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  #1  
Old 09-23-2008, 01:34 AM
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Default Listening to live recordings of yourself

I can say quite easily that the one single thing that has improved my drumming the quickest is recording (and listening to) our live gigs. Since I'm always striving to drum better this is an invaluable tool for me. The 400 bucks I paid for this digital recorder with built in mics was well worth it. Anybody else do this?
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  #2  
Old 09-23-2008, 02:35 AM
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Default Re: Listening to live recordings of yourself

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Originally Posted by larryace View Post
I can say quite easily that the one single thing that has improved my drumming the quickest is recording (and listening to) our live gigs. Since I'm always striving to drum better this is an invaluable tool for me. The 400 bucks I paid for this digital recorder with built in mics was well worth it. Anybody else do this?
What sort of recorder do you have?
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  #3  
Old 09-23-2008, 03:11 AM
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Default Re: Listening to live recordings of yourself

I have an Olympus LS10. Highly recommended. The hardest part is you have to learn Cubase if you want to burn your songs to disc. (Cubase comes with it) But it holds like 16 hours of music at high quality (more time at lower quality) runs on 2 AA batteries, has built in XY stereo mics, and for quick listens after a gig, it's great. It has built in speakers too, but I use headphones. Also has a female threaded thingy so you can mount it on a camera tripod. The quality of the recordings is surprisingly accurate.
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Old 09-23-2008, 05:38 AM
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Default Re: Listening to live recordings of yourself

I find the recordings to be as useful as a football team reviewing the video of last weeks game. I'm often surprised how things that I played sounded. Both Bad and Good! It's a great way to improve.
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  #5  
Old 09-23-2008, 05:47 AM
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Default Re: Listening to live recordings of yourself

I hate hearing recordings of myself playing. It's like looking at your own corpse. I never listen to anything I've recorded. That was then, you know?
Yes, I can see how for the beginner it could be useful.
I don't like seeing photographs of myself either. I don't really even like to see myself in a mirror!
I'm having to go through the roughs taken from the sessions my band recorded for my next CD. I just block out the drums, completely. It's too painful. "Could have done this better, could have done that better..." Don't want to hear it! That was then!
Oh well.
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  #6  
Old 09-23-2008, 06:02 AM
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Default Re: Listening to live recordings of yourself

Your premise is true for me. Recording yourself can tell you the truth about what happened when you played. Sometimes its even for the better, actually. You thought you played like crap, but you didn't..

It helps with the whole perception v/s reality thing.
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  #7  
Old 09-23-2008, 07:29 AM
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Default Re: Listening to live recordings of yourself

I had been recording almost every band I played in - rehearsals and all - since about 1970. And yes, hearing myself was quite a revealing/humbling/encouraging experience.

The single most important thing I learned then, and even as I listen to recordings made since, is that when I'm playing, and the tempo seems 'right', it is in fact several bpm faster to the listener (that is, the recorder.) That phenomenon still holds true today, and has allowed me to adjust, and nail tempos better. Basically, if a song feels a bit relaxed to me, it's probably actually correct.

But what's also interesting is, listening back to the old tapes I hear myself playing outside of the box before I even knew what 'the box' was. My naive and completely innocent approach to drumming yielded some cool parts that I guess I've become too seasoned to come up with today. Then again, the few gems are outweighed by a ton of thoroughly inappropriate beats, fills and tempo gaffs of my youthful 'style'. But in looking back, I've also realized that I need to open up a bit more, and I've revived some of the ideas that were unintentionally pretty cool.

So in a broad sense, yes, recording yourself is a great learning tool, whether you do or don't get anything from it right away. Keep the recordings, and in a year or two or ten, listen again and see how much you cringe... and smile.

Bermuda

Last edited by bermuda; 09-23-2008 at 06:45 PM.
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  #8  
Old 09-23-2008, 08:22 AM
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Default Re: Listening to live recordings of yourself

Try it and see what you get from it...

If you dont like what you hear, then what does that say? The camera dont lie!

Ive done it for about 12 years now and its been invalueable as a "learning tool"

I ll always recommend it, to pro s' and beginners.
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  #9  
Old 09-23-2008, 03:33 PM
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Default Re: Listening to live recordings of yourself

I record most of my gigs. The person who turned me on to the idea is Peter Erskine, so you know it's a good one!!!! I started working with a metronome and the recordings, since I don't use a click live. It really taught me a lot about how, even though I would rehearse with a click, I would still push and pull tempos when live...maybe not enough for the average ear to notice (ie, start a song at 110, end at 115), but it was there. By working this way for a while, I discovered where I was speeding up and slowing down, and why I was doing it (and also, some telltale fills, etc, that I would play when doing it). Now, when I do the "metronome test," it's rare that my tempo waivers by more than 1 BPM throughout a song, so it's really helped me.
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  #10  
Old 09-23-2008, 05:48 PM
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Default Re: Listening to live recordings of yourself

Yes recordings really do tell the whole truth, there are some songs that my one band does that I'm not too thrilled with, (the ones where I'm just basically keeping time so the slide player can shine), but when I listen to them, they aren't as boring as I thought they were. It gives me a better attitude towards them. Now I realize that it's all in my own head. When I first started recording there was a huge gap in what I heard listening afterwards compared to what I thought was happening on stage. Now there is negligible difference, which tells me I am not "coloring" my listening anymore. Lately I've also noticed that if I do a fill, I play the fill a little louder than the dynamic level of the rest of the song, which to me sounds bad. So I'm learning to adjust and not increase my volume when it's fill time. I hate "sticking out". I also learned that for me, I can never "get into it". It's like if I "get into it", I'm being selfish and the song suffers, and if I don't "get into it", it works better all the way around. I have to curtail my own "enjoyment" of the song so the crowd can enjoy it, which makes me far happier. I shudder to think what I might sound like if I hadn't been listening to my final product these past few years. Anybody who doesn't record themselves really should, if they want to improve themselves quickly. Learning what not to do is equally as important as learning what to do.
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  #11  
Old 09-23-2008, 08:41 PM
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Default Re: Listening to live recordings of yourself

I believe in "push the button and run", I hear my mistakes, I hear stuff where I think that sounded great, how did I do that and can I do it again. I also like playing it back for the other musicians so they can determine if what they are doing sounds right. I just use a simple cassette porto - pro and mic. I transfer to computer and disk very easily, Just recently I recorded a rehearsal with some new band mates and I was trying out some new chops to make my tom playing more laconic and since these guys play at 90mph with gasoline I was sort of flying by the seat of my pants and wasn't really sure if it worked out, the meter is solid so anything I did try was not disruptive; on hearing it back and because the recording came out dry (cymbals are muted due to distance and quality of mic), I was able to determine that this new way of playing for me works out. This is good because at 54 years of age it is similar to a long time pitcher learning the knuckle ball.
Recording is always a good idea.

Last edited by Bruce M. Thomson; 09-23-2008 at 10:28 PM.
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  #12  
Old 09-24-2008, 12:10 AM
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Default Re: Listening to live recordings of yourself

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Originally Posted by bermuda View Post
The single most important thing I learned then, and even as I listen to recordings made since, is that when I'm playing, and the tempo seems 'right', it is in fact several bpm faster to the listener (that is, the recorder.)
+1

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Originally Posted by larryace View Post
Yes recordings really do tell the whole truth, there are some songs that my one band does that I'm not too thrilled with, (the ones where I'm just basically keeping time so the slide player can shine), but when I listen to them, they aren't as boring as I thought they were. It gives me a better attitude towards them.
+1

These are good points that I agree with. If I can get a recording of my drums alone, I sometimes find that my playing does not sound as strong or solid as ti feels when I'm banging away.
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  #13  
Old 09-24-2008, 01:35 AM
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Default Re: Listening to live recordings of yourself

Yes, with the Pop/Rock band I`m in we got recorded here and there. I was really happy and curious about those tapes.
Every time the sound recordings would just turn my face into the painful expression itself.

In the end I`m so happy about getting recorded or recording myself consciously. It`s such a helpful tool for the learning process. Sharing these sound clips might be a good idea, too since constructive criticism and opinions from listeners help a lot as well.

For example I noticed that we played too some tunes a bit too fast at gigs. We then tried to fix it in rehearsals and live. I have to say that it got quite a habit but after some time we were able to get more conscious about playing tunes a bit too fast. Recordings helped us to prove it. I thought that we play some tunes too hectical but we seemed to need some evidence...

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  #14  
Old 09-24-2008, 08:54 AM
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Default Re: Listening to live recordings of yourself

Thereīs a theory of a philosopher named Merleau-Ponty which states that in order to perceive something there must always exist a blind point that we cannot see. He explains that the same thing that weīre not able to see is that same thing that determines our point of view, that means: the position of our body in space.
No one is able to watch his own face like others would see it without using a mirror. The placing of that face not only determines our vision and perception of any given object, but also offers to the other the image of our own blind point of view.


So.. recordings are like mirrors.. a way to perceive our participation in the world but from "the others" perspective. Thatīs why itīs relatively easy (and truly esential) to make adjustments using that material.



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  #15  
Old 09-25-2008, 12:06 PM
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Default Re: Listening to live recordings of yourself

I cringe everytime I think of listening to myself. But sometimes it doesn't turn out to be so bad. I mean everyone knows about listening to yourself to find mistakes and all that but I found something else listening to myself.

Sometimes I listen to my own recordings at jam sessions and go 'whoa I can't believe I pulled off that fill' and it becomes a great encouragement really.

I remember my first time recording myself with my brother and a friend. We were doing a 'bass extremes' thing with 2 bass guitars and listening to my own playing made me feel really good about it.
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  #16  
Old 09-25-2008, 04:48 PM
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Default Re: Listening to live recordings of yourself

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Originally Posted by k3ng View Post
I cringe everytime I think of listening to myself. But sometimes it doesn't turn out to be so bad. I mean everyone knows about listening to yourself to find mistakes and all that but I found something else listening to myself.

Sometimes I listen to my own recordings at jam sessions and go 'whoa I can't believe I pulled off that fill' and it becomes a great encouragement really.

I remember my first time recording myself with my brother and a friend. We were doing a 'bass extremes' thing with 2 bass guitars and listening to my own playing made me feel really good about it.
That's a great point. A friend of mine recently played me a recording of a show that we played about three years ago. He didn't tell me what it was, and I didn't know he recorded the show. He started right in the middle of a long jam (we were a jam band), and asked, "Have you heard these guys yet?" I listened for a while, and honestly, said, "Uh, is this Phish? The guitar tone isn't Trey, but that has to be Fishman on the drums, listen to the ride cymbal." He didn't say a word until the song came back for a chorus, and I recognized the tune as one I wrote (the jam had gotten well away from the recognizable chord sequence of the song). I just about lost it. I was giddy.
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  #17  
Old 09-25-2008, 06:31 PM
bongodoggie bongodoggie is offline
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Default Re: Listening to live recordings of yourself

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Originally Posted by larryace View Post
Yes recordings really do tell the whole truth, there are some songs that my one band does that I'm not too thrilled with, (the ones where I'm just basically keeping time so the slide player can shine), but when I listen to them, they aren't as boring as I thought they were. It gives me a better attitude towards them. Now I realize that it's all in my own head. When I first started recording there was a huge gap in what I heard listening afterwards compared to what I thought was happening on stage. Now there is negligible difference, which tells me I am not "coloring" my listening anymore. Lately I've also noticed that if I do a fill, I play the fill a little louder than the dynamic level of the rest of the song, which to me sounds bad. So I'm learning to adjust and not increase my volume when it's fill time. I hate "sticking out". I also learned that for me, I can never "get into it". It's like if I "get into it", I'm being selfish and the song suffers, and if I don't "get into it", it works better all the way around. I have to curtail my own "enjoyment" of the song so the crowd can enjoy it, which makes me far happier. I shudder to think what I might sound like if I hadn't been listening to my final product these past few years. Anybody who doesn't record themselves really should, if they want to improve themselves quickly. Learning what not to do is equally as important as learning what to do.
I like what you say about 'coloring' listening. I catch myself doing that, inside my ears there is some sort of EQ going on that makes me sound better than I really am. I have learned to switch this weird EQ off, hear the music as it really is. I've had to teach myself to really listen, to clearly hear. I focus on my big ears, not what is in the head. Recording is a good way to clue into this.

Recording yourself is good, but I take it a step further and record with video.

An issue for me in recording is the 'red light syndrome'. With practice I've gotten better about nervousness when recording, but it is still there. I think of the phemomena in physics where the act of taking a measurement interferes with the result.

.
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  #18  
Old 09-26-2008, 05:21 AM
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Default Re: Listening to live recordings of yourself

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Originally Posted by mrchattr View Post
I record most of my gigs. The person who turned me on to the idea is Peter Erskine, so you know it's a good one!!!! I started working with a metronome and the recordings, since I don't use a click live. It really taught me a lot about how, even though I would rehearse with a click, I would still push and pull tempos when live...maybe not enough for the average ear to notice (ie, start a song at 110, end at 115), but it was there. By working this way for a while, I discovered where I was speeding up and slowing down, and why I was doing it (and also, some telltale fills, etc, that I would play when doing it). Now, when I do the "metronome test," it's rare that my tempo waivers by more than 1 BPM throughout a song, so it's really helped me.

Good for you that you have improved your time with this method. I will give it further effort, would say I'm at about 4 bpm range through a song without a metronome ... could use improvement.

I've read interviews with Alex Van Halen, Steward Copeland, and other big time players that admit their time isn't perfect, that old recordings sometimes show it, and they say in effect 'So What?'. The groove was good, everybody sped up together, the important thing was they were rock'n.

I've used the 'tap' feature on metronomes and have found some old recordings are not strict with time (check out old Albert Collins recordings for one). Some old Motown and Chess recordings kind of stretch the time through the bridge, and I'm not sure you'd want it any other way.

Of course it is best to practice hard and be ready to play with near-perfect time. Today is the age of the humanoid atomic computerized super metronomic tin woodsman mechanical drummer, and us flesh and blood types must be ready to follow suit when we go to the recording studio.



.
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  #19  
Old 09-26-2008, 06:55 AM
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Default Re: Listening to live recordings of yourself

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Good for you that you have improved your time with this method. I will give it further effort, would say I'm at about 4 bpm range through a song without a metronome ... could use improvement.

I've read interviews with Alex Van Halen, Steward Copeland, and other big time players that admit their time isn't perfect, that old recordings sometimes show it, and they say in effect 'So What?'. The groove was good, everybody sped up together, the important thing was they were rock'n.

I've used the 'tap' feature on metronomes and have found some old recordings are not strict with time (check out old Albert Collins recordings for one). Some old Motown and Chess recordings kind of stretch the time through the bridge, and I'm not sure you'd want it any other way.

Of course it is best to practice hard and be ready to play with near-perfect time. Today is the age of the humanoid atomic computerized super metronomic tin woodsman mechanical drummer, and us flesh and blood types must be ready to follow suit when we go to the recording studio.



.
I couldn't agree more. I love when I play in settings, such as the jam band I mentioned earlier, where tempo shifts are allowed, and pretty much encouraged. But it's important to play at a near-perfect tempo, and then have the ability to loosen up and stretch things when needed. I won't lie...I like being able to flux the tempo to go with how I feel...I love it...but it isn't a skill that is called for often in my professional life, sadly.
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  #20  
Old 09-26-2008, 04:33 PM
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Default Re: Listening to live recordings of yourself

I do not regularly record myself but the few time I have I find it very informative. As was stated above both good and bad. I hear things that I can work on and improve. I hear things that really just don't work as well as I thought they did within the song and I hear positive things that inspire me to keep going.


I am far from a beginner,I have been playing for 30+ years but I am far from where I would like to be as well. This is a great tool and now I have to have one ;-)
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  #21  
Old 09-27-2008, 12:41 AM
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Default Re: Listening to live recordings of yourself

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. Keep the recordings, and in a year or two or ten, listen again and see how much you cringe... and smile.

Bermuda
Yes, a very humbling strategy.. and worth it if meekness is an attitude you hold dear.
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  #22  
Old 09-30-2008, 09:08 PM
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Default Re: Listening to live recordings of yourself

RECORD YOURSELF, but I come at it from another perspective. Some don't want to hear how bad we suck on a particular day.

But.. One day you may not be doing this anymore. One day your 'day in the sun' with that special group of guys you called "a band" may be over. Or maybe that time you first started playing with a buddy from up the road and neither of you could play, but after 2 hours you finally knocked out "For Whom the Bell tolls". Then 2 years later you and he are playing "Eye of the Beholder" perfectly, with said buddy even taking the solo and you yourself knocking down the double-bass like a breeze.

Whouldn't it be nice to hear your progression as skin pounding hack to an actual musician? And despite the limited ability you may have had when you first started recording, don't forget the passion that put you behind the kit...in those crappy recordings is your heart, your soul, your drive and dedication.

I listen to some old practice sessions me and my first band had back in the 1990s and I cringe at the clear inteptitude of the 'musicians' (to include me)...it was BAD, horribly played music, out of tune everything, too fast here, too slow here, random chord out of nowhere...I hate hearing it, but then...the songs stop and you hear us talking, laughing, and carrying on like we didn't give a crap. We knew we were not Rush, but that wasn't what it was about.

Those early recordings always remind me ... what it's all about. Now that I am better, I listen to 'take notes' on what I am doing...however, I never smile, no laughter. Even if I do well, while taking pride in a quality played piece, something is still lost from when you first started. You're more serious now, missing a fill is not acceptable and you scold yourself for sloppy playing. If the bass player says you were rushing the chorus it's 'back to the drawing board'...but BACK THEN, none of that...just you, your friends and music. Yes, it was a time of innocence. Heh Heh
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  #23  
Old 09-30-2008, 09:34 PM
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Default Re: Listening to live recordings of yourself

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RECORD YOURSELF, but I come at it from another perspective. Some don't want to hear how bad we suck on a particular day.

But.. One day you may not be doing this anymore. One day your 'day in the sun' with that special group of guys you called "a band" may be over. Or maybe that time you first started playing with a buddy from up the road and neither of you could play, but after 2 hours you finally knocked out "For Whom the Bell tolls". Then 2 years later you and he are playing "Eye of the Beholder" perfectly, with said buddy even taking the solo and you yourself knocking down the double-bass like a breeze.

Whouldn't it be nice to hear your progression as skin pounding hack to an actual musician? And despite the limited ability you may have had when you first started recording, don't forget the passion that put you behind the kit...in those crappy recordings is your heart, your soul, your drive and dedication.

I listen to some old practice sessions me and my first band had back in the 1990s and I cringe at the clear inteptitude of the 'musicians' (to include me)...it was BAD, horribly played music, out of tune everything, too fast here, too slow here, random chord out of nowhere...I hate hearing it, but then...the songs stop and you hear us talking, laughing, and carrying on like we didn't give a crap. We knew we were not Rush, but that wasn't what it was about.

Those early recordings always remind me ... what it's all about. Now that I am better, I listen to 'take notes' on what I am doing...however, I never smile, no laughter. Even if I do well, while taking pride in a quality played piece, something is still lost from when you first started. You're more serious now, missing a fill is not acceptable and you scold yourself for sloppy playing. If the bass player says you were rushing the chorus it's 'back to the drawing board'...but BACK THEN, none of that...just you, your friends and music. Yes, it was a time of innocence. Heh Heh
About 20 years ago, I had just left a band, and figuring I was moving on, I recorded over the tapes I had made with them. Now I wish I had those tapes. It would be great to have them for comparison or just nostalgia sake.
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Old 09-30-2008, 10:00 PM
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Default Re: Listening to live recordings of yourself

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About 20 years ago, I had just left a band, and figuring I was moving on, I recorded over the tapes I had made with them. Now I wish I had those tapes. It would be great to have them for comparison or just nostalgia sake.

Yep. While I don't have the recordings of the very first jam session I ever had, I do have recordings of practice sessions soon thereafter when we got a 2nd guitar player and a bassist.

Just a note of interest, our second guitar player was...MikeG.
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  #25  
Old 09-30-2008, 11:30 PM
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Default Re: Listening to live recordings of yourself

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Yes, a very humbling strategy.. and worth it if meekness is an attitude you hold dear.
Not sure what 'meekness' has to do with reviewing past efforts in order to gauge progress in terms of strengths and weaknesses. For me, analyzing recordings - new as well as old - has always been an important tool for determining where I need to work on my playing.

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Old 10-01-2008, 04:05 AM
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Default Re: Listening to live recordings of yourself

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Not sure what 'meekness' has to do with reviewing past efforts in order to gauge progress in terms of strengths and weaknesses. For me, analyzing recordings - new as well as old - has always been an important tool for determining where I need to work on my playing.

Bermuda
I'm using the term in the sense of having a patient attitude when gauging progress. Sometimes when one listens to themselves on past recording they might not find the type of progress they hoped for and can be discouraged. Others might find much progress and let it go to thier heads.

I don't know, maybe "meekness" is the wrong word. Sorry.
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Old 10-01-2008, 04:13 AM
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Default Re: Listening to live recordings of yourself

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Originally Posted by That Guy View Post
Others might find much progress and let it go to thier heads.
I'm certainly not guilty of making too much progress... or maybe the weaknesses just stand out more to my ear. I guess if I hear something that sounds good, I don't think much about it. I'm really listening for the things that need improvement.

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Old 10-01-2008, 05:30 AM
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m1ck m1ck is offline
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Default Re: Listening to live recordings of yourself

Before our guitarist with the equipment left to begin a new life with his girlfriend, we recorded everything we did at band practice. The mic was almost always on so we got used to it and it was never a source of pressure.

It was highly informative. As others have said, it's a source of both encouragement and humility. Sometimes we'd be listening to our stuff in the background during a smoke break and we'd be surprised by what we heard. Or disturbed.

It's a great tool for drummers or any musician. What you hear is the ruthless truth about your playing. You may not be aware that you're compressing notes in fills - until you hear it. Sometimes you try something new and you're not sure if it works or not - you find out when you hear it back.

I have a high quality digital voice recorder (Olympus DS-40) that records from 50 - 19,000 Hz and I sometimes use it when practicing at home. Listening back reveals all - the good, the bad and the ugly.

As a learning tool, I totally recommend it.

Last edited by m1ck; 10-01-2008 at 05:41 AM.
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  #29  
Old 10-02-2008, 12:10 AM
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dairyairman dairyairman is offline
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Default Re: Listening to live recordings of yourself

i record all my band's practices and performances with my zoom h2 recorder. it's a very small device, but it does a great job. when i first started using it i was pretty shocked to hear how bad i sounded, but like others i've used the recordings to improve my drumming. the recordings have revealed all kinds of things i don't hear while playing, like tempo issues, hitting the drums or cymbals too hard or too soft, rushed or dragged fills, timing problems, etc. it's humbling at times, but very useful. it's also helped me hear what my drums sound like from an audience point of view with the rest of the band. i've adjusted my tuning quite a bit based on what i've heard in the recordings. i also use it to record new original songs we're working on so i can play along to them at home between band practices. that really helps with learning new material.
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