A guitarist’s perspective on band production

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A guitarist’s perspective on band production

Words by Nick Brown

Recording can be an exciting endeavour

The process of getting your ideas and performances recorded, allowing your creativity to shine and then hopefully ending with a finished product for whatever purpose you intend it for. 

There are however some considerations that should be addressed (and are often overlooked) before getting into recording mode in the actual studio. These hopefully make the process quicker and allow the creative juices to flow without being restricted by technical or process driven issues.

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Having parts already written and/or created and knowing the arrangements and forms of the tunes you’re going to record can be really helpful. Recording can really expose your playing and sometimes things that you think you have down live, might actually not be as clean/articulate/tight/grooving as you think. 

Yes, things might change slightly when you come to record and flashes of creativity might add to or change parts, but having a handle on the harmony and some main parts creates a solid base to work with. 

Furthermore, this might save you some valuable time (and dollars) so you don’t have to sit around trying to nut out the arrangement or actually master your part with the studio clock ticking.

Gear considerations

Make sure your gear is working as it should and that your instruments are set up/intonated/in tune. Perhaps this is a good time to get your amp/s serviced, nothing worse than unwanted noise when you’re trying to track the perfect part. 

While you’re at it – check your pedalboard (patch cables, power, and pedals) for noise. Remember, the studio can really expose any shortcomings in your gear and sound (especially when you hear it back isolated!).  

Tonal considerations

Have some ideas of the sounds you want to use (in terms of your instrument settings, amp settings, and effects). This can be as simple as thinking about which pickup to use and whether parts need to be clean or distorted, through to programming complex patches and presets in advance. 

Furthermore – know how your gear works and how to alter your sound! I know that might sound obvious but do you know what the pickup settings on your guitars actually sound like? Can you coax multiple sounds out of your amps? Do you know how different pedal order can affect your tone? These things can aid in letting the creativity flow (e.g. – not being held back by not getting the sound you’re after when inspiration strikes or not being able to adjust it if a certain sound isn’t quite cutting it during recording). 

The availability and access to ‘studios’ (be they a fully fledged facility or Garage Band on your tablet) is amazing nowadays, and the ability for us to work almost anywhere on a project without time restrictions means you can spend many an hour refining your work. 

With that in mind, not having some basic principles in place can actually stifle creativity and make the process more arduous than it needs to be. Some extra preparation in the first place hopefully irons out some issues, solidifies your ideas and approach and lets you relax knowing your gear and mind is in tip top shape. 

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