July 6, 2018

‘These Blues Now’ Album by Franki Doot

Franki Doot - These Blues Now

On the 9th of May, Franki traveled from Dorset to Big Cloud in Liverpool to start tracking for his third Album project to be produced here.

We’d previously collaborated on his albums ‘Still Runs‘ and ‘Tastes‘ and Franki was so happy with the productions, he wanted to produce another album here in a similar way.

Franki wanted to experiment with a slightly different way of working on this album. In the past, he would come in with the songs written and with concrete ideas about instrumentation, arrangement and the overall sound and feel of each track.

This time, Franki wanted to write the songs as normal, but then hand the raw tracks over to me where I would be free to add whatever instruments I felt would work for each track with no direction or input from Franki. I’d then Mix and let him hear and offer suggestions before the final Mastering.
This was all Franki’s idea and at first I thought it was a) very brave and b) unusual.

Most musicians like to micro manage the production process. I’ve been guilty of this myself when working with other producers. It’s just the way it always is.  Especially when you’re working on songs they’ve written themselves. To hand them over to a producer and basically say “Do whatever you want” is just unheard of.

I was excited by the challenge, but I have to admit I was concerned about the possibility of spending months working on the album only for the artist to ultimately say “Nah..that’s not what I had in mind at all!”
So we developed some ground rules, Franki didn’t want any input, because he wanted it to go in a different direction to what he would normally do, but I was to try and make decisions that I thought he would like going off our previous work together. He would get a final Veto if anything turned up that he hated.

I set to work adding instruments to his basic acoustic demos on May 10th and by June 22nd I was ready to share 8 rough mixes with him via the Dropbox.

Needless to say, I was a bit nervous, but thankfully Franki came back to say he loved them all and was really delighted with the results. (And Breathe…)
Franki imputed a few minor mixing tweaks here and there and a few days later I was ready to master.

By 4th July, the Masters were all done and approved by Franki and the project is (for me) now complete.

You can hear the results here and don’t forget to get in touch if you want me to work on your next project. CONTACT

All Songs written by Franki Doot ©OAM 2018
Lead vocals on all songs and acoustic guitar on ‘Don’t Give Up on Love’ – Frankie Doot
All other instruments and backing vocals – Steve Stroud.
Additional vocals on ‘These Blues’ – Sarah Jeory & Harvey Stroud.

Recorded / Produced / Mixed / Mastered – Steve Stroud at Big Cloud Productions 2018


December 18, 2017


MAJOR CHORDS is a new VST3 guitar sampler for Steinberg HALion Sonic developed by Steve Stroud at Big Cloud Productions.
It can be used in HALion Sonic either in the stand alone player or as a VSTi plug in within your DAW session. So now in Cubase, Reaper or any DAW that will load VST3’s,  you can automate real sampled guitars and basses to play any chord or note anywhere in your track.

If you’re new to Halion Sonic, the two tabs you’ll mostly need to concern yourself with are:

LOAD: Just click MAJOR CHORDS and choose a Preset. (This will load MAJOR CHORDS in Halion. Hit a key to test)

EDIT: This takes you to the Main MAJOR CHORDS screen where you can tweak all the knobs and faders. Here you’ll see that that there are 3 tabs to the MAJOR CHORDS program.

MAIN: This is the main landing page where you’ll see 3 faders, some knobs and buttons. Nearly everything in MAJOR CHORDS has a tooltip, so if you’re unsure about what something does, hovering your mouse over it usually clears things up.

The left side of the screen deals with the Electric Guitar samples, the middle the Bass Guitar Samples and the right the Acoustic Guitar samples. This doesn’t change whatever screen you’re on.

Each instrument also has it’s own volume fader, pan, mute and solo button.
The electric and acoustic guitars have a big knob near the bottom of the page which changes the sample chord type that’s played. ie: Major, Minor, Dim etc..
The bass has a similar knob, but instead of chords it just changes the pickup and tone options of the sampled note.

All these switches and knobs can be automated within your DAW, so you can easily get the guitars playing along with your own songs.
In your DAW session, just right click over any control and scroll to ‘Assign to New Automation’. You can then right click again and choose ‘Show Automation Track’. From there you can edit anything you like.

FX: This takes you to the Effects page. The faders and the mute and solo buttons are still available, but now you have access to overdrives, reverbs, amp types, chorus and delays for each individual instrument. The switch lights up yellow when an effect is activated. The knobs and switches to the right of the switch allow you to dial in as much of the effect as you want.

EQ: The third tab is the EQ page. Each instrument has it’s own designated 4 band EQ. The toggle switch at the top (underneath the mute on solo buttons) is the master EQ on/off switch for each instrument. The EQ is only active if the yellow light on this switch is on.
Underneath are 4 knobs for gain (low, low mid, high mid, high), 4 knobs for the frequency that gain applies to and a Q control.
You can bypass each individual band by pressing the smaller switch above the gain knob. Once the yellow light goes out on this smaller switch the EQ band is bypassed.



*Digital download available immediately after checkout.

*Full install and user instructions are included with the digital download.

*You can create your own custom presets by right clicking the Major Chord program in the Halion program tree and ‘Saving as’.

*Electric and Acoustic Guitar Chords available: major, minor, dim, aug, 2, 7, m7, maj7, dim7, m/maj7,  7+5, 7sus2, 7sus4, 6, m6, 9, -9, m9, m-9, maj9, sus2, sus4, add9, 5(powerchord).

*Bass note options available: 2 humbuckers, neck humbucker, bridge humbucker, 2 singlecoils, neck singlecoil, bridge singlecoil, 2 humbuckers (Tone off), neck humbucker (Tone off), bridge humbucker (Tone off), 2 singlecoils (Tone off), neck singlecoil (Tone off), bridge singlecoil (Tone off),

*Effects available (Individual instruments.):  Steinberg VST amp modeller (choice of amps), VST amp Drive, Steinberg Reverence, convolution based Reverb, Reverse Reverb, Steinberg Stereo Chorus, Steinberg Stereo Delay (choice of delays).

*EQ available: (Individual instruments.) Steinberg 4 band Studio EQ (each instrument has its own 4 band EQ with gain, freq and Q controls)

*Controls available:  (Individual instruments.) Volume, Pan, Mute, Solo.

*On your midi keyboard, C3 is where the original note/chord that was sampled for each instrument was played. Playing around the 2nd and 3rd octaves will get you realistic guitar sounds, but I’ve left the keyboard octaves wide open so you can play as high or as low as you like for experimental sounds.

*Electric Guitar: Gibson Les Paul Standard (2 humbuckers, middle position) into Kemper JN Fender 59 Bassman
*Bass Guitar: Gibson EB14 (2 humbuckers, all positions sampled) into Kemper Amp Pig Cln
*Gibson J45 Standard (AKG 414 through Golden Age PREQ-73)

*To play MAJOR CHORDS you’ll need either Steinberg Halion, Halion Sonic or Halion Sonic SE (free)

*Below is a link to get your FREE Halion Sonic SE 3 player.

Major Chords created by Steve Stroud ©2017 with Halion 6

Introductory price ONLY £25



January 7, 2015

Gibson EB14 Bass

Hi guys, Happy New Year and Happy New Guitar Day. (To me)

Just picked this new Gibson EB14 Bass up for an absolute steal. The guy selling it had bought it new only a month ago, it’s completely brand new, spotless. Neck, fret, electrics all perfect. Came with Gibson hard case and all the case candy.

Love it. It looks and sounds great. You can coil tap the humbuckers and it has a master tone control, so you can get (within reason) pretty much any bass sound you fancy.

I was using a five string Fender Jazz for recording and never really used the fifth B string all that much so the Fender just felt way too big, so I was on the hunt for a decently priced, good quality 4 string bass anyway.

One of the best things about the EB14 is the fancy locking bridge. I’ve had quite a lot of experience with high end guitars with expensive bridges before, but this is the best bridge I’ve ever used for easy locking set ups. Getting the string action just right is so smooth and so easy. It’s usually trial and error. Sounds great too.

I’m over the moon with this. New Low end for a New Year!