How should I prepare for a recording session?
1. Determine the recording method
Decide whether you want to record your song live or track-by-track. Recording a song live is exactly what it sounds like: all the musicians perform together live in the studio. Track-by-track recordings use a layered approach that starts with scratch tracks: usually the lead vocal and an accompanying instrument such as guitar or piano. The scratch tracks are used as a guide for the other instruments to follow, after which they can be deleted (“scratched”). Drums are then recorded and edited, so it’s important to have the bpm of the song established before recording. Rhythm tracks (bass, rhythm guitar etc.) are recorded next, followed by melody tracks, including the lead vocal and other featured instruments. Finally the finishing touches are recorded: backing vocals, instrumental fills and additional percussion.
This can’t be emphasized enough! Whether you are recording live or track-by-track, it’s important that the song arrangement has been worked out and all the performers know their parts. Being well-rehearsed saves time (and money!) and results in a better-sounding recording.
3. Make sure instruments are in top shape
It’s recommended that guitars, basses and other stringed instruments have new strings and the intonation properly adjusted. Make sure all instrument amplifiers are in good working condition. Drums should have new heads, and hardware should be in good repair; it’s also very helpful if the drummer is able to tune the drums to suit the recording space.