Flaunting your failures

So here’s the deal — I worked on a blues jam track all night, and I was expecting to have it up today, but I don’t feel like it’s ready to go live. I'm not a perfectionist, but I do want Chasing Sound to be a place that I respect as a guitar player.

I've always envisioned it to be a site that I'd want to use and visit every day.

To get the track finished, I was using EZ Drummer for drums, and went directly into my audio interface with my Charvel for the rhythm guitar part.

The drum parts worked out really well. It’s a heavy blues track, and finding what parts I’m looking for in EZ Drummer was pretty simple because of their Tap 2 Find feature. You tap different parts of the drum kit (kick drum, snare, etc.), and then EZ Drummer magically finds a beat that’s strikingly close to what you played in its collection of beats.

What I wasn’t happy with was the sound of the direct guitar. Even with all my audio engineering skills, I just couldn’t get it up to my standards, and I didn’t feel right putting it up here.

Letting you know this at all leads to a bigger point though — it’s important to flaunt your failures every once in a while.

I take a player like Guthrie Govan, and use how good he is as inspiration to get better myself, rather than to cry in a corner and compare myself to him. It takes lots of time to get nearly as good as some of these players, and making mistakes every once in a while is part of what makes music great. If getting great at music were easy, everyone would be doing it. Music isn’t perfect, life isn’t perfect, and that’s perfectly OK!

Let's take an example like sweep picking. If you're absolutely terrible at it when you start, it might be a good idea to film yourself on day one (just use your smartphone's camera or your computer's webcam). This way you can see how you progress, and rather than getting frustrated over not being able to sweep perfectly, you can watch what you're doing and get better as the days go by. I can compare it to hockey players "watching tape" to see any gaps in other teams play styles.

What you're looking to do is watch your own "tape", and don't be afraid to admit that you're going to suck at certain aspects of guitar for a while.

There are a million catch phrases in the tech industry, and some of them are inspirational. One of my favorites is "fail faster". If you're putting in work every day practicing, you can pinpoint what parts of your playing need work. The sooner you know what needs work, the earlier you can get better at it.

I’m happy that Chasing Sound has been doing well in its first week, and that so many of you have signed up to Six String Sunday, the weekly newsletter I send out with the best guitar stuff I saw or read. A minor setback with this jam track is not the end of the world, and I plan to have these tracks and much more as the months go by.

For future posts, what do you want me to cover? What jam tracks are you looking forward to?

If you’re looking for some great jam tracks to play on right now, start with my friend Mike Friedman’s tracks. He’s put up a number of styles, and they’re all great.