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Mr. Torture

Continue, or call it a day?

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What you are doing in that exercise if letting go of your left brain by concentrating on the lines and not what the lines make up.

The theory is eventually you can learn to draw something right side up by seeing the lines and not what the lines make up.

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@Bapu    now you got me actually wanting to give it a try.  If anything it will look like my bad doodling 😆 

I'm legally blind in one eye, so my perspective in general has never been  great.   No pun intended :D

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Mr. Torture said:

Yeah, I think I'm done. It's been sometimes fun, but I could never get the results that I was hoping for. 

I won't stop with music, I enjoy playing guitar and learning new things. But recording songs and trying to produce them to a major label quality? Nope, just not in the cards for me. Just don't have the talent to make it happen. 

It's sad for sure, I have spent a lot of my life recording. Hard drives full of unfinished songs, uncounted thousands spent. More lost money on gear than I care to try and remember.

Well, "recording" or maybe in your case "mix engineering" is only once facet of making music, and plenty of the time, I'm using parts of my brain that have little to do with playing. I do see it much like learning another instrument. Not everyone is going to enjoy or excel at every instrument they pick up. You tried "mix engineering" and got fed up with it. It sounds like you gave it a hell of a shot.

There are countless musicians who never record themselves, have no idea about DAW's or whatever. I have multiple musician friends, but few I can talk mix engineering with. To them, it's drudgery or geek stuff or whatever. They like to play, sing, make up songs. Recording them is a complicated chore like doing taxes.

I think throughout this thread, some of us, at least me, weren't 100% clear on what you meant by "call it a day." On making a career of it? On playing entirely? Now I get that what you were pondering was whether you should keep trying to hone your mix engineering skills. I'm glad it wasn't about making music entirely.

So my answer is "screw it." It sounds like it was dragging you down. Do the parts of making music that bring you happiness. If you write songs, you've acquired enough skills (and equipment) to record demos of them. There are TONS of musicians who stop there or don't even attempt to go that far. I answer questions on this forum all the time from people who "just want to record my guitar and vocals."

Also, when I started recording myself, it exposed areas of my playing that needed work (sometimes brutally!). It helped motivate me to become a better player (or at least more consistent). So if that's the case with you, your time and effort and money isn't something that wasn't wasted.

I don't see where anyone was poking fun at you, it seems more that we can all relate (oh the nights I go to bed convinced that I suck eternally and irredeemably and who do I think I am, at age 61 trying to do the kind of music I do, yada yada), and take it with a wry sense of humor. And I thank you for starting a discussion that helped remind me what I want out of recording and mixing songs.

Edited by Starship Krupa
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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, bdickens said:

practice-meme.thumb.jpg.cb4c3ab0e7715831f00c9800b71b85e4.jpg

 

I remember back in uni days, a well respected sports psychologist was giving a lecture and he wrote "Practice makes perfect" on the board and asked how many agree with this statement and most put their hand up with some jokes about "my mum could have told me this". Then he whirled around and screamed "Wrong!" Then he wrote on the board "Practice (the results of which are known) makes perfect".

In other words just doing the same thing over and over will only lead to mediocre or no improvements or even worse, deeply ingraining bad habits. You have to know:

1. What it is you are doing wrong and how to fix it.

2. What is the next step from where you are now to move forward.

If you don't know these things then it's difficult to improve. It may be that is the difference between "talented" and "untalented" individuals.  Very often, people think they know these things (but they don't) and continue on but end up dissatisfied with the results. There's usually only 4 ways to find out this information.

1. Intuition

Some people just seem to have a natural intuition about what to do next and how to improve themselves, this could be "talent" or just a good grasp of logical progression and a high iq, no one knows.

2. Coaching

You can find out these things from a coach who is better than you.

3. Research

You can do your own research to find the answers.

4. Luck

Some just stumble on to the answers by luck, meeting someone at a party or through socialization that can help etc

The enemy of learning is the Ego. Sometimes people cannot be taught or told because they refuse to admit to themselves they are deficit in anything or they are overly protective of their work and see any criticism as a personal attack against them. This just holds them back from getting answers to these questions. Some use age or experience as defense mechanisms or reasons for not progressing or listening to others who might be younger than them but know more than them. Just because someone is older or experienced does not automatically mean they are more capable at the task, it usually does, but not always, especially if they have just been doing the same wrong thing over and over. Age is never an excuse for not learning new things, you continue learning right up until your death. David Bowie said:

“Aging is an extraordinary process where you become the person you always should have been"

 

 

Edited by Tezza
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8 hours ago, InstrEd said:

This and photography seem to be my vices. 

Photography used to be a nice hobby for me but I keep annoying myself by turning hobbies in to part of my various day jobs 🙄

At least the dream of one day being a chicken sexer or recreational proctologist is still on the cards... 🤔

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On 4/13/2022 at 6:28 AM, Mr. Torture said:

This is my question I ask myself everyday. I'm not a professional song writer, I don't have a full band, I'm 52 years old. There is no outlet to showcase my music and nobody cares about it anyways. I get the occasional like from a buddy, but I feel my era is long gone.

I cannot compete with bands signed to labels like Frontiers and that's the level of quality I expect from myself. I end up with hard drives full of mediocre material. 

It's a lot of work writing, performing, mixing music. So much that it takes the joy out of it. Years ago I could spend every waking moment working on songs, mixing etc. Now I have to force myself to work on it. Anyone else feel this way? Maybe it's just me and I need to give it up. How do you keep going? Where do you showcase your music? Do you get results your completely happy with? Do people actually like your stuff?

 

21 minutes ago, Lord Tim said:

At least the dream of one day being a chicken sexer or recreational proctologist is still on the cards... 🤔

 

I just had to see what the first post and the last post before this one would look like together! 🤣🤣🤣

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Tezza said:

 

I remember back in uni days, a well respected sports psychologist was giving a lecture and he wrote "Practice makes perfect" on the board and asked how many agree with this statement and most put their hand up with some jokes about "my mum could have told me this". Then he whirled around and screamed "Wrong!" Then he wrote on the board "Practice (the results of which are known) makes perfect".

In other words just doing the same thing over and over will only lead to mediocre or no improvements or even worse, deeply ingraining bad habits. You have to know:

1. What it is you are doing wrong and how to fix it.

2. What is the next step from where you are now to move forward.

If you don't know these things then it's difficult to improve. It may be that is the difference between "talented" and "untalented" individuals.  Very often, people think they know these things (but they don't) and continue on but end up dissatisfied with the results. There's usually only 4 ways to find out this information.

1. Intuition

Some people just seem to have a natural intuition about what to do next and how to improve themselves, this could be "talent" or just a good grasp of logical progression and a high iq, no one knows.

2. Coaching

You can find out these things from a coach who is better than you.

3. Research

You can do your own research to find the answers.

4. Luck

Some just stumble on to the answers by luck, meeting someone at a party or through socialization that can help etc

The enemy of learning is the Ego. Sometimes people cannot be taught or told because they refuse to admit to themselves they are deficit in anything or they are overly protective of their work and see any criticism as a personal attack against them. This just holds them back from getting answers to these questions. Some use age or experience as defense mechanisms or reasons for not progressing or listening to others who might be younger than them but know more than them. Just because someone is older or experienced does not automatically mean they are more capable at the task, it usually does, but not always, especially if they have just been doing the same wrong thing over and over. Age is never an excuse for not learning new things, you continue learning right up until your death. David Bowie said:

“Aging is an extraordinary process where you become the person you always should have been"

 

 

Very true.

Sometimes it's possible to be good and not do things the way the teacher tells you to do them. While I don't consider myself to be a wonderful keyboardist I can pretty much play anything I have wanted to play if I worked at it. This was with only a handful of piano lessons, a bunch of how to reading, watching how others did it and a little music theory.

Most of it was simply playing the thing which made me better at it. I'm somewhere in between a session musician and a taught pianist. I say that because a session musician just walks in and plays something. He or she has it all up there in their grey matter. They have good enough chops and know enough theory to play things on the spot. With a little effort I can pull that off decently. I have played at churches where chord charts are often a thing. You might walk in expecting to play it in D and due to vocal limitations they moved it to F. Now F is related to Bb. I guess in jazz they are all related. If my grey matter can make a fast calculation and I write the new chords down I can generally do it, but unlike a session musician I can't do it instantly on the fly all the time, especially with flatted keys. Yeah you can cheat if you have a midi keyboard that transposes and a guitarist can capo.

My biggest issue, and the reason I wish I had taken more piano lessons with cranky old piano teachers is I never learned to read bass clef fast. This has really hurt me in trying to sing written tenor parts because tenor is often written in bass clef. A person should learn an instrument the right way if possible and if you self train you won't learn the right way period. Usually trying to take a short cut will come back to bite you. 

Jimi played his guitar strung backwards. We had a player here who tuned his electric to C and was an ace player. He practiced a lot. So yeah there are exceptions, but that's mostly all they are.

The reason we train professionally is because others who are wiser and learned the best ways to play preserved that information for us to hopefully learn from and save years of headaches. In my case I couldn't afford piano lessons way back then so I did the best I could with what I had, however there was a price to pay for learning it the wrong way. I can play but I could have played better.

I'm learning to play the violin now 8 years into it. I looked for experienced people to teach me who would teach me the right way. There are plenty of good violinists who 'cheat' too, but they miss out on so much because they are limiting themselves. This time around I want to learn an instrument the way it was intended to be learned. I will probably die learning this instrument, but I'm beginning to get to a level now that I like to play and I can tolerate it. This instrument has a very sequential learning process. IOW You DON'T EVER skip steps because you need the earlier foundations. This is probably true with most instruments. This once frustrated me because I would show my teacher I could do something at a higher level thinking she would be impressed. Nope. Sure I was playing it, but if I had learned to play it that way it would have held me back. My .000002

Edited by Tim Smith

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, Starship Krupa said:

Now I get that what you were pondering was whether you should keep trying to hone your mix engineering skills. I'm glad it wasn't about making music entirely.

That's it in a nut shell, sorry I wasn't more clear about it all. With all the technology today and great gear it should be relatively easy to get a somewhat pro mix, that never happened for me. It's really frustrating when you see bands like Def Leppard using Rockman's 30+ years ago that sound better than anything I could produce. Of course having guys like Bob Rock and the late Mike Shipley helps, that and being excellent song writers. Def Leppard was writing great stuff at 16-17 years old, some people are just born to succeed, others like me are born to work a crappy job and never obtain that level.

 

But enough of my pity party, I'm making peace with it all.

Edited by Mr. Torture
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Posted (edited)
54 minutes ago, Mr. Torture said:

With all the technology today and great gear it should be relatively easy to get a somewhat pro mix, that never happened for me.

That's lie number one that we've all fallen for. I had a huge reply written to you yesterday but decided to delete it so here's the abridged version. 

The DAW and VST developers want you to believe it's possible to make a professional studio quality recording in your home on a laptop and headphones. It's a lie. It can't be done. You must have a decent sounding room. There is only so much you can do with software. You have to look at software like a fancy tape machine and go from there. In my opinion the room is probably the single most important thing when recording, if you are doing vocals and micing cabinets. You can achieve that in a small room with room treatment but it's tricky. If you are fortunate enough to have a house, even a small one, you can dedicate an area and treat it just for recording.

That said .... you can still make great sounding recordings at home that rival "pro studio's" with or without a great room. Especially anything that has come out of these so called "pro studio's" in the last 25 + years. Almost all the studio's that recorded the great sounding albums are closed now and you are shooting for something that sadly doesn't exist anymore.

54 minutes ago, Mr. Torture said:

Def Leppard was writing great stuff at 16-17 years old, some people are just born to succeed, others like me are born to work a crappy job and never obtain that level.

Def Leppard may have written some of their own stuff but they didn't record themselves. They did it in a pro studio with pro help. What you and the rest of us here are doing is trying to accomplish a monumental task of writing to mastering. Normally there are a LOT of people in between that start and end point. That 'sound' you are hearing on those recordings is more the room and how the mics are placed on the cabinets. You cannot duplicate those sounds with just an amp. There's more to what you are hearing than just the amp (or amp VST) is what it boils down to.

The other thing is, while the chord possibilities and lyrics are endless in how you can put them together, there is actually a very narrow path of what people actually like if that makes sense. It's extremely hard to write something new that's unique that hasn't been done before in one way or another.

I'll give you an example. My father in law loves Joe Bonamassa. We sat down and watched a couple of his live shows on DVD one time. Apparently Joe hasn't heard of Bluray and HD yet. W T F Joe? Anyway, throughout both entire shows I kept saying, Oh wow, he's playing a riff from this Led Zepplin song in his song, or a riff from this group, oh wow that's Heart!. By the end when I pointed out that he was basically ripping off a lot of peoples riffs and recycling them my father in law got pissed off at me and never mentioned him again. One of the biggest if not thee biggest ripoffs of all time was the intro to Stairway To Heaven. Anyway, what I'm saying is it's extremely hard to be unique. Maybe take some songs you know and like and change them a little to get ideas? Have you thought about Band In A Box? It's great for just pumping in chords to see how they work together. It's a great writing tool.

It seems you have two major issues plaguing you. The writing aspect and the recording aspect. It just takes time, and the fewer people in the process makes it take even longer. It's just the way it is. The fact that you are so torn about it says to me you are not really ready to give it up. It is a hobby, but it's an emotional one. Music triggers chems in our brains. It can absolutely become an addiction and it is really hard to completely walk away from.

Edited by Shane_B.
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1 hour ago, Mr. Torture said:

But enough of my pity party, I'm making peace with it all.

us home music makers have to do the whole shebang (write, play, record, mix, master) so maybe setting "commercial" as your goal is a bit high?

18 minutes ago, Shane_B. said:

Def Leppard may have written some of their own stuff but they didn't record themselves....

exactly

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2 hours ago, Shane_B. said:

you are hearing on those recordings is more the room and how the mics are placed on the cabinets.

Agree with everything you said but this. The Hysteria album was recorded using Rockman's plugged into the console, no room at all.

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Posted (edited)
Just now, bdickens said:

Drums too?

Samples, from Mike Shipley's personal library. So realistically, using a modern Kemper and drum software I should be able to at least match a studio album from 30+ years ago, or at least I thought..

Edited by Mr. Torture

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17 minutes ago, Mr. Torture said:

Samples, from Mike Shipley's personal library. So realistically, using a modern Kemper and drum software I should be able to at least match a studio album from 30+ years ago, or at least I thought..

You can, but you would also need Mutt Lange and Mike Shipley to go along with the software....

 

I've always considered that album the benchmark for overproduced pablum.

Yuck.

Def Leppard used to rock before that.

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2 minutes ago, bdickens said:

You can, but you would also need Mutt Lange and Mike Shipley to go along with the software....

 

I've always considered that album the benchmark for overproduced pablum.

Yuck.

Def Leppard used to rock before that.

I get it, maybe over produced yes, but still completely commercial pro sounding. I'm more in the camp of the musicians lend more to the sound than the equipment.

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1 hour ago, Mr. Torture said:

The Hysteria album was recorded using Rockman's plugged into the console, no room at all.

Count off the number of people involved in creating Hysteria. You're one guy trying to emulate the work of an army of professionals and consultants.

Metal is a very highly produced and engineered genre, was from the start.

I suggest watching Some Kind Of Monster, or if you've already seen it, maybe watch it again. Proof that legends consider packing it in. From what I understand, the album that came out of their process is also proof that legends can produce clinkers.

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I did "Women" for a movie soundtrack once and I have to say that it was a hell of a job matching the original production - it was all about nailing the reverbs (many of them), delays and modulation, and the crazy number of backing vocals and sneaky tricks they used to get them to sound that big. The arrangement itself was relatively simple but man... that was a difficult mix to get right!

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I haven't read all the replies, so I'm sorry if there are some repeated responses.
I can only tell you my story, and maybe it just might make you feel better about songwriting and making music in general.
I just turned 60 last week (I posted a song about it called "Turning 60" here in the songs forum).   It was a particularly depressing birthday as you might imagine.
But I can honestly say writing that song was very cathartic and actually made me feel better about turning 60.

As far as my songwriting, I have over 100 songs posted in Soundclick from over a span of 40+ years.  I hate the way I sing, I'm not a singer, but often get compared to Dylan, Tom Petty, and sometimes Lou Reed.  Which I take as a compliment.  And I heavily depend on Melodyne because I'm so pitchy. 
But what I want to say is that even at 60, my songs continue to improve even now.   I listen to songs I wrote even just 2 years ago, and  I can hear the vast improvements that have come due to learning new skills and getting better software plugins.   I just got IK's Hammond B-3X and I'm really having a lot of fun with it.

What you said about posting songs and getting only a couple of friends that "like" it.   I had that happen for a very long time.  The same two friends would say "nice job" on Facebook, and I'm not even sure if they actually listened to the songs.   It got very depressing.  Even my best friend since childhood never ONCE commented on any of the songs I posted.  That really hurt.
But lately, over the past two years, (as I said) my songs have been greatly improving.  And I now post to Facebook and also to Songs forum here on this website.
And I started getting a lot of genuinely positive feedback (both here and on Facebook).  I can't tell you after years of being virtually ignored how much it means to me to have talented musicians here tell me that my latest songs are really good.   One friend on Facebook said I should seriously consider selling my songs.

I live alone, my wife passed away in 2014 and my son has moved out and got his own place.   I don't have any friends in this town since I had to stop working because of my bad back. (All my old friends are still back east)  So my music is basically all I have to look forward to.   And the more I improve, and the better feedback I get, inspires me to keep going.  Two years ago, I was like you and ready to give it up.   I still haven't written "my masterpiece" but I feel like I'm getting closer with each new song.
I love the process of jamming until I find a riff that will turn into a song  (I only play keyboards with software emulation for all of my instruments, including a ton of various virtual guitars, basses, keys and drums.)   And I also love the process of putting a song together, mixing and mastering it until it sounds good.  I'm also getting better at doing all of that as well.

So please don't give up.  You need to find the joy again you once had.   I've been listening to a lot of Tom Petty lately, and have found his music to be very inspirational to my song writing.  Also when I watch a documentary about songwriters or music production, that also inspires me to get back on my DAW and write something good.
I hope some of this helps you.   And I hope you find happiness again in whatever you decide to do.

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Hey Lee, We pretty much have the same computer!

I post on FB some but am getting away from it because 99% of those who listen to my material are listening on a cell phone. What's the point of mixing if everyone is using a smart phone speaker? It's a little disappointing to hear something you literally spent many hours making on a smart phone, unless they use decent buds.

I'm an older guy too, and I'll admit turning my age bothers me a little bit. Many people look at a number though and figure that because of that number it's time to give up.

If we focus on what we can do, what we are capable of instead of a number, we will have greater success. 

Here is something to think about I pulled from the web-

An extensive study in the U.S. found that the most productive age in human life is between 60-70 years of age. The second most productive stage of the human being is from 70-80 years of age. The third most productive stage is from 50-60 years of age.

There might be a few exceptions to this most notably in the political arena.  Did I just say that?

 

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28 minutes ago, Tim Smith said:

I post on FB some but am getting away from it because 99% of those who listen to my material are listening on a cell phone. What's the point of mixing if everyone is using a smart phone speaker? It's a little disappointing to hear something you literally spent many hours making on a smart phone, unless they use decent buds.

Hey Tim,  yeah I know what you mean.  I discovered recently that the majority of Facebook users access it via their cellphones.
So whenever I post a song on there, I put the disclaimer: "Best heard through decent speakers or headphones".
Also, I know part of the job of mastering is to make the song sound good through a variety of systems.  So I'll listen to my song in my car, on my laptop, and on my Fire Tablet.   But I don't think any amount of decent mixing or mastering is going to make it sound decent on cell phone speaker.

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