Songwriters Know – It takes how many takes?

By Jeff Copperthite:

Finally was able to get a solid session in today. With a schedule like mine, it is very difficult to find an hour or two at a time.

Between teaching, marriage, and a running addiction to Final Fantasy XI, recording time is hard to come by all at once.

Thankfully, Final Fantasy XI was down for maintenance, my wife was at work, and school was over for the day.

So I got down to the studio and finished the guitars for the song i’m working on now.

And those who have recorded before know how much it takes to lay down one track you are happy with. I ended up with five guitar tracks. The song is about 4 1/2 minutes long. That’s 22 1/2 minutes of guitar recording. That is assuming of course I get each one right on the first try.

Good thing nobody under the age of 27 lives in my house. When you mess up what was a terrific guitar track by missing the string or the chord, it is usually followed by a four letter word that isn’t “love”.

Multiply that by 40.

While three of the five guitar tracks were done in 4 takes or less, the fourth one went through creative changes. Do I want it distorted? Let’s try it clean – nah, screw that lets get that distortion back – wait, is that how I had it? 9 takes later, I had a track that i’m somewhat happy with – i’ll probably end up recording it again. If anyone listened to me talking while recording they’d think i’m nuts.

It’s weird when you know you’re nuts as well.

That’s not even considering the guitar solo, which only happens for 1 minute of the song.

I must’ve played the same solo for the 1st half of this time span about 24 times before I got one perfect.

Then I did the 2nd half on the first take.

When I listened back to it expecting to have to record it again, I surprised myself with it. Recording is like that. Once in a while you nail an entire song in an hour. Other times the song nails you. Or gets you nailed…

No, just kidding. I have yet to have the need to throw throngs of fans off my legs so I could get in my tour bus.

But as you can see. It is a fickle hobby that we are involved in. Good thing you get to hear the end result. It takes hours of recording to get one 4 1/2 minute song for you to enjoy. Imagine how long it takes to record an entire EP or album. Good thing we’re allowed to sleep in between.

Well, more updates to come when they happen.

Until then…

This is one in a series of acoustic cover songs, original music, and free mp3 downloads here on the Laptop Sessions Music Video Blog.

1 thought on “Songwriters Know – It takes how many takes?

  1. Well played, my good man. I know all too well about the pains of recording. It seems that I’m constantly recording the same thing over and over. Plus, I have a tendency to just “live with” a take and not redo it, even though it probably could be better. Just recently I’ve started to re-record sub-par (or is it above-par?) takes.

    I hate those times I get it PERFECT…only to realize that it wasn’t recording. The worst right there.

    What song were you working on? Still “What Not To Do?” I’m coming up with a track listing for the upcoming Jim & Chris album. Probably a while until that, but it’s fun to think…

    Good luck on your nuggets of recording time, and happy playing FFXI!


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