How many passes?

Creating a home studio for recording the classical guitar. Equipment, software and recording techniques. Amplification for live performance.

How many passes?

Post by btb » Sat May 27, 2006 11:04 pm

I'm not diggin the recording thing. can't seem to get a good recording of my playing.. even some of the simplest of songs arrgggg :nerveux: very aggrevating. Learning songs is the easy part, making them perfect is what drives me crazy. It has really shed some light on what a crappy guitar player i am :shock:

i've decided to start taking 3 passes at a song only and if i don't get it, move on. otherwise, for me, it starts becoming 'not so fun'...

Anyway, how many passes do you guys usually take at a song before moving on to something else (or do you usually nail it right away) ?


Post by hav » Sun May 28, 2006 12:03 am


It dependso on how nice I want it to be - and whether the CG angels smile on me or not :grire:

I agree - make a couple of takes - it you don't like any - let it rest and try later.


Post by Piffles » Sun May 28, 2006 9:00 am

I'm the kind of person who'd rather kill himself trying to do something than give up.

So, when applied to recording, I sometimes spend ages and millions of takes to record one piece.

Anyhow, I wouldn't adwise anyone to do the same, you can be tempted to mishandle your recording equipment when you get too frustrated :oops: Hasn't happened yet but I've had a few close shaves :roll:

Alan Green
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Location: Little Cambridge, Essex, UK

Re: How many passes?

Post by Alan Green » Sun May 28, 2006 3:23 pm

bumpa wrote:...or do you usually nail it right away
I wish.

I think giving up after ten attempts and coming back to it later in the day or the next day is a good idea. Removes a lot of frustration.



Post by Hybrid » Sun May 28, 2006 6:36 pm

Recording is its own world. You have to approach it as that.

You practice the guitar to play guitar well, right?

Well, now you need to practice recording the guitar.

You need to practice in front of the mic, with the record button
glowing at you.

Where headphones to hear how you sound through the mic
while you're playing, in real time.



Post by mark_de_gooijer » Fri Jun 09, 2006 9:19 pm

Hello Friend!

I had a little experience with recording, which I described on the Dos Amigos Homepage ( ... ities.html)

Learn to play the piece as if you were to play before an audience. If you know it that well, one pass might be sufficient.

Another tip, I heard from someone who recorded a CD: Do not operate the recording device yourself, let someone else do it: you need to concentrate on the music and not on the REC button.

Good Luck!
Happy Playing & Recording!

Guitar Slim

Re: How many passes?

Post by Guitar Slim » Fri Jun 09, 2006 11:30 pm

It's tough to press record and bam, get a good take right out of the gate. So what I do is hit the record button before I do a final tuning check. Then I'll noodle through something for a few seconds, maybe play a short passage from the piece I'm trying to record (recording all the while), and when I feel relaxed, take a deep breath and start playing in earnest.

If I make a false start or two, I don't worry about it and I don't hit "stop". I just take another deep breath and start over. I'll often get several complete run throughs plus a number of false starts and stops all on one continuous track. Later, I can pick which complete take I like best -- which, oddly enough, is usually the first take.

But you can eventually get to the point where you just have to say, "well, it's just not happening tonight," and try it again at some later point. If you are loosing concentration or inspiration, if it seems to be sounding worse rather than better, it's probably time to give it a rest.

I record on the PC, so it's very easy to just "slice" out the take I like and delete all of the other stuff, but this might be a little more tricky if you are recording to tape or to disc. In fact, if I'm really feeling lazy or frustrated, I'm not above doing the occasional "punch in" either. :oops: Hey, I'm not proud.

Anyway, just some ideas to try to help you loosen up a little.


Post by btb » Sat Jun 10, 2006 9:08 pm

Thanks All for your advice:
Hybrid wrote:Well, now you need to practice recording the guitar.
Good point Hybrid - it's just that playing guitar was much more fun to begin with then recording is :D

mark_de_gooijer - Thanks a lot for the link, your article is VERY helpful and well thought out!
Guitar Slim wrote:I'm not above doing the occasional "punch in" either
LOL GS - Oh yeah... I used to do this for electric solos all the time.. it's a little trickier with a solo guitar... Thanks for the advice on relaxation.. that is really the crux of this whole issue.
Piffles wrote:I'm the kind of person who'd rather kill himself trying to do something than give up.
This is me Piffles.. I get obsessive about "getting the thing put to bed" and find it hard to stop.. it's a self control issue I guess. Not being able to say "that's enough! move on" is the way to madness.

I'm finding the best thing for me to do is leave the recorder on all the time while practicing and then playing my songs.. it's easy to go back and get the good stuff (like Guitar Slim suggested)..

So far here is my list:

1. Always leaving the mic on.
2. Know when to stop if it's not happening.
3. Look at it as a new hobby.. recording as opposed to playing guitar.
4. Focus on relaxation rather then technique.

Any more pointers welcome : 8)


Post by hitomi_doaxbv » Tue Aug 15, 2006 10:44 pm

after 3 succeful consecutive passes, I record my music and then I move to sth else
recording your music is like presenting your music in front of a public, it can really improve your level :)

Paul Heilker

Re: How many passes?

Post by Paul Heilker » Fri Aug 25, 2006 12:48 am

bumpa wrote:Learning songs is the easy part, making them perfect is what drives me crazy.
Someone once told me that the pursuit of excellence is noble, but the pursuit of perfection is neurotic. :wink:

I've done a fair amount of home recording, and I've never had a perfect take. Certainly, I want them to be as good as I can make them, but perfection is inhuman.

I saw a show on PBS once where scientists had the same piece of music performed first with perfectly precise rhythm and then performed by a human musician who naturally pushed and lagged behind the beat by some milliseconds. The test subjects overwhelmingly chose the imperfect performance as being more "musical."

So perfection may not only be impossible; it may also be undesirable as well. So why bother?



Post by Hybrid » Fri Aug 25, 2006 2:26 am

I have lots of perfect takes, unfortunatly my computer is
always turned off when they happen. :lol: :twisted:

Guitar Slim

Post by Guitar Slim » Fri Aug 25, 2006 5:06 pm

Hybrid wrote:I have lots of perfect takes, unfortunatly my computer is
always turned off when they happen. :lol: :twisted:
Funny. Back when I was in a band we would record our rehersals, especially when we were working on new material and trying to hash out our respective parts. (I had a 1980 JVC boom box with built-in condensor mics and automatic level control, so it never clipped. Best boom-box band recordings I've ever heard).

But it seemed like every time we would really nail something, I'd turn around and the tape had run out or someone had forgotten to hit record!

Never really bothered me though. I sincerely believe that the best performances are intended by fate to be ephemeral. You have be in the right place at the right time, or you miss it. And that's as it should be.


Interpretation when recording!

Post by gsilvergran » Tue Aug 29, 2006 9:29 am

Well in some senses, recording is very similar to playing in front of an audience. The mic is there, ready to record your every mistake, and that can lead to some amount of stress. Now, that "stress" can sometimes harm your interpretation of the piece. So what I´m trying to say is. Think always of trying to be satisfied with your interpretation, even when recording. A slight techical error in a scale or so is less important I should think. I mean, I´d rather listen to a nice, well worked interpretation with some tech. errors, than a "perfect" played piece with no soul...



Post by endure » Wed Aug 30, 2006 3:52 am

The absolute hardest part of home recording is being subjective with your own performances and recordings. There is a lot to be said for someone else producing/engineering your recordings for you. Although the home recording revolution is liberating, this can be it's main pitfall.

In the "good old days" although it was expensive and time restricted, these were motivating factors as well to get it done and as good as possible. You also had the benefit of having a guy recording you, and hopefully he was a good enough producer to tell you "That was a good take" or "Let's try it again"

It may be worth having someone come in and record you.

Also, with home recording and particularly self production you have to know when to just walk away and come back later. Many times listening back to a performance from the day before, or weeks before will be better than you remember it being when in the heat of the moment.

Although I primarily record rock based music where perfection isn't absolutely necessary, I am a perfectionist at heart. I used to delete performances left and right until I felt it was perfect. Well, usually when that "perfect" take came around it didn't have the vibe and spontaneity of the original less than perfect takes.

I realize this is a classical guitar forum and I wear a different hat when playing classical guitar, but we need to remember that we all bring something unique even to classical pieces when we play them. Don't make your recording devoid of your own personal style. The only way to find your own style is to take risks and yes allow yourself to make mistakes.
Unfortunately if you don't give yourself the chance to hear these mistakes you may never discover them.

Above all have fun recording and playing. If you would rather focus on playing definitely find someone who wants to focus becoming better at recording. There are a LOT of guys out there who are just getting into ProTools and recording who I'm sure would love to have someone to record and practice production with. Another option would be to contact your local college. Many colleges have recording courses that need artists to come in a perform. It's a win, win situation for both parties and will allow you to focus on performance.

Just a few insights and ideas from personal experience. I hope at least some of this helps.

joel oporto

Post by joel oporto » Fri Sep 29, 2006 2:41 am

Ask a professional recording Engineer and they will tell you that generally, the first 3 or four takes will be the most honest takes in the session, anything more than that, the musician will be playing differently and less effectively. That is why they invented overdubs so you can clean up the little bits of your mistakes.

But it all depends on the artists' playing and preferences.

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