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Guide tracks

February 12, 2018


Just a quick thought, today. 


Over the last few weeks I decided to try writing in the studio. Just walking in on Monday morning and seeing if I could create a track. 


It ended terribly!


What was fascinating is just how important having a guide track is! Even just a piano or guitar that you’ve roughed out some chord sequences and a structure is so incredibly important. 


I found that when I was trying to create something from scratch in the studio, I’d spend time getting a great drum sound, playing a great beat, but then couldn’t feel anything from the music at all! My focus was on how it sounded and not the music. 


I put this down to a randomly bad day, but then it happened again and again, all because I didn’t have a guide track. 


I went home after several days of failed work and sat at the piano and recorded an improvised piece. It was hardly what you’d call finished. It was scruffy with a strange structure, but the next day when I got into the studio, boom! It worked. Just because I had some melodic, harmonic and rhythmic ideas to work from, I started rearranging for acoustic guitar, drums, synths and bass and by the end of the day, I had a great sounding piece of music that was very different from that initial piano piece. 


If you’re ever struggling to write something, grab a single instrument and write a whole piece (improvised, if you can) and you’ll be amazed at how much it keeps your creativity on track!


What have you discovered in the studio? Have you found guide tracks as important as I do? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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