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Confessions of a Studio Nightmare


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If you’re not a strong improviser, “writing on the fly” will be frustrating.

Ive said before that a lot of the frustration comes from wearing too many hats.

Spend some time composing your solo for the track. One of the best things you can do is Sing Your Solo.
Every solo and player mentioned is an example of a singable musical statement. Right?

This helps you make it melodic, forces you to take breaths (pauses- so you’re not just noodling and playing your automatic licks etc), and will give you better ideas about the form and development of the solo as a piece within your piece.

Try by stating a Simple melodic and rhythmic theme and developing it, usually in an ascending form, and save the Boodily-Doodily for when it’s been built up to.

Dont get hung up on your singing voice- that’s not the point. The point is to have melodic and musical statements.

Keep Playin’! 🤘😎

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15 hours ago, TBP said:

Usually at the start of a session, when everything was set, I'd ask them to run through the tune while I finish setting levels, and afterwards we'd do a take.  Then I'd record.  

Another favorite if time and temperaments allowed was to do one more take after a decent one was recorded.  Once the musicians knew they had a decent take down they often relaxed and played better.

That's the only thing I liked about Pro Tools creeping in everywhere back around 2000.   You could just record constantly.  The guy I worked with the most was always tracking, and it had two effects, the most obvious of which was grabbing a perfect take during what would have been just a rehearsal.   
 

The second is that I got used to be recorded. After a couple of hours, you forgot the machine was even there and it felt more just like rehearsing a part. 

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42 minutes ago, gtone said:

Recording perfection is over-rated. Just listen to old vinyl and enjoy, in all their marvelous glory all the flaws, sketchy tuning, clams, microphone bleeding, audible fly-ins, etc.

Helps make the music much more organic sounding and far less sterile IMHO. 

Organic is fine. I did "organic" at every. single. live show (and rehearsal) I've ever played in the last 38 years. :P  But in the studio, there's no room to hide, no fellow musicians to lean on when you're not on your game.  Sure, you can do re-takes or bury the track in the mix- but if you're flying solo artist and/or tracking a lead, there's...

 

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9 minutes ago, diablo175 said:

Organic is fine. I did "organic" at every. single. live show (and rehearsal) I've ever played in the last 38 years. :P  But in the studio, there's no room to hide, no fellow musicians to lean on when you're not on your game.  Sure, you can do re-takes or bury the track in the mix- but if you're flying solo artist and/or tracking a lead, there's...

From reading your responses and taking them at face value,  I think maybe some of your nerves might be the result of making this waaaaay too big a deal.  You don't sound like a dude tracking guitar as much as your in the 82nd Airborne and getting ready to drop into Normandy, lol. 

Sometimes it's useful to remember you do this stuff because it's fun.  I have, on occasion, leaned back in my chair and thought, "Jason, calm the fuck down.  You do this because you like to and it makes you happy, not because you have to.  The mortgage, your job, and western civilization are not riding on you playing these 32 notes cleanly this very second. You're only doing it because it's fun to see what you can do and have something to listen to that you made."

And then I finally hit my mark.  

I think I'm one of the younger people here, which means most all of us here kept playing long after it was about chicks, or being in a famous band.  We do it because, I think, it's part of the way we communicate with the world.  Occasionally, we want to say something but can't quite get the words out at the time, but we find them.  Don't make it so life and death; remember this is something you do because you love it.  

You're a good player.  I can't do the crazy shit you do with a Floyd. You don't have anything to prove to anyone but yourself really.  If this isn't a situation where you are paying for the studio time and/or on a strict deadline, when it becomes unfun, take a breather for a few.   You'd be surprised how much just staying loose and remembering that music is fun helps with performances.

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38 minutes ago, LucSulla said:

From reading your responses and taking them at face value,  I think maybe some of your nerves might be the result of making this waaaaay too big a deal.  You don't sound like a dude tracking guitar as much as your in the 82nd Airborne and getting ready to drop into Normandy, lol. 

Sometimes it's useful to remember you do this stuff because it's fun.  I have, on occasion, leaned back in my chair and thought, "Jason, calm the fuck down.  You do this because you like to and it makes you happy, not because you have to.  The mortgage, your job, and western civilization are not riding on you playing these 32 notes cleanly this very second. You're only doing it because it's fun to see what you can do and have something to listen to that you made."

And then I finally hit my mark.  

I think I'm one of the younger people here, which means most all of us here kept playing long after it was about chicks, or being in a famous band.  We do it because, I think, it's part of the way we communicate with the world.  Occasionally, we want to say something but can't quite get the words out at the time, but we find them.  Don't make it so life and death; remember this is something you do because you love it.  

You're a good player.  I can't do the crazy shit you do with a Floyd. You don't have anything to prove to anyone but yourself really.  If this isn't a situation where you are paying for the studio time and/or on a strict deadline, when it becomes unfun, take a breather for a few.   You'd be surprised how much just staying loose and remembering that music is fun helps with performances.

Thanks brother LucSulla.

Believe it or not, it's not really paralyzing nerves so much as I generally suck. Not being faux humble or self effacing, just being honest. I have a few nifty tricks and some decent musical instincts from my years of playing and listening to others...  as well as a metric shit ton of really bad habits. More than anything, it's likely those bad habits biting me in the ass and forcing re-takes. Sure, nerves come into play when I'm on someone's (or my own) dime, in a proper studio and have band mates or an engineer giving me the stink eye between glances at their watches or smart phones.

In general, I really do enjoy playing and recording. I've developed some f-ing amazing patience to go with my somewhat unreasonable expectations for attaining near perfection. This is saying a lot because I am NOT a patient person in most other senses. The aforementioned 208 (actually ended up being close to 280 takes when all was said and done, no exaggeration) takes would have cracked most people's resolve. As stated earlier, this took so many takes because I was writing it as I went. That and I tedn to construct solos that are slightly above my ability level. i.e. - this is what I imagine it to sound like but this is what I'm capable of. :P  So, either my shitty habits hamstrung me or my inability to find the right combination of notes and phrasing did. To be sure, I did walk away on 3 of 4 occasions.  I came back the next day and eventually (last night) I gotter dun.  At no time did I really get truly pissed off or flustered. I guess somewhere in the deep, dark recesses of my mind, I know that patience pays off.

And it did. :D

 

 

 

Edited by diablo175
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4 hours ago, diablo175 said:

Believe it or not, it's not really paralyzing nerves so much as I generally suck. Not being faux humble or self effacing, just being honest. I have a few nifty tricks and some decent musical instincts from my years of playing and listening to others...  as well as a metric shit ton of really bad habits. More than anything, it's likely those bad habits biting me in the ass and forcing re-takes.

Bull. You're a fine player. Blaming, "bad habits" is a cop-out. The only thing holding you back is YOU.

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41 minutes ago, RobB said:

Bull. You're a fine player. Blaming, "bad habits" is a cop-out. The only thing holding you back is YOU.

Clearly, you've never seen me play.

 

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I tend to do better if the whole band is playing together VS overdubbing solos by myself (which feels more nerve racking). We did that HFC recording of Snowblind in 2 takes (it would have been one but I dorked up my live vocal, ha).

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44 minutes ago, Brooks said:

I tend to do better if the whole band is playing together VS overdubbing solos by myself (which feels more nerve racking). We did that HFC recording of Snowblind in 2 takes (it would have been one but I dorked up my live vocal, ha).

Without a doubt. The demo recordings I have with my prog(ish) band, where we tracked all together in a "live" take, came out pretty tight, in one or two takes.

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