Self recording brings out the OCD I didn't know I suffered from...

DamnSingerAlsoDrums

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My band and I are in the midst of recording an album each from his own house. I've always been a pretty loose kinda guy and I like un-sanitised, organic feeling music, warts and all. Wich is pretty much what this band is about.

But now, being alone at the helm, with no producer or buddy to tell me when we're "close enough for Rock n roll" I'm kinda getting lost in chasing that all elusive "perfect play-through take".

Whatever that means...

I've spent most of the last 2 weeks loop recording for hours on end every day, doing well over a hundred takes per song. And these aren't intricate fusion chop-fests either, they're pretty straight forward country-rock-ish 4/4 songs. And yet...
20210227_213314.jpg
Maybe I'm trying to compensate for a bad case of impostor syndrom (for a bit of background info on me and my band, you can check out this post in a previous thread) https://www.drumforum.org/threads/5-days-studio-retreat.177041/post-1992406

All this with only extremely minor variance between takes. I KNOW this, and yet, I just don't get up to press Stop for hours and I end up playing myself to freaking exhaustion just so I can say that I've played all my parts without edits. Next one's gonna be THE ONE!!!

But there's always a bum hit, an ever-so-slightly rushed or late fill... Minor goofs like the ones peppered throughout all those wonderful old school recordings I hold dear, despite (and often times because of) the imperfections.

All in all just small errors or discrepancies that would probably be burried in the music if we were playing live together, or that could very easily be edited out. But since I'm playing alone, often with just a click and guide bass/guitar tracks, there is nothing to hide behind. And I can't shake off the urge to do the "absolute best" I can. Even if my joints are now protesting my over-zealous dispositions...

Anybody had any similar experience, difficulty with self-policing and letting go while recording themselves?
 

KevinD

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About 10-12 years ago I started recording myself for practice purposes so I could pinpoint the flaws in my playing (no surprise I found a LOT) Then occasionally started doing tracks for others... mostly people I knew.. Still, I found that I was ultra hard on myself when I reviewed things immediately after tracking. Yes, there are some learning moments, but you don't want to go overboard.

Over time I finally realized the best thing to do is to record something and put it in the can and sleep on it for a few days (if you can afford the time with your project). When you listen to it a few days later when your mind is not going to be so hyper-focused and overly picky...

When you are too close to something like that you'll hear all sorts of problems. some may be imagined, and some may real, but be amplified by your immediate perceptions, most won't be heard by anyone else..So give it some time and space I'm sure you will hear things differently.
 

Tornado

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You can go so far with it that you start hearing things that aren't really there. You hear something off, rewind to check it, and it's not there. The brain is a liar sometimes.

From my personal recording journey, if you're recording yourself to a click, I'd imagine the little things bothering you revolve around hearing yourself slightly drift and getting back on. That's why it's so dang hard to play with a click and make it feel good. But you get better at it.
 

DamnSingerAlsoDrums

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You're right! And fundamentaly, I know and can relate to what you're saying, we aren't in that much of a rush, there is still plenty of time to back-track and do over if need be. A little perspective goes a long way.


You can go so far with it that you start hearing things that aren't really there. You hear something off, rewind to check it, and it's not there. The brain is a liar sometimes.

From my personal recording journey, if you're recording yourself to a click, I'd imagine the little things bothering you revolve around hearing yourself slightly drift and getting back on. That's why it's so dang hard to play with a click and make it feel good. But you get better at it.
In truth, I've gotten better at grooving with the click, on some of the grooves that are more naturally in my comfort zone, it barely waves... On many of the songs I have to zoom in on the waves pretty drastically to start actually seeing some hits go off-grid. Of course I'll miss a fill once in a while.

My grievances are more about consistency and precision. I'm not quite at the point where all of my snare hits are contained within a 1 inch circle, you know? So sometimes, there'll be just a few snare hits that sound out of place sonicaly. Or if I'm not paying extreme attention, an involuntary rimshot might creep in there, or a tip hit on the hats where it should have been a shoulder hit and it sticks out (no pun intended) like a sore thumb from an otherwise pretty even part... Things of that nature.
Like I said, most of these things would (or will) probably disapear if they were played live and/or once there is more tracks on the song to divert the focus.

I'm just surprised that I get caught up that much in minutia, that ain't like me at all. I somehow gotta find a way to get myself out of the over-analytical mindframe.

The few friends I've showed stuff to are blown away by the progress made over the last year. And frankly I am too. Maybe I've been watching too many clinics and tutorial vids and should spend more time listening back to some of those old Rod Stewart/Faces albums
:lol:
 
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Tornado

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You're right! And fundamentaly, I know and can relate to what you're saying, we aren't in that much of a rush, there is still plenty of time to back-track and do over if need be. A little perspective goes a long way.




In truth, I've gotten better at grooving with the click, on some of the grooves that are more naturally in my comfort zone, it barely waves... On many of the songs I have to zoom in on the waves pretty drastically to start actually seeing some hits go off-grid. Of course I'll miss a fill once in a while.

My grievances are more about consistency and precision. I'm not quite at the point where all of my snare hits are contained within a 1 inch circle, you know? So sometimes, there'll be just a few snare hits that sound out of place sonicaly. Or if I'm not paying extreme attention, an involuntary rimshot might creep in there, or a tip hit on the hats where it should have been a shoulder hit and it sticks out (no pun intended) like a sore thumb from an otherwise pretty even part... Things of that nature.
Like I said, most of these things would (or will) probably disapear if they were played live and/or once there is more tracks on the song to divert the focus.

I'm just surprised that I get caught up that much in minutia, that ain't like me at all. I somehow gotta find a way to get myself out of the over-analytical mindframe.

The few friends I've showed stuff to are blown away by the progress made over the last year. And frankly I am too. Maybe I've been watching too many clinics and tutorial vids and should spend more time listening back to some of those old Rod Stewart/Faces albums
:lol:

Oh yeah, the inconsistent hits you didn't know you were making, but are now plain as day. :). I always say, once you hear it, you can't unhear it. And that's a great thing.
 

DamnSingerAlsoDrums

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Oh yeah, the inconsistent hits you didn't know you were making, but are now plain as day. :). I always say, once you hear it, you can't unhear it. And that's a great thing.
The joys (and pains) of the magnifying glass effect brought on by the recording process.
 

dcrigger

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I'm kinda getting lost in chasing that all elusive "perfect play-through take".
.
.
.
.
All this with only extremely minor variance between takes. I KNOW this, and yet, I just don't get up to press Stop for hours and I end up playing myself to freaking exhaustion just so I can say that I've played all my parts without edits. Next one's gonna be THE ONE!!!
.
.
.
.
Anybody had any similar experience, difficulty with self-policing and letting go while recording themselves?
Of course - and even just recording period - though yes, being alone makes it even weirder. But besides all that - let's talk goals.... or maybe better put.... priorities.

Or put another - more direct way - Why are you holding yourself to recording complete takes?

I mean, I get personal satisfaction aspect to it - and that is all fine and good and something to work on and strive to accomplish, but......

What is your goal with this project? A - To make the best record you can make without any edits? Or B - To make the best record you can make?

If you can accomplish both, great. But from my experience, I'd bet just about any amount of money that you can't. Sure occasionally it happens - but odds are, in any given situation, a better record can be made with at least some edited.

I've been recording professionally since it was still hard to punch in drums and impossible to punch out - it would leave a gap. But even back then - we sometimes give it go. In order to preserve one incredibly great part, while fixing some other suck-y part. And we also had the ability to edit between takes - and did it... a lot. All of these things not because we were lazy - and not because we were short on time - but because of recognizing that a special great performance wasn't something that could just always be recreated - even if it was just part of a take. You really think twice about erasing magic, when you get it.

And certainly over the decades our tools have gotten to a place where we think we can "manufacture" magic through editing. And certainly that is something to shy away from - but that doesn't mean you have to saddle yourself with a task that hardly anyone ever saddles themselves with.

For decades, even live albums - even commemorating a special event - are culled from multiple performances. Back in 1980, I did a live album of the German group Passport playing at Montreux which was a one night thing. Both the label and the leader knew the importance of having more than one take to choose from - or even edit between. So a month before while on tour - they brought a recording truck into two different theaters to capture two other concerts.

But the album says 'Live at Montreux" - even though only about a third of the material comes from there.

Better story - Buddy Rich's famous "West Side Story Medley" from the Swinging New Band album famously recorded live at the Club Chez in Hollywood. And that album and the next one were recorded there.... but not West Side Story.

West Side Story was recorded at Wally Heider Studio in an all day marathon session of just recording West Side Story. With many, many takes recorded and the final product comprised of multiple takes edited together.

Some would call this cheating.... but the world of music and its audiences have long since shown that.... in a nutshell.... no one cares. Sure if you rub an audiences nose in it ala Milli Vanilli. But the fact is very few care one way or the other. Though i get - you may.

But looking at it another way - the fact is no one gets any points for their process - just whether people are engaged by the music. So this is where compromising to preserve a process (no editing) comes at great risk. Because if the project ends ups sound less than it could - you won't be cut a break - or given credit for - "but we did it all in complete takes"

Basically - no one cares about that.

So again - it comes back to goals. Even if you're doing this just for fun - are looking to see how good you can make it, while sticking to this sort personal choice production limitation? Or are you looking to see how close you can get to making a record that stands up to the "big boys" that would be your big time competition?

And trust me they are using every trick in the book.

And that's not to say I'm saying edit the crap out things - grid everything out. One of the great secret weapons of those with the time to really play and record a lot (which lots of pro projects do not have the time/budget for) is to do what you are doing - really dig in a play it and play it - capturing lots of versions that are overall great but with the occasional wart. And then edit all of the best parts together - not micro piecing it together - but seaming together big chunks. Creating a natural "played" performance - all of it as good as you can play it. Without even a hint of a flaw anywhere.

I believe the whole "it's OK if it has a few flaws in it" is a big giant myth - as I haven't worked with anyone for 40 years that was OKK saying that. It doesn't everything was always going to be textbook perfect - but nothing should ever seemed flawed. Not in the kind of music that I believe you are recording.

Anyway my two cents - and possibly worth no more than that.

Best of luck with the project - David
 

RIDDIM

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My band and I are in the midst of recording an album each from his own house. I've always been a pretty loose kinda guy and I like un-sanitised, organic feeling music, warts and all. Wich is pretty much what this band is about.

But now, being alone at the helm, with no producer or buddy to tell me when we're "close enough for Rock n roll" I'm kinda getting lost in chasing that all elusive "perfect play-through take".

Whatever that means...

I've spent most of the last 2 weeks loop recording for hours on end every day, doing well over a hundred takes per song. And these aren't intricate fusion chop-fests either, they're pretty straight forward country-rock-ish 4/4 songs. And yet... View attachment 488255 Maybe I'm trying to compensate for a bad case of impostor syndrom (for a bit of background info on me and my band, you can check out this post in a previous thread) https://www.drumforum.org/threads/5-days-studio-retreat.177041/post-1992406

All this with only extremely minor variance between takes. I KNOW this, and yet, I just don't get up to press Stop for hours and I end up playing myself to freaking exhaustion just so I can say that I've played all my parts without edits. Next one's gonna be THE ONE!!!

But there's always a bum hit, an ever-so-slightly rushed or late fill... Minor goofs like the ones peppered throughout all those wonderful old school recordings I hold dear, despite (and often times because of) the imperfections.

All in all just small errors or discrepancies that would probably be burried in the music if we were playing live together, or that could very easily be edited out. But since I'm playing alone, often with just a click and guide bass/guitar tracks, there is nothing to hide behind. And I can't shake off the urge to do the "absolute best" I can. Even if my joints are now protesting my over-zealous dispositions...

Anybody had any similar experience, difficulty with self-policing and letting go while recording themselves?
- Yes. Sometimes it's good to walk away, bounce a take, listen to it on some different platforms, then go for a run and listen again tomorrow.
 

Seb77

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In a normal recording, there would be a time limit, right? Maybe set one for yourself.
Editing larger chunks together is a great tip. It's done in classical music as well. I think the chuncks have become a lot smaller over time, but there is something to say for at least sections of the music coming from one take only.
Another point is, sometimes you get into the wrong mindset once you start trying to correct mistakes. Then other things happen, or most importantly, it becomes mechanics and the feel goes away. A great take might not tbe the one where you are aware of everything, but the one that "plays itself". Much harder to get into the flow when you're on your own though.
 

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I think it's good to go into a recording project with a game plan in terms of what the feel should be, the character of the fills, what SHOULDN'T be played, etc. It can take some time to become what it's supposed to be.

There have been many times when I wanted to approach a recording with an improvisational spirit, but, as the thing progressed, it just sounded better when I had settled into an actual part.

I've also come to like the idea of having a "fill concept" for a song rather than just blindly playing anything. It can be interesting to have all the fills in a song be variations of the same idea. It gives a more cohesive, composed feeling to the production.

Obviously, all of this is relative to the needs of the song on the table. However, one thing I have definitely discovered over many years of recording is that a production tends to take on a life of its own. You have to let it be what IT naturally wants to be and what makes it work best...and that doesn't always mean playing the parts you thought would be right.
 

snappy

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Of course - and even just recording period - though yes, being alone makes it even weirder. But besides all that - let's talk goals.... or maybe better put.... priorities.

Or put another - more direct way - Why are you holding yourself to recording complete takes?

I mean, I get personal satisfaction aspect to it - and that is all fine and good and something to work on and strive to accomplish, but......

What is your goal with this project? A - To make the best record you can make without any edits? Or B - To make the best record you can make?

If you can accomplish both, great. But from my experience, I'd bet just about any amount of money that you can't. Sure occasionally it happens - but odds are, in any given situation, a better record can be made with at least some edited.

I've been recording professionally since it was still hard to punch in drums and impossible to punch out - it would leave a gap. But even back then - we sometimes give it go. In order to preserve one incredibly great part, while fixing some other suck-y part. And we also had the ability to edit between takes - and did it... a lot. All of these things not because we were lazy - and not because we were short on time - but because of recognizing that a special great performance wasn't something that could just always be recreated - even if it was just part of a take. You really think twice about erasing magic, when you get it.

And certainly over the decades our tools have gotten to a place where we think we can "manufacture" magic through editing. And certainly that is something to shy away from - but that doesn't mean you have to saddle yourself with a task that hardly anyone ever saddles themselves with.

For decades, even live albums - even commemorating a special event - are culled from multiple performances. Back in 1980, I did a live album of the German group Passport playing at Montreux which was a one night thing. Both the label and the leader knew the importance of having more than one take to choose from - or even edit between. So a month before while on tour - they brought a recording truck into two different theaters to capture two other concerts.

But the album says 'Live at Montreux" - even though only about a third of the material comes from there.

Better story - Buddy Rich's famous "West Side Story Medley" from the Swinging New Band album famously recorded live at the Club Chez in Hollywood. And that album and the next one were recorded there.... but not West Side Story.

West Side Story was recorded at Wally Heider Studio in an all day marathon session of just recording West Side Story. With many, many takes recorded and the final product comprised of multiple takes edited together.

Some would call this cheating.... but the world of music and its audiences have long since shown that.... in a nutshell.... no one cares. Sure if you rub an audiences nose in it ala Milli Vanilli. But the fact is very few care one way or the other. Though i get - you may.

But looking at it another way - the fact is no one gets any points for their process - just whether people are engaged by the music. So this is where compromising to preserve a process (no editing) comes at great risk. Because if the project ends ups sound less than it could - you won't be cut a break - or given credit for - "but we did it all in complete takes"

Basically - no one cares about that.

So again - it comes back to goals. Even if you're doing this just for fun - are looking to see how good you can make it, while sticking to this sort personal choice production limitation? Or are you looking to see how close you can get to making a record that stands up to the "big boys" that would be your big time competition?

And trust me they are using every trick in the book.

And that's not to say I'm saying edit the crap out things - grid everything out. One of the great secret weapons of those with the time to really play and record a lot (which lots of pro projects do not have the time/budget for) is to do what you are doing - really dig in a play it and play it - capturing lots of versions that are overall great but with the occasional wart. And then edit all of the best parts together - not micro piecing it together - but seaming together big chunks. Creating a natural "played" performance - all of it as good as you can play it. Without even a hint of a flaw anywhere.

I believe the whole "it's OK if it has a few flaws in it" is a big giant myth - as I haven't worked with anyone for 40 years that was OKK saying that. It doesn't everything was always going to be textbook perfect - but nothing should ever seemed flawed. Not in the kind of music that I believe you are recording.

Anyway my two cents - and possibly worth no more than that.

Best of luck with the project - David
Yes, this ^^^
A relatively few in this world will appreciate that you played a certain track perfectly.
The rest won't give a hoot.
(It's usually a revelation to them when you describe how everything is usually tracked separately. They think it's like the movies.
The musicians and the singer all having simultaneous perfect takes is essentially impossible).
Respectfully, you are wasting time and making things a lot more difficult than they need to be
 
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DamnSingerAlsoDrums

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- Why are you holding yourself to recording complete takes?
Long story short: I'm not a drummer, I'm a career singer songwriter originally. I've been signed to a label since I was 20 (now 46). This is actually going to be my 11th album recording, I am pretty cognisant of how records are made. And I'm old enough to have recorded on 24 tracks tapes so I can relate to your punch in/out anecdote... ;) I remember the first time I went to a big time studio, Celine Dion was in the other room redoing some of her vocals from her Live at the Olympia album so that shattered the live myth right then and there!!! If one of the most capable vocalists of all times re-does her stuff, nothing is sacred...

But well, this one is the second album with this cajun/country band that was started a few years ago, almost on a dare. A project in wich we all played an intrument that wasn't our main. I ended up on drums duty for most of it. Our first album was a real live recording of our 3rd and 4th shows ever, they also happened to be my 3rd and 4th gigs on drums ever. The shows were taped initially, just for ourselves, as a future rehearsal reference. And my drums were never edited. Anyway, a mix of that started being passed around and my record label showed immediate interest and well, it got released. As-is!!!

Needless to say, that live recording showcases some legendary levels of sloppyness on my part. I think, now that I have put some serious hours into actually learning how to play this instrument, I want to give it everything I've got. Being a member here has been a tremendous source of inspiration and knowledge, but it is also very intimidating for me, knowing that eventually I will share my work with actual drummers.

I can, and do splice together the best parts of two or three takes together to send the guys, so that they can soon continue working on a song while I strive to get as close as I can to my "perfect" single take. Maybe I'll get there, maybe I won't and will end up (most likely) with cobbled-up takes. Time is the only thing we have in abundance nowadays so I have the luxury to use up as much as I can, within the limits of my aching joints and my sanity.

I am usually totally fine with leaving imperfect things as-is if they come from a true moment shared with others, that conveys a certain energy. But now, since the live thing is a physical impossibility, I will try to provide the best foundation for my guys to build on.

Anyway, thank you all for your thoughts and input and for reading my existential ramblings.
 

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Off the title: I think it does for alot of people. You want perfection, get as close to it as you can without sterilizing the product.
 

DamnSingerAlsoDrums

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Much harder to get into the flow when you're on your own though.
It was way harder at first. Even more so because, we are a band that conveys a festve energy, and well, a party alone ain't much of a party at all. But the forced repetition has created some kind of Pavlovian response and it has gotten easier with each song to channel that energy right off the bat. For the first one I did, I wasn't in the right head space at all for at least the first 20 takes. Now I'm on song #7 and by take 4 or 5 there were already some good things happening. Maybe at song #12 I'll have a perfect first take!!! And still do a quick 100 more, just to be sure:blink::lol:
 

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Of course - and even just recording period - though yes, being alone makes it even weirder. But besides all that - let's talk goals.... or maybe better put.... priorities.

Or put another - more direct way - Why are you holding yourself to recording complete takes?

I mean, I get personal satisfaction aspect to it - and that is all fine and good and something to work on and strive to accomplish, but......

What is your goal with this project? A - To make the best record you can make without any edits? Or B - To make the best record you can make?

If you can accomplish both, great. But from my experience, I'd bet just about any amount of money that you can't. Sure occasionally it happens - but odds are, in any given situation, a better record can be made with at least some edited.

I've been recording professionally since it was still hard to punch in drums and impossible to punch out - it would leave a gap. But even back then - we sometimes give it go. In order to preserve one incredibly great part, while fixing some other suck-y part. And we also had the ability to edit between takes - and did it... a lot. All of these things not because we were lazy - and not because we were short on time - but because of recognizing that a special great performance wasn't something that could just always be recreated - even if it was just part of a take. You really think twice about erasing magic, when you get it.

And certainly over the decades our tools have gotten to a place where we think we can "manufacture" magic through editing. And certainly that is something to shy away from - but that doesn't mean you have to saddle yourself with a task that hardly anyone ever saddles themselves with.

For decades, even live albums - even commemorating a special event - are culled from multiple performances. Back in 1980, I did a live album of the German group Passport playing at Montreux which was a one night thing. Both the label and the leader knew the importance of having more than one take to choose from - or even edit between. So a month before while on tour - they brought a recording truck into two different theaters to capture two other concerts.

But the album says 'Live at Montreux" - even though only about a third of the material comes from there.

Better story - Buddy Rich's famous "West Side Story Medley" from the Swinging New Band album famously recorded live at the Club Chez in Hollywood. And that album and the next one were recorded there.... but not West Side Story.

West Side Story was recorded at Wally Heider Studio in an all day marathon session of just recording West Side Story. With many, many takes recorded and the final product comprised of multiple takes edited together.

Some would call this cheating.... but the world of music and its audiences have long since shown that.... in a nutshell.... no one cares. Sure if you rub an audiences nose in it ala Milli Vanilli. But the fact is very few care one way or the other. Though i get - you may.

But looking at it another way - the fact is no one gets any points for their process - just whether people are engaged by the music. So this is where compromising to preserve a process (no editing) comes at great risk. Because if the project ends ups sound less than it could - you won't be cut a break - or given credit for - "but we did it all in complete takes"

Basically - no one cares about that.

So again - it comes back to goals. Even if you're doing this just for fun - are looking to see how good you can make it, while sticking to this sort personal choice production limitation? Or are you looking to see how close you can get to making a record that stands up to the "big boys" that would be your big time competition?

And trust me they are using every trick in the book.

And that's not to say I'm saying edit the crap out things - grid everything out. One of the great secret weapons of those with the time to really play and record a lot (which lots of pro projects do not have the time/budget for) is to do what you are doing - really dig in a play it and play it - capturing lots of versions that are overall great but with the occasional wart. And then edit all of the best parts together - not micro piecing it together - but seaming together big chunks. Creating a natural "played" performance - all of it as good as you can play it. Without even a hint of a flaw anywhere.

I believe the whole "it's OK if it has a few flaws in it" is a big giant myth - as I haven't worked with anyone for 40 years that was OKK saying that. It doesn't everything was always going to be textbook perfect - but nothing should ever seemed flawed. Not in the kind of music that I believe you are recording.

Anyway my two cents - and possibly worth no more than that.

Best of luck with the project - David
Exactly what David said....very well put.

I was about to say some of the same things. All, yes, all, of the big studio guys have been tweaked at some time or another in the studio. I do it to myself all the time.

Having a great take only to find myself with a lazy snare hit or a pushed kick drum...I move them. I usually play to a click but I don't ever snap to the grid, I do it all through feel.

You also need to know that the other players get "massaged" as well. When I'm hired to produce/arrange/edit I listen to the drums by themselves and make sure they feel good...then I make sure all the other rhythm instruments feel good with the drums. Usually that means nudging a few parts here and there. But I always move stuff to fit the drums so it feels like a band.

A funny story, a buddy wanted me to put drums on an acoustic track, with no click...I did a very simple groove, he wanted a few fills, gave hime those as well. When he sent me the finished track it was just awful. He didn't move the out of time guitars to me he moved me to them. I asked him if it was in fact me because I didn't think I played a fill sounding like I just fell down some stairs, and if I did I wouldn't have sent it ha!
He said oh no I moved your drums to fit the guitars!!!!! UGH!!!!! He fixed it because he honestly didn't know and it turned out ok in the end...just a funny story..

Moral here..have fun, don't beat yourself up, and the tape eh, computer, never lies! ha!

Cheers and blessings, Trey
 

DamnSingerAlsoDrums

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Exactly what David said....very well put.

I was about to say some of the same things. All, yes, all, of the big studio guys have been tweaked at some time or another in the studio. I do it to myself all the time.

Having a great take only to find myself with a lazy snare hit or a pushed kick drum...I move them. I usually play to a click but I don't ever snap to the grid, I do it all through feel.

You also need to know that the other players get "massaged" as well. When I'm hired to produce/arrange/edit I listen to the drums by themselves and make sure they feel good...then I make sure all the other rhythm instruments feel good with the drums. Usually that means nudging a few parts here and there. But I always move stuff to fit the drums so it feels like a band.

A funny story, a buddy wanted me to put drums on an acoustic track, with no click...I did a very simple groove, he wanted a few fills, gave hime those as well. When he sent me the finished track it was just awful. He didn't move the out of time guitars to me he moved me to them. I asked him if it was in fact me because I didn't think I played a fill sounding like I just fell down some stairs, and if I did I wouldn't have sent it ha!
He said oh no I moved your drums to fit the guitars!!!!! UGH!!!!! He fixed it because he honestly didn't know and it turned out ok in the end...just a funny story..

Moral here..have fun, don't beat yourself up, and the tape eh, computer, never lies! ha!

Cheers and blessings, Trey
Thank you Trey.
Well, ok the consensus is pretty clear that I'm trying too hard!

I've been in the biz long enough to know all that's being said, but it is still good to be reminded of it. Drumming and home recording being only recent endeavours, I somehow feel I've got something to prove to myself. I'll try to cut myself a bit of slack...
 

Cauldronics

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In re-reading what I wrote below, it might come off as a little lecture-y but my goal is to help shed perspective on what you're doing.

I am of the mind that you can learn more from limiting yourself than from doing endless takes of the same track. More importantly, by doing 100+ takes, you're training yourself to make the project less enjoyable and making it drudge work instead. It doesn't have much to do with perfection if you can't enjoy it. A question to ponder is whether or not you'd know if you hit the perfect take among those 160 and counting takes. And are you really spending all the time listening to each one for the whole song? That's a recipe for burnout.

Consider that a huge number of your favorite recordings by your favorite drummers almost undoubtedly used editing and punch-ins to get that perfect take. If you were at a studio, the engineer and your band wouldn't tolerate doing take after take ad infinitum, either. They'd tell you when it was good enough and when you got something really good.

Hope this helps!
 

DamnSingerAlsoDrums

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In re-reading what I wrote below, it might come off as a little lecture-y but my goal is to help shed perspective on what you're doing.

I am of the mind that you can learn more from limiting yourself than from doing endless takes of the same track. More importantly, by doing 100+ takes, you're training yourself to make the project less enjoyable and making it drudge work instead. It doesn't have much to do with perfection if you can't enjoy it. A question to ponder is whether or not you'd know if you hit the perfect take among those 160 and counting takes. And are you really spending all the time listening to each one for the whole song? That's a recipe for burnout.

Consider that a huge number of your favorite recordings by your favorite drummers almost undoubtedly used editing and punch-ins to get that perfect take. If you were at a studio, the engineer and your band wouldn't tolerate doing take after take ad infinitum, either. They'd tell you when it was good enough and when you got something really good.

Hope this helps!
I didn't take your post as "lecture-y".By posting here, one invites opinions, and I know that most come from a helpful disposition.

You bring up some good points, some of wich I've already answered in earlier posts. Like I said, this is sort of new territory for me, I mainly play other instruments. My guitars I usually do in 3-4 takes and wrap it up. Lead vocals I might extend to 7 or 8, to give time for my voice to warm up. For these two things, I know how to do well, I know my range, my capacity, and my limitations. I can get at it quick, know what I'm gonna play, and know with confidence when I do something that is close to my optimum performance. So, I don't waste time expecting some sudden unrealistic grand increase in overall quality if I keep on going past a certain point.

Drums are different, I haven't been at them that long and, it takes me longer to achieve a flowing state. So I need a few takes to get comfortable, and then once warmed-up, it becomes sorta like meditation. I can have fun for a looooong while before feeling that I'm just chasing my own tail. But, at playback the other night, it was weird to to hear myself yell "ok last one!" after like, the 15 or so last takes of the day. I didn't know if I should be proud of my dedication or pity my cluelessness.

Another detail to factor in is that, 2 of these songs are brand new and haven't benefited yet from any kind of rehearsed pre-production whatsoever. So I wasn't exactly accurate in my statement that "I get only minor variances between takes" on three out of the seven songs done so far, there were changes in the groove such as 8th notes hats instead of 16th on a couple takes, then maybe a few takes where I would rim-click the verses just to see if the song feels different, different kick patterns, different velocity, snare played with butt end of the stick and so on... Although a vast number were still very similar.

I also know that some concerts are reappearing on the schedule and we probably won't have the luxury of many rehearsals before they happen, so getting them engraved in my brain maybe isn't a total waste of time/energy. The real gruelling part is mostly the listenning back and notes taking on all tracks.

That 160 takes one, well that was the extreme example... But you know what? This was a fast tempo and I'd made slightly rush-y parts over 3 days until fatigue set in at round the 135 mark and the tempo sorta clicked nicely into the pocket from then onward. Our current work version (and most likely keeper) is track 158, perfect all the way through except for one little time that I hit my sticks together, and the end fill wich is on time but just doesn't sound right. I can edit those 2 items with a previous track in 3 minutes and call it a day...

Now I know that If I were in a studio, I couldn't go that far, somebody would pull the plug on me way before that. And, I hope that eventually, as confidence grows, I will pull the plug on myself sooner as well. I know though that when this production is over, whatever's on tape will be the best I could do at the moment, in the conditions. If it sucks well I won't say I didn't try hard enough, that's for sure.

I'm sorry if I seem a bit all over the place, I'm a bit sleep deprived at the moment. I just need a good night sleep and maybe to keep the computer off for today. I'll get at it fresh tomorrow.
 

JonnyFranchi$e

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I hope you're getting it.

We're just starting to make our first album as a band. I've done a fair amount of click-track drumming myself, and over the years I've gotten much better at it, but I have to say:

Recording drums can be MERCILESS.

To make a good pop track work (using "pop" very broadly here), the drums have to be REALLY GOOD. Super accurate on the click, yet musical and it has to FEEL good.

I would say just think through your priorities. For me, it's usually "1. I want it to feel awesome and musical 2. without any noticeable variance from the click and 3. NO shenanigans (mishits, bad fills, stick clicks, dropped sticks, vomiting mid-take etc.)"

By doing this, I have a separate metric to judge how well I've done on a take rather than seeking that vague feeling of perfection that is so elusive. Yet you're not abandoning the perfect and settling for something lousy.

- This feels great and is musical
- This is tight on the click
- This has no shenanigans

OK, that's a rap.

To me, that helps - otherwise I go down the rabbit hole too much. Of course, I'm not a pro either.

Another thing for me that might help: I separate the playing part from the "judgment" part. You need to PLAY and you need to JUDGE - but these are drastically different mental exercises. In many ways, they're mutually exclusive - they're OPPOSED to each other. (Same is true for songwriting IMO too). But PLAY and do a bunch of takes until it "feels" like you got it. Then listen and judge em later. I think this was mentioned already but it's important (at least to me) to recognize how different these activities are and to separate them from each other.

Good luck to ya. You got this.
 

speady1

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Lots of good advice in this thread.

Ear fatigue is real. So is brain fatigue. I did a marathon session a couple years ago tracking 15 or 16 songs, 1 or 2 takes each. Then, I helped mix the tunes that same day. When I listened back with fresh ears the next day, the first songs to be mixed sounded pretty good. All the "later" mixes were super harsh with way too much high end. Why? Because of ear fatigue. We couldn't "hear" the highs because of exhaustion deafness.

You aren't doing yourself or your band any favors at all. Send in the first 2-3 takes and get feedback. Most likely, everybody will be thrilled with them.
 


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