Hey guys,

I've been playing guitar for a few years now, and got into recording my own material only recently.

Of course, I found it a hell lot harder than I thought. A lot of deficiencies in my guitar playing came out ( mainly timing issues ) and it takes me, I don't know, at least 10 or 20 takes to record even the simplest of parts, for example a simple chord progression in power chords, all downstrokes.

When listening closely, I find the timing is a little bit off in some parts, and I really don't like the idea of copy-pasting less than a few beats to disguise it... I mean, I find copy pasting a whole verse or chorus is ok, but not parts of it. It's just a frustrating ( and humbling ) experience.

how many takes do you guys have to do to record a simple part just right? is it normal to suck so much?
completely normal, especially if you haven't been jamming a lot with other people.

now that you've realized that you have a problem, it's a good time to reevaluate your technique. go back to playing along with songs you already know, but pay attention to how imprecise your playing is and fix it.

i also had to start recording my own song ideas to realize that my playing was terrible. and i'm only now starting to reach that point where i can record riffs without needing a million takes while also remaining relaxed like i normally am when not recording.
Quote by archerygenious
Jesus Christ since when is the Pit a ****ing courtroom...

Like melodic, black, death, symphonic, and/or avant-garde metal? Want to collaborate? Message me!
Noticed the same things during my first times as well. I actually stopped producing some songs because I wasn't happy with the takes and since you're the one who played - you really notice the tiniest mistakes. You start aligning your tracks and you see the small timing errors if they weren't already obvious. It's frustrating but it really helps you to stride towards better technique and more solid recordings in the future and you learn to hear bad timing while not recording as well. I would also get this "performance" issue where I'm like "OK I have to play perfect", end up playing really tense and screwing up way more than when playing casually, - especially in the last few measures if the take was great until that point You get better at it the more you do it.
On average, I need between 1 and 100 takes
Gibson LP Traditional, LP GT, LP Studio, SG Standard x2
Barber Tone Press > EHX Worm >TC Polytune > EXH Glove > EHX East River Drive > Zoom G3 > TC Spark Mini Booster
Jet City JCA22H
My SoundCloud
Quote by GaryBillington
On average, I need between 1 and 100 takes


Some of the guitar soloes I've done come close to 600 takes.
Ok I feel like less of a total failure now. Thanks.
I'm up to the point that the thing I care about the most is the songwriting itself, not the playing. The playing became the medium and not the goal. It does make me want to commit suicide when I can't nail a simple part perfectly in less than 10 takes though.

Do you find adding many backing rythm tracks ( an extra rythm guitar, for example....not for panning purposes but just another rythm instrument playing ) help blend the tiny mistakes in the mix?
Another thing I found great for me, was to record two parts for each section. The pick the best of the two takes, and go through it. whenever there is a timing issue, or just some weird noise (loud pick attack, note doesnt come through as strong, etc) you just comp in from the second take.

This is easy in Studio One as you can record to layers, and then you just select the section of the track, and it auto fills it in, and adds the crossfade, so its really quick. Works for me, maybe not for everyone though. Just got tired of doing 100 takes, this way it only takes about 20
Like you, I had timing issues. Progress was very slow. I had to micro-edit my takes to get them onto the beat.

Becoming conscious of this issue is the first step to solving it. The more you practice the better it gets. I found I was hearing the problem better than actually fixing it; i.e. you hear the timing errors well enough but can't fix them so easily. It can take months for any noticeable improvement.

About a year ago I recorded left / right rhythm guitars for a song and, for the first time, didn't have to do any time-shift editing. That was a breakthrough; a real cause for celebration for me! Since then I haven't needed to do it anymore.

For rhythm guitars I strive for two channels, two straight takes, panned hard left and right. This does blend out minor phrasing errors but your timing needs to be good to do it. 100% perfection metronomic timing isn't needed (and doesn't even sound human). There's just a certain level of accuracy you need to sound good. You'll know it when you hear it.
Last edited by Jehannum at Mar 24, 2014,
Do you come into record having written all of the parts and practiced them for days or weeks? Or are you mostly writing as you go?
I tend to write at least half my guitar parts on the fly which leads to endless issues with timing, forgetting, lack of muscle memory etc.
Quote by SkepsisMetal
Do you come into record having written all of the parts and practiced them for days or weeks? Or are you mostly writing as you go?
I tend to write at least half my guitar parts on the fly which leads to endless issues with timing, forgetting, lack of muscle memory etc.

I have a general idea in mind beforehand ( chord progression, some vocal melodies ) but do most of the work on the fly. That could be an excuse for crappy timing when trying to record particular riffs or solos, but not when I'm just trying to record downstroke powerchords...

however, I agree on the writing/recording on the fly giving some major problems ( forgetting, actually thinking about what to play and not just playing.. ), but what can you do? The problem is solved when you record a song over a few weeks, you have time to practice what you come up with as you go.
Do you use a metronome? if not start using one. Even when you're improvising (especially when your improvising, it's amazing how many people throw the time out the window the second they begin to improvise). The more you practice with a metronome, the better your internal time will become and the less reliant on an external source (like said metronome) you will be. That said you should ALWAYS record to a metronome.
rehearse with a metronome and record yourself with a smartphone or any recorder. Listen back and correct your errors until it is smooth.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
play the part slower than you want it, and practice it there. and make sure you do it with a time source like a metronome, click track, or programmed drums. if you take the part down to a fraction of the speed you want it, it makes you focus on the timing of the notes and makes sure you arent rushing them. if you want to record something, make sure you can play it first. if you are doing things on the fly and working them out on the go, dont expect it to sound as polished.