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Posted by pcfive on Saturday, April 27, 2013

I starting working on timing, tone and rhythm almost 5 years ago, and I used backing tracks. Then we had a big hurricane last fall and the electricity was out for a week -- so I couldn't use backing tracks to practice with. I had to use the dreaded metronome instead. Mine uses AA batteries, and I had just bought a whole pile of them to power my flashlight ad the battery-powered alarm clock I had bought.

I had tried practicing with a metronome years before, and I just couldn't do it. But without a computer, I didn't have a choice, so I tried it again. And this time I found it much easier, after all the years of playing with backing tracks. So I stuck with the metronome ever since, and gave up backing tracks, at least temporarily. I can hear myself better with the metronome, and that helps me focus more on accuracy and precision.

I was in the habit of recording myself about once a week, on the weekends, just to make sure I didn't sound too horrible. I was doing single tracks, of banjo leads or of songs I was writing. I didn't want to spend too much time on it, because i didn't want to get distracted from practicing.

Then about a month ago I posted about metronome practice on the Scruggs forum, and posted some music files I had made in a hurry. Some of the comments said I was using the metronome all wrong.

So of course I started to wonder if that was true or not. Meanwhile, I got Audacity and learned how to make multi-track recordings. I had used GargeBand a lot in the past, when I had a Mac, so it wasn't all foreign to me. I started waking up at 4 am so I would have more time for recording. I have spent an awful lot of time with Audacity over the past month.

Audacity is very complicated and I have no interest in using most of its features. I don't want my recordings to sound better than I actually sound.

However, so far, I think my multi-track recordings sound worse than I actually sound. I am having a lot of trouble with it, although it is slowly getting better.

Multi-track is can be very useful, for seeing how my backup playing sounds, for example. I also like it for song-writing, since I can include vocal harmonies.

But it is hard to get it right. I don't think I have trouble playing backup at jam sessions, but it's hard making a multi-track recording of it. I am not even sure why.

I have also been making a lot of single-track recordings where the metronome clicks can be heard. I am trying to prove, at least to myself, that yes I am counting right and using the metronome right.



2 comments on “Recording”

n1wr Says:
Sunday, April 28, 2013 @10:09:01 AM

Have you taken a look at Krystal Audio Engine? Here:

I've been looking into recording and this is what I've found. Its free for personal use, and there are pretty good youtube tutorials. At first it looks difficult to use, but you might give it a try.

pcfive Says:
Sunday, April 28, 2013 @11:57:52 AM

I don't think I am having any trouble with Audacity. I was just having trouble getting multi-track recordings to sound good. It started getting better today, though. Maybe it just took a month to get used to recording, and not getting all tense whenever it was running.

I have been recording myself for years, actually since way back when all we had was tape. But recording multi-track with the banjo has always been hard for me. It seems to be getting better now though, I hope.

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