The Quest for Perfection

Good article by Joe Gore on Premier Guitar (by the way, if you're not already following Joe, you should). 

He discusses the multitrack masters you can find on YouTube. You know the thing—isolated tracks from various songs so you can just hear one of the guitars, or one vocal, or whatever. Some of them are great and many are really interesting—you can learn quite a bit from them. 

Joe uses the article to make an overarching, related point about copyright which certainly bears consideration. 

However, I think one of the great take-away points from the article—and from listening to a selection of these tracks—is that the quest for absolute perfection may not always the way to go. 

Musicians love to play but they also love to tweak. They'll spend hours searching for just the right tone for a particular song. They'll agonise over amp settings and mic placement and they might spend years soloing tracks and fixing and mixing things until they're juuuuust right. 

And that's all fine. If you want to be a tweaker, go ahead and tweak.  

There's a lot to be said for playing, though. Getting things down fast. Keeping things pretty live. Not worrying too much about spill. Not quantising things. Not spending a day on takes just to fix that one slightly flubbed note. Not auto-tuning. Not Phil Spectoring the production. 

Many of the classic albums and songs we know are flawed. There's fret-buzz, or tuning problems, or wandering timing, or a multitude of other 'problems'. Let's face it, though, it doesn't really matter. We still listen to them and love them. Maybe, if you're a tweaker (and not many among us isn't), it might be fun to just go with the flow and see what happens. Record an EP in a weekend without the emphasis on absolute and utter perfection. Good-Enough-And-Done usually trumps Will-Probably-Be-Perfect-One-Day.

You can always refer to it as your rebellious period. 

Here's Angus Young's isolated guitar from Let There Be Rock. Always sounded just fine in the context of the song. I wonder how many days he tweaked and adjusted things to get this sound.