Ray Charles cover- Use of piano sustain pedal

Michael4000Michael4000 STREAMING PRO Posts: 992
Hi Everyone,

As I have stated in the past, I'm doing all my recordings with piano and vocals only now, no backing tracks at all. I would like to get your opinion on these 2 recordings and compare them. The song is Ray Charles "I got a Woman" and if you listened to my post last week, the first one is the same so just listen to the first 20 seconds or so and then jump to the newer one in which I use the sustain pedal.

I was originally thinking to NOT use the pedal since there is not a drum track, to make the song more percussive. But now I'm wondering if the piano playing just sounds choppy. So which is better, in your opinion?

Original recording I posted last week, no sustain pedal:


New recording, with sustain pedal (again, vocal track is identical on each):


Thanks for any feedback! Michael

@HuduVudu @doc_ramadani @Vocality @bentk @iking @Diego @highmtn @Gaston_Jauregui @Sophia @victortang @Klaus_T @Furious_Phil @Ken Tamplin @Wigs @Maximus3000 @Jáchym @cwcw @reallydanny @SlaySomething @Rick_amateur @samw2019 @blondiewales @maximgottmer @KenfromCZ @bonvie56


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    Klaus_TKlaus_T Moderator, 2.0 PRO Posts: 2,409
    hi Michael, choppy is exactly the right word, you know I said I would change the piano preset, it is much better now. Did you press the pedal the whole time? You could probably use the choppiness as an effect in some places.

    but yeah, I like the new recording better!
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    bonvie56bonvie56 2.0 PRO, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 55
    Hey Michael,
    You're putting a lot of effort into this! The second one is improved with the sustain pedal.
    Here's a few thoughts on the arrangement, given in the spirit that it is ultimately your own artistic expression that really matters:
    This genre is heavily influenced by gospel. So the music would sound like it is being performed in a church or large hall. Therefore, adding some hall reverb to just your vocals will smooth out the whole arrangement without losing the percussive rhythm of the piano. I think plate reverb might be to harsh.
    Also, due to the gospel influence, many times you will hear (very subtly) a church organ drone underlying the music, playing and holding only the roots of the chord changes. This helps kind of 'glue' the whole arrangement together, again without losing any percussive excitement. I don't know if you have the capability to overdub some Hammond B3 or an equivalent 'churchy' instrument, but if you do it you might be surprised how an organ that can barely be heard will help homogenize an arrangement. You can sort of emulate this with the piano by using less movement in your left hand (hold the changes longer) and letting the right hand to the flying (so to speak!).
    Your vocal is nice. I live up near Canada...close enough where chopping the ends of our phrases and answering with "eh?" comes pretty naturally. Vocal coaches that I've had before Ken Tamplin have gotten after me for this, but I'm still guilty of it if I don't pay attention to completing, and maybe drawing out the end of a phrase a bit. This is something else you could experiment with. That said, I really like what you're doing. Nice tribute to Ray!
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    Michael4000Michael4000 STREAMING PRO Posts: 992
    @bonvie56 thank you Dan for taking the time to write this thoughtful response, I really appreciate it. You make some excellent points here and I'm going to try to apply some of them into my playing and singing.
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    doc_ramadanidoc_ramadani Administrator, 2.0 PRO, Facility Management Posts: 3,978
    Hi Michael, @Michael4000

    personally I think that the version with the sustain pedal is much better. It glues the song a little bit together and it doesn't sound so choppy anymore. I would definitely use this version.

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    Michael4000Michael4000 STREAMING PRO Posts: 992
    @doc_ramadani thanks! When are you going to post a song again?
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    doc_ramadanidoc_ramadani Administrator, 2.0 PRO, Facility Management Posts: 3,978
    I was working on a collab with Chris (Wigs). He is now working on the video. I am not sure when he will release it. I will tag you.
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