when is something "good enough"?

ping-ping-clicka

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put lipstick on a pig and wedding dress and it wouldn't be good enough for some.

piggie.jpg
 

drmordo

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I have this same problem recording my voicemail message. After a half dozen bad takes, I end up typing up a script so I remember the words, and even then it takes another half dozen takes to get it somewhere near what I had in my head to begin with. Such is life - we edit as we go, and if we're lucky, we get something we're OK with. If you're in the studio with a band, you have the help of a team of recording professionals, which helps immeasurably, but when you're on your own, it can drive ya nuts.


 

Telecaster88

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Regardless of whether you're a Beatles fan or not, it's pretty well established that they were very successful and highly regarded.

With that in mind, take a look at this site:
http://wgo.signal11.org.uk/html/alpha-index.htm

For some reason, someone has seen fit to catalog all the myriad mistakes found on Bealtes records. There are a LOT of them. The average listener is probably not aware of ANY of them. Don't sweat the petty stuff, and don't pet the sweaty stuff.

I've been a Beatles fan since I was a kid, and it's really illuminating to examine their songs from a recording standpoint... They were never perfectionists. If you listen closely there are plenty of clams and other oddities, flubbed/missed notes, parts played incorrectly one time through etc. In a way it's been liberating for me as a musician, knowing my heroes were willingly imperfect, and yet I love the songs just the same.

What I try to go for now is a feel more than some kind of clinical perfection.
 

StrangerNY

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Digital recording makes comping easy, but I very rarely do it myself. I think parts flow much better when they're real-time and continuous.

I like the advice to play and record as much as you can. It makes everything easier to do in the long run. The more you do it, the better you get.

If you're planning on comping a solo, try playing a bunch of them all the way through, mistakes and all. It'll give you more to choose from for comping, and you might surprise yourself and actually get through a full take with no clams.

- D
 
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klasaine

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So a few things ...

1) Strictly speaking about recording. Rarely, even from the pros, is a great solo done in one take. In the old days they generally ran a tune down between 3 and 10 times. Sometimes less and sometimes, a lot more.
2) Players have been punching in their solos as well as 'editing' them as a matter of course since the late 60s.
3) Take a break for a couple of days and re-listen to a few of your takes. Sometimes we need to forget our intent and just listen to the music we actually made.
4) Freddie King's 'Hideaway' is a pretty high bar. Nobody IMO, including EC, gets even remotely close to Freddie's seminal performance.
 

Digital Larry

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I cheat like crazy. I am trying to make a recording, not auditioning to play live.

- I write my own material so people can't say I played it wrong

- Using Ableton Live, I am able to loop sections of background tracks and record whichever instrument I'm working on over and over until I get a section that I can trim and use. Note, I am NOT punching in for the most part when I'm doing this.

- I copy and paste sections. Does it sound like I copied and pasted? Well maybe, but again, who cares? Nobody's really paying attention.

- I sometimes use audio warp and pitch shift to correct small errors. If it's too far gone that doesn't work too well though.
 

ghostchord

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When you're practicing solos and other parts are you playing in time? I can play some solos seemingly well but then they fall apart when I'm recording because I'm actually not in time and I'm recording multiple tracks.

The other thing is that there are minor problems you don't notice if you don't record yourself.

Are we talking rhythm guitar or solos here or both?

I sometimes think of myself as a half-decent rhythm player but when I have to record to a track I'm always back to "this is hard" ... playing an entire song end to end, without mistakes, sounding good, really hard. My hands are sore and I broke a sweat before I get a decent take ;)

I'm always amazed of the professional session musicians that have the chops to play anything with little preparation and have it basically be perfect. Superhuman.

By the way, check out the Beatles TV series and see how many times they practiced a song before recording it... Lots. And they did this for a living. They'd forget the lyrics, mess something up and just go into some crazy version or something.
 

telemnemonics

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1) I genuinely improve in my sleep, after screwing up every possible way the day before.
2) I prefer emotion, passion, intensity, excitement, risk and surprise, over a flawless take.
3) Over the years every time I listen carefully to some old masterful recording I had idolized, I realize my mind "fixed" little flaws in what I heard as perfect. In some cases my memory even added notes that were not there.

My own playing will never be perfect because flaws come with passionate risk, and predictable mediocrity is required for technical perfection. The two cannot occupy the same time and space for me.
All I mean by mediocrity is playing safely inside my own limits.

Even if I did get that close to perfection I would find something to be dissatisfied with!
 

telemnemonics

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On uptempo stuff I can usually nail it pretty quick. On slow songs I usually set a click on 16th notes and that usually keeps me from rushing.
Kind of funny isn’t it, how much easier it is to play fast than slow?
Speaks to how music is heard I think, where faster passages don’t allow the listener to hear subtle nuance but slow it’s all laid out in gory detail.
Rushing is a separate problem too, and we may not all rush for the same reason.
But a slow passage is often harder to nail than the same phrase played faster.
 

studio

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Look in the mirror,
put on your best Jimmy Page attitude,
Clip on your guitar and let the beauty
of hand/mind expression guide you.

Jimmy Page made some outstanding
music with the cheezy mistakes in plain sight
for all to see and thoroughly enjoy!

eb44a1692cd42ccd62125abba22a141b.jpg
 

FortyEight

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Kind of funny isn’t it, how much easier it is to play fast than slow?
Speaks to how music is heard I think, where faster passages don’t allow the listener to hear subtle nuance but slow it’s all laid out in gory detail.
Rushing is a separate problem too, and we may not all rush for the same reason.
But a slow passage is often harder to nail than the same phrase played faster.
I've found this to be true lately too. We just got done with a faster song and I was sort of wowed as to how much tighter I was, generally speaking, compared to slower songs I've done. It's totally funny.

For the OP. You just gotta find your happy medium. If it bugs you, then do it again. If it doesn't, then don't. Everyone has a different level of what they want to hear. The more experience you have the easier it is to play to satisfaction. But to be sure, recording exposes flaws maybe a bit more..... apparent.
 

Larry F

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If you are trying to recreate something over and over, then I weep for you. Good luck.

If you are at a good enough level, you can play each take as you like it. Keep your mind open for things that might be developed in later takes.

I agree with the advice to go with as few takes as possible. If you are too shaky to handle that with confidence, then try easier material. Playing easier stuff with flair and confidence is a lot better than dealing with trouble spots in more difficult takes.

Good advice: you don't get to judge or evaluate during the session. Listening a day later gives you a much better attitude toward your takes. Thanks to klasaine for this advice.
 

matman14

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One memory that has stuck with me for years is when I was an assistant to the engineer recording a band in London. This was in the mid '90s.
A couple of band members were having a hard time getting their parts down and their producer/manager, after about 15 blown takes to tape, blew up:
"If you MFers can't be bothered to learn to play your own #@#$ing song, why the f#@$ would you think anyone could be bothered to listen to it"
We quit for the day and the band came back the following day more serious (and sober), with all of the parts tight.

While it's gotten easier and easier to "fix it in post", and we do sometimes have to fix a lot in post, I'd rather have three or four really solid performances to comp, rather than trying to cobble together a "performance" out of 30 takes.

If I get to work with the band in pre production, and it looks like some parts are going to be an issue, I've worked with musicians to either refine or rewrite the problem passages.

There are endearing, humanizing errors and there is just bad playing, and no one wants to hear the latter, in my experience. Even if you cut and paste together the best bits of the bad.
 
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