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Begginers Have It Tough

Discussion in 'Studio Lounge' started by kmetal, Jul 25, 2015.

  1. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    this comment is two fold.

    1, last night was the first night I was 'stumped' by a console (Yamaha ls9). Lol I couldn't figure out the system in the 10-15 min I had. Thankfully the house iPod was running, and I just patched the presonus studio live console into that input on the houses FOH setup.

    Not so much embarrassing as, 'damn that's I sweet console, I missed a chance..." By not knowing.

    But what got me thinking was begginning on recording, guitar, and live sound, you (almost) always start with both the crappiest out of intonnation intsruments, crappy rooms, and no skills.

    The better rooms this band is booking, with the better gear, makes my job actually easier, and I get more $?

    I wish, especially in the case of instruments, that they're was more attention to quality. I've played more tha. A few entry level guitars as an experienced player, that I could barely make a note on.

    Small crappy clubs you can't change much. But cheap recording gear is the same. Ive grown to realize that the gear goes right along with your experience and does matter. While it may have inspired my obsession with improvement, it's also very frustrating sometimes, and has probably turned more than one person off.
  2. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    I think of it in 2 opposite ways
    1- crappy instruments and audio tools may turn down many talented artists
    2-Crappy gear may be a good filter for lazy untalented people..

    I don't know man, would we be here if it was all easy ??
    niclaus and kmetal like this.
  3. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    One thing that I find sad is that the new generation is nearly all in for instant consommation. Must be due to the internet and mp3 players, I don't know. But many youngster are surfing friends, gadgets and activities as fast as surfing the net. They start a lot of things but get borred very fast and before they can achieve any results.

    The last DJ job I did was very weird. (I replaced a friend who was sick) Most of my evening was nice but at some point the daughter of the customer came and ask for a song, then asked that I stop it before the end to play another one and the another one.. I figured she got bored after about a minute. Playing her game made the dancefloor empty and after a while I had not choice but to stop her and resume my playlist and make everyone else happy and back on the dance floor.

    My godson begged me for months to have a guitar. I made him wait for his birthday and take the waiting time so he'd be certain of his choice.
    He got it, made noises a few times so I teached him some ground starting rules and gave him a book about playing and chords.
    He played a few chords but not more than a month after he got the guit, it became a dust magnet in his bedroom...

    When I was young I was all about 'What if?'.. Today, it seems to be 'What's next?' ;)
  4. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    inexpensive gear drives the phenomenon. i said it before and i'll keep on saying it. the "democratization" of audio recording has fouled the pool with flotsam and jetsam. it cheapens the craft. sometimes not being able to have everything you want right now, drives a person to achieve what other don't have the stomach for .....
    Brien Holcombe and pcrecord like this.
  5. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I don't think it's any big secret that those who work hard to earn the money to invest into their craft of choice will most likely be the ones who end up sticking with it, and taking it the most serious... and I don't think that this is limited only to musical instruments, or recording equipment, either ... I think the same would go for just about anything that requires quality gear in order to do things right - it could be carpentry tools, or fly fishing gear, or even high quality painting or graphic supplies... anytime you have your own hard-earned money invested into something, you'll tend to take care of the things you buy to do that certain thing, and, you'll end up doing it more seriously, too.

    I worked music retail for many years back in the 80's and early 90's, and with every Christmas came the usual rush of parents who were buying guitars, drums, basses, and keyboards for their kids... and then, every March just after that Holiday, we would get the same rush of parents coming back into the store, to try and return the gear and recoup some of the money that they spent on the equipment that their kids were so convinced they wanted to play.

    Any craft takes discipline, practice, and there is a learning curve with obstacles to traverse. But, most people usually give up in fairly short order, after they find out that what they wanted to do takes hard work, study, discipline and commitment.

    I have a buddy who teaches at the local School Of Rock franchise, and he's told me that 85% of his students don't rehearse on their own, show up completely unprepared, and give up at the drop of a hat, when they find out that you can't just buy a guitar and then immediately play like Randy Rhodes or Eddie Van Halen.

    OTOH, he's also mentioned that the remaining 15% of those students work their asses off and are outplaying what he would have been able to do at their age... so there is some encouragement there...

    So, I take heart in the possibility that, every so often, one person who starts out with a Tascam preamp, a $79 Chinese condenser mic, and a free copy of Studio One, will catch the bug and go on to become serious about it, and might even end up mixing commercial releases in ten years. ;)


    kmetal likes this.
  6. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    The better the band and room the easier it is. I spent a lot of my live mixing career in small, challenging rooms. When I got to mix in theater size spaces I realized how much easier it was. Reflections and stage volume are so much less of a problem. And of course if the band is better they'll give you good tone right from the start so you just balance inputs rather than do a bunch of rescue processing.
  7. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    I just think if more people were exposed to the good stuff more easily, they would possibly work harder towards creating that. Because it seems like things clicked pretty quickly for most of us when we reached our next levels of progress.

    It's very difficult to 'un hear' things. Lol that pesky pop, or hum, or sour note you still know is sour years after.
    DonnyThompson and pcrecord like this.
  8. Guelph_Guy

    Guelph_Guy Active Member

  9. Guelph_Guy

    Guelph_Guy Active Member

    The problem with youth is they all want instant gratification... learning an instrument takes time and commitment. I play slot of acoustic guitar and am sometimes asked by sales people in one of our music chain stores if I can demo up a guitar for a new student or client. I'm pretty pointed with parents and kids about it . There are some that are in love with the instrument and some that are in love with The idea of playing the instrument.

    I usually tell parents and youngsters that they have to play at least 30 minutes a day, and they can't make up for it by playing 2 hers on a Friday because they have not played the previous 4 days. I also tell them that they need to go at least 5 weeks, if they get past 5 weeks then most likely they'll be successful with the instrument.

    I also tell them to rent an instrument for a month to see if it works out ...

    Anyhow, there are some amazing kids out there that are very creative, and some are friends of my daughter. Those kids that can compose, write lyrics and understand song structure, they are welcome in my studio gratis as otherwise they may never get to try it in their lifetime. I spend alot of my spare time working with young musicians (volunteer for alot of the youth music movement in my area).

    Personally, alot of kids are spoiled, when they show up with a 4500.00 guitar and want to play like Eddie Van Helen on day 2 I usually say I am not the mentor for you... it results in no patience , frustration, denial, pointing the finger the list goes on and on..

    So youth needs to understand that it takes time and the desire to learn a skill... as opposed to a 3 minute guitar lesson on youtube

    Okay that's my rant I'm out
    kmetal likes this.
  10. DM60

    DM60 Active Member

    I think it is as it always has been. Many start the journey, few finish it.

    There is a balance between good equipment, and great equipment. A few years back when I first started recording (I had more or less done some in the late 80's), I wasn't sure if it was just a passing fancy, or I was going to get serious. I had wanted to attend Full Sail back in the late 70's early 80's that I had seen in Rolling Stone. But 30+ years later, I wasn't sure if I still had the passion. So I tried to strike a balance. I didn't want to go "all in" until I knew I was all in.

    Now after about 4 years, I am still working on the journey. I don't have the passion like I did back in my teens, but I still have a passion ;) it's just different. I know many people, and not just kids, look for the one button, sounds great approach. I also think starting with the best is not good as many of you had to "earn your way to the best" and that too is like a trophy of your accomplishment.

    Starting out with junk (like a crappy guitar that many started out with), shouldn't really impede as those who want to achieve and know they can, will only work harder and to accomplish and then will have all of the wonderful war stories of how they got there. For those who want it easy, they will never accomplish the goal any way.
    Brien Holcombe likes this.
  11. Guelph_Guy

    Guelph_Guy Active Member

    I think our journey gets interrupted , I know mine did for a period of about 8 yrs when I Was building my career, then marriage, children family etc. And about 5 career changes as well...!!
    However, I've never lost the love or desire to create , even if it's just sitting in my rec room and finger picking. I consider this creative therapy. I'm glad I have an instrument and some degree of skill to play it. As well as the desire to play it.
    My current frustration is finding the time for the studio, and the desire to learn new skills. I've come to the realization that it will be more of a retirement hobby for me .. but when you're retired you may not have the luxury of purchasing big ticket items.
    As I'm not retired yet, I'm grabbing gear used through our swap/buy and sell boards my entire studio was built on used equipment. And I've been able to score some reasonable deals.

    So that's my story and I'm sticking to it lol
    kmetal likes this.
  12. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member


    The other side of the coin is that those musicians who do eventually turn "pro" eventually find out the difference between the dream and the reality.

    Sometimes it happens rather fast, within a few years, still with others, they are still ( hopelessly) chasing that dream well into their 40's and 50's.

    The dream is the Lear Jet, the champagne in the dressing rooms, the limos... but the reality is a bit more stark than that; long drives through the night, thru any type of weather, going to or coming home from gigs that pay barely enough to make it worthwhile, picking up whatever work you can, whenever you can, just to keep the mortgage paid and the lights burning. This usually doesn't involve a limo or champagne - for most it's a '91 Corolla that you're coaxing to stay alive another 1000 miles, and fast food at 3 am after the gig.

    Very few ever reach the status of "Rock God". Fewer still ever reach the nearly unreachable brass ring, where there resides the McCartneys, The Elton Johns, James Taylors, Stings, etc.

    And, even if you do reach a level of moderate success, how long does it last? How many rock icons from the 80's ( or even 90's) are still around? Journey, (well, kinda), Bon Jovi, Sting, Gabriel, a handful of others... now put that up against the actual number of acts (hundreds) that had huge hits ( or albums)... and how many of them are still doing it? How many are even still around? Okay, I suppose it's better to be a has-been than a never-was, but you have to look at it in realistic terms. Nothing lasts forever.

    So why do we do it? Because it's who we are. It's a part of us. Sure, fame seems nice, the huge checks even nicer, but the truth is, for those who are musicians and artists in their hearts, they would probably do it for nothin' - as opposed to not doing it at all.

    But make no mistake, it's still a job. And like any job, you're not going to love it all the time. That's the thing about doing music for a living - sooner or later you're going to start looking for something else to keep you sane. Think about it - most "civilians" do music as a hobby, as relaxation, for enjoyment. What does a real musician do for a hobby? Go work at the steel mill for a shift? LOL...

    Most who stick with it, will eventually develop reputations in their areas as being solid players and responsible people to work with, and with the other handful of pro musicians in the same area, will develop enough contacts to keep bringing in the paycheck - but it isn't glorious - most veterans are doing sessions, or end up playing hotel lounge circuits, cruise ships - it isn't always easy, and in most cases it takes years to develop that reputation, and while it's developing, the truly pro musician keeps playing, practicing, instilling a self discipline to insure that their chops hold up and that doing so might also keep their phones ringing.

    You have to love what you do first and foremost Not the idea of what you want to do, but what you do. As GuelphGuy mentioned, some love the idea of playing an instrument, others are in love with actually playing their instrument... and if you want to do this for a living, you'd damned-well better love playing your instrument, because in this business, very often, that's all you will have to hang onto. ;)

    "Show business is a hideous, evil bitch-Goddess, She will strip your soul bare and still leave you wanting to come back for more..."
    -George Burns
    kmetal likes this.
  13. Guelph_Guy

    Guelph_Guy Active Member

    Heck, I'm still spinning trying to, figure out how 'Afro Jack' made 9 million as a DJ. This club/house/dance gender has really exploded in the last 3 yrs.
    Great post Donny ..

    What is interesting is that there were very few bands in my era that could even consider a Learjet it , The only one that I know that flew around in a private jet was FogHat. LOL...

    I recently read that Aerosmith has made more royalties from licensing their material to video game manufacturers for guitar hero then they did in there career lol.

    With respect to 'big acts with short staying power', that seems pretty common, get in, make the album, do the tour , make the money and get out.
    The ones that head back into, the studio, are the ones with, the true love for performance. I, suspect that alot of these 'engineered bands 'have a bad taste in their mouth after they've done, the tour, on the road for 10 months ,constant interviews , photo , ops, and management obligations. As glitzy as it sounds I'm sure the stress levels must be pretty high as they are under constant scrutiny from press and fans.

    I used to do a fair amount of traveling for work, my friends used to kid me about having a ' playboy' life style. I told, them to try living in a hotel in a foreign country for 3 weeks where there is limited English language and no North American food and you had goat for breakfast, lunch and dinner LOL. Strange , once they thought about it they never kidded me again. I guess its easy to be judgmental when you have not had the experience LOL.

    K .. and Guelph says hello
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