Oh, you’re a musician? I’m sorry for your loss. Do you know what the 3 biggest mistakes musicians make when recording their tracks are? It’s time to change your approach and avoid making these mistakes. I had these issues: Have a plan, not all songs are bangers, and understand the equipment.
Mistake #l: Have a Plan
The first mistake artists make is thinking that the recording process needs to be a long, drawn-out session. More often than not, it would be best if you had your ideas and rough sketches ready before laying them down on tape. It can take a few minutes or an hour in some cases. However, it’s important that as soon as something comes up for you to record, you capture it then and there, so when mixing time rolls around, all the parts will flow together seamlessly. The less time spent working on this stuff during mix-down means more room left to work with, translating into the better-sounding final product!
Thinking that the amount of time you spend in the studio will determine how good your song is – this couldn’t be further from the truth. A common misconception with recording a track at home or on the go is that it saves money. Still, if you are not investing enough time into it, then all those hours spent can come across as amateur. Take too much time perfecting one sound while neglecting others, for example. It may take more work upfront to get things done correctly when recording yourself than it would have taken had you gone professional right off the bat. Having a plan in place will keep you on track is essential whether you’re at home or in a professional studio.
Mistake #2: Not all songs are Bangers
Mike Hernandez – a multi-instrumentalist, said it well “When i write, nothing is precious – I move on.” This makes sense. Just keep writing and putting out more and more music. When I finished my first LP before choosing my tracks, my game plan was to have about 20-25 songs demoed out. From there, I shared with friends and colleagues and asked them to give me a truly unbiased review. Some of them were funny, and some were right on, but at least you feel what kind of shape of music your niche is in. I love all types of music, and I really don’t mind playing all sorts of music. I had no clue when I started what kind of music I wanted to create – so I created many of them, from hard rock, country, death metal, indie rock, and pop-rock. I gravitated more towards indie rock and started banging out songs from that genre. From there, I had about 18 tracks that I wanted to consider. In the end, I chose seven and started to go with my plan on tracking correctly. The rest of the material I didn’t use can perhaps come back with another new song variation.
Mistake #3: Understand The Equipment
This can seem daunting at first, but there are plenty of online tutorials about how each piece of equipment works, so do your research. When I was looking for a 500 series rack to build for guitar recording. I asked tons of questions to engineers and what they thought we’re decent to excellent outboard gear. It came down to some really expensive but worth every penny. (Neve 1073LB, Neve 1073LBEQ, API 512C, Shadow hills dual vandergraph 500 series stereo compressor.) When I got the gear, I had no clue how to use it. Ha Ha! So again, I went online and did research and development (RND). Heck, I had the time. This was during the middle of the Corona Virus Pandemic.
Speaking with Mike Major, I got some feedback not to overdo the outboard gear if I wasn’t wholly mixing the project. So I started understanding the use of color. Then I started thinking, why in the hell do I need all this gear if just using it for color. A plugin could do the same thing, if not better? Ek. I wasn’t sure entirely, so I left it to the people who know what they are doing. There are, however, pros to going into a studio. You don’t have to own this stuff, and you don’t need to know how everything works. There are people on-site with experience handling everything – the producer/engineer will take care of setting up microphones, making sure cables work properly between devices, etc., which frees up more time on warming up and getting some great takes when tracking. Editing sucks, and if you can nail it with little to no mistakes – it’s a win-win for all.
I hope that this post has helped you understand the most common mistakes artists make when recording their tracks and how to avoid them. I learned the hard way. Remember, not all songs are bangers (as much as we wish they were!), so if your song isn’t working for a particular market, don’t force it! Keep an open mind about what will be successful in each case – think outside of the box with some creativity. Don’t forget to plan ahead before starting on any project. The last thing you want is to come up against a hurdle because you didn’t know where certain pieces of equipment are or end up wasting time trying out something new without thinking through whether it’s worth investing in yet another piece of gear or software program.