By Jeff Strong

Replacing a bad note is one editing procedure that is used frequently. Here’s an example: A few weeks ago, a musician played the drum part of a new song for the band he is currently recording with. When he listened to the part after finishing recording, it sounded fine.

But when he listened to it again a week later, one snare drum hit in which sticks out in the mix like the proverbial sore thumb. He could have just punched in a new snare drum note, but he had already put away the mics, and there’s no way they could have been tuned and set up identically the original way.

With a digital system that allows the user to make minute edits (just try slicing a single snare drum note out of an analog tape). Hopefully, you won’t have to do this procedure, but if you do, follow these steps:

  1. Copy the track that you want to fix.

    This way, you can reference the original track.

  2. Place the copy on a track or virtual track that allows you to hear both the original and the copy at the same time.

  3. Listen for a snare drum hit that you especially like and select.

  4. Make a copy of the selection.

  5. Find and mark the bad note.

  6. Place the copy of the good note right where the bad note is.

    The procedure for this varies depending on your system.

    Make sure that the Insert function is turned off. Otherwise, you add an extra note and move the bad note over, along with the rest of the music from that track.

  7. After you have the good note in the place of the bad one, turn up the volume of both versions of your track and listen to them again.

    You should hear an exact copy of the track, except for that one note. Listen carefully at the place of the replaced note for any timing problems. The two tracks should match perfectly. If they don’t, just use the Undo function and try again. Also, check the rest of the song after that note to make sure that you didn’t accidentally insert the note rather than replace it.

If your system doesn’t allow you to make such a fine edit or if you can’t successfully select a single note, you can replace a whole measure instead of just the single note. Just follow the same steps and use a larger phrase instead of the one note.