You might get a kick out of this.

Tad, one of my subscribers, has a problem a lot of us deal with:

I love your posts and emails. Thank you.

Recently I recorded an artist playing acoustic guitar, and he wanted to use a click track. I had two large diaphragm condensers in an XY pattern at the twelfth fret.

My problem was that even though the player had over-the-ear closed-back headphones on and the click level was minimal, the mics picked up the click and you could hear it when the guitar would ring out and hold a chord.

Have you ever encountered this problem?

Yes. Yes I have.

In fact, click bleed was the bane of my existence when I first got into recording seriously.

I would record this beautiful, life-changing acoustic guitar track. Then while mixing and listening to the final chord of the song, I would hear it.

“Tick…tick…tick…”

As the guitar would hold out the final chord, the sound of the click track in the headphones would get picked up by the mic(s).

I would try everything to fix it, like using the pencil tool to actually remove the ticks from the audio file. Nothing worked.

Finally I had a revelation.

Rather than trying to remove the click bleed from the recording, I needed a way to prevent the click bleed entirely.

My solution?

Automation.

Since I was recording by myself in my studio, I couldn’t reach over and turn down the click track in the middle of a take. Automation, on the other hand, COULD do it.

So, before hitting record, I write in some automation on the click track. This automation turns the volume of the click track DOWN just before that final chord of the song.

Or sometimes I’ll use mute automation to have the click track mute just before the final chord.

This allows me to play along to the click for then entire song. Then, when it’s time to let that final chord ring out, the click disappears from my headphones — automagically — and I can let that chord ring out for as long as I want.

No more click bleed.

By the way, this works no matter what instrument you’re recording — vocals, accordion, nose flute — take your pick. 🙂

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