Lesson IV: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Next in lesson’s I’ve learned from my home-recording endeavors… This is more just my personal philosophy: Allow room for experimentation but don’t mess with things for the sake of it. If it sounds good already, don’t play with it.

In my personal experience this relates to use of effects, or over-use. I’ve found that if I just start tossing in lots of reverb for the sake of it, it can end up making it sound really awful. I’ve decided I don’t need tons of reverb to try to improve my vocals, I just need to try and sing better, and maybe add a little bit. I don’t need to compress every track in the mix until it’s so ‘in your face’ it’s aurally ‘glaring’. I don’t need to heap effects on the guitar solo, or add so much fuzz-distortion to make it a good solo. Usually I’m pleased with the amp distortion on a low level.

I’ve often found I’m just as pleased with songs I’ve recorded quickly in an evening and not worried about messing with too much, as songs I’ve added countless tracks, overdubs and made many versions of in a mix. Usually with these latter songs, I end up ‘chasing my own tail’, and having to scale back a lot of tracks to end up with just vocals and guitar or something simple. It’s really another version of the KISS theory.


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