#1
I recently started recording myself so I can improve. What I found is that I don't sound nearly as good as I thought. As I'm playing, everything sounds clear, smooth and, for the most part, in time. Listening to the recordings, I can tell that it is quite the opposite of what I thought.
Now, I assume gear has something to do with it. I'm playing an Ibanez RG3EXFM1 through a 15w Peavy Vypyr. It's not the greatest, but it sure isn't the worst. Now, if I were to make some serious upgrades, I'm sure I'd see an improvement.
But what about some of these musicians who can sound great no matter what they use? Take Jack White for example. He plays some god awful guitars, but it still always seems to sound great.
Now, I practice my scales and all that, but how can I sound better without spending a couple grand on gear?
"For me it's important to be in balance. To not let fear get in the way of things, to not worry so much about protecting yourself all the time."

"Muskrats live in my wah wah pedal."

-John Frusciante-
#2
Best thing to do is share the recordings, that way people can tell you if it's your equipment or your skills which are lacking.
Actually called Mark!

Quote by TNfootballfan62
People with a duck for their avatar always give good advice.

...it's a seagull

Quote by Dave_Mc
i wanna see a clip of a recto buying some groceries.


stuffmycatswatchontv.tumblr.com
#3
What are you using to record ?

What matters is how you sound to someone that is in the room with you. Crappy laptop mics and digital cameras are really poor for capturing audio.
#4
Don't be downhearted that you're not as good as you thought. That already puts you one step ahead of many guitarists who go through life thinking they're great but actually suck. Now you can go about improving what areas you need to. As the seagull said though, it's difficult for people to give you more specific advice without hearing a recording.
#5
^ Share some recordings and have people here give you constructive criticism.
Good call starting to record yourself though, that helps a ton with exposing yourself to your flaws.
As for how to sound better, it's again fairly hard to know without listening to what you sound like now, but I'll give you a few pointers.
1) Play with a metronome
2) Roll back gain on your amp (making a wild assumption here, but it's correct more often than not)
3) Work on your vibrato
4) Work on your bending accuracy
5) Almost forgot this...but *slow down*

Post a clip of your playing though so people can give some more accurate pointers.
Things with strings:
Ibanez J.Custom, Prestiges, RG8, SR5 bass etc
LP's, Strat, Tele
Noiseboxes:
ENGL Retro Tube 50
5150 III 50W
Orange Terror Bass
#6
I don't know if this will help, but I hope it does. I recently started recording myself as well and I noticed that I clam up as soon as I hit record. My palms get sweaty and I over think what I am playing. It ends up sounding much worse than when I am just playing .

Not sure if that helps, but just my 2 cents.
#7
Quote by JFisJC
I recently started recording myself so I can improve. What I found is that I don't sound nearly as good as I thought. As I'm playing, everything sounds clear, smooth and, for the most part, in time. Listening to the recordings, I can tell that it is quite the opposite of what I thought.
Now, I assume gear has something to do with it. I'm playing an Ibanez RG3EXFM1 through a 15w Peavy Vypyr. It's not the greatest, but it sure isn't the worst. Now, if I were to make some serious upgrades, I'm sure I'd see an improvement.
But what about some of these musicians who can sound great no matter what they use? Take Jack White for example. He plays some god awful guitars, but it still always seems to sound great.
Now, I practice my scales and all that, but how can I sound better without spending a couple grand on gear?

Warning! Cliché approaching...

"S'all in the fingers."

Don't blame your gear.
#8
Thanks for the advice. To answer some questions, I'm using a piece of shit mic and Audacity.
Quote by mrbabo91
What are you using to record ?
What matters is how you sound to someone that is in the room with you. Crappy laptop mics and digital cameras are really poor for capturing audio.

I'm using a piece of shit mic and Audacity. Using something decent would help, I guess.
Quote by Shor
^ Share some recordings and have people here give you constructive criticism.
Good call starting to record yourself though, that helps a ton with exposing yourself to your flaws.
As for how to sound better, it's again fairly hard to know without listening to what you sound like now, but I'll give you a few pointers.
1) Play with a metronome
2) Roll back gain on your amp (making a wild assumption here, but it's correct more often than not)
3) Work on your vibrato
4) Work on your bending accuracy
5) Almost forgot this...but *slow down*

Post a clip of your playing though so people can give some more accurate pointers.

1) I do
2) There's not too much gain
3) I learned vibrato when I first started. I don't think that's what I need to work on.
4) Bending could use some work
5) The last thing I recorded was Desecration Smile. Not that slow, but not really fast. I know that song inside and out, I didn't think I'd have a problem.
Quote by mgzinck
I don't know if this will help, but I hope it does. I recently started recording myself as well and I noticed that I clam up as soon as I hit record. My palms get sweaty and I over think what I am playing. It ends up sounding much worse than when I am just playing .

Not sure if that helps, but just my 2 cents.

I think this is actually my biggest problem.

I would record some videos for some crit, unfortunately my camera is ancient and I have no way of getting the footage to my computer. Also I have a shit mic.
"For me it's important to be in balance. To not let fear get in the way of things, to not worry so much about protecting yourself all the time."

"Muskrats live in my wah wah pedal."

-John Frusciante-
Last edited by JFisJC at Mar 6, 2012,
#9
Quote by JFisJC


3) I learned vibrato when I first started. I don't think that's what I need to work on.

You always need to work on everything you've learned, no matter how "good" you are at something you can always be better.

As far as your recording goes it may be crap when it's recorded but you can do a hell of a lot to improve matters even with audacity. In fact if you're happy to let them I'm sure somebody would be more than happy to take a stab at cleaning it up if post-production trickery isn't something you have a lot of experience with.
Actually called Mark!

Quote by TNfootballfan62
People with a duck for their avatar always give good advice.

...it's a seagull

Quote by Dave_Mc
i wanna see a clip of a recto buying some groceries.


stuffmycatswatchontv.tumblr.com
#10
Quote by steven seagull
You always need to work on everything you've learned, no matter how "good" you are at something you can always be better.

As far as your recording goes it may be crap when it's recorded but you can do a hell of a lot to improve matters even with audacity. In fact if you're happy to let them I'm sure somebody would be more than happy to take a stab at cleaning it up if post-production trickery isn't something you have a lot of experience with.

I know I can always be better, but I'm sure there are other things that need work before that.
I would record, but my mic starts to clip if I get too loud so I have to play really quiet. But I'll be sure to put a recording up when I get a new one.
"For me it's important to be in balance. To not let fear get in the way of things, to not worry so much about protecting yourself all the time."

"Muskrats live in my wah wah pedal."

-John Frusciante-
#11
Hi.Sounds like a moment of clarity.Don't start blaming the gear now that you know you have a few things that need work.Personaally I lay bown a basic synth drum track.Then I'll play the bass track I'm gonna use,then one simple rythm track I'll probably use.Tjen the lead.Alittle reverb and trem.but no fx.play that back.If it's full of stinkers and miistakes now's when I'll find em.A lot of guys use fx to bury bad playing,a lot more usee them to find thheir sound.Sounds like ypu're on the right track..and you sound honest.Don'i get distracted till youre done.
#12
Not sure what you mean by in-balance.That'j what engineers are for.And if you don't like what he's oing tell h9m why.You need a producer badly.
Last edited by panhead201 at Mar 6, 2012,
#13
This isn't all that uncommon really. I've experienced it before too - recording something, thinking I'm mostly on time, and then listening back and finding that I was off-time on and off throughout the whole thing. This can only be solved by chugging onwards, keeping recording, doing more takes, and overall practise.

One technical issue can also be how you use playback when recording. If you can't sufficiently hear the playback over your amp when recording, of course you will sound off on the recording. Which is why I got a good pair of headphones.
#14
If you think your vibrato doesn't need work i can tell you it does without you even posting a video.

I'm assuming you haven't been playing very long.

Almost everyone under the 10 year or so mark of guitar playing can improve their vibrato. I've been playing guitar for 3 years and there was a good 2 years that i thought my vibrato was great and didn't need improvement and oh how i was so wrong.
A lot of people seem to think vibrato is a really easy and basic technique but god it is not. It's gonna take you decades to master it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXMJnltcTzQ&feature=plcp&context=C34c5381UDOEgsToPDskKZ7xks2tYuXi_NW61JWR4A

This would be an example of some real top quality vibrato. FYI that's not me, haha i wish it was.
He's a serious metal player with some seriously good technique.
I can guarantee you can't vibrato nor bend anything like him, and the 2 go hand in hand. I recommend watching a lot of his video's to check out his vibrato technique. Until you tell me you can vibrato like that, then you can not vibrato good haha

EDIT: Have you tried classical vibrato either? I think that's the name for it. I still can't even do classical vibrato. I just don't get it! it's impossible haha

EDIT: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQxYWJVAiyc&feature=plcp&context=C3432035UDOEgsToPDskJxfKzHbm1gdPJ7Ig7lxQSx

Actually that would probably be a better video to showcase good vibrato.
Last edited by vayne92 at Mar 6, 2012,
#15
Quote by vayne92
If you think your vibrato doesn't need work i can tell you it does without you even posting a video.

I'm assuming you haven't been playing very long.

Almost everyone under the 10 year or so mark of guitar playing can improve their vibrato. I've been playing guitar for 3 years and there was a good 2 years that i thought my vibrato was great and didn't need improvement and oh how i was so wrong.
A lot of people seem to think vibrato is a really easy and basic technique but god it is not. It's gonna take you decades to master it.

This is one of the truest things posted on here.

Sweeping is piss easy compared to vibrato. Vibrato is an extraordinarily difficult technique to truly begin to master. I don't think I'd say there are any players in my generation who have mastered it.
#16
Quote by Geldin
This is one of the truest things posted on here.

Sweeping is piss easy compared to vibrato. Vibrato is an extraordinarily difficult technique to truly begin to master. I don't think I'd say there are any players in my generation who have mastered it.


#17
Quote by JFisJC

But what about some of these musicians who can sound great no matter what they use? Take Jack White for example. He plays some god awful guitars, but it still always seems to sound great.
Now, I practice my scales and all that, but how can I sound better without spending a couple grand on gear?

I just want to point our that Jack White doesn't use god awful guitars, he uses guitars that he likes. What works for him may not work for someone else. when it comes to gear it really all comes down to what works for you as opposed to what everyone else thinks is good gear.

it's the bad carpenter that blames shody workmanship on their tools....
Quote by Dirk Gently
Some pieces are only meant to be played by people with six fingers on their fretting hand. Sorry.
#18
Quote by Geldin
This is one of the truest things posted on here.

Sweeping is piss easy compared to vibrato. Vibrato is an extraordinarily difficult technique to truly begin to master. I don't think I'd say there are any players in my generation who have mastered it.

1:04
#19
You should record yourself OFTEN! You don't always need to even listen to it, but as you noticed, as soon as that red light goes on it's common to clam up and start to play worse than usual. regularly recording yourself helps you hear areas to improve upon, and it relaxes you to the recording process after a while. Record some practice sessions. Record yourself jamming. Always record! You really, really don't want to go into a studio some day and just clam up. Best to fix that issue earlier I think
#21
Quote by Geldin
This is one of the truest things posted on here.

Sweeping is piss easy compared to vibrato. Vibrato is an extraordinarily difficult technique to truly begin to master. I don't think I'd say there are any players in my generation who have mastered it.


David Gilmour and Gary Moore come to mind
#22
Quote by vayne92

EDIT: Have you tried classical vibrato either? I think that's the name for it. I still can't even do classical vibrato. I just don't get it! it's impossible haha


Classical vibrato doesn´t get the job done on an electric in my experience. Feel free to bring eveidence that I´m wrong but all occasions where I encountered it it sounded severely pathetic.
#25
Quote by mdc

His vibrato is good, but it's always the same way. He sticks to one type and doesn't really deviate from it.

David Gilmour and Gary Moore come to mind

They're both before my time, I'm afraid. My generation can't claim 'em, much as I'd love to.
#26
Quote by Geldin
His vibrato is good, but it's always the same way. He sticks to one type and doesn't really deviate from it.


It works in every context I've heard him use it though, I don't think he needs to deviate from it.
#27
Quote by Geldin
His vibrato is good, but it's always the same way. He sticks to one type and doesn't really deviate from it.


If you honestly believe that you need to do more looking dude, his vibrato is as versatile as anyone else's I've seen or heard.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


Album.
Legion.
#28
Quote by Anon17
It works in every context I've heard him use it though, I don't think he needs to deviate from it.

Not saying it doesn't work, just that it's pretty single faceted from what I've heard of his stuff.

Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
If you honestly believe that you need to do more looking dude, his vibrato is as versatile as anyone else's I've seen or heard.

I won't complain too much about listening to more Guthrie Govan. I just dunno that he's really mastered vibrato.
#29
Quote by Geldin
I won't complain too much about listening to more Guthrie Govan. I just dunno that he's really mastered vibrato.


I don't know that I'd say he's mastered it either but saying it's single faceted is pretty much just wrong, haha. I've seen him live several times doing his own material, giving clinics, performing with The Fellowship... his vibrato is versatile, trust me, hahaha.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


Album.
Legion.
#30
I'll definitely trust you. I don't listen to enough of his work to be a fair judge, especially on a more subtle technique like vibrato.
#31
Quote by mrbabo91
David Gilmour and Gary Moore come to mind

Totally agree but would like to add Paul Kossoff to that list.