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When is the time that you step in and record a bands part when producing?
Old 23rd January 2009
  #31
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narcoman's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by etcd32 ➑️
It seems like there is always a band member who is totally horrible (If not more than just 1 member dfegad, or oh god, even the whole band),

When is the time to step in and offer to play their part if you are on the production side of things?

Without offending or busting anyones badass Ego?

I know this is a hard concept, but i figure id like to hear my opinions, for instance, mine is to just offer to play the part to save them money...especially if they are paying me anyways to produce or engineer their project.


-Evan
whenever it's needed. Only amateurs get offended - as soon as a label is paying, whatever it takes. Including firing people from sessions.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #32
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Musiclab's Avatar
in the case of a band , only if I'm asked. I can usually help the player get it, I try to keep the vibe ultra positive, recording is hard enough, you don't need people getting uptight
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #33
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RARStudios's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
So like, my indie label shouldnt waste time with musicians who cant play their part?

Because this is going to be out of my pocket if they waste MY time.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #34
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davedarling's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
anytime it's needed to make the record work. as a producer, you're expected to do what ever needs to be done to get the record finished, and sounding as good as it can.
you're also expected to be able to tell the difference between poorly performed parts that work, and those that don't. more than once, i've replaced a guitar part that i thought was too sloppy only to realize that the sloppy part worked better than my neat version of what the guy played. it's music.


best dd
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #35
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Brad_Wood's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 ➑️
I have an acquaintance who produces a lot of young indie bands... he claims that among folks he knows on the production side that it is not at all uncommon to simply bring in a band of ringers during 'studio downtime' in a lockout situation, have the ringers learn the parts the band tracked during the day, play their instruments while retracking the songs, and then tell the band -- if they even ask, which he claims they almost never do -- that they just 'cleaned it up a little' in PT while the band was away.

I really want to be skeptical about this story but...
As far as I'm concerned, those people are assholes. If you can't make the people who have hired you sound good without resorting to replacing their parts and lying to them, then you are a **** engineer, and a **** engineer of sketchy moral character. Does anybody else find this pathetic?


Best- Brad
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #36
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Brad_Wood's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by narcoman ➑️
whenever it's needed. Only amateurs get offended - as soon as a label is paying, whatever it takes. Including firing people from sessions.
I've worked with plenty of famous professionals who have confidence problems. My allegiance is to the band members first, labels second. And the "amateur" you fire one year could very well be the "pro" musician or a&r who doesn't hire you the next year. The arrogance may bite yer ass.


Best- Brad
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #37
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I would tend towards never unless asked and even then I decline if it is drums because I can't record myself the way i want to.....also..I've worked with some horrible players...you know the ones that blame the intonation for the fact that they can't play...and nervously/needlessly tune all the time...there are many times I've spent 3 hours recording a 7 second guitar riff, knowing full well i could've been done in ten minutes myself....my point is..it's not about you..it's about the artist...they want to record themselves...that's what they are paying you to do...do it...sometimes we work hard...and sometimes it feels like we are hardly working...if you are even remotely hinting that maybe you should take a stab at it, then you shouldn't be engineering it because your heart is in the wrong place...most of the time, if you approach it right, you will end up with something good and that has the artist's stamp on it...that is mission accomplished..stepping in is complete bull****...learn to be helpful, encouraging and effective...stay upbeat and focussed...if they need to call it and come back tomorrow so be it...get a good nights sleep and whip it off at 11 am when everyone's fresh...remember their short comings are not a reflection on you...and usually they're not as bad as it seems, they're just nervous.

Nick
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #38
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leutholl's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I will send the band to a coaching session I offer to then before tracking them. I ask them: "I think we could improve some of your songs by going thru the parts - do you want me to invest some time together with you guys? I'm saying this as a musician and not as an engineer"

Some agree, some don't! I'm cool with this! If they say no I tell them that we are going to take a picture of how you guys sound at the moment - it's like a picture of a photographer"

I do not play their parts! But I will take the time to show how I would play the parts and I agree with the others here: Most of the time, the simpler the parts the better for the song!

When a band is coming in for an EP - I strongly recommend to take out any solo - unless they play a good solo!

Luk
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #39
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad_Wood ➑️
As far as I'm concerned, those people are assholes. If you can't make the people who have hired you sound good without resorting to replacing their parts and lying to them, then you are a **** engineer, and a **** engineer of sketchy moral character. Does anybody else find this pathetic?


Best- Brad
yes...and I'd like to think that people getting hired to engineer when there is a budget (any budget) by a label...are at least decent at their craft.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #40
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JQ127's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by etcd32 ➑️
Well im not talking about about giving up on them, in any way shape or form.

But, im talking about a musician who seriously CANT play the part... EX: solos, rythm, etcetc..


I mean, should i mention its off a bit? or if they are like THAT WAS FKING AMAZING I COULD NEVER PLAY IT LIKE THAT AGAIN, but its far from perfect, just leave it?


I guess from what i hear, just leave their egos to themself.
This is the situation I'm in right now. The guy can't play. But yeah you have to mention it. You don't have to be mean but be honest for sure. I would anyway.

This band I'm working with now just did a banjo part. Mediocre at best. They asked me what I thought and I told them it was semi pro playing. We muscled our way thru and got an ok performance-barely-but we got it done. They're gonna use it but at least I told them what I thought. I can't do much more than tell them the truth.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #41
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Brad, Mike and Henry have got this one right. Clearly defined roles are critical if a synergistic effort is to occur. I would have to question the wisdom of making an open end $ arrangement for fixed $ per song with a band that I did not know "REAL" well. I classify all recording agreements into one of two types.

1. Art Project; A benchmark recording documenting where a band is at a given point in time. (woodshed what you want to do and come in and do it)

2. A Commercial Project; A produced recording that features selecting session players that can execute the tracks perceived necessary by the producer to sell the client's performance.

Anything in between these differing arrangements, given the egos and agendas prevalent in bands, is a fight ready to happen.
Hugh
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #42
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aclarson's Avatar
I can see no case where this is acceptable. With drummers, you can basically program or quantitize or sample replace everything if the guy just can't get it. Better to severly molest his recording than to do it yourself. Maybe lay some samples on another track to fill it out. With guitar, you should be able to get something presentable with comping and punching.

If the dude is an absolute, utter disaster, the closest thing I could see is to record a bunch of takes of the dude, tell him to take a break and give you a little bit to do a comp. While he's gone smoking out , record a new flawless take with his guitar and amp, trying to sound like him (but better, obviously). When he gets back, be like, "listen to this nicely comp-ed take, dude." If they are truly that oblivoius to their own suckage, then they'll probably be oblivious to you playing their part. If they're self-aware, they'll never let it get that far.

I, personally, just wouldn't record someone who sucks that bad, unless they were a good friend, in which case I would make it rock for them by any means necessary, including playing parts.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #43
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matskull's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Last band I recorded couldn't play very well but they thought it was ok and didn't want to take too much time cause they were broken like all those ****ing crappy bands.

So I just redone the parts I couldn't stand when they left.
To hell their crappy parts!
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #44
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theblue1's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
re: "ghosting" parts afterhours without the talent's knowledge

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad_Wood ➑️
As far as I'm concerned, those people are assholes. If you can't make the people who have hired you sound good without resorting to replacing their parts and lying to them, then you are a **** engineer, and a **** engineer of sketchy moral character. Does anybody else find this pathetic?


Best- Brad
I find it A) kind of pathetic and B) believable (maybe not that it's commonplace, but certainly that it is occasionally done) and C) having worked with a very broad spectrum of musicians, I would have to say that there are certainly people out there with fans at their shows, recording money in their pocket, and painful little musical skill who even Bruce Swedien and Rudy Van Gelder working in tandem could not coax a decent recording out of...



[FWIW -- and I'm not really sure how pertinent it is, here, frankly, but it may be worth thinking about -- the last time I went into someone else's studio as talent (first time in a very long time), I ended up handing over several parts I could certainly have played to the producer/engineer. With the exception of a tricky little triangle percussion thing (which I subsequently taught myself how to do), the parts were well within my grasp. But I'd been recording almost all my parts for years, decades, and I was, in this case, very much looking for a change-up in approach. It took a second to unhook myself from the control thang -- but, after all, I was just dumb talent and I'd already decided to put myself in this guy's hands. Frankly, he did it faster and likely better than I could have (certainly during that session -- and I have to say, the guy is a total professional, literally, his dayjob is a large, corporate show band that is very much a thoroughly professionally run business.) The parts he played weren't all that tricky -- in fact, that was probably part of the difference: if I had played them, they probably would have been busier and possibly sloppier and likely more distracting from the overall production -- which was what he was focused on. Anyhow... like I said, probably not 100% pertinent, here, but it did offer some insight into the issue for me.]
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #45
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Jake Dempsey's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I wouldn't produce a band who can't play their parts. If I need to play their parts for them, I don't want my name as "producer" attached to their project.

This seriously frustrates the ****e out of me. Band with huge bad ass attitude books time and can't play their parts for anything. I worked with this band of 19-20 years olds recently. They booked time 3 months in advance. They were new to the studio environment. I held their hands through the whole process. I gave them very specific, clear direction on what to work on for those 3 months they had before their sessions.

Band couldn't get through one take of anything.. They were kind of pop/emo..ish... stuff. Drummer played like he'd never heard a metronome or click track in his life. They were here for 12 hours, and they were terrible I felt as if my ears had been sodomized at the end of the day. It was hard. Their EP sounded like poopoo.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #46
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2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
There are realities here, that I'm afraid have been overlooked. There are times, when a band is in the unfortunate situation of having to replace someone, or be out a member right before going in...... I've witnessed that.

Also, I've been in the position to recut parts before, and it's usually not as dire as some here make it seem. Seems that in any case that's ever happened to me, the musician was well aware of his inability to play something, and thus, we put our heads together and figured it out.

Chances are, if you're making a record with a budget, you don't have the luxury of comping for three hours, or sending him "home to practice"...... you need to get it done. I have had to do this before, when I am producing, and getting paid to make a record. In this case, I will try to get someone on the band to do it, but if not, I will do it, and have no moral objection, so long as everyone is cool.

And believe me, my loyalties lie with the band. It's really not that big of a deal in most circumstances. Realize that I am not talking about an entire band that can't play....... just a part or something along those lines.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #47
Gear Nut
 
Brad_Wood's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJGoody ➑️
Also, I've been in the position to recut parts before, and it's usually not as dire as some here make it seem.

You're right, its rarely a dire situation, but perhaps should be treated as the option of last resort. What is dire is the practice of replacing someone's parts without their knowledge, hoping that they will be none the wiser. That's malpractice, as far as I'm concerned. Again- there are no hard and fast rules in this business, but I wish there was a bit more thought put into the consequences of the actions we take in the studio. What might sound crappy to me can (and has) turned out to be the charming and endearing aspect that thrills listeners. When this happens, it reassures me that allegiance to the artist is top priority.

Best- Brad
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #48
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c.gymer's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
The answer for me has been pre-production and lots of it. If that is not an option, I usually will: 1) offer to make a rough mix and suggest the player take his/her instrument home for the night for a chance to woodshed and come back for a fresh start. Most of the time this is all that is needed, as I suspect a lot of the time the player has a bad case of nerves. 2) Track and edit the best of a bad performance and then rough mix. It is a good way for the player to have a chance to listen to the part in privacy and then have another go. 3) Acknowledge that the part is damn hard and perhaps a subtle simplification is all that is needed to make it not only easier to play but might improve the song. In no instance will I suggest I play for them.
Here here. I can't understand why ANYONE would think it acceptable to ever play a part. Ultimately it's the bands music. They wrote it and they play it. End of.


By the way Mr. Brad Wood, thank you for your wonderful work with Sunny Day Real Estate. Diary was the record responsible for me wanting to both be in a band and record bands. Excellent work, sir.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #49
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DJamesGoody's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad_Wood ➑️
You're right, its rarely a dire situation, but perhaps should be treated as the option of last resort. What is dire is the practice of replacing someone's parts without their knowledge, hoping that they will be none the wiser. That's malpractice, as far as I'm concerned. Again- there are no hard and fast rules in this business, but I wish there was a bit more thought put into the consequences of the actions we take in the studio. What might sound crappy to me can (and has) turned out to be the charming and endearing aspect that thrills listeners. When this happens, it reassures me that allegiance to the artist is top priority.

Best- Brad
You're absolutely right about the last resort. No doubt whatsoever.

AND, I cannot stomach people who do the ole late night retrack BS. No tolerance for that. That's unacceptable, and the fact that it happens as much as it does is an indictment of the mainstream record business.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #50
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matskull's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Seriously, I'm sure the band is thankfull that I have retracked their sloppy part, as happy as with all the editing I've done to make their kick the way they wanted it to be.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #51
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Infernal Device's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Here is what I read here....

Musicians cannot play their instruments, but they are recording.

Some think it should be recorded crappy.

Some think it should be programmed into a computer.

Some think they will fool the band and play it better because they name drop.

If it cannot be played by the person who wrote it, chances are good it was not wrote too well to begin with.

Gee, I wonder why the music industry has tanked, nobody buys music, the industry is almost dead, and musicians have become a laughing joke.

Thank god for pro-tools, or it seems like nobody would be making records anymore.

Sorry, carry on. Go on and talk about who is right. I am gonna make some coffee.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #52
Gear Head
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by KEYBEEETSSS ➑️
I do it all the time & have a rep for doing that so guys know they gotta bring it or they're out; & I don't really care about busting egos because its a project I'm producing so if they can't cut it, I CANheh

Mostly gospel records, I do as such...
Got to agree
Hell Yah
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #53
Gear Maniac
 
58lespaul's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Infernal Device ➑️
Here is what I read here....

Musicians cannot play their instruments, but they are recording.

Some think it should be recorded crappy.

Some think it should be programmed into a computer.

Some think they will fool the band and play it better because they name drop.

If it cannot be played by the person who wrote it, chances are good it was not wrote too well to begin with.

Gee, I wonder why the music industry has tanked, nobody buys music, the industry is almost dead, and musicians have become a laughing joke.

Thank god for pro-tools, or it seems like nobody would be making records anymore.

Sorry, carry on. Go on and talk about who is right. I am gonna make some coffee.
Reads like the best advertisement for Pro Tools I have ever read, lol
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #54
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Infernal Device's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Here it is....


It's been a 12 hour day.

Everyone is tired.

There is no way on earth the guitar player is gonna play the song he wrote.

That's just silly.

They want to be rock stars.

They can't play an instrument.

They want to text on their phone and talk about how hard they worked on the record. What are YOU gonna do?

There is only one real choice.

The choice of bedrooms everywhere.

Relax.

You can play Xbox instead of playing your songs.

Why?
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When is the time that you step in and record a bands part when producing?-pt-logo.jpg  
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #55
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
sad thread this.

if the band cannot play their own songs (at least to their own satisfaction)....they really should not have booked the studio time....and the sad fact is that they will most likely never get anywhere anyway....so exactly how perfect the recording sounds in terms of performance perfection does not really matter that much any way.

it would at least SEEM that the job of the recording engineer is to capture and shape the performance...not play the instruments that the band members play....but cannot really play.

now there IS the aspect of ADDING instruments that nobody in the band actually DOES play....ie george martin stepping in to play keys in a live take of a tune.....i think that is valid. if the band is busy playing their primary instruments...why not add a violin or horn part (and only the engineer plays those instruments).

however the engineer literally taking the guitar out of the lead guitar player's hands and playing his version of their part...that is just weak.

then again....none of this artsy stuff matters when the clock is running and the money is in short supply. ug.

however i would much rather listen to a fat high fi recording of a sloppy band than a pro tooled anonymous hacked together "thing" with the engineer playing half the guitar parts. if the personality of the band is a bit sloppy....maybe it is more fun to listen to that anyway. even radiohead and zep have some sloppy moments on their albums and it just adds to the vibe as far as i am concerned.
Old 23rd January 2009
  #56
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jeremy.c.'s Avatar
It seems like people are worried so much about the badass ego of the "musician" and ignoring the fact that if you're sneaking in the part you're probably doing it for your own ego. I understand wanting your name on good product only, but if it sucks, who will ever hear of it anyway?
Obviously if you're in a position where you are being handed $$$ from another party (i.e. record label) and you have to deliver a product from a stable of incapable or partying-too-hard musicians, then you have a job to do and this may require bringing in a ringer, but the band is also your client, so respect them enough to explain what's happening. Hell, even pawn it off on the label if you have to to keep things less tense. I have a friend who is an amazing song writer but his timing is sometimes so off whack he can barely get a keeper take. We have discussed this and he is open to being a song writer only and isn't offended by me playing his parts. Other days we get good enough takes to put together a cogent part.

The only time I have ever replaced without the knowledge of a player, was a bass part on the chorus for a song my friend wrote and brought in a friend to play the song. As the session went on her ability deteriorated until she couldn't play the parts right let alone even in time. My friend requested I replay the sections that needed it and it was his song, his time and his money, I felt he had the right to get what he wanted out of it and it was between him and his friend that he didn't use her part. I need no part of that...
Still I think honestly is the best policy, and again, if they're that terrible no one will ever hear it. Perspective.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #57
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RARStudios's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
i never said sneak in your own track, thats just ********...people actually do that?

Hahaha
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #58
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Jake Dempsey's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
What is your role with this band? Are you producing them? Is there a clear designation of what's expected of you?

Or are you engineering them only.

If the word "producer" is getting thrown around, a few things will be expected of you.

1. You'll have financial control over their budget for the project.

2. You'll be responsible for keeping the project on schedule, allocating which sessions will be used for what, and keeping the sessions moving.

3. You'll have input/control over the artistic direction of the recording

If your name is being attached to the project as producer, it's in your best interest to make sure it turns out well. If that means hammering down on the band and really spelling things out for them, so be it.

I'm of the opinion that you should never play the band's parts for them. As a producer, it's your job to get the best performance out of them that they can muster.

If their best performance sucks, you shouldn't have taken the project on. Theoretically, your name is on the line as a producer.

All the turd polish in the world can only go so far.

Quote:
Originally Posted by etcd32 ➑️
Well im not talking about about giving up on them, in any way shape or form.

But, im talking about a musician who seriously CANT play the part... EX: solos, rythm, etcetc..


I mean, should i mention its off a bit? or if they are like THAT WAS FKING AMAZING I COULD NEVER PLAY IT LIKE THAT AGAIN, but its far from perfect, just leave it?


I guess from what i hear, just leave their egos to themself.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #59
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
This is always a real temptation for me. Admittedly, I've done it once (recorded a lead guitar part during a bridge for one song) without telling the band, but they couldn't have cared less. They just wanted the end product to sound good, and I made it happen.

With technology the way it is, though, I think there's a better way of going about it than just redoing the parts yourself. With drums you can quantize and sample replace and as long as you've got good-sounding overhead/room mics you can get a pretty killer drum track. With bass you can quantize, MaxxBass, etc. With guitar you can quantize, get a DI track and reamp, etc. (I won't even get into what Melodyne DNA might mean for guitar tracks). With vox you can Elastic Audio the lead with the bgv's, Autotune, etc.

I'm not afraid to do any of that. I think it's better morally-speaking than to just retrack the parts yourself (although it's a whole other moral issue regarding the use of those tools).
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #60
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Percussion is one of those things that allot of musicians think they can play without having practised it, or even ever played before, so I have on occasion kept my "demo" take in favour of the singers pitiful random shaking or hitting.

It can often be the case that one player is just far better than the other so suggesting another member play a certain part "just for variation of feel" can be a better way to go than saying one morning "Ya, I replayed your sucky solo last night. Much better huh?"

As Mr Dempsey notes, if you're a producer it is your responsibility to provide a product you feel can sell/or fulfil certain expectations so you may be forced into potentially tricky political situations. Part of the job though innit.
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