June 30, 2023
Studio time is a precious commodity, even in today’s “everybody has a studio” world. Getting to work in a professional studio is fun, but it’s costly, and you don’t want to waste money by wasting time. So here are a few ways to maximize that time and money.
First and foremost, rehearse. This means more than just rehearsing like you normally would. You should prepare for studio time by rehearsing specifically for that day. That means practicing with a click, practicing in headphones, and practicing studio arrangements – which may be different from live versions.
Try recording yourself as well, even if it’s rudimentary. This will give you a chance to critique playing, reveal weak spots, and get used to hearing yourself (if you haven’t done this before). This is a process traditionally that’s done in the studio, but since we have the technology, you might as well speed things up by doing it ahead of time too.
Oh and while you’re at it, determine your BPMs ahead of time. This can save your engineer a lot of time.
Being well-rehearsed is crucial, but so is planning the session. If you’re an active live band, take notes on which songs are most popular or most requested, pay attention to the flops, and plan a tight agenda for the recording session. You might also want to record brand-new stuff to surprise your fans – just make sure you’ve workshopped the material.
Print out lyrics, make and rehearse any edits ahead of time, and know your plan in and out. Just like on stage, it’s a huge waste of time to have a conversation about what to do next. While you’re at it, if possible, meet with the engineer ahead of time to plan the day. Work out your strategy – are you tracking the entire band at once or building one track at a time? What kind of sound are you looking for? What is your instrument setup? What power requirements will you have?
The more you can prepare the engineer, the less they have to figure out, and the faster you can get to work.
You’ll want to change strings and heads and do all instrument maintenance ahead of time. That may mean doing this a week or two ahead if you prefer things a little more broken in. Bring lyric sheets, tuners, extra strings, extra heads, pedals, power cables, layers (studios can be cold), and snacks.
Two things you can leave home: beer and entourage. Yes, it’s common for studio sessions to be “relaxed” environments, but too much drinking can tank a session fast and hard. Plus, the studio likely won’t allow liquids near equipment. When it comes to your friends and fans, they’re likely to get in the way and distract you. The one exception is you might want a helper that can run out and get stuff and support the band in general ways. Be sure to give this person plenty of love and gratitude - and compensation if possible.
Everyone will need warm-up time, and it’s best to do this before the session time. So, arrive early, load in, and find somewhere to warm up. You may even need to warm up outside before load in or warm up at home. Whatever you have to do to be ready to fly before the clock starts.
Everyone has an opinion in a band, and when they don’t have that, they have conversations. Don’t talk so much! It slows everybody down. If there’s a lounge or hangout area away from the recording room, take advantage of that to chill and talk so you don’t distract whoever’s tracking. When you’re evaluating, try to get to the point and don’t get into inadvertent shouting matches. It may seem trivial, but as it happens, this can be one of the bigger time wasters. At the least, wait until the end of a listen-through to make comments. A notebook helps here.
Studio time is super fun. And super expensive. And super productive, when done right. Just remember to do everything you can do outside the studio and when you get to the studio, only do what can only be done there. Be efficient, have fun, and you’ll get way more done.
September 15, 2023
August 18, 2023
It’s not like the guitar is ever boring. But sometimes you just want to branch out and see what else you can accomplish. This is true if you’re in a noise band or hyper-experimental act, but it’s also true if you’re in a straight-ahead rock band looking to add a few crazy moments to your show or record. So, let’s look at a few advanced effects you can try for that experimental vibe.
July 31, 2023
Sign up to get the latest on sales, new releases and more…
Contact Us 858-751-4884
"Make a joyful noise unto the Lord all of the earth; make a loud noise and rejoice and sing praises. Sing to the Lord with the harp and the voice of the psalm." - Psalm 98:4-5