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Recording to become a better player

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Matthew Bryson, Apr 17, 2006.

  1. Matthew Bryson

    Matthew Bryson Guest

    Jul 30, 2001
    I know that a lot of you already know how much you can improve your playing by recording yourself. I know that I've read many posts on TB that recommend people record themselves to improve their playing. This site is where I got the idea, so this is old news to most, but it is so true. I just recently set up a real basic recording setup and have been recording some drum machine and bass tracks and boy oh boy, is it true! I've learned so much about my playing and what needs improved. I've found certain things that I thought were working, that really just aren't. I've found other things that I play that work better than I thought they did. I've learned to maintain a consistent level. I didn't even realize that at times I'd get to the hard part and play more softly or sometimes just play more softly as the song went on (probably thinking more about not screwing up rather than maintaining an even and consistent tone / volume level) The biggest thing that I've learned is that the most important thing is the least tangible - feel. I've recorded certain tracks that do have a consistent level all the way through, and don't have any missed notes or train wrecks - yet the track feels mechanical and lacks groove.

    After just a few weeks of recording myself, I have to recommend that any players who aren't already doing so give it a try. I feel like I've really been growing by going through the recording process. I've been using a Tascam mkII Porta 02 Porta Studio purchased with the Start Up package, and an Alesis SR 16 drum machine. All together about a $340 investment. Considering the price of upgrading a bass or an amp, I consider this a great gear investment. With this gear, I can play the drum machine and my bass through the Tascam and monitor with headphones for good quality practice that doesn't disturb the rest of the house. I can record myself and learn more about my playing and how to improve it.

    I'm posting this in general rather than the recording forum, because the purpose of this post is to encourage anybody that hasn't ever tried recording to give it a try. It really pays off, even if you don't need to produce a recording. (although in this day and age, almost anybody that plays will be asked if they have a demo at some point) If you've never thought of recording, or thought that you weren't ready - I suggest you reconsider and give it a try. It will really improve your playing, and it's fun!
  2. Kronos


    Dec 28, 2005
    Philadelphia, PA
    I have a DigiTech BNX3 which has an 8 track recorder and a drum machine on it. I've learned to write better harmonies because of it. It has totally helped my playing.

    Now, if only the other members of my band would agree to have another guitar player to play 3 part harmonies, I'd be ecstatic.
  3. + 1.8 million.

    I own a small semi-professional studio and being able to record myself for critical listening is invaulable. It will certainly clean up your playing, especially your timing and technique. There's no hiding bad playing on a recording, lol! I also make sure to record every new song / bassline I write see how much or how little I really want to do with it. I find I tend to overplay a bit in live and rehearsal situations (to keep myself entertained apparently), but I find myself often stripping back my basslines to their essentials after extended listening - what I enjoy playing is not necessarily what I enjoy listening to!
  4. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005

    I'll never forget the first time I listened back to my lines in a recording studio. Lord! If there was a problem to be made on bass it was on that tape. Late to notes. Overplaying. NOISE. I didn't even know some of the habits I had. I used to just click the strings against the frets on beats 2 and 4 (what am I, a high hat?). That stuff sounds pretty cruel with some 'verb and chorus too. So..... lesson learned. I cleaned up my technique and found that my time and feel also improved.

    You can't check out yourself too much on recording... its the best.

    When we are playing, we have to use a good bit of mental power to stay in time and play the line. So.... we don't always have the notion to check out technique and finger noise. When we listen to the recording, we can put the full power of our listening to the tape and that's when the other half of the story comes out. I think too, the end result is we listen more carefully when we are playing live.

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