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Perfectionist Syndrome

Discussion in 'Recording' started by abt, Jul 31, 2009.

  1. abt

    abt Member

    Does anybody else suffer from this? I’ve been tracking guitars all day, but I’ve done hardly any work. There’s probably nothing wrong with the performance, it probably sounds okay, but take after take I find something wrong with it and delete it and start again.

    Perhaps it will sound okay once it is mixed properly with the other tracks. My confidence is fading and my rut is getting deeper.

    Does anybody else suffer from this perfectionist syndrome?
    How do you deal with it? How do you know when enough is enough and move on? How perfected does it really need to be?

    Many Thanks.
  2. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    You deal with it by limiting yourself to a max number of takes. I see this all the time with folks making audition recordings for colleges, contests, and orchestras. Usually your best work is within 3-5 takes IF you are already prepared and practiced.
  3. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    Hey, welcome to the forums. I used to be like this. A lot like this. I got really used to stopping mid-take and pressing delete and starting over. Maybe I have progressed as a musician and gotten to play the parts cleaner or started playing on beat better but I rarely have that problem now. If anything I will play the wrong chord or the wrong part and will have to re-track just that entrance or the one part instead of the whole take.

    Personally, I like a few mistakes in there, it gives the recording some character. If I wanted the guitar track to sound like a robot I would have used MIDI instead of grabbing for my guitar. Instead as long as the mistake is not horrible or ear splitting, I leave it in. Usually my songs consist of a rhythm part and a harmony part. I pan them both opposite and track each part twice or three times, even if there is only one part. Done right those mistakes will be less audible and they'll sound less like mistakes and more like nuance :D
  4. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    I dunno... ask Al DiMeola, Segovia (if he was still living), Skunk Baxter or Carlos Santana to name a few.

    There's the saying about amateurs practicing until they get it right, while professionals practice until they can't get it wrong.

    So, if you aren't happy with a recorded performance, then maybe you need to step back, take a break and work on it until you are happy with it.

    Then, as John noted, keep the first 3-5 takes and whittle away down to the best one.
  5. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    You first need to settle on your approach.

    Are you learning/practicing the piece and recording as you go along?

    Are you creating the piece and learning it as you record?

    Are you recording a piece that you know well and just having trouble getting "the" take?

    In any of the learning / practicing / creating modes you just keep working. Getting a song right takes as long as it takes. But any of these modes are different than playing a song that you know. You have to break the piece down, practice sections or phrases. (There are lots of suggestions out there for effective practicing - lots of them different - lots of them contradictory. The important thing is to find techniques that work for you.)

    If you do 3-5 takes of a song and can't get it right you need to change your approach from playing to practicing.
  6. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    My parents were world-class musicians. My EX was a world-class musician. I've worked with world-class musicians and the difference is they know what their skill level is. They know when things are good enough. You don't want to beat a dead horse. Look at recording like baseball. Four balls and you're walkin' Three strikes and you're out. That's when you come back to that song later. You strive for perfection and if it happens consider yourself lucky. If it doesn't happen? Consider yourself a competent human. It's a performance. And you want it to have performance value. That might mean that it's not perfect.

    I'm not perfect and proud of it
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  7. kiwinz

    kiwinz Guest

    Try using the part , even if its not exactly what you intended, and
    finish the other parts the same way , because afterwards you will
    have a better appreciation for the whole process.
    Your game will lift faster....
    Im going thru the same journey, and its more fun .
    sometimes the things I get wrong are the things that I love most about
    that track , and Id like to think it came from somewhere in my subconcience
    and not a blunder .... he he
  8. DrGonz

    DrGonz Active Member

    Well get some more hard drives or something... Cuz I would archive this stuff ya deleting. Keep your progress right now and don't get overwhelmed w/ your thoughts, keep a clear head. Record many things and then go listen to it on anything that has speakers. Analyze it. Go do it again and again.
    Even give it time, if you can, till you listen to it again. it might sound way better than you thought when you Played it. Let the ole' bastard grow on ya.
    In the words of Mike Patton "What is It"
  9. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    With the ability to multi track comes the ability to create super accurate tracks. You think Britney Spears can hit it right all day long?

    Composite your composition. Take the unflawed intro of this track and the so-so 4 bars of the other track and make one good track.
  10. MadTiger3000

    MadTiger3000 Active Member

    "Do not pursue perfection, my child, as it is mostly an elusive goal.

    Pursue instead EXCELLENCE, as this can always be achieved."--MadTiger 3:16

    Excellence is your best, given the current situation.

    If you haven't got what you want in 5 takes, move on, as was stated.
  11. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    "If you haven't got what you want in 5 takes, move on, as was stated."

    Good answer oh distempered one;).

    Kinda like back in the day of bar hopping.

    Assuming that bars and hopping are relevant icons to the OP.
  12. NCdan

    NCdan Guest

    I think it's pretty easy to slip in to that mentality, that everything has to be perfect. I started down that road, and eventually I had to ask myself, "Didn't I start recording for enjoyment? Doing 10,000 takes and pulling my hair out isn't very fun." So, I tried to give up on the whole perfectionist thing, but it was tough, as it felt like I was lazy or not putting my best foot forward when the take had errors or the mixing wasn't breathtaking. I eventually said "screw this" and just decided to go for it with little regard to all the bits and pieces that would add up to hours of time and frustration. Once I realized the insane amount of money I'd need to drop to get my recordings to the point I originally envisioned them being at, I just decided to have fun with the gear I had. At least I can go around without clumps of hair missing now. :D
  13. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    Haha MT that's great. I am using that in my sig now :D
  14. DrGonz

    DrGonz Active Member

    holy god lol

    That really depends on if its a song or not.... lol sorry couldn't resist>>>>
    >>>> Oooooops I did it again.... every song of her's hit me good n hard... ouch! then I lit a cigarette afterward
  15. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    You clearly have not heard me play keys.
  16. Todzilla

    Todzilla Active Member

    I'm done when I'm sick of working a song.

    Sad, but true.
  17. Gerkass

    Gerkass Guest

    my god yes! iv this problem,,,if i hear a buzz on a string thats not suppose to be there, ill stop and re take it, and leads to frustration!!!

    but i am leranin to not just delete it, i keep it anyhow do few takes and comp certain parts,,,but i still find myself going for hours sometimes doing a take, even though it would sound fine im sure,,,

    even the feeling of a buzz will lead to an automatic deletion

    gotta learn some self controll
  18. EricIndecisive

    EricIndecisive Active Member

    I usually write my songs as I'm recording them, especially vocals, so they often take me a while. But when I have everything planned out already, doesn't take that long!

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