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> Record Yourself To Improve !
Ben Higgins
post Mar 1 2015, 06:34 PM
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So, you've had your guitar for a few years. You've learned how to play chords, how to strum, and you've put all your skills together to learn some of your favourite songs. You know you're better than you were when you started. You can do things you couldn't do before.

Maybe you've progressed onto working on lead guitar. This will mean you've started tackling scales, bending, maybe some vibrato. You no doubt will have wanted to learn solos.

But all this time you've only played to your four walls and the only time you get to hear what's coming out is in the moment. There may be things you're not aware of.

This is where recording comes in. It's not just something that people only do if they want to be a songwriter. It's a viable tool for any musician who wants to improve and has their mind on sticking with the instrument throughout their life.

When I talk of recording, it can be audio or video but to start with, let's just stick with the thought of recording your guitar playing audio only. For many of us when we started, this was done using the inbuilt microphone of our nearest stereo system, usually portable. Ghetto blasters, as they were sometimes cheesily referred to. There's a good chance some of you have never even had one of these in your house.. ever.

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As Kris and co. have discussed in this thread, recording video is a great way to improve. Obviously, video provides you with many visual clues as to what you may be doing wrong and is a valuable tool for feedback from others.

If you don't have the ability to record video, you will still benefit massively from recording your own playing. How ?

-You're listening back without the distraction of actually playing the instrument so you can 100% listen to your results
-You can hear what your timing is like
-Pitch problems with bending can be identified, assuming you can identify them of course.. but like anything, the more you listen, the more you hear. So practising listening to guitar playing (yours and others) can help you tell when things don't sound quite right.
-You can start putting ideas down and practise licks and solos over a chord progression
-You can get feedback from others
-Even if you don't get feedback from others, you can start to develop your own critical ear, which is.... ummm..... critical for a musician !

I remember that I was always really pleased with myself whenever I recording something, no matter how naive it may have sounded in reality. The satisfaction of putting a riff down and then tracking another guitar over it was incredible. It also helped me develop the ability to create guitar harmonies so I could indulge in my Friedman / Becker fantasies even if they did sound as rough as a badger's ass, as we say in England !

So, I would reiterate what Kris says about recording yourself. If you can manage video, then brilliant but even if you can't, then it won't be a massive stretch to get yourself set up to record audio. In as little as one piece of hardware, any guitar software program and a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation like Cubase etc) you can be up and running. Let's face it, if you're on GMC then you probably have a pc or laptop. All you need is an audio interface that enables you to connect your guitar lead to the computer... and from there, it's just the software of your choice which we could all help you with... and a DAW which we can also help suggest. If you're wondering what else you could be doing to improve your guitar playing apart from practising more then look no further.

You should be in no doubt to how useful it will be if you start recording yourself ! You know you want to cool.gif

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Chris S.
post Mar 2 2015, 10:47 PM
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Really great point Ben!

I only started recording myself since about October - but in that short time it has helped me quite a bit.

I keep a folder with little ideas and what not that I have come up with so I can look back and either develop them or compare past recordings with new recordings to see how my phrasing has evolved.

I also do it with whatever lesson I am working on so when I tell myself that I'm not getting anywhere I can listen to a take from a couple of days/weeks ago to prove myself wrong tongue.gif

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Bogdan Radovic
post Mar 3 2015, 12:34 AM
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I must say that I'm often surprised how a lot of musicians I meet (guitarists mostly) are not into recording. This in case of gigging musicians, not beginners. I think that recording guitar today is easier than it has ever been and getting means to record yourself is a must. Especially when starting to play, recording can be a great way to track progress, get objective view on your playing and most important - get started with writing music as early as possible. IMO getting an audio interface for a PC should always be a priority over multi effect units or stompbox pedals. In a way, there is really no excuse not to get into it, the interfaces available are cheap and there is a lot of recording software possibilities out there (Reaper DAW rocks for example!). For example, this is a scenario I've seen play out relatively often: guitarist would go into the studio to record a demo or even album material with his band. He records the tracks he plays live. What happens next is an issue : he needs to record more tracks to make the tracks sound "fuller" as he is only guitarist in a band. But, without home recording setup, it is not really possible to compose fill guitars, 2nd layer guitars and experiment with all that.

BTW- Does anyone need any help getting started with home recording, if so - please message me? wink.gif

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