I think my account of my progress would be incomplete without me sharing with you my very first efforts in all their “glory”. I think it is important that I show the ugly side of creativity to dispel the idea that creativity is easy or pretty. Not for the sake of calling attention to it or trying to make it seem more important than it is, but simply to give comfort to the artists and creators out there who might be holding themselves back from making their best work by thinking that there is a correct way to do things, or that creativity should be effortless, or that it is effortless for those who are gifted with the "necessary" talent.
So here is one of my very first recordings. I think I was 16 back then. It was recorded in Garage Band via the built-in mic on my laptop. All one track, drenched in reverb and other effects to make it sound "good”.
Back then the purpose of this recording was simply to make a memo of the song to preserve it, as well as to hear what it sounds like recorded. But now I am curious - what can I learn from this recording by looking back at it with the knowledge I have now? Well, I think it is interesting that the guitar, being a single instrument, fills the frequency spectrum so nicely (I am guessing it was designed this way on purpose). We've got some sparkly highs provided by the steel strings, and probably emphasized further by the low-res mic of the laptop. Then we have some nice sustained bass happening when I strum the top strings for some of the chords.
But there are some problems too. It seems that the heavy reverb tails fill the mid-range with an incoherent muddiness, making the song less bright and clean, and also drowning out the vocals. Okay, what else… The vocals are too quiet. But given that this was a one-track recording, there couldn’t be any mixing happening. As for EQ and all that other cool stuff - I had no idea what any of those tools were for at the time. And if I were to do this track again? Well I’d have to start from scratch. No point in trying to polish a turd.
While this is a very basic analysis, it is nice to know that I have learned something since the time of this recording. I guess this is why progress takes such a long time - over the years things click and start to make more sense, providing you with insights you simply couldn’t acquire in a day or two (as we often wish).