by Head Above Music

By Kurt Gunn
Green Bay, WI

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If you are like me you are always trying to get a new gig somewhere. Every Venue pretty much wants the same thing, and the bottom line always comes to your recording. It is very important to have something quality for the potential employer to hear, and not some shitty live recording or basement tape.

Going into the studio is not something you should just throw together over night. It took me over a year to finish my EP, because I was picky and thrifty. Recording comes down to two things, Money, and time. How much time will it take, and how much money for the time. A proper studio will cost you money there is no way around it, and I would be leery of the $20 and hour studio. This is why it is important to find a studio that you are comfortable with. Talk with a few of them, and you’ll know what feels right.

Here are some thoughts for a solo artist using studio musicians. I have been in a studio looking at a clock while a person struggled through take after take. It can be very frustrating and expensive so don’t let it happen to you. You’re buddy may be the best player in the world in a live setting, but have the worst red light syndrome in the world.

What you need to do is find the right people for the job before you step foot in the door. Have your songs down before you step foot in the door. If you have home recording material use it first. Record yourself and the skeleton of the songs, and then hand out those tapes to your performers. Give your guys a week or two, and then get together and see what they have come up with. If you don’t have home recording means go into the studio by yourself and do your guitar, and scratch vocals. Take those tapes and hand them out to your players. Get together for a rehearsal and then fine tune your songs. Now it is time for recording.

Now we are not the Beatles setting in Abby Road for eight months dreaming up Sgt. Peppers so you are going to have to do this in stages.

1. Go in and record the band after you have your songs down. Use scratch vocals at this time.

2. Take the recording home for awhile and sing to it. Find out how you want it to go. Find your trouble spots, and work on them.

3. Go in and record your lead vocals.

4. Take your tapes home, and listen and start thinking about your backing vocals.
Listen to your song over and over, and try different backing vocals parts.

5. Go in and record your backing vocals.

6. Take your tapes home again, and start thinking about your overdubs.
Shaker would sound good here, B3 would be cool in the chorus, ect.

7. Go in and record your overdubs.

8. Take your tapes home again, and start thinking about mix and master.
What is important to you in the songs how do you want them to sound?

9. Set up time to mix and master, and I would be there for this.
This should take the most time of the process.

And now you are done! If you will notice through the list all of the thinking and figuring was done at home, and not in the studio at $100 an hour. Doing it in stages, being prepared, knowing what you want, and using the right players will get you the most out of your money. If you have ever wasted a day in a studio you will never look at a clock the same way again.


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