And so it came to pass that as of this day, the EP that I have been toiling over is officially the worst pile of crap ever conceived!!! Pretty dramatic, huh? Well about that…

There are several stages that one must pass through in order to give birth to a piece of art. These levels may vary from person to person, yet some of them are all too familiar to us. I landed face first in the cesspool of self-doubt today…and this pool was not shallow! You work hard and things are rolling along quite nicely…you’re proud, you’re feeling good about what you’re creating, and suddenly out of nowhere you say…wait, is that song really as good as you think it is? Uh oh, maybe it’s not…maybe I should’ve picked a different song to record. Maybe I shouldn’t record at all…I mean…who would even care!?

These thoughts, obviously, are completely horrible and do NOTHING to help move the creative process forward…not to mention the beating it gives your heart and spirit. A good way to approach this stage of the creative process is to immediately recognize it, face it head on, and do everything in your power move past it. Maybe affirmations work for you…maybe or conversations in a mirror help…maybe distracting yourself altogether makes it better. Regardless of the modality used, moving past those doubts is paramount. Remember why you are creating in the first place. Think of how many artistic people never finish their projects because they succumb to their own negative inner dialogue. Don’t let that happen to you, and I sure won’t happen to me.

I managed to work through this stage today and not lose too much time beating myself up. One thing that didn’t make it through the day was the guitar parts that I recorded. At first I was pretty bummed, because the parts I wrote that I thought would work…didn’t. That’s actually ok, because after hearing the guitar line in context of the song it was easy to hear why it didn’t work and I was able to write new parts make the song better…win, win!

I certainly don’t shoo The Muse when she shows up, and sometimes she comes around when I’ve got stuff to do…like this EP I’m working on!

I woke up the other day with something that I thought would be a pretty cool idea…another avenue to explore musically. I’m charged up…I’m excited…ready to jump in with both feet and wrap myself up in this new path of sonic exploration. And then it hits me…dude, you’re in the middle of a project and you HAVE to finish it or it will never be finished. And it’s true. Sure the new path is shiny and beautiful and is so enticing, but so many times in the past I’ve followed these new inspirations and have let the work I’m currently involved in fall by the wayside.

The good thing is that I recognized it and headed my thinking off at the pass. Promises to yourself should be kept and I’ve baked in a bit of leniency for myself in case life gets weird. Losing focus and letting the temptation of a new idea win over my attention will only lead to another project I’ve let go of. I just can’t do that to myself. So Miss Muse (I assume she’s not married)…thank you for the new idea, but you’ll have to chill for a while I finish up the OTHER idea you gave me. Off to do some mixing…

Recently I did some upgrading to the studio…extra RAM, another audio interface that works in tandem with my existing interface, new software, etc. I’ve been pretty stoked to get everything up and running since my upgrades are supposed to make my recording workflow easier and more efficient…supposed to.

Getting my audio interfaces to talk to each other has been a real pain in me arse. It still isn’t working the way I want it to and sadly, its getting in the way of my productivity. Couple that with some unexpected life events, and I’ve lost a good chunk of studio time as of late. I’m still on track with what I have planned, but I am starting to feel a bit of self-imposed pressure…not good. During the upgrading process, one of my song files became corrupted and I had to rebuild everything from scratch. I lost some acoustic guitar parts that I had recorded, but luckily I was able to recreate the progress without ‘too’ much effort.

It’s weird how a bunch of little things tend to pile up and turn into a big thing…that’s kinda where I’m at mentally. I KNOW that these are little things and that a simple change in perspective will fix what’s going on in my head. And that’s what I’ll do…take a deep breath, know that everything is as it should be, and make some damn music!!! 🙂

As a Creative, I am my own worst critic (most of us are)…and I’m really hard on myself. So much, that sometimes it’s completely counterproductive to what it is I’m trying to create. Some days are better than others, but when I’m having a particularly ‘hard on myself’ day, my confidence simply tanks. It’s a horrible feeling.

Today was one of those days, and I was telling myself that I’m not a very good singer. Try practicing your parts or recording with that mindset. How can you deliver your best performance when you’re telling yourself that you shouldn’t be even trying?

I think I stumbled on something today, and I tried it out while I was practicing some vocal harmonies. I simply told myself to DGAF! For those that may not know what this lovely acronym stands for, it’s Dont Give A F*ck. I adopted this mindset during my practice today and lo and behold, I started hitting runs and harmonies almost effortlessly. By taking that approach, it basically told my doubting brain to shut the hell up and I just sang from the heart. It was great!

So…the lesson for today…DGAF when you’re being creative. Allow the mojo to flow through you and keep your head out of the way. Just do what you do, stay focused in the moment, and trust that what you’re doing IS good enough, because after all…you DGAF!

You ever get excited because you got a new thing that would make this other thing better and then you spend all afternoon setting up the new thing only to find that something ain’t quite right with the new thing and the old thing together? Yeah…that. That was my day…blech. Maybe I could explain that a little better.

I bought some new equipment for the studio which will make my workflow easier and more efficient. After everything was installed and configured, I was raring to go…I’m recording some 12 string guitar parts for this song I’m working on and am excited to see how the parts I wrote will fit together. I open the song, set levels, and start playing. Freeze!!! My DAW (digital audio workstation) freezes and I’m only mildly annoyed. It’s no big…nothing that a quick reboot won’t fix. Reboot complete! Let’s do this! Freeze…again. OK…a little more annoyed at this point. Reboot. Reconfigure new equipment…Freeze!

At this point I’m getting pretty irritated, but I go through the proper troubleshooting steps in an effort to figure out WHAT is causing the error. Long story short, I’d hooked everything up properly, configured everything properly, and in the last place I thought to look…BAM! Turns out the song file itself became corrupted somehow. Yay, because I found the problem…Boo, because I’ll have to start this song over. It’s ok…my plan for today took a slight detour, but I will bend like a reed in the wind (Dune reference) and check my inconvenience at the door. Tomorrow is another day.

Today was not Studio Saturday as I like to refer to my weekend studio time…obviously. Rather, today was whirlwind, round trip, nine hour car drive to pay respect to a sweet little old lady who decided it was time to move on from this plane of existence. Though I only met her a few times, it was a humbling experience to see and hear the ways in which this tiny person made big impacts in people’s lives. Rest easy Alice (aka Grandmother)…rest easy.

Today was just one of those days. It’s ‘Studio Saturday’ and it was time to get some work done. I’d been working on this guitar part, both writing it and creating a guitar tone that would fit the song. The writing part came easy (knock on wood), but the guitar sound actually took a little longer.


I might’ve mentioned this before, but I love technology. As musicians, we are able to produce and distribute our music for pennies on the dollar compared to what it used to cost. Having a home studio is a simple as having a laptop and an audio interface…we can create pro level music sitting in a recliner at home…it’s amazing.


Back to the lack of motivation today…it just wasn’t there. I went into the studio with the idea that asses would be kicked and names would be taken. I ‘did’ get some work done however. I recorded my guitar part and did a rough mix of what I had so far…it’s ok. Not my best work, and I will probably wind up re-recording some of what I did. The takeaway? Despite my lackluster feelings about working on music today, things did get done…I buckled down and got to a place that will be easy to pick up next time I’m working on the song.


We all want inspiration and desire to be there when we want it, but that’s not the way it works. Sometimes ya gotta force it a little bit, and putting in the hard yards when you don’t want to demonstrates to yourself that you’re committed…that’s a good thing!

As I started thinking about this EP I’m working on, I pondered over the approach I would take when recording guitar parts. I’m a guitar player first and a singer second, and as such I probably pay more attention to getting good guitar tones and writing interesting/melodic guitar lines than I do vocal production. This is something I need to work on since if there is a vocal in the song, it is instantly and justifiably the focal point. I’ll need to spend as much if not more time ensuring that the vocal performance is solid. 


But this isn’t exactly what I want to talk about. The title of this post alludes to how I’m approaching my guitar parts. So for the old school…I’m using an all tube Panama Fuego X amp to record one of my rhythm guitar parts. Why is this news? Well, up until a year ago, I had never owned much less played through a tube amp! This is kinda backwards since tube amps have been at the center of nearly every guitar player’s rig for decades…I’m just a tad late to the game. Now for the new school…I’ve always been a fan of technology and have used it extensively in the past and will continue to do so in the future. I’ll be using my Line 6 Helix for the other rhythm guitar along with my lead tones. 


The idea deal is to marry the old school with the new school as I’m incorporating guitar parts that help paint the sonic lands I’m creating. It’s not a groundbreaking idea to be sure, but it’s one I’ve never tackled. It makes me happy to use the best of both worlds. 




I’m making good progress on the first EP I’ll be releasing this year. Right now I have four songs that will make the cut and depending on time, I may add a fifth…we’ll see.


Now about the title of this post…I happily enter the studio ready to comp my acoustic guitar line. I’ve recorded the part three times and I will go through each take, find the best parts, and glue it all together to make one super take! Modern technology allows us to do this and it’s an efficient way to get the best performance. I fire up Cubase and dig in only to find that something ‘feels’ off. For this particular song, I programmed the tempo of the drums to follow 100 BPM (beats per minute for non-musical folk), and I recorded the acoustic guitar part at 100 BPM. 


I mentioned that the song felt off, so I sing along with the drums and guitars and I find the problem…this tune is dragging!!! Not good. It’s easy enough to change the temp of the song and my drum program, Superior Drummer 3; it will follow along no problemo. I upped the tempo to 103 BPM and now the song feels much better. The acoustic guitar however…well…since it’s actual audio that I recorded and not a sample based instrument, I had to re-record it. NOT a big deal since I know the song like the back of my hand, but a minor inconvenience. 


I erased the acoustic parts (ouch) and re-recorded them at 103 BPM. I was feeling inspired so I went ahead and wrote and recorded the bass line too…progress. By adding three stinking beats per minute, this tune feels good to me and ready to keep on working!


So last weekend I wake up, get some breakfast, and I’m charged up! It’s ‘Studio Saturday’ and I’m ready to get some work done. I’ve got it all planned out…I’m going to record the acoustic guitar part for a song called ‘And I Go’. I get everything set up…two microphones (a condenser and a ribbon) and I’m plugged in direct. I will blend these three signals to capture the sound from my lovely Breedlove koa acoustic.


Cubase is fired up and ready to accept whatever I send to it, be it sloppy or perfect playing. It oftentimes results in the former  🙂  I hit the record button waiting to hear the drums samples from Superior Drummer 3…I know they will sound amazing and help me nail this part with a sweet groove that I’ve programmed…with a sweet groove that I’ve programmed…with a swee…nothing…it’s quiet!


Well BALLS!!!  There is no drum track! It’s become glaringly apparent that I didn’t program the track like I thought  My initial mojo is gone and I stare at my computer screen. Acoustic guitar WILL be recorded today!!! So I buckle down, get my drums programmed (which is fun), and record my guitar line.


I should’ve made some kind of list that allows me to keep track of what’s been done. As Creatives, we often have our heads in the clouds and lose track of where we are in our projects. Lesson learned…I have created a spreadsheet complete with a song list and its respective parts. Fool me once…