All. I'm a new (acoustic) guitarist trying to get some good practice habits into my day. I've heard that it's a good practice habit to start recording oneself, which I'd like to do, but less awkwardly than I do now.

looking for a 'gear' solution if anyone has one. Ideally I'd love to click a pedal, play an arbitarily long snippet of music, click the pedal again and play it back at reasonably high quality (and not through the tinny speakers that usually come w/ a dictaphone-style digital recorder).

That possible? Anybody have an easy solution? (I thought about a loop pedal, but that seemed more designed for saving, well, loops of little bursts of music).

Any suggestions for a n00b?

  • 1
    Gear recommendations are off topic here, so if that's what you're looking for you'll have to go elsewhere. Don't underestimate the value of a smart phone for this kind of thing. I understand wanting the pedal for start/stop, but having something totally in your pocket is going to be better than a complicated setup that you have make sure is on and working before you start playing. Commented Jan 3, 2018 at 17:08
  • Been a fan of minidiscs for many years. Excellent quality, inexpensive - last couple I bought were £5 each, discs readily available, 5.5 hrs recording per disc, easily edited, just need a mic, away you go. Still used for gigs and the occasional rehearsal. What's not to like. Heed Todd's warning.
    – Tim
    Commented Jan 3, 2018 at 17:24
  • You say it's acoustic. Does it have a pickup or anything that can send electric signal? If not, you'll need something with built-in mics, or get a mic and interface.
    – user42882
    Commented Jan 9, 2018 at 19:15
  • Yeah - the gear issue was more about how best to control recording and playing to avoid having to put the guitar down, click a button, repeat... but enough folks have said 'spend less time screwing around w/ that and more time practicing' seemed like good advice. But thank you.
    – Eric Flatt
    Commented Jan 11, 2018 at 21:40

1 Answer 1


I think you should pick which task you're trying to do.

  1. Improve your playing


  1. Learn to record it well.

Let's assume the goal is [& right now I think it ought to be] 1.

So, that reduces your options to something that's little more than a single button-press & you can probably carry in your pocket.

I see nothing wrong with either of the solutions mentioned in comments

  • a smartphone [everybody's already got one of those & basic record/playback software is either inbuilt or a free addition].

  • a dedicated portable recorder with built-in mic.

The advantages of either of these is if you really want to hear in higher quality, you can export your recordings to your computer or playback through your hifi etc with little extra effort.

I think what you don't want to be doing right now is simultaneously learning how to be a sound engineer.

  • For sure the goal is to improve my playing. My problem has been that my phone/dictaphone requires - 'reach over, press the button', 'reach over press the play button' and I had it in my head it could be much easier than that (not requiring essentially putting down the guitar to interact with the snippet I just played). But I'm seeing lots of advice to the contrary on this post - 'keep it simple' - which is helpful of course to hear, as I don't want to overcomplicate this. i just had a much simpler workflow in my head. Thanks as ever (everyone) for the responses.
    – Eric Flatt
    Commented Jan 3, 2018 at 17:35
  • I think you'll find, as you get deeper into recording, that "reach over, press the button" is actually about as simple as it gets. The 'spare tape'/'dead air' you get at the beginning & end is a simple edit away. You might find a footswitch solution somewhere; you can build in that kind of functionality on a DAW in a few minutes - but you are complicating what needs to be a very simple task... press record... play guitar. Worry about becoming a sound engineer much much later.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jan 3, 2018 at 17:39
  • 4
    @EricFlatt Personally I haven't found it helpful to my playing to record snippets and play them back immediately. I have found it helpful to record entire pieces or practice sessions and play them back later. I find listening to the previous practice not long before the next practice is most helpful. It reminds me of where I was last time and shows me what I need to work on that I didn't notice when I was focused on playing. Commented Jan 3, 2018 at 18:57
  • @ToddWilcox that's useful, thank you. i had envisioned more iterative 'play this bit, you're pounding too hard w/ your thumb, play it again' (I'm mostly working on fingerpicking right now and find the tone uneven). But sounds like that isn't the way the world works - rather a more categorical understanding of 'how I played before' might get me to focus more broadly each session. I'll give that a spin.
    – Eric Flatt
    Commented Jan 3, 2018 at 20:51

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