did a great job of Mason-Dixon Line and I was extremely pleased with how the recording went. The accordion shall only really be used as another texture for the song so we had it covered in just a few takes.


We then moved on to the more difficult Wind In Our Sails.


We spent a lot of time running through the chord changes, specifically in the breakdown as this was the most challenging area.


To Darrans credit he was able to pick up on the changes very quickly and I was extremely impressed as some of the chords were extremely complicated. So much so I had to research the exact names of them before the session!


After these run throughs we were able to record a few great takes which provided more than enough music for me to edit and mould into the track. As stated on a previous post the track would include inflexions of many different instruments so to have the freedom to automate the accordion in and out of the mix was great.


I set the chords up for Darran to easily read as he was playing.


It was a really enjoyable productive session and I was pleased Darran could be a part of it. I think I also managed to teach his son a few things about the studio so I really enjoyed the fact I could pass on my knowledge as well as learning at the same time.

Here is the recording sheet for this session:


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