Going Into The Studio 1st Time Advice?
I am going into the studio to add bass to tracks recorded prior by keys, guitar and 2 vocalists. I know the music. Never did anything like this outside of hobby recording. I'll have chord charts to follow.
What tips, advice, warnings etc can the experienced give a newbie regarding recording? I want to make it good while limiting costs.
This is for my folk trio.
One word of advice I hear from every recording guy I've ever talked to: Play lightly.
If you can, work out your parts in advance and know them so well you can't mess up. When you get to the studio, relax and enjoy. Play the way you play. If you need to change anything the engineer will let you know.
Thanks! Playing lightly is a great tip. I'll be getting the tracks 2 days in advance so I'll be able tp preview the songs and work out rough spots(praying). Excited and nervous.
The only thing I'd add is trust your engineer and follow their advice, and don't be too proud to ask questions if you have them. That's what the engineer is there for so take advantage of it if you need to.
Other than that, relax off in to it and don't forget to have fun. I've been lucky enough to do the pro recording thing a few times and it is a very cool experience.
Be prepared, play clean... make sure you practice your parts with no clams...the recording process magnifies clams ALOT!!!...fret noise, accidental harmonics etc....don't get frustrated if the engineer /band leader /production manager etc. asks you do it again.... Relax and enjoy...this will be a huge learning experience.
Remember the clock is running, but don't let it dominate you. You'll be nervous, but try to enjoy it. Play like you're rehearsing, and don't worry if you screw up. In fact, if you can, keep playing; you can go back and overdub any bad spots later. It won't be until after you're done that you'll realize just how much fun it is. With any luck, you'll be hooked.
I'm a bassist AND a studio guy that always works behind the console.
Some tips if you want to achieve the best recorded result:
play with a soft-medium touch AND try to be disciplined and consistent during your playing.
In a live setting tone and dynamics are great, and many times the bass sounds just plain awesome if kicked with some energy, but in the studio things are often the exact opposite.
The soundguy needs to even out things and the bass is probably the most difficult instrument in this regard (maybe piano also).
The bass, even the best one in the world, usually produces notes with different power (dynamics), lower notes sometimes are louder than others because contain more "energy". This is a nightmare for the guy behind the desk.
Bass is almost always hardly compressed in post production, but sometimes it is possible to use a minimum amount of sound processing, and this is possible when: 1) the player is a skilled and disciplined instrumentalist (not a professional...), and 2) the bass is good and properly setted.
regarding point two...unless you want an intentional and particular tone (i.e: worn out flats etc), it's always a good move to change strings at least some days before going into the studio and leave things settle and warm up a bit. Keep an eye on bass setup, in order to have a bass that produces even tones across the strings and notes.
If not intentionally desired, use a bright tone when recording. If your bass produces some natural high-end, use it. You can always darken your tone after having recorded the parts. When mixing, it's always better to cut than to boost, especially in the high frequencies. Boosting highs could bring up noise, hum and so on, cutting reduces it.
If this is your first time in the pro-level studio situation, listen to the sound guy and try to follow some advices. Sometimes the soundguy is a complete lemon, others can be your best friend...
Wow! Thanks everybody. All really good tips and advice. My bass was just set up. Thats good. This is a huge step for me. You have all helped immensely, ease the tension and teach me do's and dont's. Thank you.
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