Guest Blogger: Dot Bustelo, author of The Power in Logic Pro (April 2012, Hal Leonard Books)
When Hal Leonard asked me to write a book on Logic, I thought about two issues that users have brought to me over and over: “So, how do I learn Logic,” and, “Dot, I feel like I’m only using 10 percent of the program. I know there’s so much more I can do with Logic!” After agreeing to write the book, I set about channeling the method of introducing Logic that I developed during my years on Apple’s worldwide Logic team and previously at Emagic. I had the privilege of demonstrating to world-class musicians, hit producers, and engineers from all over the world at countless recording studios, tradeshows, and music stores, all the while on my own humble path to produce music and become “One with Logic.”
The truth is, at one point I had to take the time to learn Logic too, so I really do get it when people feel overwhelmed. Digital technology is making music production accessible so everyone, including myself, can have a “professional” studio. But for most people it remains a tease. There’s no assurance of really knowing what to do with it. I’m quite proud of the music I produce and license as Perfect Project, and I have become a master of the software, but I’m not going to lie, it’s been a time-intensive endeavor. There’s that major hump at the beginning and then you have to make the effort to continue actively learning. Over time, the learning process becomes much easier and very satisfying—knowledge of a new feature can be as thrilling as a new piece of gear.
The best advice I have for becoming “one” with Logic is to treat it like an instrument. The commitment required to get good is no different than the commitment you make to get good at playing the piano or the guitar. You have to learn the language of the instrument, and you have to practice. Give yourself focused time to learn your new instrument—time that is in addition to the time you plan to write in Logic. Take the pressure off yourself. You don’t have to create a masterpiece each time you launch the app. You don’t even have to feel inspired when you boot it up. You just need to practice and learns something new.
Just start shopping for sounds in the vast collection of instruments, plug-in settings, channel strip settings, and Apple Loops. Begin saving your own custom channel strip settings with the Logic or third party instruments, and Logic will start to become your own personal instrument. Build your own mega EXS24 sample library and learn how to save your drum samples right inside your Logic project. I guarantee this will be the most stable and CPU-efficient sampler you ever use. And you’ll develop your own unique sound inside Logic. Back up your Logic Application Support home folder, select all of the inner checkboxes in your Logic project folders, then you can carry your Logic sounds everywhere and load them into any Logic studio.
What do I mean to learn the language of Logic? When I was learning Logic, I got the advice from more senior Emagic colleagues to print out the Key Commands and hang them in my bathroom. I didn’t exactly do that, but I did carry them around with me. I printed them out using a trick in the Key Commands window under Options, “Copy Key Commands to Clipboard,” then dropped them into Microsoft Word. Bam! They were ready to print. Warning: Be sure to limit the view to Used Key Commands in the Show menu, or else you’ll be printing fifty pages.
No, I never learned every key command, but I do have a “hot list” of my favorite thirty key commands that I share in the book. Study these, cross-reference any unfamiliar terminology in the Help files, and then make your own set of power key commands that support your unique workflow. This will set you on the path to becoming one with Logic.
When you set out to learn the language of Logic, you’ll discover quirky Logic-centric vocabulary terms, such as the Transform window and the Hyper Editor. Other Logic terms such as the Marquee Tool and the Inspector are universally shared with other applications within and outside the Apple universe. By the way, if you’re not using the Marquee Tool for editing in Logic, you are wasting A LOT of time.
Here are a few essential Logic terms. When these are your best friends, you will be on your way to realizing Logic’s potential.
- Channel Strip Settings: Explore the ones from the factory and create A LOT of your own.
- The Marquee Tool: There’s at least a dozen critical editing and navigation techniques using this tool.
- The Transform Editor: Absolutely brilliant MIDI editing. The best “retro Logic” tricks ever.
- Groove Templates: Young Guru swears by these. Enough said.
- Control-Option Zooming: The backbone of old school Logic navigation.
- Command-Click Tool Assignment: Essential. My personal choice is the Marquee Tool.
The more you tune in to the vocabulary, the easier it is to address a problem within the Help files or while Googling online a solution. I’m honored to feature two prominent Logic users in the book: Jay Z’s engineer, Young Guru, and Mat Mitchell, whose credits include Tool, NIN, and Katy Perry. They share their favorite techniques for making music groove better in Logic. Both, coincidentally, say they learned Logic by reading the manual.
Just remember Logic is your instrument. Allow yourself the time to practice and learn it, then follow your own rules. It’s a path of musical knowledge that I hope will inspire you as much as it has inspired me.
The Power in Logic Pro (Quick Pro Guides series)
Dot Bustelo’s signature approach to teaching Logic will get you up and running quickly. Once you’re started, she’ll help you move beyond the basics to discover a professional-level Logic workflow, taught through highly musical examples that expose Logic’s essential features and powerful production tools. You’ll find many of the tips, tricks, and insider techniques that powered Logic to its industry-leading status as the best tool for unleashing creativity in songwriting, composing, making beats, and remixing.
Dot Bustelo is an internationally recognized Logic consultant, lecturer, producer, and New York-based music industry marketing specialist.