You have tried everything in the world to achieve that masterful tone on
this particular riff. Have you ever thought or said, "The bass line just sounds
off" or "I can't hear the snare on this like I hear it in my head".
If so, then welcome to the wonderful world of doing your own recordings.
I've complied a few tips to share based on my own experience. Some may seem
basic to you, but everyone starts at a different skill set. With that in mind,
let's dig in.
1. Stop smoking. I know you're saying, "What???" Bear with me. I'm not
getting on a soapbox. Recording equipment is not only expensive; it's also
sensitive. Smoke congests your lines and jacks and will cause serious equipment
malfunction over time, so if you need a puff, get away from your equipment and
2. Tune up. You've got a hot idea and you must get it down, but take the
time to tune up. You never know if that first take will spark some magical note
that you want to keep and add tracks on top of, so don't belittle your effort by
recording some off the wall trash tuning that can't be achieved again.
3. Prepare. Pre-plan some sessions just to tool around on the instrument,
not just to record your opus. Eddie Van Halen was once noted to just jam in his
home studio for 3 days. According to Sammy Hagar in 2000, there was, "at least
enough material for 3 more Van Halen albums from the spare tapes alone".
4. Try writing a song or riff on an instrument you don't normally play. If
you play guitar, see what you come up with on a bass. If you think you can keep
time sit behind a drum kit and work out some beats.
5. Use effects made for other instruments on yours. Experiment. It may be
that the sound in your head comes from a synth and can be achieved using an
overdrive bass pedal through your Strat.
6. Sometimes old school works best. I know there are thousands of digital
effects and recorders on the market. I also know they are extremely expensive.
If you are on a budget, foot pedals are a less expensive way to create effects.
Get a delay pedal and run your vocals through it. You can create a very
professional sounding vocal track with it.
7. If you have access to tape, use it. 4 track recorders that use
cassettes can still be found for little to nothing and cassette or reels are
cheaper than hard disks. In fact, some hard disk recorders only allow a short
amount of time to get everything recorded. You can fit more songs and ideas on
the cassettes. I'm suggesting these to use as your "scratch pad". Work out ideas
here so you don't burn up the space you have on the digital recorder.
8. Recruit friends. You can only do so much yourself. Sometimes having an
extra hand is helpful. Even if they aren't musical, they can hit the record
button for you so you can concentrate on the notes you want.
9. Don't settle for. A lot of the recent recording devices come with
standard effects built-in. Some are fantastic, but others lack real substance.
If what you have isn't what you want, use the tried and true techniques used by
the pioneers of recording. Are you aware a small bathroom has outstanding
acoustics? Set your amp up in there and mic it for a bombastic tone or simply
record some vocals in there like thousands of others have done.
10. Mic it up. I love some direct or line in applications on various
instruments and effects, but sometimes ambience is needed. Ambience will give a
recording a fuller sound. Try different configurations and placements of mics on
an amp. This technique works best for electric guitar amps to me. This is a
personal choice, of course, but nothing compares to a live amp to me.
11. A lapel mic works wonders. One of the hardest goals in home recording
is capturing a live sound. Some friends and I once recorded an entire set in our
practice room just using a lapel mic (a mic like reporters use on TV) taped to
the top of the room. Give it try. You never know what you might accomplish.
12. Drum tracks are beasts. Depending on the type of music that is. Now
for rap and hip-hop, electronic sounding drums are desired a majority of the
time and adjusting effects such as hall, reverb and ambience can change the
phrasing of a loop, beat box or drum machine to exactly what the track needs.
But for something like jazz or balls out rock and roll, you need a live drummer.
A machine or loop will never match the precision and dynamics that a drummer
can, so whenever possible get a live drummer.
13. Dumping tracks - Part A. In the previous tip I suggested using a live
drummer, but let's say you live in a small apartment and the landlord just isn't
going to let that happen. You can record the live drums in a sound proof area
make an mp3 or put in on CD and dump that live track into your recorder, thus
giving you an exceptional click track or the basis of a strong demo.
14. Dumping tracks - Part B. On some recorders you'll have more idea than
you have room. When this occurs, you may have to dump some tracks together. My
suggestion for this is to start with the bass and drums. You rhythm section
should be the foundation of your recording, so these parts should be the first
recorded and therefore the first that can be mixed together to free up another
15. Acoustical is exceptional. Sometimes the very basic is the very best.
Two microphones are used. One for the voice and one for the guitar. Hit the
record button and just let it flow.
16. Better equipment makes better sound. There's no denying this one.
Anyone who's had to start with a Harmony guitar and amp will tell you.
Beginner's model equipment will never take the place of the Les Paul, the
Stratocaster or DW drums. Handheld 2 track recorders simply can't compete with
16 and 24 track brethren. But better equipment, 9 times out of 10, will cost
much more than the starter brands, so you need a way of producing extra income.
Consider becoming an
affiliate of some products you like or use. You can usually find a link in
the contact us section of a website or most will just have an affiliate link to
connect you. You get your affiliate ID, then tell others about the equipment,
product or service like and you get paid.
To find out more check out this free report I wrote:
Tell Me About It!