This is my first time ever using this site-- But I'm in desperate need for advice. Essentially, I decided to YouTube videos each week to help me stay motivated an practice-- One of the biggest, and most important things I have an issue with is timing/tempo. My boyfriend listened to me practice, I showed him the song I was going to record-- He said I had 0 problem with my tempo, via practicing and performing it for him... But when I hit the record button, I listened and oh my god my tempo. My boyfriend pointed it out aswell, on how vastly different it is compared to my practiced version. Essentially I've suffered with performance anxiety since I was young, and over the years I've slowly gotten better -- I no longer shake, I know my lyrics ... I can play live guitar, but suddenly when it comes down to it I have bad anxiety and I just can't do it. Has anyone ever had this? Like, logically I know -- it's just a recording, so I can just delete it if I don't like it... But. . . It happens, And I sound like crap. Some great advice to over come this would be beautiful.

  • 1
    Are you saying you have a problem speeding up and slowing down? Or just with chord changes and skipping beats? Commented Mar 6, 2018 at 1:29
  • Are you recording along with a backing track, or totally separately?
    – Tim
    Commented Mar 6, 2018 at 8:26
  • This answer has quite good tips about this and helped me a lot
    – king_nak
    Commented Mar 6, 2018 at 14:44
  • Thank you everyone for responding ! It's truly appreciated- and I've taken a lot of advice to heart.
    – Vaughan
    Commented Mar 6, 2018 at 23:17
  • I tried to sing along a backing track, cause I'm just getting back into singing--- but, I learned how to sing from firstly playing guitar, So sometimes it feels awkward with back tracks cause I'm not entirely used to it.
    – Vaughan
    Commented Mar 6, 2018 at 23:19

3 Answers 3


For some people, getting past stage fright when performing live does not automatically free one from anxiety when recording. I am one of these people, and it appears you are, too. I had to get past stage fright when recording separately from getting past it while performing live. As with performing live, doing it a lot is going to be the key.

Do you recall how it took many live performances before you were able to perform without stage fright making you shake and play poorly? You may need to also make many recordings in able to get past anxiety when recording. But you probably won't need as long as you did when learning to perform live, so don't fret.

Turn on the audio or video recorder. Start playing, and just let the recorder run. Make a take of your song. Be sure to play it through to the end, no matter what happens, just like you would if performing live. Now play it again. And again. Keep the recording running. After enough playing with the recorder running, the anxiety will ease. It may take more than one recording session, but eventually your anxiety will ease just as it did when you were learning to play live.

Just as when learning to play live, doing it repeatedly is the key to getting past performance anxiety when recording.

  • 1
    Thank you Wayne! Honestly it's so nice to see somebody who had the same thing as me. I'll for sure try your advice and try recording everyday. Honestly it's so frustrating, because I know i can do better-- but the anxiety just scoops me up. I'll keep you updated on how your advice helps me progress--- really thank you. ><
    – Vaughan
    Commented Mar 6, 2018 at 6:45

You're not alone! Feeling stressed while recording and not playing as good after you hit that red button - it's quite common. Once I hit record, all of a sudden I feel like it's not just me in the room, and some imaginary audience joins in. I suggest a few things: 1. Exposure - record yourself when you can, even just practicing scales with the metronome. If it's really stressful, limit yourself to 2 minutes today, 3 minutes tomorrow and 4 minutes the day after. Just try and make sure you do it every day. 2. Read more - tons of people have this issue (more people have it than those who don't), check out this Google search: "stress while recording guitar". You'll also find at least two good posts from this site. 3. Practice what you want to record: I'm sure you did, and that you are working hard. And yet - there's a chance that you need to find that next notch, and really MASTER what you want to record. You want to be able to play it a few times consecutively with zero mistakes before recording//performing - some say the magic number ia 3 and some say 20. Find yours!

If you tackle this issue daily, it'll be behind you soon enough! You can do it!


Maybe record the song in small chunks? Also, not sure what type of recording equipment you use. If it has automatic timing correction-quantizing- make sure you shut that off.I have this problem when I record drum parts with the recorder "correcting" my timing by default when I forget to tell it not to.

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