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Making the most of your studio time

Preproduction is key!

I once was listening to a speech by the head of A&R at Warner Brothers at a songwriting conference. He said that the key to making your money stretch the farthest in the studio is preparation. Bands would often rehearse for months before going in to the studio to make sure they had their feel and timing down as tight as possible. The key to being ready when that big opportunity comes is preparation. We have experienced this many times in our studio and others. Here are some specific things to prepare so you can make the most of your time and money at Red Earth Recording Studios

1. Lyric/chord sheets

If you can write lyric sheets with the accompanying chord symbols accurately labeled above the word or phrase that the chord falls on, it will be much easier for other musicians to accompany your song. This can be a real time saver in the studio. Have multiple copies of these "Lead Sheets" so everyone can follow along together.


2. Practice with a metronome

If your song has drums, or has the possibility of having drums or even some other instruments, it is a good idea to practice your song ahead of time extensively with a metronome. Find the BPM (Beats Per-Minute) that feels most natural to the way you would play the song normally and mark that down.  Get used to playing with the metronome. It's not an easy journey if you're not used to it, but it will tell you loads about your timing, help you become a better player, and can drastically cut down on editing time of rhythm sections in particular. Bearing that in mind, know that some songs simply don't need or benefit from a metronome. Songs that don't require rhythmic accompaniment can sometimes feel like they breathe more if you play them in your usual fashion, without a metronome. If your band is super tight and has a good feel than we can skip it all together. In the end it's up to you what makes you feel more comfortable. We can advise you on a song-to-song basis as to which method might produce your desired result most efficiently. 


3. Make a Demo & Send us examples

This might seem obvious, but the more you can describe what it is you want the better we can help you create it. Spend time listening to your favorite artists who emulate the feel, or instrumentation you are trying to create on your record. Email us some MP3's, or give us a CD of these songs well in advance so we can get familiar with the kinds of style and sounds you are going for. Get specific with your likes and disklikes; for example. "I love the big guitar sounds in this song, but I prefer a different sound then these kind of drums." This helps communication of your goals to be easy and efficient. This includes making demos of your songs and really hashing out the parts, seeing what works and what doesn't on your own before coming into the studio. This is one reason I really encourage artists to have some sort of recording setup themselves. It's a great idea! Yet also it's very important to be aware of how far your studio can take you. That's where we can help take you to a professional level. 


4. Practice to perfection

Do everything you can to be at a peak level of performance when you enter the studio. This may include getting good sleep, eating well, warming up your voice and preparing your instruments. Drummers should have new heads on their drums and new sticks. Guitarists and bassists should have new strings on their guitar and might want to have them looked over and aligned at a local guitar repair shop ahead of time to eliminate any unwanted buzzes or other problems. We can fix many issues with pitch, glitches, extra noise, or timing, but it will save you time and money if we don't have to. Only you may know what your peak performance level is, so be as ready as you possibly can before you come in the studio.


It's your music, it's your style and ultimately your career is in your hands. All these little steps make a huge difference, and in the end your ears and wallet will thank you!

See you at Red Earth Recording Studios!

- Dave

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