Musicians record live to get energy, then they go into the studio to do overdubs to get the exactness professionals seek in recordings. When going into the studio to record a music project you should always record the rhythm track first. This section could include drums, bass, rhythm guitar, keyboards and scratch vocals. The scratch vocal allows the rest of the band to always know where they are in the song throughout the recording process. If the rhythm track is not right, the song will never be right. How do you know if it is right? Let’s just say you will feel it.
After you have successfully recorded the rhythm track, it’s time to record the overdubs. These could include lead guitar, lead vocals, backing vocals and various types of percussion. Today, keyboards create many of the sounds for music because of the incredible technology available. It used to be that, in order to get good keyboard sound, you had to spend big bucks and buy a Kurzwell or something along those lines. Today, there are many boards that create cool and different, as well as genuine, sounds.
When I first got into the business, I had the great fortune to witness the entire recording process with an artist by the name of Bob Seger. He was working on the “Nine Tonight” album at the studio where I was employed. This album project was a combination of live and studio recording. Although I was the tape op at the time (a basic “go get me more tape” job) I was able to witness the overdubbing sessions. It was an amazing process to watch. The band in the studio recreated the live music with more precision to give the raw live tracks the polish Bob wanted for the album. Bob and his producer listened to every song from various performances in Boston and Detroit, and picked the tracks they liked best. Then it was overdub time! The band and Bob worked on the songs to make the wrong parts right and replace the live vocal.
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