Ever tried to quit something cold turkey? It’s hard to do. Stop drinking soda…don’t eat candy…even small changes like this can be difficult when you try to cut them off immediately.
So how in the world can you use a tactic like this to actually create better recordings? Like this.
You know how you have your “go to synth”, guitar amp tone, or vocal mic? After a while, you start to develop a groove. Every time you need a piano sound, you open the same piano patch on your virtual instrument. When it’s time for electric guitars, you dial up your amp how you like it and hit record. Might as well not bother to take down your vocal mic – same place, same mic should always do the trick.
While it’s a good idea to learn your equipment like this and have your “go to” gear, this can also be extremely limiting. After a while, you stop thinking about getting the right sound for the song, and end up just getting the sound you always click on. I like to call this rut the “cycle of sameness.” After a period of using a particular piece of gear, you enter into this cycle of sameness, and all of your productions seems to start to blend together. Ultimately, if you don’t act fast, you’ll start to lose your inspiration to record anything because it all starts to sound the same!
Don’t worry – it’s easy to break this dreaded cycle. But how? Remember what we were talking about earlier? That. Cold Turkey Quittin’. It’s not quite as bad as it seems – it basically means that once you recognize that you’re reaching for the same guitar, same tone, same virtual instrument each and every time, you can’t use that instrument/tone for a whole session. Force yourself to turn away from your cycle of sameness and venture out into a new and foreign land.
Presets can help you get there. If you’re always going for the “Grand Piano 01” preset, play around with the “Grand Piano 02” preset. You’ll be amazed at what fresh sounds can bring to your production.
On a much deeper level, however, you’ll be amazed at what forcing yourself out of your comfort zone will do for your recordings. You may not like the new sound you choose – good. Tweak it, change it, manipulate it. Make it a sound you love, then compare it to your “go-to”. I’m almost certain that you’ll like your new sound way better than your old “go-to,” and it’ll probably be a lot more original and interesting.
So quit cold turkey – you’ll be amazed at the results.