"Don't polish the Turd" Myth

This is something I have been wondering for quite some time now, the “don’t polish the turd myth”…

As a person who picks up pieces of garbage and things that look
abandoned to make them into a family of similar pieces to become
something beautiful, I have never really agreed with this way of
thinking but maybe theres something important im missing (which is why
im posting this thread). Anyway, I always find myself looking at parts
that I didn’t mean to record, usually subby bumps and clicks and slides and using those and it makes me think, why not polish a turd when you can just layer different parts of the waveform
(transients, body’s, tail’s, etc) and process them individually to
add/subtract attractive/unattractive frequencies? Is this type of
mentality based on getting things finished in a hurry and that’s why
it’s better not to spend too much time on these kinds of things?

What do you think?

Thank you


I think that no amount of fixing a shit idea will stop it from being a shit idea.

1 BigUp

I believe this would be, re-arranging the turd.

Didn’t you see that episode of Mythbusters? They polished some turds for a few hours
and they became shiny like chrome.


Yeah they did this lol

Thing is you can make a turd look as shiny as you like, but at the end of the day it’s still a turd

Yeah that’s the thing. It is not really a myth anyway.

You could apply it to an audio context in a different way though. I was mixing these bands
2 months back and I just couldn’t for the life of me get this one 5 piece group to sound
decent together. Tweaking compressors and eqing throughout the first two songs, but nothing worked. Then the next band came on, I reset the console and they almost instantly sounded

I guess the point is that you always have limited resources.

I agree. Sometimes turds sound cool


Shit is in the eye of the beholder.

1 BigUp


1 BigUp

I put it there.

1 BigUp

How cheeky of you

gr8 analysis


I think it’s annoying that you cross post every little thread you come up with on like every goddamn music forum that exists.

But junk is not a turd. Turd is a turd. A bird is a bird. The bird is the word.

1 BigUp

LOL. Let’s rename this the Poop Semantics thread and then lock it.

But srsly, this is the problem with using metaphor/simile/analogy - or in semiotics, the classic “the map is not the territory” debate.

In this case, OP sees the turd as just being another piece of material one might use to fashion things, while the original phrase was using “turd” as stand-in for any and everything inherently sub-par, mediocre, unspectacular, incapable of ever being noteworthy.

I like the OP’s attitude - great art is great art no matter what it’s made from - but would suggest refraining from using abstractions as departure points for discussions about anything as subjective as what makes music good. It’s like trying to build a stable structure out of ice cream on top of gelatin in a hot room… (see what I did there? :badteeth: )

1 BigUp

inb4 ISIS builds the caliphate here.

Isnt it “You can’t polish a turd” not “don’t polish a turd”?

I feel like this is more in regards to mastering a finished product, although I guess it applies to bad recordings too.

It just means you should make the content as good as possible before you start trying to master it. It just makes it easier in the long run

1 BigUp

you cant polish a turd, but you can roll it in glitter

1 BigUp

How would one explain how say _ ____ _ got make up on if this is impossible?