Some free advice for anyone wanting to record

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Thinking of recording yourself? Read this first.

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Come practised

Work through your arrangements and know them backwards before recording (you're paying for each minute!).

Bring spares

Bring along replacement reeds, strings, heads, batteries (for effects pedals), fuses and anything else that may expire during the session.

For pianists

  • I strongly recommend tuning the piano immediately before recording.
  • A good tuner can pick the felt, replace strings and voice the piano for an even touch.

For guitarists

  • Tuning is essential! Find out how to tune your guitar properly (an electronic tuner may help immensely).
  • I recommend changing the strings before recording (maybe break them in for a day or two so that they don't go out of tune too quickly).
  • Drop tuning is often used to create a heavier sound.
  • Bring along your best sounding, quietest amplifier, if you're playing electric. Smaller amplifiers produce distortion more easily, and are easier to record without leakage problems between microphones. It's easy to make any amplifier sound as big as necessary in the mix. Tone quality is far more important than volume when recording.
  • Eliminate any rattles in your amplifier/speaker cabinet using duct tape (don't use tape on cones!).

For drummers

  • Change the heads before recording (Evans heads are popular, but use whatever sounds good).
  • Tune the kit! A poorly tuned kit records very badly.
  • Oil chains and other moving parts (to eliminate squeaks). Use duct tape on hardware (other than heads or cymbals!) that is rattling but shouldn't be.
  • Use Moongel to tighten up any drums that are ringing too much.
  • Kick (bass) drums are generally recorded with the front (audience) head removed or ported.