Perfection vs Good Enough: Recording Guitar and Bass Tracks

As you know, I’ve recently finished recording my album Heavy Metal Workout II, which I plan to release next month (August 2017 – I just got the mastered versions of the tracks, so it’s ready!). I was reflecting back to a few weeks ago when I ended up re-recording all of the bass tracks. 13 songs…that was brutal!

So why did I re-record the bass tracks for all 13 songs? Well, I had a professional drummer handle the drums for this album. When I got integrated his files with my songs I realized I that I needed to cater the bass lines to the drum tracks (I had recorded the original bass tracks along with drum loops I used to write the songs).

I also wanted the bass guitar to be a bit more prominent in carrying the bottom end along with the kick drum. There are accents the drums are hitting and I needed to match the bass guitar to those accents.

On top of that, I realized that some my guitar parts in a couple of the songs were a slightly off, so re-recorded those rhythm guitar parts. I also touched up and re-recorded some of the lead guitar tracks. Guitar solos are my highlight. I love them, but they can be an extreme point of frustration for me. I’ll record something, listen to it, and decide I want to make it better, or add this, or take away that, etc.

When Does it End?

That’s a good question. I recently heard someone (a very successful someone) say that at some point, good enough is perfection. Some may say that’s a lazy approach. But the problem is you can keep picking at something, redoing this, analyzing that, changing this, etc. And what happens is nothing. Nothing ever gets done because you keep digging and finding more things you don’t like and more ways you can perfect it.

The truth is you have to release your product at some point. And music, with all it’s pieces (bass guitar, rhythm guitar, lead guitar, acoustic guitar, keyboards, live miked instruments, drums…the list can go on), can indeed turn into a never-ending project. At some point, it has to leave the studio and be released for the world to hear.

Finding Balance

So there’s a balance, a fine line. Things like being in tune and making sure the instruments are in sync, timing, and so forth, those are things you need to make sure are tight. For example, if you go back and listen to a vocal track and the singer is clearly off key, or if the guitar note is blatantly wrong to the point where it throws off the song (not in a good way), you need to have those tracks redone.

On the flip side, there are some nuances that you may decide to keep. The last thing you want is another over-produced perfect-sounding song. There needs to be some element of authenticity and life to your music (this may lean more one way than the other depending on your genre and the vibe you’re going for).

Lastly, you’ve got to have fun making music. What’s the point if you’re all stressed about every second of every track being perfect? If you’re at that level where you can write and record your own music, then you’re good enough to follow through and put something out there for the world to hear.

On that note, stay tuned for the official release date for Heavy Metal Workout II! I will be giving updates on my Facebook page.

Keep it Metal,

Jason

 

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