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The Big Red Button

by Hercules Castro

I would like to introduce Hercules Castro as a new guest writer for Guitar Musings. Hercules and I grew up and learned the guitar together. I know you will enjoy his insights on the guitar and making music.

Meet My Friend

I’d like to talk about my good friend, the big red button. By this, I mean the Record button. Now, I’m not talking about recording in the sense of producing CDs, videos or demos. That comes later. For now, I’m talking more along the lines of creating a progress report.

In the Beginning

When I was a young lad, one of my favorite things to do was plug my amp into a dual cassette recorder with a mic input, play anything, record it, then take the tape to school to generally irritate all of my friends. Later, I figured out if I took the tape and put it in the other deck, recorded its contents onto another blank tape with a drum machine plugged in and going, I could multi-track. After I repeated the process with multiple guitar tracks and a borrowed bass, the line noise had built up so much that you could barely hear the instruments. Plus, it was a one shot deal per recording so I learned to either live with the occasional mistake, or just don’t make mistakes. But I had a recording that not only captured a song idea for later use, but also a small snapshot in the development of my technique.

Monitor Your Progress

Now I’ll shift gears for a second. One thing that I find as I practice is that day to day, I never get better. It’s like a body builder who lifts, looks in the mirror, and sees no change. This can be very discouraging. But one thing that body builders are encouraged to do is have pictures taken of themselves periodically during their development. Over time, the changes are more noticeable. The same is true with playing and developing technique. This is why I highly recommend getting a big red button.

Resources are Everywhere

These days, with a computer in every home and a plethora of affordable recording hardware and software, there is no excuse not to push the big red button every now and then. That is, except for one; nerves. Very few things, save for live performance, can bring sweat to palms like knowing that the button has been pushed and it’s time to do your thing. Just remember this; it’s just you and the button. The button doesn’t judge, it just captures. You be the judge. But you have to put something down to judge.

Mistakes are OK

Also with most systems, along with a big red button comes a big Delete button. There’s no shame in using the big Delete button. You want to capture your best effort at that time, so don’t be afraid to try again and again and again until it’s as good as you can get it. If you can’t get it as good as you want it, step away from the button, work it out, come back, and push the button again.

It Gets Easier

The two things that I’m thankful for after years of using the big red button are, one, that I have something to listen to and say “Wow, I actually have progressed since then!”, or “That’s an area I’m still not happy with, I should focus on that”. The other is that I’ve become proficient and confident enough with the recording process that I can create real projects, make my own CDs inexpensively and on my terms, and help others with their projects.

So like The Chemical Brothers say “Don’t hold back, the time has come to galvanize, push the button”.


www.herculescastro.com  (Home page of our guest writer)

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Amish Guitar October 25, 2008 - 8:03 am

Hello Hurcules! I’m looking forward to your postings as well as Larry’s. -AG

Larry October 25, 2008 - 4:42 pm

Great post Herc!
If you fallow me on Twitter, you know that I’ve been toying around with getting a digital multitrack recorder.
This post helped me make my decision and I just purchased

Time for me to practice what I preach.


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