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Studio or Live


Gifthorse

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I was just thinking, I really suck in the studio. I mean I always get the job done, but I never play as good or as inspired as I do live. Live I improvise almost everything solo wise unless I think my playing was exceptional on a song and then I will play it note for note.

 

It seems like emotion and feeling aren't there for me when I record. I play calculated and sterile in the studio. Live I go for it and have fun. The audience fuels me and I try to give to them everything I can do on guitar.

 

I always argue with my singer about recording live. I personally think it sounds cooler and I always play more on and more inspired. He argues that you can't get as good a mix. I disagree. I think you can but it will be just a different sounding mix. In alot of ways I think that the mix is more natural and the headroom is more proportionate to each instrument. Everything falls into place live.

 

Anyways, any thoughts on this?

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You can beat the studio sterility problem. I read on one of the other threads here about David Gilmour using a technique of recording several solos, comping together the best bits, and then learning the comped solo so as to play it in one take.

 

Seems like a good solution to me. You get the spontaneous phrasing of the first takes, a chance to edit the blather, and then you add the honesty of making one performance by making a "live" take of the edited comp solo.

 

I'm rather opposite from feeding off the audience, I tend to actually kind of tune them out when I'm playing. I take a visual which is kind of a cool feeling, but I don't get much in terms of response while I'm actually playing. Between songs, you get a little more feedback from a crowd.

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Well yes I love live playing and that is mostly what I do. I have been bands that have done a ton of studio recording and find that process cold but intriguing. I do like the ability to multi layer my parts and be able to pick and choose what I or the producer AND I want to keep. Or I like the ability to play a part one day and go back a week later and make changes if I want. I think in the end you get a better overall product in the studio. But..for instance MOST of Mountains recordings where made in a hybrid studio setting where they where set up in a live OPEN sound stage but with lots of isolation between instruments...so an initial take was done playing live TOGETHER and they used that take as the reference basis of the recording..then they had the opportunity of going back individually and sweeten up or add layers in a more traditional way. Same with the Allman Bros and Lynard Skynard. When I recorded at United Sound. Ric Tic, Super Disc and Golden World we did it the very sterile way that you dont like ..yes it was cold and calculated down to the split second.
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Keeping things fresh and inspired in the studio is the main reason that Landau and Thompson play on 90% of the records that come out of LA.

 

Personally I've never had a problem with the Red Light Syndrome. I have always, even in my early days, felt comfortable know that if I screw up I can just play it again. Thinking this way takes the pressure off, and it becomes a game in my head of "That sounds pretty good, I'll bet I can do better".

About the only thing that gets to me in the studio, is if people around me are screwing around or, the worst, fighting. I try to record with the least amount of people there, preferably me and the producer.

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Originally posted by Billster:

You can beat the studio sterility problem. I read on one of the other threads here about David Gilmour using a technique of recording several solos, comping together the best bits, and then learning the comped solo so as to play it in one take.

reminds me of page for stairway, i think it went, that he just soloed whatever for a couple mins, the sound dude then went in and cut out different pieces and put them together, then page had to learn that...
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My problem isn't that I can't play well or do a take that sounds pro. My problem is that I often am not having that much fun cuz it seems more like work. As a result my takes sound that way to me and I am unsatisfied. I am not saying I can't do it but I just think my playing relative to a live setting isn't as cool usually cuz it isn't as fun for me.
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Originally posted by EmptinessOFYouth:

do you do the recording work? cause i know if your manning the controls thatll do it. Too much to think about.

Good point, it's really hard to engineer and perform at the same time. It's two totally different jobs. One thing that I've found to help is reamping. I get a good enough tone out of an amp in my room, and record a direct line, then later, when I don't have to think about performing, run it through a reamp box to get the tone. It's not ideal, but it can help if I'm feeling detached from the performance.
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I find recording to be a real nightmare and it can take me (literally) days, complete eight hour days to put a guitar track down. I've had the same problem ever since my first demo tape in 1983.

 

And it's not as if I'm doing something really brilliant or anything. But as soon as I hit that record key, I almost immediately screw up. I hit the wrong string, I don't fret correctly and so on. And that's when I'm sitting comfortably at home with my PC.

 

Having somebody in the room with me or being in a proper studio is even more of a nightmare. I feel really bad for the guy who has to sit there and twiddle the buttons while I do my 120th take on the same song. I get even more nervous. And apologetic. And then, of course, the money starts to run out too.

 

I hate recording. I really hate it. :(

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Originally posted by GtrWiz:

Originally posted by EmptinessOFYouth:

do you do the recording work? cause i know if your manning the controls thatll do it. Too much to think about.

Good point, it's really hard to engineer and perform at the same time. It's two totally different jobs. One thing that I've found to help is reamping. I get a good enough tone out of an amp in my room, and record a direct line, then later, when I don't have to think about performing, run it through a reamp box to get the tone. It's not ideal, but it can help if I'm feeling detached from the performance.
This is a very good point. Engineering and playing guitar at the same time is a tough juggling act. I that is a problem, you could try getting one of the other band members or a friend to run the controls while you focus on playing.

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I look at them as two different brushes with which you can paint. Live is on the spot, no coverups, what you see (hear) is what you get. Yes, there is a certain energy level, and interaction, that is hard to recreate in the studio. Sound and levels are hard to recreate unless you've got a separate mixing board for the recording (i.e. the Stones' mobile studio).

 

In the studio, there's a certain amount of extra freedom, both to retake, and to layer and expand what you can't do live. I like that freedom. Of course, the numerous retakes and punch-ins can take their toll on your patience and concentration. And the looming budget-monger can also make you tense up or worry too much. I try to make that the last thing on my mind. I've had times when we spent so much time doing other instruments' tracking, that when they are done I'm itching to get mine down but the engineers are shot for the day. Come on, guys- I can do it in one or two tracks this time- I'm certain!

 

Given the opportunity, I'd just live in a studio for a month or three and see what I can get accomplished. My wife and kids wouldn't be around when I got done but...

"Am I enough of a freak to be worth paying to see?"- Separated Out (Marillion)

NEW band Old band

 

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I like the IDEA of being in the studio, but I've never been fully relaxed or played my best in those situations. I love playing multiple parts, though. On our CD I played 3 or 4 guitar parts on almost every song. On one solo I did a two part harmony and then had to learn to play the two parts together to do it live.
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I have to admit. I've only played live three time now. I still find my self playing it safe and only doing what I feel confident about. Lucking I haven't been called on to solo.

What I like about the studio is the creativity it allows.

It is so cool to be able to work on a melody or a solo.

My favorite thing to do is record three or four takes and pick out the sections that work or sound good, then learn them if possible.

That would be hard to do live.

So I admire all you guys that can do that.

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Originally posted by flagshipmile:

My problem isn't that I can't play well or do a take that sounds pro. My problem is that I often am not having that much fun cuz it seems more like work. As a result my takes sound that way to me and I am unsatisfied. I am not saying I can't do it but I just think my playing relative to a live setting isn't as cool usually cuz it isn't as fun for me.

It might sound corny...but did you ever try putting on a big grin, standing up, close your eyes, lean back and play?

 

I mean, what is the experience for you and how could you make it less sterile? Are you sitting, how is the lighting? How about bringing in a few folks as an audience?

 

I play both in my home studio, and live, and love both, but I do notice recording can sap the life out...unless you get SOMETHING going, and it starts with you.

 

Just like sex is in the mind, so is passion when playing. They both got to do with getting "the juices flowing" in the proverbial sense. You gotta find out what you need to do to get in that frame of mind, because really...same guitar, same player, different ambience, but it doesn't HAVE to inhibit.

 

I first realized how some of this could impact a band with Little Feat. "Waiting for Columbus" I loved, it moved, had everything. I ran out and bought a lot of their albums. Talk about sterile...they just didn't come across at all to me in a studio setting. "like they mailed it in" comes to mind.

 

OTOH, you got Led Zep. I've always been dissapointed with their live stuff as opposed to their studio stuff.

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Originally posted by flagshipmile:

Anyways, any thoughts on this?

I love to play live. Recording is a gig. Recording by myself? I do a better job. recording among a bunch of people? It really depends. Some days I'm "ON", other days, that ole insecurity "You ain't shit" bug jumps up, and I can't even tune. :eek:

 

Bill

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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Originally posted by BluesWithoutBlame:

... you got Led Zep. I've always been dissapointed with their live stuff as opposed to their studio stuff.
Yeah, but they were always fucked up.

 

"..unless you get SOMETHING going, and it starts with you."

 

:thu::thu::thu:

 

 

Bill

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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Originally posted by EmptinessOFYouth:

reminds me of page for stairway, i think it went, that he just soloed whatever for a couple mins, the sound dude then went in and cut out different pieces and put them together, then page had to learn that...
I remember reading that (in the early days) Page would go into the studio at night, and record all of the solos for all of the songs basically in one sitting all alone. ("All alone" might have meant that none of the other band members were there...) He'd then comp them together, and insert them in the various songs.

 

 

Bill

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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I played live for about 11 years. I've been playing in studios about that long. Even though I've gotten very comfortable with studio work, I think I still prefer the live settng.

 

There's more pressure to perform and there are other downsides to it. But the rewards of playing to an audience are more than just monetary.

 

I know I play better in a studio environment. I can concentrate on what I'm doing better. But the reaction of just the people in the studio (producers, technicians, other musicians, the author(s), etc.) is nothing like being on stage.

Born on the Bayou

 

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Originally posted by Billster:

You can beat the studio sterility problem. I read on one of the other threads here about David Gilmour using a technique of recording several solos, comping together the best bits, and then learning the comped solo so as to play it in one take.

Most of my solos are done this way.

 

I may spend a few days just playing along with the backing tracks...and I always make sure that I have my cassette recording my freeform playing.

 

I will do this over and over...and then every so often, I'll sit down and I'll play back the cassette recordings...picking out certain phrases that click with the song.

 

After awhile...I will start to string together those phrases...and after awhile, I will have a complete part that I can play at will, over and over without any glitches...without really thinking about it...

...it becomes very flowing and natural.

 

That's when I sit down to finally record the part...and even if it takes a few tries...at least I KNOW what the heck I'm playing and how I want it to sound.

 

I think too many guitar players always play their leads like they were just jamming...and it ends up being nothing more than a collection of canned riffs that they regurgitate in strung together fashion.

 

If you think about the lead part as an integral melody line that works with and complements the song...it will come a lot easier.

Try humming/singing the part as you learn it...really listen to what you are singing...and playing...

...that also helps.

miroslav - miroslavmusic.com

 

"Just because it happened to you, it doesn't mean it's important."

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I've always liked the spontaneity of live performances, and I always prefer to hear a live album over a studio one. I've only done minimal studio time, but the clinical aspect would drive me nuts. Gimme an audience to draw energy from, and I'll give 'em all I got: the good, the bad, the ugly, the ridiculous, and the rare magic moments that are the reason we all play guitar!
Never a DUH! moment! Well, almost never. OK, OK! Sometimes never!
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