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#1
Hi everyone,

Was just wondering what people are doing to practice songs. I have been learning a song for weeks now and I can finally play it however when I go to record it I just simply can't get it perfect. So frustrating. I am self taught so I have never had someone tell me how I should be practicing things. Can anyone shed some insight into their practice routine so I can too get the most out my practice sessions and any help with settling the nerves of recording.

Thanks guys.

Peace
#2
just do it till it's right

then do it more

then do it until you hate that song so much you never want to hear it again

and do that for everything you love until you wonder why the hell you even wanted to make or listen to music to begin with

then join a music theory forum to be a bully to steer people away from this expensive and horrible hobby
Quote by Kevätuhri
Hail isn't too edgy for posts, posts are not edgy enough for Hail.


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#3
Hail killed MT
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#4
In a nutshell, do what has already been said.

What you described is normal. When you record something you immediately put it under the microscope. Every tiny flaw becomes instantly noticeable. Your definition of "perfect" changes dramatically.
#6
Haha I was foolish to think there would be a shortcut haha. I already find my life is pretty much just work and guitar practice, not that it's a bad thing :P
#7
"Perfect" is one of those irritating words when it comes to performing music.
Ideally it should mean "the best performance you can manage at this moment in time".
It doesn't have to (and almost certainly shouldn't) mean "identical to the original", nor does it have to mean "better than you did it last time" (although it probably will). It certainly doesn't mean "with no mistakes." It just has to work for the moment, and for whatever the venue or audience is.

As Miles Davis said: "Do not fear mistakes. There are none." If you play what you feel is a "wrong note", that's just a challenge for you to make an escape from. (Make that note right, via your response to it.)
Playing live, it's the fear you need to lose. Your ears (and fingers) know more than you think, and you can generally trust them.

Of course if you're recording your performance, that's a different issue! You have to make something good enough to be listened to more than once. In terms of copying a professional studio recording, you have to remember that almost certainly they didn't just play it right through with no mistakes. They will have made several takes, and then a load of edits, inserts and overdubs, to get it as good as they could (before they got too bored with it, or ran out of studio time). So there is no way you can hope to get it to sound the same without at least as much "trickery", unless you are a lot better musician than they were!
Last edited by jongtr at Sep 27, 2015,
#8
Yep. When recording you can be very forgiving in your playing. In fact, with the editing you can do, you can even be a not so great player and still sound great in the recording. I used to do a ton of editing with my recordings and they all came out sounding great. Now, I spend most of my time setting up the rhythm tracks and song structure. The soloing takes me hardly any time at all because I just do it in mostly one take because I play a lot better ( ) and I'm not going for the perfect take. I like it sounding fairly "live" and gritty.

Anyways, with a simple computer and software you can easily get a great sound. I use a Macbook and Garageband and a Line6 Guitarport in my Soundcloud recordings (see my sig). They each took me about 1/2 a day. Garageband works really great for costing next to nothing. Also, when using the software amps, you can just record with 1 amp, then try a whole bunch of other amp settings after the fact. Very nice!
#9
Quote by edg
Yep. When recording you can be very forgiving in your playing. In fact, with the editing you can do, you can even be a not so great player and still sound great in the recording. I used to do a ton of editing with my recordings and they all came out sounding great.


Sorry, I fundamentally disagree with that.

A bad performance can be edited, but it is always going to sound like a bad performance that has been edited. Editing is useful to make a good performance better, but I disagree that you can be a "not so great player" and still have a good recording. You will not sound better than you actually are, in fact quite the opposite.

Anyway this comes more under editing audio which is an entirely different practice. If you are incredible at editing then you can pretend to be a master at basically any instrument, but that is all.
#10
Quote by Random3
A bad performance can be edited, but it is always going to sound like a bad performance that has been edited. Editing is useful to make a good performance better, but I disagree that you can be a "not so great player" and still have a good recording. You will not sound better than you actually are, in fact quite the opposite.


I feel dirty saying this, but I agree with you.

You can't just put in a "make it the right note" plugin and magically make a bad performance perfect. You can't splice any and all things together in any and all contexts the way some people think you can. There is little you can do to fix a couple of bum notes in a solo other than rerecord it, and depending on the solo's flow, you might have to do the whole thing over rather than a section.

I know people like to think that there are miracle studio computer tricks like autotune that can make an awful performance sound like gold, but it simply isn't so, especially when it comes to complete wrong notes or sloppy playing.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#11
Quote by Random3
Sorry, I fundamentally disagree with that.

A bad performance can be edited, but it is always going to sound like a bad performance that has been edited. Editing is useful to make a good performance better, but I disagree that you can be a "not so great player" and still have a good recording. You will not sound better than you actually are, in fact quite the opposite.

Anyway this comes more under editing audio which is an entirely different practice. If you are incredible at editing then you can pretend to be a master at basically any instrument, but that is all.


Well, maybe 10-15 years ago I was fairly ok as a player. However, you could say very spotty. What I'd do is record a whole bunch of material and then just splice and edit out all the mistakes to where it sounded like really nice playing. It was kind of magical in a way. I could actually take a really horrible lead track and make it sound great.

Now, I was by now means a completely incompetent player, but I could make myself sound much better in a recording. With some fairly basic guitar and recording skills it is quite incredible what you can come up with.

Today, with the quality and cheapness of the recording stuff you can run on any laptop, it is even easier.

So, based on my own person experience, I'd have to completely disagree with you.
#12
Quote by edg
What I'd do is record a whole bunch of material and then just splice and edit out all the mistakes to where it sounded like really nice playing. It was kind of magical in a way. I could actually take a really horrible lead track and make it sound great.


That doesn't really work as well as you are saying it does. Are you sure it wasn't a hack edit job and you were just too inexperienced to head how bad it sounded?
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#13
Quote by theogonia777
I feel dirty saying this, but I agree with you.

You can't just put in a "make it the right note" plugin and magically make a bad performance perfect. You can't splice any and all things together in any and all contexts the way some people think you can. There is little you can do to fix a couple of bum notes in a solo other than rerecord it, and depending on the solo's flow, you might have to do the whole thing over rather than a section.

I know people like to think that there are miracle studio computer tricks like autotune that can make an awful performance sound like gold, but it simply isn't so, especially when it comes to complete wrong notes or sloppy playing.



I'm not talking about Autotune or anything even remotely like that. I am just talking about the the basic ability to cut and paste.
#14
Quote by theogonia777
That doesn't really work as well as you are saying it does. Are you sure it wasn't a hack edit job and you were just too inexperienced to head how bad it sounded?



Oh yes it does. Quite easily. And I'm not even anything remotely like a sound engineer or anything.
#15
I used to do that in my old recordings, splice and copy and paste the good bits together. But the results never sounded all that great.

Nowadays I just practice the shit out of it and record it all in one go. Sometimes I'll splice together the start of one take and the end of another one. If that's not good enough, I'll practice the shit out of it some more and record it again the next day.

I always judge a practice session the day afterwards. Sleeping on it seems to cement it in my mind and make it more effortless to play.
#16
Quote by edg
Oh yes it does. Quite easily. And I'm not even anything remotely like a sound engineer or anything.


I wouldn't call that an advantage.

And I fail to see why you'd even want to do that. Don't you want to learn things properly? Do you want to be a bad guitarist? If you really can't record proper takes I think you shouldn't be recording yet except for practice and self analysis.
Quote by Jet Penguin
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Quote by Hail
*note that by fan i mean that guy who wants his friends to know he knows this totally obscure hip band that only he knows about with 236 views on youtube. lookin' at Kev here
#17
aggressively requiring perfection is how you get better.

and yes, you can splice takes together, and it won't dilute the sound too much...but what happens when you play live?
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#18
I can learn just about any rock song brand new, right now, on the same day, I can record the whole thing and have a really nice sounding track up on soundcloud in about a day's worth of work or less. Of course, a lot depends on what you're going for. I do everything except the drums myself. I don't do vocals. Mostly I'm just looking for a nice track with good audio that I'd like to listen to myself. I'm not looking to do note-for-note transcriptions or anything like that because I now do mostly my own takes and compositions on songs with my own "guitar voice" so to speak.

About 10 years ago I recorded a pretty much note-for-note track of Wes Montgomery's "Yesterdays". It took me a few months to just practice and memorize it up to a point I was happy with. Then, I took each section of the song, with many takes and recorded it and edited it and it took about a week to complete the whole thing. That was a lot of work. Much more competent guitarists than I can could have done it in much less time. But I enjoyed the whole process and I learned a lot doing it.
#19
There's a difference between splicing takes and splicing like two seconds in here and there though. If you can't get a 15 second part right, you can't just piece it together.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#20
Quote by Kevätuhri
I wouldn't call that an advantage.

And I fail to see why you'd even want to do that. Don't you want to learn things properly? Do you want to be a bad guitarist? If you really can't record proper takes I think you shouldn't be recording yet except for practice and self analysis.


I'm not sure what your point is. Who said anything about "advantage" or anything like that?! Why shouldn't I record what I want whenever I want? What does that even have to do with being a good or bad guitarist?
#22
Quote by edg
I'm not sure what your point is. Who said anything about "advantage" or anything like that?! Why shouldn't I record what I want whenever I want? What does that even have to do with being a good or bad guitarist?


Just that if you can't play well enough to get a take right and you have to splice together bits and pieces here and there just to get a passable guitar track you're probably not that good and you probably shouldn't be recording songs you aim to release
Quote by Jet Penguin
Theory: Not rules, just tools.

Quote by Hail
*note that by fan i mean that guy who wants his friends to know he knows this totally obscure hip band that only he knows about with 236 views on youtube. lookin' at Kev here
#23
Quote by edg
No, I wouldn't agree with that at all. Not one bit.


oh right you play that crappy 70s music that wasn't good to begin with
Quote by Kevätuhri
Hail isn't too edgy for posts, posts are not edgy enough for Hail.


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You win. I'm done here.
#25
Quote by Kevätuhri
Just that if you can't play well enough to get a take right and you have to splice together bits and pieces here and there just to get a passable guitar track you're probably not that good and you probably shouldn't be recording songs you aim to release

Yeah splicing together an audio track from multiple takes never happens in a professional recording project.

There's some pretty crazy shit flying around here.

TS: If you want perfection then you have to continuously work at it. Achieving it depends entirely on your definition of perfection. Some people find the indiosyncratic parts of a performance part of the perfection, other's call them mistakes.

Just have fun with it. It is hard to get a recording just right. Even many professionals will do many many takes of the same track to get it just the way they want it. Sometimes they even take parts of those various takes and splice them together into a final track.

Other musicians have spent so long performing their songs live on the road and in practice that when they get into the studio they just want to get it down and couldn't think of anything worse than spending weeks on every song. They know the songs well and what they should sound like. A handful of takes at most and take the best of them if necessary, or just include the mistakes from the best take as part of the organic process of making music and move on.
Si
#26
Quote by edg
No, I wouldn't agree with that at all. Not one bit.


So you don't get better by practicing until you get better? Are you like ammonia based or something?
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#27
#basic
Quote by Kevätuhri
Hail isn't too edgy for posts, posts are not edgy enough for Hail.


Quote by UseYourThumb
You win. I'm done here.
#28
Quote by theogonia777
So you don't get better by practicing until you get better? Are you like ammonia based or something?


Lets try some reading comprehension and thread following skills:

What I was replying to was "aggressively requiring perfection is how you get better."

To which I said "No, I wouldn't agree with that at all. Not one bit."

Which, according to my reading comprehension has nothing whatever to do with "getting better by practicing" which happens to be something I do agree with quite a bit.

I'll continue to play along with you while I have some time because its easy (and I do get a bit of guilty pleasure) confusing stupid and mean people. Unless you just happen to be ignorant, which is just sort of sad, or a troll (like the Hail guy) in which case its just a waste of time.
#30
from a producing perspective: do whatever it takes to get the sound that you want

from a musician perspective: have the skillset to be able to do every possible thing correctly and efficiently to perform cleanly so the product you get is as perfect as possible, rather than the product of fixing the mistakes of the performance. there is a difference there

for a beginner, obviously, it's trial and error. but it's important to realize where you're going rather than the tricks you can do to cover up that you're not there yet.

my philosophy for advice: the one receiving it should always realize that they're in charge. they can do whatever they want. giving extremes to make them understand the far end of the spectrum is my job so they can find a happy middle ground between theory and reality.

i think i used a similar analogy with jet the other day, but: it's like smoking weed or drinking in high school. on one hand, your parents understand, they were there, it happens, but if they catch you, they're obligated to punish you for it. what you do with that understanding is your business and what you do doesn't become reality until it enters their realm of existence, in a way, and instigate a reaction.

a harsh truth is more important, to me, than being a cool dad. i give my advice, for the most part, assuming that everyone is trying to take their hobby 100% seriously as a career option, because that kind of drive, even if it isn't realistic, is what i try to ask of myself in any hobby i partake in. it doesn't always work perfectly, but as a student, being able to understand what the benchmark is to get 100 points on a test or essay is what matters to me. it doesn't mean i can't still get an A, or a passing grade, or whatever my goals are should i not live up to perfection, which would be unrealistic to expect every time. it just means that there is a clear vision of what is possible if i put my mind to it.

having a sense of humor about it helps cope with what is ultimately not an easy path because it deviates from just having fun and messing around with friends, but if someone was in that position, i hardly imagine them coming onto a music forum actively seeking guidance and advice, and even if they were, they'd just blow me off and ignore me as a troll

/serious hail over

also you're a dork
Quote by Kevätuhri
Hail isn't too edgy for posts, posts are not edgy enough for Hail.


Quote by UseYourThumb
You win. I'm done here.
#31
Quote by Hail
...
a harsh truth is more important, to me, than being a cool dad. i give my advice, for the most part, assuming that everyone is trying to take their hobby 100% seriously as a career option, because that kind of drive, even if it isn't realistic, is what i try to ask of myself in any hobby i partake in. it doesn't always work perfectly, but as a student, being able to understand what the benchmark is to get 100 points on a test or essay is what matters to me. it doesn't mean i can't still get an A, or a passing grade, or whatever my goals are should i not live up to perfection, which would be unrealistic to expect every time. it just means that there is a clear vision of what is possible if i put my mind to it.

having a sense of humor about it helps cope with what is ultimately not an easy path because it deviates from just having fun and messing around with friends, but if someone was in that position, i hardly imagine them coming onto a music forum actively seeking guidance and advice,...


I don't know why you'd assume everyone is trying to take their hobby 100% seriously as a career option. My assumption is that there's likely a whole range of why people choose to play guitar. I personally don't take it seriously as a career option at all. But, you're free to have whatever assumptions you want. It doesn't really matter to me all that much other than I do think a good deal of people come here actively seeking guidance and bad assumptions can lead to bad advice. I've seen so much bad advice and have received so much bad advice, that trying to give as best advice as I can is something I do take seriously.

The reason I posted to this thread was I was just replying to the guy above me who had what I considered the best reply to the OP. I was just agreeing and augmenting a bit.
#32
i just explained why

i hate you
Quote by Kevätuhri
Hail isn't too edgy for posts, posts are not edgy enough for Hail.


Quote by UseYourThumb
You win. I'm done here.
#33
I mean if you don't ever want to get better than that's your choice.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#34
Quote by edg
Were we even remotely talking about professional recording projects in this thread!?

It was sarcasm. -It happens all the time in professional recording projects. --So why did I bring that up???

The point being that the poster to whom I was replying had reached a flawed conclusion.

He concluded that if one has to splice together a single track from multiple takes then the artist is not good enough and probably shouldn't be recording songs they want to release.

By pointing out (perhaps poorly due to the use of sarcasm) that this is a standard practice in professional recording projects demonstrates that the conclusion the poster reached was wrong since it would imply that a standard recording technique used in every professional recording studio around the world actually means that the professional world class artists being recorded are actually not good enough and are not ready to be recording the songs they intend to release.

-----------------------------
This thread is getting pretty nasty in places. Leave out the name calling people. I'm tempted to shut it down but we get a hard time for shutting down threads so I'll leave it open and instead just start dishing out warnings for people that I consider trolling, or for any name calling and unnecessary insults, flaming, or anything else basically.
Si
#36
Quote by edg
Ah, sorry. I think I just misunderstood what you were talking about.
That's what I get/deserve for using sarcasm and instead of saying what I mean.
Si
#37
Heh, I didn't really mean that you couldn't edit your tracks and use multiple takes in the final product, just that if you for example play a sloppy guitar solo five times and edit it so that you take a part from each take to make it sound good you need to work on your playing, not edit the sloppiness away. You can do that but you'd only do a disservice to yourself.

But I'm also an idiot so maybe I'm just full of shit. But I do feel that if you're incapable of playing a part right so that you have to edit it extensively just to sound passable you need to practice more, not pay an engineer to make you sound great.
Quote by Jet Penguin
Theory: Not rules, just tools.

Quote by Hail
*note that by fan i mean that guy who wants his friends to know he knows this totally obscure hip band that only he knows about with 236 views on youtube. lookin' at Kev here
#38
There is an interesting description of the way Steely Dan works in the studio on the "Making of Aja" DVD. Once they have decided on the players they will use on a song they spend the morning session in the studio playing the song over and over until it is tight and then go past that and play it till everyone is completely bored and is playing it without thinking. At that point they break for a long lunch and relax and BS. Now when they come back in the studio everyone is awake refreshed and ready to play the song with confidence and add some style and nuance into the song. Within a few takes they usually have it down perfectly or as perfect as they wanted it to be.

I am not a fan of the word "perfect" in recording terms. In my experience perfection rarely happens in the studio. It's often just the best that could be achieved at that moment. I think we all have experienced listening to something we recorded in the past and think "It could have been better".
Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.
Last edited by Rickholly74 at Sep 29, 2015,
#39
Quote by Kevätuhri
just that if you for example play a sloppy guitar solo five times and edit it so that you take a part from each take to make it sound good


This is what I thought we were talking about.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#40
If you read the original post, the person seemed to be shying away from recording because they felt they couldn't play well enough to record. jongtr replied to this with some good observations about recording and practicing. I really agreed with this a lot and added some additional opinions and observations about this.

There's all kinds of reasons for recording. Its even very useful for practicing.

Not to belabor the obvious, the thing about discussion threads is that they can, like in-person discussions, meander a bit. Generally this is a pretty good thing IMO.
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