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Preparations – getting ready for a studio

A lot has been written about this, a lot has been discussed...

Yes, but I still dare to give you a few pieces of advice, and you can take it as results of experience gathered here, in the studio.

  • First advice: Tough drill on the training ground makes it easier on the battle field

You should have your material well rehearsed. In the studio you may feel unfocused or even something along the lines of a stage-fright.. The more repeating and over-focusing on a difficult part, and the more editing is necessary, the more the live feeling and overall drive is disappearing. So leave your uneasiness at home. Lock it up somewhere. 120% in the rehearsal room = 100% in the studio.

  • Second advice: technical status of the instruments: I will separate this into several groups. generaly it does NOT apply, that expensive is good. Well adjusted and tuned instrument may play better than unadjusted expensive one!

a) guitars and bass-guitars:

Do not change the strings just in the studio. Freshly used strings tinkle nicely, they have superb sound, but only for two or three hours of intensive use only. It may come to it that the sound will change throught the day to fall out of grace completely. So put on your strings at least one week before the studio. Note: with each change of strings you need to check you tuning on octaves. The instrument should be well tuned for the studio. So, put on new strings and tune even the octaves, and, this may be the best, take your instrument to a guitar specialist to get your instrument checked and adjusted generaly. The specialist would align the guitar neck, check the finger-board, clean potentiometers etc. ... It may cost you the same as if we would have to do it on the hourly cost here, but specialist is a specialist...

b) drums:

the same things regarding strings does apply on the drumheads. Do not change the heads at the last moment (one or two days before the recording) but do it at least two weeks in advance to let them settle. If the drums are changed too recently they will constantly loose tuning, even within one song!

Regarding drumhead tuning: if you can´t do it yourself, ask someone who can advice you or do it for you. If you do not have this option we will tune the drums in the studio, but the above applies. Generally there should be no creaking (bass drum pedals) or rattling (loose bolts on the drum corpus) noises... All this will be heard on the recording.

c) brass instruments:

no noises, like clicking of stops (metal against metal), escapes of air from joints on the instrument etc... Of course the intrument should harmonise.

  • Third advice: guitar and bass-guitar equipment

This would make up for a book.. There is this myth that expensive and exclusive amplifiers, racks and speaker boxes sound just like you can hear it from the CD. That is not true. I will put in here a link to quite interesting pages, where this toppic is investigated by Hyenik and Pedro de Luxe. On these pages of the Paladran project you may learn a lot of things about guitar equipment.

In short: it does all vey depend on what you play, how you play, what are the song´s arranmgements. Each wants it´s own. For example if you are used to play on Marshall JCM 900, you will be shocked how does Mesa/Boogie Mark IV react to your play. That´s why in most occasions it is the best thing to do to take your own gear, to which sound you are accustommed to. Major influence is also the speaker box. It does predefine the whole sound. It is much more difficult regarding bass-guitar gear. here I´d say that the crucial parameter is the player´s abilities. Bass-guitar is very sensitive and dynamic instrument. The overall sound is from large proportion created by hands. Second biggest influence is the instrument itself. Physics here does work for 100%, the bigger bass-guitar the longer is sustain, more of bass frequencies... The gear just gives the overall sound the form.



The sum of „in shorts“: The result does a lot depend on people, how they approach their instrument and also all the other „soft“ parts.