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Sloppier playing during live/recording sessions compared to when playing alone.

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by BrandonBass, Nov 23, 2018.

  1. BrandonBass


    May 29, 2006
    Anyone feels like their playing suffers(sloppier) when being recorded? Its like the playing is less flowy and you feel more self conscious. Any tips on how to overcome that?
  2. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    Focus more.
  3. Goatrope

    Goatrope Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2011
    Sarasota Florida
    Record yourself while playing alone. Sometimes that reveals deficiencies you would otherwise not see until you’re under the microscope in the studio.
  4. RyanOh

    RyanOh Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Do you ever record yourself playing alone and/or practicing?

    I'm not sure if you're saying you are self conscious knowing you're being recorded, or that you became more self conscious after hearing the playback.

    I've recorded myself playing to drum tracks and it helps find timing/groove issues, note length, etc. Things I didn't hear while playing, or didn't think it was that noticeable.

    I'd record myself and listen to playback every day to overcome it.
    Gearhead17 and Groove Doctor like this.
  5. Remember way back when you had to come to class and play for the instructor. Don't know about you, but, I always felt the pressure and did flub up some of the time.

    IMO it's the pressure. And the more you do the less pressure you will have.
    DrayMiles, zZippy and wonderbass1966 like this.
  6. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    Learn to play under pressure (as opposed to trying to minimize pressure).
    Most people don't bother to record themselves, cause it cuts the playing time in half when you're practicing, but.... practicing with someone is a good thing (and a fun social outlet). Open mike jam sessions are great too. Any kind of playing where people are listening is a good thing.
    ObsessiveArcher and Bunk McNulty like this.
  7. Visualise the sound engineer naked.

    :jawdrop: :facepalm:
  8. Smooth_bass88

    Smooth_bass88 Groove it

    practice a lot. Record a lot.
  9. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    First time I was in the studio, I talked about how much pressure I felt. The engineer said, "Actually you should be feeling less pressure since if you make a mistake, we can go back and do it again. Can't do that live."

    Words to live by.
  10. vvvmmm


    Dec 6, 2016
    mohrds, MYLOWFREQ, zoonose and 3 others like this.
  11. lfmn16

    lfmn16 SUSPENDED Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Record yourself more. Seriously, when I'm in "practice mode" I record myself every day. You will likely find that you don't play nearly as well as you think you do.
  12. lfmn16

    lfmn16 SUSPENDED Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    I thought it was going to be, "Actually you should be feeling pressure since if you make a mistake we have to go back and do it again. That costs money." :D
  13. For me the key is always to simplify, simplify, simplify - not so much to avoid mistakes, but just cuz it sounds better. Playing live I take more liberties, but recorded music needs to stand as a complete landscape.
    Ed Byrnes likes this.
  14. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    We financed our first session ourselves...they didn't care about that :D
    lfmn16, 40Hz and Bunk McNulty like this.
  15. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    For me I don’t think it feels less loose or flowy in the studio so much as timing becomes (of necessity) more precise.

    In a live setting you can get away (within reason) slightly sloppier timing since venue room acoustics and distortion hide a multitude of sins. But in the pristine soundscape of a recording studio, everything you do stands out in sharp relief. IMO your playing doesn’t get sloppier in the studio. What’s changed is you can now unmistakably hear whatever sloppiness has been lurking in it all along.

    It can be a humbling experience the first time it happens. (It sure was for me.) But most of the truly valuable educational experiences we have tend to be humbling. So don’t let it get you down. Studio and live playing are two different things. You kinda need to practice for both.

    The Top Gun fighter training school has a saying: You don’t rise to the occasion. You default to your level of training.

    So the higher your level of training, the better off you’ll perform under pressure. There’s no such thing as giving 110%. But you can raise the bar so your 100% is far above the next guy’s 100%. It all depends on where you want to bring yourself and how bad you want to go there.

    Luck! :thumbsup:
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2018
  16. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    Amateurs practice until they get it right.

    Pros practice until they can’t get it wrong.

    Practice more. It works.
    DrayMiles, Gearhead17, MVE and 8 others like this.
  17. Rip Van Dan

    Rip Van Dan Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2009
    Duvall, WA
    Had to laugh a bit on that. It might not be that your playing is sloppier, it's just that any mistake that is made on a recording is there forever - every time you listen to it. So it's more noticeable when you listen back to what you were playing.

    If you get the part down cold (play it 10-times in a row with 0 mistakes) you will get the confidence back to let it flow when you're recording. Hard to let it flow when you're worried about making a mistake and you know that any mistake you make will be quite evident when listening back to the recording. If you have it down cold, you won't have that worry.
  18. sawzalot

    sawzalot Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2007
    Being recorded just messes with your head a little bit. I remember just playing in front of my fellow musicians was nerve wracking the first couple times. But then I get over that the more I did it. Same thing with being recorded--just get used to playing while being recorded and soon you'll be fine.
  19. Lesfunk

    Lesfunk Supporting Member

    Agreed. It’s a mental thing.
    The studio also allows you to hear every nuance of your playing clearly, thus magnifying your imperfections

    Tracking in the studio will improve your playing quickly and noticeably
  20. saabfender

    saabfender Banned

    Jan 10, 2018
    Playing bass for a recording doesn’t make me nervous. I know I’m going to mf nail it. No question in my mind. I’ve prepared and know what and how I want to do it. Then I get to go do it. Excited, I am.

    Playing drums, on the other hand, worries me sometimes. What I might do is inhabit the character of a particular studio drummer in my head. That dude can cut any part first take. Do another just for safety.

    Be that guy who rolls in and nails it.

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