Recording Woes


Silver Member
Today was my first day of our second (third?) attempt at recording our album. New hardware, new software, new methods, everything is perfectly set up to record my drums.

I've been putting in hours and hours of practice these past few weeks getting ready for it, easily averaging 3-4 hours a day. The songs were sounding good and I was ready.Then, the record button was pressed and everything fell apart. My fills went to pieces, my double bass turned into flams, at one point, I even whacked myself in the eyeball and forced my contact lens behind my eye! Why do things go to pot as soon as you're being recorded?

In our rehearsals, I must just not notice the little things that would be unacceptable on an album. Perhaps because I can't hear my double bass work very well at rehearsals, I'd not noticed the sloppiness creeping in.
Does anyone sympathise? I'm not new to recording, but perhaps today was just an unusually bad day. I'm going to spend this week trying to iron out the wrinkles and try again next week. Now, there's all this pressure because the rest of the band can't record until I've finished the drum tracks, and none of us are willing to settle for sloppy drums.

So yes, bad day for me today. Still, 4 hours a day practice can only do me good, right? It just seems like it does me good, right up until the record button is pressed, then I regress 10 years!


Platinum Member
4 hours of practice is good only if it is good practice. Do you have a way to simply record your practice sessions? Then you could analyze what you are doing and focus on areas that need work.

The other factor is undoubtedly nerves, but the best remedy is preparation.


Silver Member
It is all good practice, metronome and all. I can record my practices, but I already know, from today, where the weaknesses are. How else can you prepare for a recording session besides practising the songs?


Silver Member
Sounds like something I'd do... applying too much mental pressure to myself to not screw up basically ensures that I will. Just relax and have fun. And record your practices and warmups the same way so that you aren't mentally switching gears when you hit record on the real takes. The idea isn't that you're recording your practices, it's that you're practicing recording.


Under recording circumstances the drums are under much more scrutiny than they would normally be in a live situation, because they are the only thing you can hear.

I posted something about "the post recording cringe" a few months back and many people on this forum could relate and told me not to worry about it. Just practice the tunes so you know what you're doing going in, and then nail the parts down.


Platinum Member
i know exactly what you're going through, and i'll bet it's something every musician goes through when they go to the studio for the first time. the thing is, you've got all this fancy equipment recording every tiny detail of your playing in ultra high definition. if you make the slightest mistake, it's going to be extremely audible on playback.

what i've done in the past is to dumb down my fills a little bit to something that's easier to play accurately. you can also ask the engineer to let you "punch in" (ie. re-record) small sections of your recording rather than doing the whole thing over again. another thing you can do is cheat a little by using the audio editing capabilities of the software to move around notes in time to clean up timing errors. or you can copy and paste things like drum hits and cymbal hits from good parts of the song to fix bad parts. of course, it's always better to lay down a perfect track on the first take, but if you don't pull that off there are other things you can do.


Silver Member
It is all good practice, metronome and all. I can record my practices, but I already know, from today, where the weaknesses are.
You may know where they are, but you won't know how much you've improved between practices. Additionally, recording yourself all the time will get you used to being recorded, which should help with the nerves. It will also get you used to how your playing actually sounds, as compared to how it sounds to you while you play and you'll know better what to expect when the time comes to listen to the takes. It's similar to recording your own voice - the first time you listen back to it, it will sound very weird, and not in a good way.


Platinum Member
Almost everytime we practice, we record our work so that we can listen to it and find the mistakes and correct them. We are supposed to start recording a demo soon, so I suspect I'm probably going to have the same issues when we start into it for real.