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Order of instruments for recording?

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Gord, Dec 9, 2006.

  1. Gord


    Jan 10, 2004
    BC, Canada
    Hey guys,
    I'm going to start recording some little demos with my new band, but in which order should the instruments go in? Drums first then bass, or can bass lay down the initial groundwork?
  2. Audiophage


    Jan 9, 2005
    Drums first, bass second, then whatever other rhythm or lead instruments you may have going on. Vocals are usually last.
  3. SBassman


    Jun 8, 2003
    Northeast, US
    Ok, here's a bomb for the discussion: ;)

    Click or drum machine pattern first, then
    drums, bass, guitar, vocals.
  4. Smallmouth_Bass


    Dec 29, 2005
    There are no real rules to what has to go first. It is common for the drums first, then bass but you can both go at the same time if you'd like. Vocals generally go last.
  5. Asomodai


    Jan 21, 2006
    London UK
    I never have met a drummer who works to a click, So i usually have to go first. It all depends on the skills of your drummer.
  6. For band work I generally prefer to record drums and bass at the same time with scratch reference tracks for rhythm instruments and vox. Once the drum trak is down I may or may not recut the bass part, most often punch any mistakes or changes. Then we'll add the other rhythm instruments. Solos and vocals are last. After that we'll start really refinfing things and add other auxilliary sounds like percission, horns or strings and background vocals.
    For my own stuff I'm playing everything along with a drum machine. I do all the instrumental tracks including guitars and keys leaving space for solos and guest soloists. The live drums come last after all the parts are finished including guest soloists.
  7. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    We usually go Drums, Guitars, Bass, then vocals. It can be done any way. the right way is the way that works for your band. I would have a hard time imagining drums not going first, but whatever floats your boat. Anyone who tells you it HAS to be done a certain way is wrong.
  8. keb


    Mar 30, 2004
    Whichever way works!

    In my little solo projects (where it's me playing each instrument), I usually start with guitars recorded to a click, and then drums and then bass and everything else, but then I might go back and re-do some tracks with the "full band" backing me up; more often than not, those first guitar tracks just end up being guide tracks.

    In a full band, I usually like everyone recorded at once to capture the live vibe, and going back and punching in later to fix things if necessary.
  9. chrisp2u


    Aug 15, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    True... no rules. Do what works for you, and or the band.

    This is pretty much what I follow as well. For my solo stuff I'll play keys or guitar to click, or perhaps to a sequenced drup pattern or loop.

    For bands, depending on the amount of isolation desired and available, it's either all at once, or rhythm section then overdubs and vocals.
  10. We've done drummer, then bass, then guitar, then backing vocals, then lead vocals.

    However, what we do now is lay down all the instruments at the same time, it just seems to sound better to us, but each instrument is recorded to seperate tracks, we dont have a problem with bleeding at all really. And then after that add vocals, as we usually like having a few takes at the vocals and its easier on the vocalist because he's also the guitarist
  11. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    I've done it both ways. While it really depends on the drummer, there is a lot of effect that the rest of the band can have on things if they record to a click. Playing drums to a click is a skill, just like double stroke rolls and four limb independence, but if the bass player and rhythm guitar aren't on, it doesn't matter how good the drummer is.

    When I record a band that I'm not in, I generally assume that they are going to play better as a cohesive unit than trying to force a click on them. There are exceptions to this (ie: if they typically play to loops) but it's usually true that there is a certain amount of push/pull that's developed in the songs throughout the months or years that they've been playing together. I want to capture that, because it sounds "real" and because it messes with everyone if they're used to it and it isn't there.

    So I bring the whole band in to my house or wherever they manage to get recording space, mic the heck out of the drums, DI the bass, and then mix everything else down to a single mono channel for a guide track. I always shoot for the best drum take rather than best anything else and we go until all of the drum tracks are solid.

    After all of the drums are okayed (and I never let the drummer okay a track the same day he/she plays it), I have guitarists and bassists back another time, along with keys if they've got them. For this one I put the guitar amps in the same room with a baffle between them and mic the heck out of the amps. I like to put the bass amp in there and mic that up too if there's enough space for it to sound good without a fight for volume, but sometimes there just isn't. The guitarists and bassist record along with the existing drum tracks, and by the end of this I've got two bass tracks: one with DI and the drums, one with a mic'd amp and the guitars. I also have two channels per guitar amp (front and back of the cab), a room mic about 10' in front of the guitar amps for ambience, and DI'd guitar for later reamping. Having these two bass tracks allows for picking the best obviously, but usually the bass player is good enough and the band is tight enough that I can blend the two with some judicious mixing and get as thick a tone as I like.

    After guitars and keys come the violins/horns/woodwinds/harmonica/whatever. I've played in two bands with violinists now and if you take anything from this post, don't *ever* try to do a live recording of a full band with a violinist if he or she has veto power. :)

    By this point I've got enough to do rough instrumental mixes with, and depending on what everyone's schedule looks like we do either vocals or guitar/key overdubs. I try to avoid bass overdubs at this point. If they/I haven't nailed it after two separate sessions worth of recording, they need more help than overdubs can offer.

    When I do it this way, there is enough overlap between the drum and guitar sessions to make it sound "organic" (with the bass player holding it together, naturally) but there is a lot less pressure on the individual members to deliver.

    Some bands don't like doing it this way, and usually these are the ones who can make it sound good even if everyone is doing their parts individually so it's no big deal.

    If you've ever heard Ayreon, that stuff is recorded twice: Arjen Lucassen programs the drum tracks and then lays down all guitar/bass/keys/guide vox, and he records drums along with that finished recording. Then with the acoustic drum tracks he redoes everything. Then he brings in vocalists after all instrumental stuff is finalized. I've wanted to try this method out for a while, but it's kind of an odd setup that really requires a lot of time and a decently outfitted home studio.
  12. -Sam-


    Oct 5, 2005
    Sydney, Australia
    This im glad of because for my band it was
    1st Trombone, keyboard, bass
    2nd trombone, sax
    3rd sax, bass
    4th keyboard
    over dubbing and adding on and stuff
  13. The BurgerMeister

    The BurgerMeister musician.

    Apr 13, 2006
    Big Bear, CA
    we go drums, scratch guitar and/or vocals, bass, real guitar, real vocals.

    the scratch tracks help me keep the tune in mind while i record. rather than just drums, i like having the basics of the harmonies and melodies in there. helps keep me in the right mindset.

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