Pre roll?

I’m running windows 7, using Audacity version 2.1.2 and obtained from a zip. Is there really no pre-roll? Like if I wanted to start a recording at a designated time on the same track with a 5-10 second head start. If there is none, what is the best way to rerecord parts? I tried recording on new tracks then pasting on the original track but what a pain in the ass that is.

Click on the track the required number of seconds before you want to start recording, then click the record button (shortcut “R”).
Audacity will then start recording on a new track from the time that you clicked.

Then don’t do that. Audacity is a multi-track audio editor - there is no need to copy and paste onto one track. When you export, the tracks will be mixed down into a single file.

My intention is to record three guitars. So yes, I plan to use multiple tracks I just wondered if there was some way to rerecord over the same track for each individual guitar instead of recording the same guitar on multiple tracks just to get a good take.

The technique of “pre-roll and punch” comes from the days of tape based machines, where, due to the limitations of the medium, there were only two ways to accomplish the task: either pre-roll and punch, or append, then edit with a razor blade. Pre-roll and punch was a lot quicker and easier to do that append then edit with a razor blade, but had the major disadvantage that if you didn’t get the new take exactly right you could damage the end of the previous take (and no possibility of an “undo” button). The problem is even worse when punching in and out of an existing track, where it can be extremely difficult to record the punch-in section so that it “lines up” correctly at both ends with previous take.

Then came digital multi-track recording which revolutionised audio editing (and the same for video). No longer were we tied to “linear editing”. Now we can record a “drop-in” onto a new track at any time, and if it does not match up exactly with the punch in/out points, then we can adjust the drop-in points so that it fits exactly. Even more, we can use crossfades across the joins to make them absolutely seamless.

So, how to work with a three guitar piece: I presume that you will be playing all of the guitar parts (overdubbing) ?
One of the most common ways of working is to record the first part, from start to end, in one take. If you make a mistake, keep going (it can be fixed later). The advantage of doing this is that enable you to maintain a natural flow and feel throughout the song. Then go through and mark the places where things need to be “repaired” (Ctrl + M during playback will add a label, then “Enter” to close the label). Then go through and fix all of the problems. When you’re happy that the first guitar part is just right, save a backup copy of the project at this point (“File > Save As” and give it a unique name), then mix down all of the parts into one track (“Tracks > Mix and Render”). Now you can start on the second guitar part. You will end up with 3 perfect tracks, one for each guitar part, and will then mix those three tracks into the final mix.

Makes a lot of sense. Thank you for being courteous and patient with me. I’ll give it a try!