View Full Version : First Recording Chance

05-07-2003, 03:34 AM
Oh my god,

I performed at this place (like only 4 songs) and some lady there offered to pay for me and my band to record. Now she said she'd give us like 2 hours ( I think that includes mixing as well) with this guy. I'm so nervous and excited. What do I need to know before I go in there?

05-07-2003, 12:35 PM
So youīve got a chance to record in the studio ?
Hmmm... 2 hours + mix ?!?!? Thatīs not really much. So I guess heīll record you play a few songs live. OK, how to prepare for this:

First of all, make sure you can set up your gear really quickly. Because: if you do a real studio-session, in some cases setup-time is deducted from the rented studio-time.
Earlier this year, Perpetuum Overdose was in the studio for 6 days, and only the setup ( setting up ad micing drums etc. ) took almost a whole day.
So, make sure you can setup and be ready quickly.

You guys definitely should check whether youīre able to play your parts with a click.
You know, 2 hours... I saw a session like that, where the band played like 5 songs, and that whole-band-performance was recorded... no click-track there. Unfortunately, it showed on the album.

The thing is, the biggest problem for people who record the first time in a professional environment ( especially for guitarists ) is
a) playing to a click-track ( make sure you can play all your parts in time with a metronome. Be very critical. The same, of course, goes for all your band-mates. You will definitely benefit from that ! If there is a solo-part or lick that is extremely tough, practise it like crazy, or maybe leave it out or change it... when you record, you might be a bit intimidated by the situation, which can decrease your potential )
b) Playing with a dry sound. A lot of engineers prefer to record the guitar dry. Which means, delay and reverb and stuff like that is usually added later. ( Effects like Wah Wah, and stuff like an important delay that you need to create a line are usually the only effects you can use when you record )
Itīs weird to use that dry sound, especially if you normally use a bunch of effects.

Make sure your guitar stays in tune, check the intonation BEFORE you get into the studio ( check out my "Setting Up" article for advice on that ). Put on new strings, but make sure you play them some. Fresh strings usually generate more harmonics... sounds cool, but theyīll lose those after a while, so itīs tough to recreate that sound after a while )
If there are any noisy parts about your guitar, mute them... usually, the springs of the wang bar can create some weird noises if you play through a loud amp.
Dampen those springs by putting a cloth above them ( open the back cavity, put a cloth onto them, close the cavity ). There are way more tips to that, but weīll leave it at that for now...

The best thing would be to practise by simulating a recording session... get some computer or other recording device into your rehearsal space, and have the band and the single band members play to a click... that way, it will be a bit less intimidating to be thrown into that recording-situation all of a sudden. You ainīt got much time, so you wanna at least be a bit used to what that is like...


05-07-2003, 12:47 PM
Ok, 2 hours (including mixing) is a very short amount of time. 2 hours could be spent just setting up the equipment, not to mention miking it, getting the right sound, etc.

Make sure you and your band know the song you are going to record inside out/backwards/sideways,etc, so that you can record it live (2 hours doesn't give you much time for overdubs). This way, you can do three or four takes, and pick the best one.

05-07-2003, 12:54 PM
Yeah, thatīs what I was hinting at... 2 hours ainīt much... but hey, itīs a chance, so take it ! If that ladyīs paying for it... :)

Just to give you an idea... the band of one of my former students recently booked a studio to record a really good-sounding demo. They had saved up enough money to rent it for 5 days, including an engineer.
Day 1: Setting up drums and the other instruiments, micing, getting a sound, soundcheck.
Day2: More setting-.up. Drumtracks recorded for 3 songs ( 2-3 hours ), first bass tracks recorded
Day3: More bass tracks, rhythm guitars, keyboards
Day4: More keyboards, additional guitar overdubs, guitar-solos, vocals.
Day5: Mixing and Mastering

Each day was about 7-8 hours of working time, and on day 5, the band and the engineer did about 4 hours of overtime to get the mixing and mastering done.

So I guess in your case, itīs gonna be live-recordings of the band, plus maybe an overdub or two.
Maybe you can take those recordings and "build on them", recording some additional parts and overdubs at home or at a separate section to add them...

05-07-2003, 01:23 PM
That's right, but it also depends on what type of music you play, and the type of sound you are after.

The White Stripes recorded and mixed their new album (Elephant) in 10 days, and to me, it sounds killer, and has some great performamces.

On the other hand, a band like Def Leppard spends 10 days getting the right snare sound.

05-08-2003, 01:57 AM
thanks for the replies,

how many songs do you think we'd be able to record (approximately 3-4 minutes per song)?

05-08-2003, 12:26 PM
To be honest, it will be hard for you to even get one song recorded and mixed in that amount of time. However, if you are totaly prepared (re-read Eric's reply), you never know.

I would concentrate on 2 to 3 songs, but to record and mix 3 songs in that amount of time, you are going to need to nail those songs "live", because there won't be much time to overdub. Also, think quality not quantity. Pick your 2 or 3 best songs, and work hard on them.

I would suggest that you and your band mates (if possible), pay for an extra few studio hours on top of the time that person is getting for you.

05-08-2003, 02:06 PM
I suppose I'm not really saying nything new here, but I want to reenforce what everyone else is saying. know your songs so well that everyone was in a different sound-proof room and someone said go you could all play and stay together. My band actually managed to record three songs in 2 hours a few weeks ago. It is possible, but we're usually really tight (not to brag or anything). EricV put up an article at one point that talked about practicing setyup and break-down for gigs. This is also good for studio. It's free studio time, so there will be things you can't help, like if the engineer takes forever EQing you. If you were paying, you could argue, but since you aren't...

Only other thing I can think of is don't get screwed. Most of teh next paragraph can be summed up in one sentence. You don't owe them anything. They offered you this time with no qualifiers, you don't need to do anything. Below are a few things off the top of my head that I've known people to try to pull on bands:

1) Noone looks at the clock, you're there for four hours, you owe 200 bucks for the other two hours. If you're coming up on 2 hours, address it. Only continue if you have the ok without paying them (or if you have the money and want to keep going).

2) Kinda like one. By recording these two hours, you are not obligated to do any more recording with them.

3) Labels. There are small label owners that will pay for some recording time and you, in turn, sign on their label and they get a bit of each CD you sell. It really is a pretty fair trade because they usually market you and stuff, but don't let them say, well, I payed for this, now you have to be on my label.

4) There was a studio up my way accused of adding tracks to songs and then charging royalties on it. If you ask someone to add a track to fill out a song, it is perfectly within their rights to ask for royalties. However, noone has the right to decide to add a track to your song without your consent.

I'm sure there are a million other ways to screw people over. And don't get me wrong, this might just be a friendly gesture figuring if you like the two hours maybe you'll come back when you want to record a CD. Occassionally in theworld, there are actually nice people :). Good luck with recording and have fun.

05-08-2003, 04:53 PM
sorry I don't have any more advice than, good luck! and I wish the best for ya :)

05-10-2003, 02:47 PM
If you really have your stuff together* and use equipment already in place at the studio (Drums, guitar amp, bass amp) You can record about 1-3 minute song in about 2 hours, not including mixing.
Make sure you understand the cost of running over your 2 hour paid for time, and whether or not you are willing to pay for it.

The session would go something like this (set up the drum kit bass amp and guitar amp) 30-45 minutes
Record your song with just instruments 15 minutes.
Record guitar solos/overdubs 15 minutes.
Record vocals 30 minutes.
This leaves only 15 minutes for mixing!

Realistically the mixing process can take days.

Stuff together:
* Everyone knows their part perfectly and can perform it with a click track and without the benefit of hearing the singer sing his lines or the lead player playing his solo.
The singer and lead player need to understand the concept of 'punching in' to replace bad sections of their parts, really the whole band needs to be able to do this (Individually). I mean singing or playing just 1 little piece of the song to replace a bad section, without having to restart from the beginning to get to he bad spot. For instance the recording peaks (Causing unwanted distortion) at a certain spot on the Bass, so the bass player needs to redo 1 bar of the song to correct this. You are on the clock so he needs to be able to play this part from just before the bad spot and 'punch in' to correct the peaks.

05-12-2003, 07:51 PM
Hey, if you cacn, post a message once you've done your recording and let us know how it went

05-13-2003, 02:22 AM
will do...

We're thinking about all pitching in some money to by another hour or 2... not sure though

05-19-2003, 01:51 AM
any news??

05-19-2003, 02:01 AM
we're scheduled to record in about 2 and a half weeks

07-10-2003, 04:04 PM
Hey guys,

We finished recording. We ended up doing 4 hours worth. Anyway... I'm going to post the songs when I figure out how to. Overall I'd say it went pretty well, although there are some mistakes that I can stand listening to.

07-11-2003, 02:56 PM

07-11-2003, 02:59 PM
nevermind... I can't do it... the file sizes are too big. I also can't make an account on mp3.com without paying money b/c my songs have too large bit size. I really don't even know what that means. Does anybody have any idea how I can get this on the internet for you to listen to? The largest one is 6.67 MB.

07-11-2003, 05:54 PM
Re process the MP3 files at a lower bit rate and MP3 will let you host them free.

07-12-2003, 07:04 AM
alright alright


I'm not sure if you'll be able to download them yet, but I uploaded them.

I hope you enjoy, and I'm anxious for criticism.

07-12-2003, 07:14 AM
i realized how long it will take to get approved.

here's the first... Bossa

07-12-2003, 07:14 AM
well crap.... guess I'm going to have to wait

07-12-2003, 04:37 PM
If thatīs your band "Next In Line" your stuff sounds pretty awesome! I really like this kind of pop/punk thing and youīre doing it very professional. Great riffs, very well arranged songs and a great sense for ear-catching melodys plus some good harmony vocals. Just shorten the songs a bit to the 3 min. radio format and you could be the next big thing on MTV!

All the best...

07-12-2003, 05:15 PM
No... that's not me. Too bad though b/c that was an awesome compliment.

I am still waiting for my songs to be "approved" so I will tell you guys when it is okayed

07-13-2003, 03:57 PM
Well congratulations still on your first studio work, i look forward to listening.

07-13-2003, 07:43 PM
Still interested to hear, just to let you know.

07-21-2003, 02:11 AM

It was approved.


Hope you like it. I'm anxious for the criticism.

07-21-2003, 02:40 AM
Didn't much care for the guitar solo part but the rest was nice.

Siggy: Kind of Hypnotic sounding
Was that an ebow?
It must have been difficult playing that long with a delay!

Harmony Song: Kind of hard to hear the vocal on this one
I like the music and the high vocal parts. It kind of sounds like church music when the high vocal parts are happening.
If you had not printed the lyrics I would have thought there weren't any. Just oohs and aahs.

07-21-2003, 04:03 AM
Just listened to Bossa. Awesome! Really cool song that reminds me of something, but I can't figure out what at the moment.

The 2nd solo starts really cool, and it's pretty hot all around. The first solo was ok, but not in the same league as the 2nd:D

I'll try listen to the rest soon. Nice work!

07-21-2003, 04:54 PM
Great stuff snuf! I guess everything I said about the other band goes for you as well.
I really like the last song. Very Coldplayīish, at least to me...Nice music to just dream away.


07-22-2003, 03:55 PM
Thanks for the replies,

Szulc, I had a pedal so that I could control how much delay there was on the spot... so that wasn't really a problem. And yes that was my favorite toy... the ebow.

I'm just curious... would you have rather had the lower vocal parts mixed higher... or what would have made them better in your opinion.

Also what didn't you like about the solos? Just so I can get a better view of what I need to improve.

Bizarro, yeah I like the second solo a lot better. The first one seems stumbling to me, but it was decent.

Thorston, I'm glad you like it. That's my favorite song of them as well. What did you think about the lower vocal parts?

07-22-2003, 04:40 PM
Just listened to the "Harmony Song" again. Itīs really beautiful!
I donīt think itīs so important to actually hear or understand the lyrics. Itīs more the way the vocals compliment to the vibe of the song and I think they do it just beautifuly.
Really consider sending your stuff to some record companys (independent or major). You might be the stuff theyīre looking for and if itīs just that one song.


07-22-2003, 06:29 PM

I don't know the first thing about doing that, but if you might give me some pointers, I'd appreciate it.

07-22-2003, 09:01 PM
I guess I wasn't patient enough and didn't hear the second solo.
I didn't like the first solo for the same reasons you mentioned (It was stumbling and very forced pentatonic sounding, not really fitting the chord changes), the second one was better (I really expect to hear a jazz context solo over this type of piece, this sounded like a rock guitar player trying to solo over jazz changes, in the case of the second solo getting through it). I didn't say I didn't like the vocals or the song I just said the vocals were unintelligible, I personally find it frustrating to listen to someone sing at a level where I cannot understand what they are saying. I would have liked the parts better If they were higher (louder ) in the mix. I did really like the church sounding parts, and the music. The rhythm guitar parts were cool.
I liked the delay stuff (it did remind me a lot of Whiter Shade of Plaid by Blues Saraceno, ever heard it?).

07-23-2003, 10:06 PM

I was hoping you could give me an example of what kind of solo you are talking about. Maybe you could play one... or just give me a song that has chords similar to this one. I agree with you though... listening back to it is sometimes painful and I can understand why you didn't have the patience. But thanks for getting through it.

On the song with the singing... I know many people that feel the same way as you. Is it the level of the singing or just the lack of diction that bothers you more?

I've heard of Blue Saraceno before, but haven't heard that song. Wasn't he some young prodigy?

07-24-2003, 11:04 AM
If you can find any recording by Laurando Almeida (sp) you will find a great deal in the 'Bossa Nova' style, and some cool jazz like solos. I believe I also have some Wes Recordings like this, I'll try to find them and list the tune names.

The singing is just hard to hear and understand, some people dig that, I don't.
I want to understand what is being sung and I would like it better if (the diction and ?) the level were better. It is really hard for me to judge the diction part because it is so low in the mix I really can only just barely hear it, except for the Church sounding parts which I can't really understand but at least I can hear them.

Your echo rhythm bears an uncanny resemblance to 'whiter Shade of plaid ' form the Blues Saraceno Plaid album. The first 4 notes are virtually identical. I was just amused at how long you played with this delay. It is difficult to do this for extended period because the timing is so critical.

07-27-2003, 12:40 AM
Hey that'd be great if you could post the songs names. Thanks.

Has anybody else here listened to the songs? If you listened to the first one... the second two are not like it at all... so give them a try.

08-02-2003, 01:58 AM
Don't want to be a bother James, but any luck in getting the names of those songs?

and I'd appreciate more criticism from other people. www.mp3.com/nextin

08-02-2003, 05:27 AM
Siggy is really good. Nice rhythm work and the drums are killer. The lead parts are cool too. It seems like it has a bit of Satriani vibe to it. I'm putting that tune into my regular winamp playlist!:D You should be proud of this song!!

I only got 34 seconds of the harmony song.... Not sure why that happened. The intro was cool but that's all I heard. The guitar parts seemed a bit rough in spots, like you didn't get a chance to "nail it".

Very impressive overall.

08-02-2003, 02:12 PM
There is an old Stan Getz album (I don't remember the name) with Laurando Almeida playing bossa songs/tunes. The one tune I know is on there is called "The Girl From Ipanema". This is not Almeidas best bossa work but there are other things on the same album that are exceptional. I have not heard this since 1997 and before that 1977 so it is hard for me to give you more specific answers. Try to locate "The girl from Ipanema" by Stan Getz and that should point you to the album name. You might also look for albums by the LA 4 (Laurando Almeida). This stuff is around 40 years old, so it might be hard to find.

08-16-2003, 03:32 AM

thanks for the compliments. On the harmony song the beginning is kind of rough, but for me it sounded good b/c the rest of the song is kind of out there, and that close guitar sounded kind of cool to me (not to mention the lack of recording time). Anyway, if you get a chance try to do it again... thanks.

I love that song. I'll definitely look for the album. Thanks a lot.