Preparation H(ome)

Hi everyone,

As I write this, I’m taking a quick pause from working on finishing up a few releases for the end of the year including tracking material for my solo acoustic debut which is happening in a few weeks.

People ask me why I use studios rather than tracking things at home – and it really depends on context.

  • In bands I like the live chemistry of people playing together at the same time.  It’s one thing if you have a separate room set up to actually track in – but my house is small enough that this option isn’t a possibility.
  • For this particular recording, I’m using my first guitar to track it.  It’s not electro-acoustic and the feasibility of making the home recording environment quiet enough to record it isn’t feasible.

If you ARE going into the studio – time is money so you need to have as many ducks in a row as you can.  This doesn’t mean that you need to spend a lot of money but you need to get as much prepped before hand as possible.

Here’s my low budget solution to prepping for an acoustic recording.

IMG_0173.JPG

(The coffee is optional for most people but completely necessary for me).

I set up a Zoom recorder I have with some headphones and play through / record the pieces.  That’s it.  You could use a laptop mike and listen on speakers.  You’re not listening for pristine audio quality.  SOME of the things I’m listening for are:

  • Timing
  • Note quality (is every note clear?)
  • Articulation
  • Mood / feel (is it capturing the mood the song is supposed to convey?)

 

The idea is that by the time you go and record the pieces you’ve already recorded them dozens of times at home and have a solid idea of how it’s going to sound from a performance perspective.  Trust me – there’s nothing worse than getting to a studio and realizing that you can’t pull off the thing you’ve been working on because what sounded okay to you at home sounds like merde now and fixing it will take more time.

One other important thing I’ll bring up here is that as you listen to the pieces try to imagine someone ELSE has recorded them.  This can help in dropping personal baggage that can get associated with art and instead allows you to focus on what’s really important (i.e. making the best work you can).

Whether it’s in the studio or the stage – the battle is generally won or lost based on the work you do at home in the shed.  Preparation is a key to performance.  Practice it the way you want to play it and the way you want it heard.  Most importantly, get your best work out into the world that represents what you do.

I hope this helps!

As always, thanks for reading!

-SC

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