In today’s ultra-busy world, time to do what we all love — play guitar — is at a premium. Working musicians are on the road or in the studio playing gigs, or on the phone or computer scheduling more gigs. And for working Janes and Joes who play — even musical weekend warriors (and I use that term with respect, because if you rock, you rock) — the pressures of balancing a day job and personal life with any semblance of time for music are considerable.
So make the most of your playing by recording it. Every time you pick up a guitar, if you’ve got more than five minutes there’s a good chance you’ll be playing something that could be of value to you as a musician or songwriter.
• Save riffs: If you’re improvising and you hit on a cool lick or riff you’ve never played before, recording allows you to study it and make it part of your vocabulary later.
• Write songs: Got 10 minutes to work on the chord changes to that song you’ve been writing? Recording allows you to try various combinations of changes freely and replay them later, without writing them down and without any premature critical judgments that can impede the creative process.
• Improve your playing: Nothing gives you better perspective on your playing than hearing it — especially if you’re working on specific goals, like dampening string noise or cleaning up fret board diction.
• Check parts: Want to find out if those hooks, melody lines or fills fit over the chord changes to the song you’re orchestrating? Recording takes away the guesswork. Just cut the basic rhythm track and loop it, and try out your complimentary parts in real time.
• Improve tone: The best way to find of how your guitar, amp and pedals sound is to record them and listen back to all of the variations and tweaks you’re exploring en route to tonal godhood.