Much respect to those who record...

BruceW

Senior Member
Its been a few years for me, but wow...recording is really a different animal. Trying to make that whole take perfect, no stick clicks, inadvertently hitting a rim, being off on a fill by a half beat, striking a cymbal in the wrong spot so it doesn't make the sound you intended.... so many little things can happen that scream out at you when listening back to it, yet you'd just brush off when playing live.

We started doing our own album recently, first one in a few years. I had forgotten how nerve wracking it can be. At least in my circumstance. MUCH respect for you folks that do this regularly. (I am enjoying it, its simply a significantly different animal than playing live. A great learning experience, too.)
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
I’ve struggled with it too. I’ve run into additional challenges where I played the parts correctly, but for some reason I just can get the tracks to line up. One always wants to be ahead or behind the other. I can see the peaks, they are in time, but just refuse to line up. I’ve spent days fiddling with stuff to finally get it right, put it on YouTube, just to have it taken down for copyright violations. A couple of those and I lost interest in ever sharing anything!
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
Some players suffer from extreme self-consciousness while recording. They feel as though they're undergoing an examination, one that evaluates the quality of every stroke and accent. It's impossible to stay loose and natural with that mindset. I treat studio sessions exactly as I do performances. I sit down and play. If I dislike one take, I complete another. With proper preparation, it's extremely rare that I need more than two, and one is often sufficient. It's vital to accept that recording isn't a do-or-die equation. Though it's more sterile than playing live, it's just as prone to imperfection. Embracing that fact alleviates pressure.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
recording can go either way....

I have had many instances where the engineer/bandmates/producers can nit pick something to death...and have also had many instances where the most we do is 2 takes, and it is very organic. I prefer the 2nd way, but that is also b/c I really try to make sure that I am super prepared coming in.

I have also learned from doing one off studio sessions how to "prepare" if I only get one or 2 reps of the song before we go

one HUGE trick that I have learned in those kind of sessions is to have the engineer do "sneak" recordings, where we do 2 or three dry runs, , but they hit record anyways on one of them, and don't tell me when. MOST, of my best takes have come from those sneak recordings....
 

Juniper

Gold Member
Just try and relax and enjoy it. The three P’s are crucial.

Prepare, prepare, prepare

Some of the most important things. Prepare your gear, practice drum parts alone and with your bandmates ahead of the day so you know everything inside and out.

Also, as crucial practice playing to the metronome beforehand.

Then, on the day try not and let the red light fever take hold. If you don’t get a part nailed in the first, second or third take who cares?

Keep going, it’s not a race. If it takes you five takes or more to capture the performance you/your bandmates want? so be it.

Finally, listen closely to the playback.

Personally I love the studio as I love all of the above but some people can find it too nervy.
 

BruceW

Senior Member
Some players suffer from extreme self-consciousness while recording. They feel as though they're undergoing an examination, one that evaluates the quality of every stroke and accent. It's impossible to stay loose and natural with that mindset. I treat studio sessions exactly as I do performances. I sit down and play. If I dislike one take, I complete another. With proper preparation, it's extremely rare that I need more than two, and one is often sufficient. It's vital to accept that recording isn't a do-or-die equation. Though it's more sterile than playing live, it's just as prone to imperfection. Embracing that fact alleviates pressure.
I get that, and you're right. The difficult part for me (and our group, by extension) is because we're doing this low-budget, we're recording it at home. And the method by which we have to do it, we need to get my part down, then the other parts can be done over and what not till they get them they way they want. We play the song as a group, for my reference, but the part we're really trying to get is mine. So the pressure is all on me. They've all been very understanding and patient, and no one gives me any grief when I want to do another take.

But....we only have just sooo much time. We all have day jobs, and other obligations, so they available time to do this as a group is fleeting. For instance we had a couple hours last night, we may have another couple hours next week. As a group. The other folks can work on their parts whenever its good for them. So I need to try and get a good take when we can all get together. So as to enable progress for everyone else.

I wish I could get a take that I like in just one or two tries. If that were the case, this wouldn't be so challenging. (But if it was easy, anyone could do it, right?) Again, a learning experience, for sure! It is making my playing more refined. I recognize it, its cool.
 

NouveauCliche

Senior Member
Yea - you gotta make every note count, get comfortable with a click and play less than you might normally haha.

It can be super fun. There's a lot you can do in post - say you nail a take but you maybe hit the rim instead of the snare on ONE back beat: you can go in and just copy another snare hit and punch it in...or if you miss a cymbal crash or something: There's always ways to save a good take.

It's one of my favorite things as long as I'm prepared.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
I get that, and you're right. The difficult part for me (and our group, by extension) is because we're doing this low-budget, we're recording it at home. And the method by which we have to do it, we need to get my part down, then the other parts can be done over and what not till they get them they way they want. We play the song as a group, for my reference, but the part we're really trying to get is mine. So the pressure is all on me. They've all been very understanding and patient, and no one gives me any grief when I want to do another take.

But....we only have just sooo much time. We all have day jobs, and other obligations, so they available time to do this as a group is fleeting. For instance we had a couple hours last night, we may have another couple hours next week. As a group. The other folks can work on their parts whenever its good for them. So I need to try and get a good take when we can all get together. So as to enable progress for everyone else.

I wish I could get a take that I like in just one or two tries. If that were the case, this wouldn't be so challenging. (But if it was easy, anyone could do it, right?) Again, a learning experience, for sure! It is making my playing more refined. I recognize it, its cool.
Try to have a good time with it. No one's life is at risk here. The more lighthearted your outlook, the more relaxed your drumming will be. Fearing mistakes is the fastest way to spawn them. When you welcome them, they won't be so eager to surface.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
It's one of my favorite things as long as I'm prepared.
And preparation is really the critical element. Knowing your parts inside out instills considerable calm. I've also participated in on-call recordings in which preparation has been minimal. Sometimes I've had drum charts; other times I haven't. Confidence goes a long way toward making you comfortable in any situation that arises. Often, if you believe you can get through a session just fine, you find that you really can.
 

bonerpizza

Silver Member
When the last band I was in recorded our EP we recorded everything live except the final vocals and guitar solos, it made the whole process much easier and more enjoyable. I've done recordings where it's me playing along to a click and scratch guitar and vocals and I never liked the pressure!

One thing to do to help alleviate some of the anxiety with recording is to record yourself playing all the time, red light syndrome is real!
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
One thing to do to help alleviate some of the anxiety with recording is to record yourself playing all the time, red light syndrome is real!
Great recommendation. Systematic desensitization is a valuable behavioral tool. Through ongoing exposure, the unfamiliar becomes mundane. Boredom and comfort go hand in hand.
 

Al Strange

Well-known member
All of the above! 😂 (y) I live and breathe the tracks where possible and get them down to the point where I can play the songs with a click without the rest of the band. The worst thing about recording is that everyone else is waiting for you to get your parts down so you feel a bit of pressure to nail everything asap to save time and money; that nervous energy can be a good thing though, as it adds excitement (especially if you know the track inside out). I love it when I’ve finished all of my parts and can just hang around in the studio watching the tracks come together (and winding up the other members of the band!). I like doing bv’s too which is always a good laugh, particularly if I do a bum note (my “parts” tend to be quite high)!😂 It is a completely different beast to playing live, where there is far less scrutiny on what you’re playing...(y):)
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Its been a few years for me, but wow...recording is really a different animal. Trying to make that whole take perfect, no stick clicks, inadvertently hitting a rim, being off on a fill by a half beat, striking a cymbal in the wrong spot so it doesn't make the sound you intended.... so many little things can happen that scream out at you when listening back to it, yet you'd just brush off when playing live.
I share your pain.

My recommendation... Loop the entire song through a half dozen times. Play no fills and restrain your crashes. Select the best bits. Go back and loop the fill segments. Play the fills a half dozen times. Select the best takes. Add crashes later as they're easy to add but hard to remove.

My recording process is to play a guitar/bass scratch track before drums to lock in the arrangement and feel. Then record drums. Then re-record the guitar/bass to the drums.

Example of guitar/bass scratch tracks + drums:
 
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cbphoto

Gold Member
Loop the entire song through a half dozen times. Play no fills and restrain your crashes. Select the best bits. Go back and loop the fill segments. Play the fills a half dozen times. Select the best takes. Add crashes later as they're easy to add but hard to remove.
Similar to my method but I prefer complete play-through for every take.

My usual process is to play through about 5 times, then listen and choose what parts I like. I record another set of 5 takes (5 loops of the entire tune) with my preferred composition. Then I sit in it for a day, and evaluate it the next day. I do this because I’m not very good at “writing” drum parts (eg., fills) and need time to reflect on what I’ve done. My final recording session is usually 5–10 loops/takes.

@BruceW a common procedure is to combine parts of various takes to make a “performance that was never played”.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
Yea - you gotta make every note count, get comfortable with a click and play less than you might normally haha.

It can be super fun. There's a lot you can do in post - say you nail a take but you maybe hit the rim instead of the snare on ONE back beat: you can go in and just copy another snare hit and punch it in...or if you miss a cymbal crash or something: There's always ways to save a good take.

It's one of my favorite things as long as I'm prepared.
I have always loved recording honestly....the pressure; the challenge; the evolution of the song and sounds;

I did my first serious recording job my sophomore year in high school back in 85. My band had been offered the chance to be a guinea pig band at The Recording Workshop in Chillicothe OH...we were STOKED, and spent the months after the offer repping THE HELL out of the 2 songs we were doing. We studied recording studios; producers; equipment; tuning.

...it was the first session of a 35+ year string of being in the studio, and even though we felt like we were prepared - which we WERE according to the guy running it - we still were not prepared for the detail in which we were hearing ourselves, and the scrutiny of others as we played....that took many more sessions afterwards to get used to
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
I personally just prefer live albums anyway. 😄

No real recording for me since the drums entered my life, but what's important varies greatly. Regardless of instrument it's just about having it down, keeping the chops generally inside your comfort zone and just going for good feel and energy.
 

BruceW

Senior Member
I share your pain.

My recommendation... Loop the entire song through a half dozen times. Play no fills and restrain your crashes. Select the best bits. Go back and loop the fill segments. Play the fills a half dozen times. Select the best takes. Add crashes later as they're easy to add but hard to remove.

My recording process is to play a guitar/bass scratch track before drums to lock in the arrangement and feel. Then record drums. Then re-record the guitar/bass to the drums.

Example of guitar/bass scratch tracks + drums:
I REALLY like this....I'm gonna run this by Dear Leader, and see if I can make this work easily in his configuration. I'm thinking that it shouldn't be a big deal. REALLY like it. REALLY....heh heh.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
I'm gonna run this by Dear Leader, and see if I can make this work easily in his configuration.
If you have a decent DAW, the only thing you need to ask for is a scratch track to a metronome. You're doing all the rest, and what you deliver will appear to everyone else as if it took you one take.

As XS pointed out above, the number of loops and methodology are variable, and is limited to how many play-throughs you require to obtain the desired result. This varies with the piece, your experience, ability, and blind luck. Understand that perfect-parts are a bottomless well, and that you need to finish "everything" before you go back and perfect "something".

He also brings up the concept of re-listening after a duration (a day or more) to make certain that you didn't mis-perceive something during the session.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
Regardless of instrument it's just about having it down, keeping the chops generally inside your comfort zone and just going for good feel and energy.
I really like your comfort-zone emphasis, Odd-Arne. I've encountered musicians who feel compelled to prove themselves in recordings by incorporating parts they can't execute with ease or by striving to mirror some other player's chops. As cliché and prosaic as it may seem, the only way to drum with assurance is to be yourself. Showing up as an imposter would be pretty nerve-wracking.
 

jimb

Member
I suppose its really all to do with competence. Listen to any Motown recording specially the early ones which were all one or two takes at most....incredible musicians, incredible musicianship. Heck, James Jamerson cut Whats Going On in one take lying on his back, drunk ....halcyon days indeed.
 
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