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What to record when lacking inspiration
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StratMan2604
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6th March 2012
Old 6th March 2012
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What to record when lacking inspiration

Hey guys, in a bit of a strop atm but I still want to continue recording my own stuff. What kind of stuff can I do? Is there anything I can do tht I can build on at a later point maybe?
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6th March 2012
Old 6th March 2012
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I'll often go back through my notebooks to find some unfinished bit of something and lay it down. For example, a few weeks back I recorded a quick drum loop and laid down a bass riff I had sitting around for months over it. Did a quick guitar lick over the top of those...it's still an unfinished piece, but I can present it to someone else down the line and see what can be made of it (drummer in the band I recently hooked up with likes it a lot, so there's hope).

Other times I'll mess with laying down chord progressions or synth riffs on my sequencer, then just layer more parts on top of it all. Even if it produces nothing inspiring, it's fun to do. Keeps the mind active, at the very least.

Do you have any older material that you'd like to re-record? I keep telling myself I'm going to re-record all my old, extremely rough demos one day, give them the full treatment using everything I've learned here and from reading to make them sound more polished, etc.

A final alternative is to record cover songs and try to replicate the sound you're hearing using your own equipment.
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6th March 2012
Old 6th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KenHR View Post


A final alternative is to record cover songs and try to replicate the sound you're hearing using your own equipment.

And its never bad practice to just jam over old cover tunes. Keeps the chops sharp. I like to rework an old classic and throw in sharps and flats where they fit, sort of changing the flavor of the original. That kind of stuff keeps me fresh, and more open to new song ideas in my own writing. I normally practice guitar in a different key everyday. I used to just jam on any key and any song, but found it difficult to retain the scales for improvising. Focusing on keys has made me a better player and songwriter.
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6th March 2012
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Reharmonizing a cover is always fun.
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7th March 2012
Old 7th March 2012
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I´m in the process of re-recording an old CD of demo stuff. 10 songs that I quite like, but were recorded with a bad interface, without pre amps, bad drum sounds, DI electric guitar.
I´m giving it the pro treatment; good interface, good pre amps, good drum samples. good mics. It´s sounding pretty cool. The arrangements were good already, so I mostly copy them down.

Also covering songs is fun and a very good practice. If you can come up with the sounds you admire in someone else´s record, chances are you will then know how to apply them to your own music.

I´ve read Hunter S. Thompson used to copy "The Great Gatsby", just to get the rhythm of Scott Fitzgerald´s prose.
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7th March 2012
Old 7th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StratMan2604 View Post
Hey guys, in a bit of a strop atm but I still want to continue recording my own stuff. What kind of stuff can I do? Is there anything I can do tht I can build on at a later point maybe?
1) Don't use the instrument that you usually write with. Use something else.

2) Grab some drum loops and sing over them. Record. Listen to what you recorded for nuggets.

3) Write something bawdy in 5 minutes before you start the serious stuff. Write the dirtiest, filthiest lyrics imaginable just to amuse yourself to warm up.

4) Learn a Brazilian song. They typically use chords and changes that folks in the US / Europe don't (I'm assuming you aren't Brazilian!)

5) If you are a guitar player, learn Travis picking. There are lots of good variations, too.

6) Is there a style of music you've always liked but have never tried to play? Mess around with it.

7) Eno - Oblique Strategies cards.
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7th March 2012
Old 7th March 2012
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Originally Posted by StratMan2604 View Post
Hey guys, in a bit of a strop atm but I still want to continue recording my own stuff. What kind of stuff can I do? Is there anything I can do tht I can build on at a later point maybe?
Sometimes when my songwriting efforts are stalled out and I don't want to go to my backlog for some reason (which I should force myself to do anyway), I'll work on an instrumental piece. Lately I've been doing a lot of finger style guitar work in DADGAD but in previous years I would fire up my synths and sampler and work up club, dub or chill music.
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7th March 2012
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I think the best thing to do is just grab a guitar or sit at the piano, turn on a mic, hit record and play and sing. Just come up with a spontaneous song, record it, name it something stupid and temporary, then save and close and move on. Do it a bunch of times. You should do that every day anyway.
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7th March 2012
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Originally Posted by initialsBB View Post
I think the best thing to do is just grab a guitar or sit at the piano, turn on a mic, hit record and play and sing. Just come up with a spontaneous song, record it, name it something stupid and temporary, then save and close and move on. Do it a bunch of times. You should do that every day anyway.
That's definitely a good thing to do, too. That was my only creative road for a few years.

I created some nuggets and a lot of duds that way. 5 / 10 minutes of goofing around that way a day can lead to a serious payoff, though.

It never worked for me as a single method, mainly because I'd get caught up in the same guitar patterns. A diverse approach helped me a lot.
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7th March 2012
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Make a killer sounding drone

Then play a melody with that patch an octave or two up while adjusting FM amount if any and envelopes to make it playable

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7th March 2012
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Originally Posted by baskervils View Post
I created some nuggets and a lot of duds that way. 5 / 10 minutes of goofing around that way a day can lead to a serious payoff, though.

It never worked for me as a single method, mainly because I'd get caught up in the same guitar patterns. A diverse approach helped me a lot.
But I think "some nuggets and a lot of duds" is the key there. At least something is happening. It keeps you moving which is better than feeling like you're in a block and doing nothing at all. Not taking it too seriously is usually the key to get past a block and keep yourself working. And then when that magic moment does strike it helps that you're already there, guitar in hand, ready to press record.
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8th March 2012
Old 8th March 2012
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But I think "some nuggets and a lot of duds" is the key there. At least something is happening. It keeps you moving which is better than feeling like you're in a block and doing nothing at all. Not taking it too seriously is usually the key to get past a block and keep yourself working. And then when that magic moment does strike it helps that you're already there, guitar in hand, ready to press record.
I had a lot of snippets from this process recorded. I listened to some stuff I did 3/4 years ago recently and it was a lot of fun. There were some overlooked gems and a few laughably bad moments.
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14th March 2012
Old 14th March 2012
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When I'm not in the mood to work on original stuff I'll record covers or just experiment with technical stuff, mic placement, different mixing styles. I'm getting into remixing old stuff in very different ways. Also, it's a challenging exercise to take a song you think is "done" and then do it over again in a different style. I did that recently and I liked the newer version 10 times more than the older one.
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