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Mickeyboro

Recording rehearsals

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Is this something you do regularly, and if so how do you use it to improve the music?

It follows on from my thread 'Playing with Pros'. The ex-pro I recently worked with recorded everything, then sent me the tracks over the internet. I found it interesting, but it led to more heat than light in the end.

I'm just trying to work out if it's a concept I should try in the future, never having done it before. Views most welcome...

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Depends on how good you want your playing to be. If you just play as a hobby and are happy with that then maybe not. If you want to work up to pro levels then yes record from time to time. I think most top flight athletes video their performances and use that to fine tune their technique.

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Very useful! Shows iffy players that they're, er... iffy. Much better than telling them, because they won't believe you. Also a good source of new material as lots of happy accidents happen during rehearsals that you would [i]not[/i] remember otherwise. Also good for seeing what works arrangement-wise and so on. The last band I was in recorded all rehearsals and it improved the band no end. Definitely do it!

Doesn't have to be complicated, I used a Zoom H1 and spent some time finding the best place for it in the room. It's surprising how good a live recording can be if everyone's on the ball.

It also depends on how into it the other band members are. If you spend time listening closely to rehearsal tapes, come up with suggestions only to find that no-one else has bothered to even listen to it once, then you probably need to find another band. Which is also good to know... Edited by discreet

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Generally speaking I - and the people I work with - know if it's working or not, without needing to refer to recordings.

That said, I sometimes work with people who are (diplomatic hat ON) less experienced, and I think some of them would benefit from hearing them.

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I usually record all rehearsals and gigs then share them with the band. Helps us to improve by learning from our mistakes, and some of us use the recordings to play along to between gigs to keep us fresh. Also very useful to a record of those times when when come up with something new, saves us trying to remember what we did when we next play!

I use a little Yamaha pocketrax, about the size of a phone and great sound quality.

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I've always found it beneficial. I can often try lots of fills and things in rehearsal, different ideas, and it helps me analyse whether it works or not. It also helps demonstrate to other members whether their contribution is valid or not, such as awful backing vocals, playing too loud, coming in too early, etc.
It's just whether anyone has the time to edit the recording, upload to whatever platform, etc.
I like the sports comparison. I used to play my sport seriously and video analysis really helped me pick up on certain things, like body language off the ball, that helped me take steps forward.

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Yup, I record all the rehearsal for the originals band I'm currently playing with.

Most of what we do is jammed/worked out in the session so it's a very useful way of reviewing things and deciding what works and what doesn't. Also, it's invaluable to have a record of new ideas and arrangements.

I don't know for sure, but I would imagine most pro bands do this, especially as it is so cheap and easy these days.

I also have a Yamaha Pocketrack, the C24 model, which is excellent...

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With long-standing bands I never bother, I feel there's little to be learned and/or there's loads to be learned but it will spark an almighty row if I bring it up "after all these years".

With any new venture, I always record every rehearsal. If there's nothing worth keeping then I can recycle every electron, and if we do something a bit special then it's a bloody good thing to have a record available.

Also worth bearing in mind is that, when learning new material, it's all very well playing along with the original recording to familiarise yourself with the changes and so on, but it's no substitute for playing along with a recording of your own bandmates ...

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I use a Tascam DR 40 handheld recorder. It has 2 inbuilt condensers and if positioned correctly will easily capture a rehearsal.

And I upload them to a dropbox the next day so everyone can practice along to it,a great aid, so we come to the next jam with new ideas.

It's often the politest way to alert someone to their shortcomings, or to convince a songwriter that his song just doesn't work.

It also alerts us to great playing by others that we sometimes miss at the time as we are busy trying to play our role.

We have two guitarists. Both used acoustics originally.

But recordings showed that they both sounded too similar, so the lead uses his telecaster now and it sounds great with the other acoustic. Edited by bazztard

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We do it all the time.
It's part of the writing process.
if we didn't we'd never know what was played last time!

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[quote name='bazztard' timestamp='1504782607' post='3367255']
And I upload them to a dropbox the next day so everyone can practice along to it,a great aid, so we come to the next jam with new ideas.
[/quote]

I used to do this, until I discovered that none of my bandmates was actually listening to the recordings ...

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I used to record all my gigs on a mini disk. You know when something you're playing is working and when it isn't. . . but hearing the whole thing back is a great tool for judging and fine tuning your performance in the "cold light of day".

I made lots of adjustments to my playing based on those mini disks. In my case it all built up into playing better and having more confidence in my playing choices.

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my last couple of bands did this, for a mixture of reasons. Typically not every session, depending on the band and the reasons we wanted it taped

First, for songwriting - we'd hammer out the bones of a song in the rehearsal studio, and would then get a recording of it to work on our parts at home. especially good for lyric writing, and then arrangements once the lyrics were in place.

Next for practicing at home. I never really used it for that, but others liked to have a backing track, and each to their own.

Finally, for picking out bad playing, poor arrangements, etc. This worked excellently in one band, where we had a very healthy "what's said in the studio stays in the studio" attitude and could just tell each other that we didn't like what they were playing, and we were largely self critical enough to spot what we'd done wrong or could do better before having it pointed out. It's good to get that differentiation between poor playing and poor arrangements, so you can focus on arguing over the arrangements and not the playing.

Less well in another where the fragile egos were more on display, so you'd play the recording hoping that the offending musician could hear the issues and fix it themselves, but they rarely did - the very average rhythm guitarist just couldn't hear what he was playing wrong, and the not-bad-but-nowhere-near-as-good-as-he-thought-he-was lead guitarist would just come out with a list of excuses - we taped the one time he fluffed it, the rest of us were too loud so he couldn't hear himself properly, his amp was playing up and he was concentrating on that, the kick drum cue was in the wrong place and that put him off, etc.

So, horses for course and if you get something out of it for whatever reason then great, if you don't, it doesn't really matter if somebody else in the band finds it useful.

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I record some of our rehearsals and then share with the band. For originals, I think it's a great idea, not only for songwriting and arrangements, but to see how it all fits together in a band context whether we need to add something/take something away/do something differently/etc., it does also show up mistakes, but instead of using it to "point the finger" at someone else in the band, I would hope that we're grown up enough and "professional" enough to realise them, and practice so as to avoid mistakes. At the end of the day, mistakes happen.

In my last "proper" band, we recorded rehearsals for the same reasons, and it worked. The writing got a bit tighter, the mistakes were still there, and it gave us all an idea of how we were "gelling" as a band too.

I bought a Tascam DR-05 a while ago, and it's really good for rehearsals, small enough to fit in a gig bag, but has really good mics and can capture the music well.

Plus, you can share the mp3's with friends and whoever may be interested. It gives them a really good idea of what you sound like as a band.

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We record rehearsals every now and again. Usually when we have a couple of new songs on the go.

Normally use a mobile phone lying on a table somewhere in the room for a quick recording - often surprisingly good results considering...

We'll set up the zoom r24, micing all the amps, couple of mics on drums, after a few weeks once we are happy we have the arrangement down, to capture a copy for everyone to use in their own practice between rehearsals. Edited by gs_triumph

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Yes! All the time! - As Discreet says, it needn't be too difficult to set up and the Zoom H1 is a great example of a simple recorder that captures in stereo and doesn't distort. I use the H2n which is also just brilliant, highly recommended as they are small and handy to have in the gig bag all the time - especially for capturing gigs. Often we go one step further and I take the Q8 with me that also means we can record video with the high quality audio too.

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[quote name='dood' timestamp='1504809655' post='3367542']
Yes! All the time! - As Discreet says, it needn't be too difficult to set up and the Zoom H1 is a great example of a simple recorder that captures in stereo and doesn't distort. I use the H2n which is also just brilliant, highly recommended as they are small and handy to have in the gig bag all the time - especially for capturing gigs. Often we go one step further and I take the Q8 with me that also means we can record video with the high quality audio too.
[/quote]

I use a zoom hn2 also.. out of interest where do you position it for recording gigs? Want to get some crowd noise but not the conversation of the two people nearest the mic all the time..
Thanks and sorry for going off topic!

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[quote name='uk_lefty' timestamp='1504814428' post='3367588']


I use a zoom hn2 also.. out of interest where do you position it for recording gigs? Want to get some crowd noise but not the conversation of the two people nearest the mic all the time..
Thanks and sorry for going off topic!
[/quote]

Mine up until recently has been fulfilling two jobs at once and those using IEMs might want to check out my video in the reviews section. It actually sits on a clamp on my IEM controller stand. I tend to usually be just to one side and in front of my drummer so the audio being picked up from the rear mics features more drum ambient sounds and the guitar amp/ monitors where the front microphones are picking up audience and room ambience. It's mixed to stereo at the line out and I would feed the audio in to our IEMs to get that 'connected' aspect back as well as adding to the 'space' of the stereo IEM mix. I do have a very nice set of condenser mics arranged in ORTF format to try for the next gig when it comes to ambient needs.

Back to recording though - the beauty of the H2N is in the recording (on to the internal card) of front stereo and rear stereo separately, meaning you have two sets of audio files to select from even before using mixing techniques on both at the same time to get the sound you want.

It's a great gadget and I keep it in my case all the time. I actually use it stand alone with my IEMs in rehearsals too. The combination is better than any passive ear plug I have ver used - and I've had many!

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I record rehearsals and distribute them to the country band I play with. The other musicians in the band, are definitely not pros. With my other band I play about 70 gigs a year, with this band I've played about 4 in the last 2 years.

I feel it's not my place to criticise their playing or singing, as they're all grown ups, but I do hope they listen to the recordings and figure out for themselves where they can improve things to make themselves and the songs sound better.

We're recording a demo next weekend and have 3 gigs in the next 4 weeks (one of them a festival where people are actually buying tickets to see us). So we will have to be up to speed, because the audience will be expecting us to sound like we know what we're doing. Edited by gjones

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As well as all the above, it helps tighten up rehearsal discipline.

Cost-conscious band member: So we did a six-hour rehearsal booked and there's only 1 hour 45 minutes of material recorded. Where's the rest?
Zoom H2 Owner/Bassist: That's all of it. I didn't bother uploading the bits when we weren't all here, setting, toilet breaks, tea breaks, guitarist tuning, guitarist testing new pedal, drummer complaining about the house kit, guitarist replacing broken string, aborted starts because guitarist was too loud, aborted starts because the singer forgot where to come in, noodling between agreeing which song to do next and starting said song, etc etc

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[quote name='FinnDave' timestamp='1504780899' post='3367234']
I usually record all rehearsals and gigs then share them with the band. Helps us to improve by learning from our mistakes, and some of us use the recordings to play along to between gigs to keep us fresh. Also very useful to a record of those times when when come up with something new, saves us trying to remember what we did when we next play!
[/quote]

Both bands I play with do this - what he said above :)

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[quote name='Mickeyboro' timestamp='1504775924' post='3367188']
Is this something you do regularly, and if so how do you use it to improve the music?

It follows on from my thread 'Playing with Pros'. The ex-pro I recently worked with recorded everything, then sent me the tracks over the internet. I found it interesting, but it led to more heat than light in the end.

I'm just trying to work out if it's a concept I should try in the future, never having done it before. Views most welcome...
[/quote]

It's never been easier to record yourself. If you want studio quality it's something that you have to work at but still a lot easier than when I first did it.

We recorded all of our jams and rehearsals in the mid eighties on four-track cassette. We regarded that as being so easy that it would be a waste of jam time if we didn't. Quality was not great but sufficient to work with. We then had a reference for discussions about improvements and changes in what we were playing. It was also useful for catching those golden moments when something unexpected but good happened in the session.

Nowadays it's even easier to record so [i]why not[/i] do it? It can help you to focus on your practice time and make better use of it.

I don't have a band now but I found it so easy to video myself with a 'phone cam that I often record what I'm working on and when I have a quiet moment I'll look for ways of improving my technique, stance, tone etc.

Give it a go to see if you can get something out of it for yourself. It can only help if you have a project that requires you to exchange recordings further down the line.

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Recording shows and rehearsals never hurts.

It can serve a lot of purposes. Suppose your recruiting a new member and he/she has to learn your show. Not many bands can provide a new member a recording of a full current show.


Blue

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Typically record yes just to review and see what it actually sounded like. Nice to pick out bits for further improvement etc

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[quote name='blue' timestamp='1504912729' post='3368332']
Recording shows and rehearsals never hurts.

It can serve a lot of purposes. Suppose your recruiting a new member and he/she has to learn your show. Not many bands can provide a new member a recording of a full current show.


Blue
[/quote]

This. I have recordings of everything we do, and record new stuff both rehearsal and live with my trusty Zoom HN4. Using a dep drummer next Saturday: he has two CD's covering both sets and he's a very happy man. We have a couple of original songs in our set, makes things easy for him (and us).

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