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How to prepare the band for recording?

GENERAL: · Map all the tempos and tempo changes in your songs in BPM (beats per minute) as well as the signature and it´s changes in the songs.

· If possible, do a multi-track pre-production recording of all songs in your rehearsal room. It will give you a guide-trax for the main recording and you will see how well you are prepared. This task can be done in the studio too, but it will cost you some extra money.

· Ensure you know exactly what you will be playing before you even enter the studio. All parts, arrangements etc. should be already finalised and drilled until they are firmly entrenched in the memory.

· Bring in the minimum necessary number of people for each session.

BASSISTS: · Make sure the intonation/sound of the instrument is okay. If possible get it serviced by a reputable technician shortly before recording.

· Buy new strings for the bass. Stretch them out well before you begin tracking.

· Bring spare strings, picks, batteries (for active pickups) etc.

· Ensure your playing sits solidly with the drums. Practice to a metronome. Know the songs well.

· Ensure that you are playing the instrument in-tune. It is common for basses to be played sharp even when the tuners say your open strings are 'in'. If you consistently play sharp, consider tuning the instrument slightly flat.

· If you are after an aggressive tone, then you need to play aggressively. If you are after a warm tone, then you need to play in a subdued way. The final bass tone is almost completely under your control, and your performance shapes the way it will sound.

DRUMMERS: · Re-skin the drumkit - preferably the day before the session.

· Bring the drumkit into the studio the day before your session. This allows it to acclimate to the room overnight, and will avoid many tuning-related headaches the next day.

· If you are not confident in tuning the drumkit towards your desired sound, get a reputable drum technician to tune it for you prior to recording, or on the day of the session.

· Bring in some extra beaters, different snares and cymbals if you have any.

· Bring extra sticks, muting rings and Moongels.

· Oil up the pedals so that they do not squeak.

· Separate the cymbals from the drums on the vertical axis as much as is practical for your style of play.

· If playing heavy music, learn to hit the drums hard, but the cymbals soft.

· Set your toms flat and sit high for the most punchy hits on the toms / kick.

· Learn to consistently hit the rimshots on the snare.

· If you're after a punchy, fat kick sound, make sure a port is cut into the front (resonant) head.

· Space the kit out as much as is practical to your style of play.

· Practice your parts to a metronome, unless you play strictly 'live' music like jazz, blues etc.

In the latter case you should practice your parts and/or jam with the band as much as possible.

· Know the songs like the back of your hand.

· Do not play your drums while the engineer is setting up mics around them. Their hearing is usually very sensitive, and they will never react well to this.

· Once the drums are set-up and mic'ed, DO NOT MOVE THEM. If you ever need to adjust something, consult with the engineer first. Moving drums mere centimetres can completely change the way the microphones pick them up.

GUITARISTS: · Make sure the intonation/sound of the instrument is okay. If possible get it serviced by a reputable technician shortly before recording.

· Buy new strings for the guitar. Strings will dull down quickly, so it's important to only restring the instrument the night before, or the morning of the session. We commonly switch the strings over again after each day of tracking.

· Bring spare strings, picks, batteries (for active pickups) etc.

· If you have locking tuners, bring an allen key of appropriate size.

· If using a tube amp, ensure it has been re-tubed recently and sounds good.

· Practice rigorously to a metronome. You may be the only player tasked with playing at least two identical performances, possibly even 4 or beyond. You need to play consistently and sit well with yourself. If you have a recording rig at home, practice quad-tracking the same rhythm parts.

· If you are playing heavier material, make sure to DIG IN to the strings. Bring out that aggression with as little amp gain/distortion as possible. There is a middle ground to be had here between aggression and knocking the string out of tune, but with practice (and the right string gauge) it can be found.

VOCALISTS: · Practice good microphone technique. Stand up close to the pop shield when singing & back away for the bigger punctuations. Try to control yourself dynamically, rather than relying on a compressor for it.

· Don't have a big night out before coming to the studio. Make sure your voice is fresh & ready to go.

· Bring a bottle of spring water and keep it at room temperature. This is the best ingestible vocal aid you can have.

· You may be asked to repeat certain phrases a multitude of times in search of that 'perfect' take, so make sure your voice is up to the task.

· If your voice is on the fringe, then don't push it. The last thing anyone wants is for the vocalist to start croaking midway through a recording session!

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