Recording Studio Session Tips
Following these rough guidelines will assist you in making the most of your time in the recording studio and help you obtain the best possible results for your money.
1. Have a clear vision of the arrangement, instrumentation, tempo etc for each song and how you want things to sound - guitar tones, any effects, where you want backing vocals, overdubs etc
2. Ensure that all songs are fully prepared and well rehearsed with each band member knowing all their parts and any harmonies, solos etc.
3. Try to ensure that the vocalist has all the lyrics memorized as this will often result in them delivering a far better performance. If it is necessary that the lyrics are written down then I suggest that these are generated in large print with a word processor as opposed to being hand written.
4. Make sure that all guitars have new strings 2-3 days before the recording session and that the strings are ‘played in’. Also ensure that the intonation of the guitars is correct.
6. For drummers that would prefer to use their own kit instead of the in-house studio drums please note that for most recording situations there should ideally be a hole in the front skin of the bass drum (approximately 6-8 inches in diameter) so that a microphone can easily be placed inside.
7. Make sure the drums skins are in good condition and that the drums are tuned the night before the studio recording session. They may require a further tweak when at the studio but this won’t take as long as a full tune.
8. Check the drum kit for squeaky pedals, stands, stools etc. Apply a product such as WD40 where necessary.
9. Bring spare guitar strings, plectrums, drum sticks, batteries for FX pedals, leads etc where applicable.
10. Bring to the recording session (or ideally email in advance) a few songs of a similar musical style to give the engineer a starting point and an idea of the sound that you are trying to attain.
11. Don’t try to do too much. Most demos are 2-4 songs and it is far better to get 2 ‘spot on’ rather than 8 songs that just aren’t quite right!
12. Don’t be tempted to record that song that was written the day before. I appreciate how new material can be fresh and exciting but I have also lost count of the many wasted hours spent in recording sessions while the band work out their ‘new’ material rather than actually recording.
13. During the recording session, make sure that you can clearly hear everything you need to in the headphones. If you can’t, then please bring this to the attention of the studio engineer.
14. Avoid bringing anyone other that the band members to the recording session. Bringing additional friends and family members will often cause distractions for both the performers and the engineer and ultimately hinder progress.