I have just abandoned recording for the day. The fingers are behaving in a way that can only be described as 'sub-sausage' and the computer won't bounce tracks down properly. I have come to regard fret buzz in the way some people regard a houseful of mice, with a combination of fear and fury.
Part of the problem I'm struggling with is that I am trying to record old songs from way back when I used to play different chords and in a different picking style.
On the surface of it, the way I play now is more difficult, but it has become as natural as breathing and the way I used to... breathe has now become fiendishly un-natural.
I can think my way back to the day that I wrote each song and that helps; but my fingers just aren't playing ball today and nor is the computer, which is probably simply too clogged up with Stuff and needs a spring-clean.
On the good side of things I am now back in voice after being wavery and watery for the whole of February. I also know from experience that if I pick up the guitar and try to do this again tomorrow evening it might be as easy as pie.
Engineering and producing solo has its drawbacks; it's slow, difficult to drop in and tempting to start again from the beginning, and the only person there to make tea is you.
So you drink cold cups of tar that you have left the tea bag in too long.
On the other side it can be deeply therapeutic and semi-meditative as you sink deeply into the sound of whatever you are doing; time floats around you... well timelessly, as you listen into the combination of tones, melody, feeling...
I can also sense that part of today's irritation is my own desire to become a better guitarist.
I hugely admire Martin's ability to grab hold of anything and pour music on it with such a relaxed technical style that his playing looks and sounds so easy; I so wish I had more time to practise guitar, to sing, to write songs.
All these thing occur in snatched moments; when I first picked up my guitar again seven years ago, we had a very slow internet collection and I used to practice chord changes as it creaked and grumbled into life.
That half hour in between dropping the youngest daughter at school and leaving for work helped and a bout of 'flu a couple of years ago meant an enforced practice session of several days.
I would stir the spaghtetti sauce with a guitar slung over my shoulders and thirstily drink in anything I heard at gigs, memorising the sounds of chords and running them over and over again in my head on the tube as I travelled home, replicating them on the guitar when I got in.
It is not a torture, it is a challenge and sometimes it beats me (like today).
Oddly, though, the time I progressed most musically was when, as a bass player, I had two weeks off. When I picked up the bass again, it felt like my best friend and I could play as fluidly as anyone. It was as though the bass had decided to stop torturing me and start co-operating.
It's probably time that i gave my guitar a stern talking-to, I think.