Removing Mistakes and Merging

Hi Everyone. I am using 2.1.2 on Window 10 and have been using Audacity to record some guitar pieces I am learning. I’m sure what I am trying to is covered somewhere but I must not know the correct terms for finding them in a search. I am having one problem and need help with how to do one task.

I am using a Les Paul Studio through a Zoom G3 connected to my PC via USB and ASIO Drivers. The recording works well but I hear a lot of popping an artifact noises. Not sure if it’s mechanical and coming through the pickups or something else. Would prefer to figure out how to have it not appear or be able to clean it up afterwards. Any help?

Second is the subject of my post. My method is to simply record what I’m playing from start to end. When I make a mistake, I stop, mute the strings and replay the part. When done, I go back through it and find my mistakes and have been listening by ear to cut out the mistake and try to merge the sections together to get a seamless sound as if no mistake existed. I can get them close but just doing it by ear, there is always a slight misalignment that is detectable when listening back. I’m thinking there has to be a way to detect where the sound is the same or almost the same to merge/overlay them. Any tutorials or instructions how to do this?

Thank You!

Please post an audio sample.

By the way Audacity as shipped does not support ASIO. Any device that is ASIO only won’t be seen by Audacity.

So you have lots of retake Audacity tracks stacked on top of each other?

Audacity doesn’t do the alignment for you or hard snap where it guesses you want to align. However you could add a label where you cut then you will see a yellow vertical line when the edge of a dragged a clip exactly abuts the label edge.

Have you tried zooming in? If your mouse has a scroll wheel you can hold CTRL and move the scroll wheel upwards to zoom in at the mouse pointer, and CTRL + scroll wheel down to zoom out again at the pointer when you are done aligning.

Perhaps it would help to retake from further before your mistake, starting from a natural break in the piece?

Or you can stop, drag select backwards, delete, then hold SHIFT and click Record. This will append your retake in the same track to the remaining audio before your mistake.

Others who do retakes a lot may give you their personal steps. There are many slightly different ways of doing the same thing.


Thank you Gale! I uploaded a sample. It appears to happen everytime I hit the low E String. I finger pick so I’m hitting it with the pad of my thumb.

By not support ASIO, do you mean it’s not supposed to work or may have unpredictable results? I connect my Zoom G3 to the PC by a USB cable and when i started Audacity, it showed my RealTeck Drivers. In the Dropdown I saw my Zoom ASIO drivers and changed to them which then allowed it to pick up the sound.

So not stacked as in different tracks but just continuous in a single long recorded track. I think you meant that anyway but just checking. Yes, I do zoom to visually get close and then I just keep trimming away and joining slowly until it sounds ok but hard to get it perfect this way. The label may help. Hopefully there are other methods someone can share.

Thank You for your help!

There is no attachment in your post. The file can’t be larger than 2 MB.

Your version of Audacity only has ASIO support if you can see an “ASIO” option in the first “Audio Host” box in Device Toolbar.

Even if the “Zoom ASIO” recording device says ASIO, it may be fine in Audacity without ASIO support if the drivers of the “Zoom ASIO” device also include a fallback to standard non-ASIO drivers. If the drivers are only ASIO then it won’t work properly in Audacity built without ASIO support.

If you are in doubt then see if it will record (or record better) with the ASIO drivers uninstalled. Also have you installed the G3 firmware? You should install that.

I assumed when you referred to misalignment that you were recording retakes on separate tracks and using Time Shift Tool (F5) to drag the retake clips into alignment.

If you only have one recorded track then are you already using Append Record (hold SHIFT + click Record)? There should be no alignment problem or re-alignment needed with that method as long as you choose an appropriate section to delete that lets you restart recording at a natural break in the piece.

If you are not append-recording then I don’t know what exactly you mean by trim and join. Are you cutting retakes that you made on separate Audacity tracks and pasting those into a master track for your finished recording? That probably isn’t the best way to do it especially if you are recording in stereo, because it can lead to clicks at the joins. Perhaps if you describe your exact workflow in detail, step by step, we can suggest an improvement.


Yes, the file was too big so have it the right size now. For some strange reason, the clicks on the base string have become almost gone now. I even opened the original project and I can’t here them any longer. Anyway the clip I included is an example of my poor ability to edit mistakes out as you can hear the obvious click and miss of the song.

So, I am a complete noob and using Audacity is my first attempt at using any software to try and do what I’m doing so I’m sure there is a much better way. Step by step what I’m doing.

  1. I add a single track for guitar and that is all I am recording.
  2. I start the recording and begin playing. When I make a mistake, I stop, pause and then replay the part. I never stop the recording and just keep doing this until I have finished the song and then I stop recording.
  3. I now have one continuous track that if I listened to would be an exact replay of what I just did with all the mistakes.
  4. I go to a place in the track where it is flat that represents the silence where I stopped playing after the mistake and before I replayed the part.
  5. I highlight the silent area by dragging the mouse to select the silence leaving just a slight bit after I stop and before I start and then I hit delete which removes the silent piece and collapses the track together to where I have a very small piece of the quiet track left in between so I can zoom in.
  6. Now I listen to it played and and I continue to select pieces of the track a small section at a time and deleting it until the parts come together as if they are continuous. I can get it pretty close at times but still get an audible click and it’s not perfect so noticeable as you can hear in the sample.

That is why I was asking as I’m sure this tool has much better ways than the primitive method I am using and hoping there is a tutorial or video that demonstrates it. Hopefully, the laughter has stopped now :slight_smile:

Thanks again for all the help!

There is no video because we don’t make them, due to the need to remake them as soon as some salient feature in the video changes.

You could use Append Record as I already described. Press the Stop button in Audacity when you make a mistake, drag a selection back to a natural break in the piece, delete the selection, then SHIFT-click the Record button to start recording again at the end of the track. The main problem with this is that you don’t hear a live play-in of the preceding part when you record the retake.

So some of us might press Stop in Audacity, delete the mistake, then with Transport > Overdub on, Record without SHIFT-click. This creates a new Audacity track for the retake and lets you hear playback of the original recording, from wherever the editing cursor is. Then use Time Shift Tool (F5) to slide the retake clip into exact place so that the timing is just right.

It is perfectly fine to record in one go, with the stops for retakes included in the recording, then delete selections. But any method that involves deleting sections can result in a click at the deletion point. If it is a mono recording, use Edit > Find Zero Crossings before deleting (or press Z on your keyboard). This places the selection edges so that the audio sample at each edge is at zero amplitude. This should avoid the click.

It is not so easy if you are recording in stereo - are you? If you are, the problem with Find Zero Crossings is that it may only set one edge at the zero crossing point, because the zero crossing point may be at a different place in left and right channel. If so, you can use the Repair effect to remove the click, apply a short linear fade-in to the click, or Edit > Duplicate the selection to a new track underneath, then crossfade the joins so they sound seamless. See this FAQ for details:

Pros would crossfade the joins too when using the method to record the retakes on a new track and slide the retake into exact position.


You are recording at too low a level, which will bring the surface noise up too much. Increase the recording level in Audacity so that the peaks of the waveform reach 0.5 and -0.5 on the vertical scale to left of the blue waves.


Thank you so much! I will definitely give this a try.