we've got everything setup, and we're ready to record, we can
begin to track the basic stuff. What we're interested in
doing here are two things. First, to get the basic rhythm
tracks down tight, and second, to make sure that the drummer
gets their part down super-tight. The idea here is to
make sure that we get the basic rhythm section tracks, with a
solid drum track. (The pressure's on drummers!)
The drum tracks are important at this point because it's very
difficult to "punch in" drum screwups. Once we
have the drums down good, we can worry about fixing the other
goofs if any.
We'll work hard on getting your
sound that you like, but sometimes, to reproduce it in the
studio may require a vastly different setup than you are used
to . Your stage rig might not work in the studio.
We have several options to get sound you are looking
for. Don't panic if we suggest that you run thru our
Sans-Amp or directly to the board. We will work with you
to get the sound that you want, and the sound that will work
best. We'll make suggestions, but don't take it as
When we're ready to record, we
will tell you that the tape is rolling. At this point,
you should be as quiet as possible. Don't move around,
don't goof off, and do everything possible to not make a
sound. We will then signal you that we are ready to have
you start playing the tune. We recommend an 8-count
start-off before each song, done by the drummer.
Remember to be as quiet as possible during the
count-off. Don't worry about the "clicks" he
makes with his stick while counting the song off, we can kill
that at Mix-down or Mastering sessions.
Right now we're wanting to get
the basic tracks down. Go ahead and take a lead break if
you want, or we can overdub that in later. We'll also
usually have you sing a "scratch" vocal, just so
everyone knows where they are in the song, and to help with
timing. We'll worry about the "real" vocals
At the end of the song, let the
notes fade out completely. While they are fading out,
you still need to remain as quiet as possible. You can
use your volume knobs to fade out, or we'll worry about that
at mix-down. We will let the tape roll for about 5
seconds after the last note dies completely before stopping
the tape. You should remain quiet until we tell you that
the tape has stopped rolling. Now you can breathe.
If you make a mistake, play a
wrong note, don't panic. As long as the drums are good,
we can usually punch in just about anywhere to fix
mistakes. Even if you have to play your entire part over
again, we can do so without having to record everyone else.
Mistakes happen, so don't lose
your cool. If we hear a disastrous mistake that the
whole band made, we'll bring it up for discussion.
The other thing about mistakes, is sometimes they work.
You'd be amazed at how many incredible recordings are out
there with "mistakes" that sounded extremely
Perfection is impossible.
So don't expect it. Though you are looking to get the
best performance possible, realize that you can nit-pick
everything to death. Your going for the overall best
performance of the track, the one that has the energy and the
life. For example, you may play a song that really rocked
and it felt great. But then you realize that the
drummer missed a cymbal here, or that the bass player rushed
the chorus change. Sometimes these are acceptable
because the song just has so much energy. You can also
play the same exact song with no mistakes whatsoever and not
have the energy. Remember, you're going for the overall
best performance with the energy and attitude you had
originally designed for it. If that "killer
track" really rocks, but has a slip up in it, it may be
worth keeping anyway. And usually, you'd have to point
out the little "oopsies" to the casual listener
anyway. Be objective.
Once we've got the basic tracks
covered for all the tunes, and everyone is happy with them...
we'll move on to overdubs.