#1
So I have this weird thing where as soon as I know I'm being recorded I screw up. Plain and simple. It's not necessarily every time, but my issue is I over think when I know I'm being recorded. I start to focus in on "this is being recorded, gotta play it perfect" and then I just mess up because I'll either trip myself up thinking about a strum pattern or the note run on an upcoming part, and then I start getting sloppy or inaccurate because I'm thinking too much about NOT being sloppy or inaccurate lol. When I'm not recording I'm usually not "thinking" when I play, I just PLAY. It just comes out and flows, be it improv/jamming or playing written music or playing along to existing music, I just play it and have fun. When I'm recording not only do I start to over think it but also when I listen back it seems to lack the feeling or creativity or expression that I hear when practicing or playing live. It seems robotic, like I'm reciting a piece instead of playing a piece, of that makes sense. Again this isn't every single time, but it's definately enough to notice it. It's funny because I've had people record me when I didn't know I was being recorded, at shows or acoustic jamming at a BBQ or something, and it sounds good. It captures me how I play when I'm just playing. I have literally sat here for an hour straight before trying to record a good take of this arpeggio acoustic progression I was working on. There were 53 takes in my voice memo recordings on my phone (what I use to record rough ideas when just messing around at home). I'd hit record and then go to start playing and just be so focused on getting the picking pattern or chord switches right for the recording that I'd keep tripping up. About halfway through I DIDNT hit record and just played it to help muscle memory and I nailed it very first run. So I run through 4 or 5 more perfectly and think "sweet, I got it now", hit record, and mess up 20 something more recording attempts before FINALLY getting a keeper, and even that isn't 100%.

So my questions is how can I get over this? Are there any tricks or things I can do to help me with it? It's only an annoyance now, it just makes demo tapes of practices a little longer sometimes, but once it's time to pay for studio time this isn't an issue I can really afford, literally.
#2
Don't put so much emphasis on the importance of recording perfection?

How do you play live? Just play that way when you're tracking. Hell, it can't be more stressful than playing a gig in front of people where there aren't any re-takes.
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#3
Hahaha, I can relate to that!

It's because you're nervous about screwing up- plain and simple. When you know you're not being recorded, you tend to relax because there's no pressure- mistakes are off record.

It's just something that comes with time and confidence in your abilities. You only screw up because you're worried about doing so.
#4
I do the same thing sometimes. What it is, is basically you not being confident enough in your abilities to do a riff/lick/solo. When you try and do a take of a certain riff or a solo you've been working on, try and relax. This may sound a tad dumb, but you should also give yourself a sort of pep-talk. A little confidence booster, you know? Just be chill and rattle off that lick/riff/solo like you're the best guitarist ever. And shoot, anything you mess up on sounds 100x worse to you than it does to any other person.
#5
The recorder is distracting your mind from the music.

Try leaving the recorder running and just playing freely. You don't need to record a perfect take, just play your stuff a few times through and then delete the mistakes/extra bits. You have to stop pressuring yourself and just let it happen.
#6
I get the exact same problem, hah. The way I got around it was to just start recording, and forget about it. I'll just play around with what I'm wanting to record for 5-10 minutes. Then after I'm done, I'll just go back and cut out the one time I think is best. =)
#7
Thanks everyone

Like I said right now my recordings DON'T need to be perfect, but given that I do trip myself up recording sometimes and am always aware that I'm recording, it has me nervous to go into a studio where now everytime I mess up it cost money.

As far as playing live with no re-takes, I just have fun live because I know live is loose and fun and not about 100% accuracy, it's about the energy and feeling. A recording however is going to be played at home or a car or wherever, where you're focused on the actual music, not the energy of the live band and crowd. So in a recording for an EP/album sense, yes, recording needs to be perfect.

And it's funny that turning on the recorder and leaving it on was mentioned a few times, I just started doing that a couple days ago. Now I've got a bunch hour + long recordings in my voice memos lol. But it does help, because you forget its on and you can hear it in te music. I did an hour long session of just blues backing tracks while doing lead improv over them as practice yesterday. In the beginning it's TERRIBLE, because I remember thinking that I was recording so I needed it to sound "cool" (dumb, I know, but we've all thought that way lol) so I was trying to plan out riffs while playing, instead of just "getting lost" in the music and letting my fingers wander which is how I improv live. But as the recording goes on I started loosening up and just playing instead of planning and the recording got way more interested. I didn't even remember playing most of it. That's why I love recording. You never forget stuff from earlier sessions and you don't have to transcribe everything out (if you're decent at by-ear recognition).

I used to record single songs at a time, be it a play along track or a backing track improv or an original. I think that's what messed with my focus too, the constant start/stop of the recorded pretty much kept me focused on the fact that I was recording. Now with this single recordings of the whole session my demo consistency has gone way up. Now I just need to stop being lazy and transfer them to the computer and chop them into individual tracks for easier review lol.
#8
Bear in mind you may not actually be screwing up, but even the slightest mistake will sound obvious to you when you hear it back. Other people may not notice it.

A few of my recordings have what I consider to be mistakes in them, and I think they sound glaringly obvious but when I mention them to other people they hadn't even heard it.
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#9
Quote by strat0blaster

How do you play live? Just play that way when you're tracking. Hell, it can't be more stressful than playing a gig in front of people where there aren't any re-takes.


Wrong, sorry this is just plain wrong.

In a live performance the mistake happen very quickly, no one is likely to notice. On a recording that section can be played over and over and over. The listener is FAR more likely to pick up on any mistakes.
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#10
I'm usually buzzing or drunk when I record. It helps relieve the stress and I still play pretty kick ass.
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#11
Quote by GaryBillington
Bear in mind you may not actually be screwing up, but even the slightest mistake will sound obvious to you when you hear it back. Other people may not notice it.

A few of my recordings have what I consider to be mistakes in them, and I think they sound glaringly obvious but when I mention them to other people they hadn't even heard it.


This is the frustrating part for me, because my trip ups, when they happen, aren't usually little tiny "passable" mistakes, it's like a full on mess up like a dead string or a wrong note that sounds glaringly out of place, or a chord switch that just fails. Or if I'm recording improv, like jamming over backing tracks, it seems like I suddenly can't improv interesting riffs when the recorder is on. When it's off and the track comes on I just go for it and start playing, when the recorder is on, try as I might, I just can't "on the fly" it the same way. I'm too focused on making something "badass". It's a catch 22 because when I'm not recording I'll finish playing over a track and be like "damn that was an awesome lead over that, I should have been recording" but then when I do record it never seems to be as creative or flowy. It's just purely psyching myself out, because if I can do it with the recorder off there's no reason I can't do it with it on lol. I just can't figure out how to get over that mental hurdle.
#12
If you drop in you can just edit around the mucked up section, is pretty easy to do.
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#13
Honestly, depending on the type of music you're playing, the recording should be a lot less perfect than you think.

A recording should be a representation of the performance of the musicians, especially in a genre like blues, as you mentioned above. Just have fun and play, that's what you want to capture, not a perfect take.
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#14
And if everything is played right on the beat you lose alot of the interest or grove in a song. I know a lot of metal bands that quantise the shit out of everything, not just the drums and the result it boring as shit.

And if you can't play it, you shouldn't be recording it, just sayin'.
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#15
the only real way to overcome this issue is to just do it. all the time. eventually it will become second nature
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#16
You pretty much answered your own question. Just relax and stop thinking about it. When I record I really don't pay a lot of attention to what I'm doing. Sometimes I won't even monitor my guitar, I'll just hear the drum track.

I used to have a lot of problems recording. We would be in the studio and if someone in the band was in the same room as me while I was recording I'd always screw up. So I decided to do home recordings by myself a couple of years ago. I was writing and recording songs almost every day. They may not have been good, but I kept recording until I started being able to get stuff down in a few takes. Pretty much I practiced recording, because I thought that was my weakest spot.