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The Performance Curve - everyone should read this article


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Damn, that was really good.

 

I went through that yesterday with a female vocalist. Take after take after take and at one point they just consistently went farther downhill. Unfortunately I was just the engineer, she produces herself so... I had to sit there for a long time punching over and over and over.

 

I think I witnessed many of those behaviors he talks about first hand in that one session, across multiple songs and overdubs.

 

Good stuff. :thu:

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Wow... that was really good. I've never categorized performers in that way but I comp all the time just like that. So as I read I recognized all the various types mentioned. That's pretty cool.

 

The Slow Starter. I had a 42 year old blues guitarist here who has never been in a studio before. The classic weekend warrior. It took a whole 6 hour day to finally get to the point of quality stuff happening. But I could see the progression so I was encouraged to stick with him. Finally rushed through several tunes to get him while he was on fire... then it went. Done.

 

The Anything Goes. I know him well. My old singer. Constantly searching for "it". How about if I try something like this? Now, how about... And you never know when the it going to be magic or nonsense. And Craig makes a great point. This kind of guy takes direction,section by section, very well. They like to think and try something. Think again, and try this...

 

The Quick Starter. A recent lead singer for this old timey R&B rocking band. He knows his style. He gets out there and it isn't' about pitch, it's about a vibe. He gets it right away. After that... "Why are we still doing this?" He's right. You got it a take ago. Let's move on.

 

Very thought provoking article.

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Thanks Phil- that was a good article. I just had a bunch of looong sessions with a band full of 'Anything Goes'. Ouch- just tiring. But 2 weeks ago it was the opposite- all 'Rock Steady', seasoned pros who never churn out bad takes- just pick the good one and keep the session moving along! That's so much fun.

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i really enjoyed this article as well.

 

i'm a typical quick starter. i thrive on pressure. i show up ready to play, and i get bored having to repeat things over and over. the tape better be rolling the second i pick up my guitar! my first take is usually the most fluid, natural, and energetic. when i start thinking about what i'm playing it means i'm no longer playing what FEELS right, and that's no good. i usually end up comping the first half of my first take with the last half of my second or third take. if something isn't working for me, it's best to move on to something else and come back later.

 

my friend is a typical slow starter, which makes it painful for me to record him sometimes. often it takes 15 takes for him to relax and start dialing into his part. ample time is of the essence. any pressure to perform NOW is a bad thing. i am often tempted to be satisfied with an ok take, but i have to remember to be patient because in time, the results will come! he needs useful encouragement to keep from getting frustrated. i have to be careful not to communicate ANY frustration on my part while at the same time being critical. when he gets rolling, you better keep the tape rolling until he tells you he's done! we usually comp the millionth take with the million and oneth take.

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Thanks Phil- that was a good article. I just had a bunch of looong sessions with a band full of 'Anything Goes'. Ouch- just tiring. But 2 weeks ago it was the opposite- all 'Rock Steady', seasoned pros who never churn out bad takes- just pick the good one and keep the session moving along! That's so much fun.

 

I think there's more than one type of anything goes out there. Dylan is the classic, they just had the record light on all the time with him, because you never new when it would happen. But then there is the other type, perhaps Zappa like where you get solid takes all the time, but every one of em is a totally different thing.

 

I don't wanna compare myself to Zappa, because technically I'm not chops master of any sort, but I fall into that category. Where I record a part get it, record again with a totally different philosophy, and again and again. My guitarist is similar but usually has a ramp up time, and then changes his mind ramps up again, and changes his mind and ramps up again. I admire his discipline to perfect things, and then totally change directions. Of course, it is nice when you get guys who simply have one way to do it, and get it done quick. But I really enjoy recording the anything goes guys alot, because it can totally alter your perspective of the song production from take to take. The bitch about anything goes, is the decision process and comping in post.

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Good stuff. It usually takes me 3 or 4 to warm up, then I can hit it consistantly until my voice gives out, which is after about 20 and it's all downhill from there.

 

The one I can't stand is the "ANYTHING GOES". It's too hard to advise how to make the performance better since it keeps changing. I just shake my head, and hit record like a monkey. Rarely does anything good come of it, because I lack the patience.

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Another thing I've noticed with long ramp up guys. They tend to feel most comfortable playing the whole song, and not punching in a specific part. So I'll often give encouraging comments like man that last take took it up notch, and if we can get a couple more like that but focus on the bridge or such and such chorus this time.

 

I have gotten into the habit of having a notepad around to just note my emotional reactions to takes, noting the take and this verse kicked ass, or that chorus took the song out into space or whatever. So that way you know if you if you have a couple of options per each major section of the song.

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Good stuff. It usually takes me 3 or 4 to warm up, then I can hit it consistantly until my voice gives out, which is after about 20 and it's all downhill from there.


The one I can't stand is the "ANYTHING GOES". It's too hard to advise how to make the performance better since it keeps changing. I just shake my head, and hit record like a monkey. Rarely does anything good come of it, because I lack the patience.

 

I like to play the jimbroni mind trick on guys like you. I get those early takes, but then say man were in great shape, but hey lets try such and such, alright cool how about this. Take a break. Hey lets just take a couple more like you started, and call it a night. 9 times out of ten they alter the original way a bit, after trying a few things. And that can be some magic.

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ah ha, Jedi Console Warrior... but, alas, I am the anal one and have worked out every last nuance of emotion I desire in the vocals from when to add the "T"'s, or the facial expression heard in the mic on the chorus... so, I'll be producing from the microphone muwahahahhahahaha! But you are welcome to try

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. I start out ok, but then in an effort to improve each take, I start trying too hard which leads to worse performances. After I start to relax, the quality of takes improves again, usually exceeding my initial performances.

 

I'm the same, but opposite (guitar). I start off knowing my parts, playing them well, technically 'a take' but sort of institutionalized. I start falling off. Frustration sets in. Frustration turns to anger. Then the anger makes the parts more emotional and we get the take.

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Long starter. I tend to use the computer as an extra compositional tool, so I'll write a verse and a chorus and lay down some basic ideas. Repeatedly playing them fosters new ideas and then a full fledged song is born.

 

Most of my friends who I play and record with are quick starters though, and around them I tend to be more of a rock steady... or at least I am compared to them! :p

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That was a nice read, many of the points there contribute to why I record everything (even a practice run) you never know when the best take will happen.

 

Especially now. I mean really - what does it hurt? I've never regretted recording something when it didn't work, but I have regretted not capturing something that happened. But I learned from my mistakes.

 

Always roll tape*.

 

Always.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* "Spin disk" just doesn't have the same ring to it. :p:D

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That was a nice read, many of the points there contribute to why I record everything (even a practice run) you never know when the best take will happen.

 

that's why i will many times LIE to the performer, tell them we're just gonna do a quick runthru, and record it anyway :cool:

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Good stuff. It usually takes me 3 or 4 to warm up, then I can hit it consistantly until my voice gives out, which is after about 20 and it's all downhill from there.


The one I can't stand is the "ANYTHING GOES". It's too hard to advise how to make the performance better since it keeps changing. I just shake my head, and hit record like a monkey. Rarely does anything good come of it, because I lack the patience.

 

I often work with a bass player that was like that. But I found that his vision for the par was often clearer than mine (not in terms of notes but in terms of flow). Since he had a small setup at home with a decent preamp, I just give him bass-less comps and he takes them home and comes back a week later with the whole record perfect. Way less frustrating then being there for the whole thing (especially since he likes to augment and play around with his mistakes), and I can concentrate on recording the other parts knowing I'll get perfect bass overdubs soon.

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i hit the perfect (oh weel, as perfect as it may happen to me :o) take on the 3rd or 4th take. I can repeat it once or twice, and then go downhill, start throwing things around, cutting many a corner and seek deliverance from the booth

 

:facepalm:

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