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Old 08-28-2019, 07:15 PM
thechariot1x thechariot1x is offline
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Default When to start recording?

So recently I have thought about beginning to record some of the songs I have learned. The thing is everytime I think about it I start thinking about all the imperfections I want to fix first. My dad (also a guitar player and teacher) says that if you wait till something is perfect it will never get recorded and that I should record a couple and can always record again later if I get a better grasp on it. So my question is, when do you all think you should record, when a song is (nearly) perfect, or before when you are very comfortable with the piece but maybe still think you can improve it.
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Old 08-28-2019, 07:50 PM
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When you can play it from memory, record.

I just did a CD for my wife of 12 tunes, one take only. It isn't perfect by any means, but it is ME. And whatever comes, she has that from me. I'll do another 12 vs. trying to perfect the first dozen. Remember, that you hear all the mistakes but your listeners hear < half of them.
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Old 08-28-2019, 07:51 PM
Gordon Currie Gordon Currie is offline
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I like to record before a song is 'done.' Often, hearing it as a listener will highlight what I still need to do to finish it.

I find it important to listen for both strengths and weaknesses - they are equally useful.

Because recording is another skill that develops partly through repetition - just like guitar - you need to practice it, evaluate it, and improve it.
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Old 08-28-2019, 08:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordon Currie View Post
I like to record before a song is 'done.' Often, hearing it as a listener will highlight what I still need to do to finish it.

I find it important to listen for both strengths and weaknesses - they are equally useful.

Because recording is another skill that develops partly through repetition - just like guitar - you need to practice it, evaluate it, and improve it.
This is such a great post. I use recording to work on my playing and, playing to work on my recording.

I have scratch multi-tracked parts recorded for about a dozen +/- songs now. None of the takes are going to be the “final” one most likely. But I have experienced what goes with tracking and recording well over a hundred times now using my current set up and each time, I have gained more knowledge about not only mic placement, but which type of mic to use, where to sit in my room, adding treatment to my room, etc.

I am enjoying the process.
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Old 08-28-2019, 08:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thechariot1x View Post
.........My dad (also a guitar player and teacher) says that if you wait till something is perfect it will never get recorded
That’s about the best advice one can get in regards to recording.
Just do it. Be prepared for a bit of ego bruising because the “Tape Don’t Lie”.
Just don’t be to critical at first. Look for potential rather then focusing just on the mistakes or how the groove is not perfect, Especially if you are going to record with a click track.

Once I got over the fact that I was not as good as I thought I was, recording did wonders for my playing.
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Old 08-28-2019, 08:13 PM
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I've changed around significant parts of my tunes based on what I'm hearing when I listen back to my recording.
I think it's valuable to do this as soon as you feel you are ready and pretty confident of what you're working on. As has been said, you can go at it again and then again as you hear what you're producing and want to refine tone, pace, chords, etc. to match with your goals.
Also, for a well produced recorded sound, there are techniques to learn beyond just playing well. Controlling your breathing, finger squeaks (or lack of), smooth chord changes while fretting, consistent tempo, string choice, etc. are all things you learn about while recording your music and then evaluating your results.
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Old 08-28-2019, 09:30 PM
jim1960 jim1960 is offline
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Long ago I gave up on the idea that one needs to play something perfectly in order to record. When I record anything these days, I'll record it three or four times and use those recordings to create a composite track. That allows you to take the best parts of all your takes and paste them together. The end result is a better track than I'd likely have done had I recorded the piece 20 times and committed to using one of those tracks without making a composite.

That has become my standard operating procedure for every kind of track, whether it be guitar, vocals, bass, keys... anything. To the novice, it may sound complicated but it's actually very easy to do in most DAWs today. In fact, it's been a pretty easy thing to do for at least 15-20 years.

As an example, this is a song I recorded at the end of last year. Every track was composited to some degree, and probably none more so than the sax track. The sax was played by a pro player who's toured with some big name talent. He ran though the song 4 times. Afterwards, I asked him for some specific things in a couple of places and we recorded just those passages. In all, I had about eight sax tracks. There were no bad takes. This guy was really good. I created a composite based on what phrasing I liked best.

Again, this might sound difficult but it's really not. I don't know how other DAWs handle it, but Pro Tools makes it very easy to audition and move the sections of a track you want to use.

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Old 08-29-2019, 06:48 AM
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Ah yes the beauty and curse of Digital.

The beauty is you can re record as many times as you like
The curse is you can record as many times as you like

OK enough philosophy:

IMO I see nothing wrong with recording as soon as you can play it through.
That way as people have mentioned you can often discover strengths and weaknesses , that are sometimes subtle enough, to not be readily recognizable when just playing live.
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Old 08-29-2019, 07:13 AM
MikeBmusic MikeBmusic is offline
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An advantage of recording a song when it is not quite 'done' is that you can then solicit opinions/critiques/suggestions on the 'work in progress'. Just like a writer cannot proofread his own work well, a songwriter has the same problem - one knows what one wants to say (or how it is supposed to sound), but that may not be clear to the listener.
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Old 08-29-2019, 06:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thechariot1x View Post
So recently I have thought about beginning to record some of the songs I have learned. The thing is everytime I think about it I start thinking about all the imperfections I want to fix first. My dad (also a guitar player and teacher) says that if you wait till something is perfect it will never get recorded and that I should record a couple and can always record again later if I get a better grasp on it. So my question is, when do you all think you should record, when a song is (nearly) perfect, or before when you are very comfortable with the piece but maybe still think you can improve it.
Hi tc1

My first portable recorder cost about $5 at the local drug store, and it was a small reel-to-reel (3" reels) and powered by 2 "D" batteries, and had a switchable post clamp which recorded at 3˝ inches or 7 inches a second (your choice). It had a one inch speaker, no headphone output, and a $.50 cent microphone.

I started recording everything I could. When I heard myself play my instruments, I knew immediately what to work on, and I've never looked back.

I will record song ideas, musical thoughts, fragments, incomplete arrangements etc just to preserve them. I will record songs of me playing and put them away for a week or two then play them to see if they are sound, or need more work.

I don't think there has to be an "NOW I'm finally ready to record for posterity..." moment.



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Old 08-29-2019, 07:53 PM
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I use recording as a goal and as a learning tool. I'll work on something and when I get it to a point I will record it. If it sounds like junk I'll just keep practicing it, making mental notes of the worst parts. Then I'll record it again at a later date. I can't memorize that much anymore so I will just read from notation. I think recording and listening to yourself play is one of the best learning tools out there. Its hard to get honest feedback from others around you sometimes. When you play back your recording, you can compare to the original artist (if its a cover) and see how you measure up.

Recording and playback isn't just for technique either. You can write something and think it sounds good, and then when you play it back then sit and really listen to the piece, it can be an eye opener.

I will also do as Jim does. Do multiple recordings of each section of a tune and then piece the best parts together. I'll try to figure out the longest sections I think I can get recorded before the dog barks,
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Old 09-02-2019, 10:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thechariot1x View Post
So recently I have thought about beginning to record some of the songs I have learned. The thing is everytime I think about it I start thinking about all the imperfections I want to fix first. My dad (also a guitar player and teacher) says that if you wait till something is perfect it will never get recorded and that I should record a couple and can always record again later if I get a better grasp on it. So my question is, when do you all think you should record, when a song is (nearly) perfect, or before when you are very comfortable with the piece but maybe still think you can improve it.
I tend to work on a piece until it's 95% where I think I can get it to - and then record it. With the inevitable mistakes that recording causes me, I am not often 100% satisfied but usually happy enough to share it / post it.

The only time I have worked a piece to a level that was as good as I could get it, took me a lot longer, and I was honestly fed up of hearing it (I was also dreaming it by this point) by the time I recorded it.

I do sometimes come back to a piece some months after having recorded it initially and it is usually better second time.
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