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When is the time that you step in and record a bands part when producing?
Old 22nd January 2009
  #1
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🎧 10 years
When is the time that you step in and record a bands part when producing?

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
Old 22nd January 2009
  #2
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Brad_Wood's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Never.


Best- Brad
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #3
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
i agree. at worst have them play the part several times and comp together a take. he's in the band, and what he plays should end up on the record.
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #4
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casey_outlaw's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
When you're Brendan O'Brien...
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #5
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
i've been told by an engineer to quit playing on tracks before. Not the most confidence boosting experience, hard to get a good take after that.

I think it's okay if you phrase it right, like 'can you just hit the root notes with the kick for a safety track' or something along those lines might get them to think about a different way to play the passage.
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
<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?
>

How in the world do expect to offer to play someone's part without offending them? Hardly takes a "badass ego" to resent that!
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #7
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bitman's Avatar
 
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🎧 10 years
I'm just the engineer, but the last group that was in pushed me almost to the point of that Daffy Duck bit "No you stupid rabbit, like this!"

But the results would have been the same as what happened to that duck.
Egos would have gone BANG!

I could play the drums and guitar way better than that but I don't pay myself the hourly rate so I shut up and try not to think of it but the gear I'll buy with the cash they will give me.

Old 23rd January 2009
  #8
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Protools Guy's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by etcd32 ➑️

When is the time to step in and offer to play their part if you are on the production side of things?
When you are ASKED to step in and play THEIR part...
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #9
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🎧 10 years
You see, from my experience bands will very often write parts that they can't actually play well enough or consistently enough.

If someone else in the band can play it better, then I'll usually ask them to step in first - but in some cases it ends up being me. I'm not going to go mad and play over everything. Just the stuff they are having trouble with to make sure that everything is up to standard.

It doesn't matter if they didn't play it, the whole honesty thing is only good enough if they can honestly play it well. If not, I still want the product to be as good as possible and if we can work together to get it better then I'll do whatever's possible.
Old 23rd January 2009
  #10
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by etcd32 ➑️

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?

-Evan
When I start getting nervous and sick of hearing the same part over and over again I offer my advice. If the badass ego keeps trying with no good results I usually tell them the truth: "you should make things simple or just stick with what you can play and get over it". After this the badass ego usually gives it ip and let me play
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #11
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JQ127's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I'm in the middle of the session from hell right now. Just yesterday we wasted 2 hours on a 6 second lead guitar part and the 'guitarist' (I use that term advisedly) could not get it. It was a simple little part and the guy sucks and would never get it right in a million years. At best he sounds like a high schooler in Guitar Center trying to play lead guitar. My partner and I call him Barely Adequate.

I couldn't stop myself and went out to the studio and said give me that damn guitar. He looked a little stunned but knew better than to mouth off and handed it over. I learned the part and recorded it in 8 minutes. I'm not a technically proficient guitar player at all by the way. I know it's probably not kosher but I couldn't handle it any more. I'm the producer too so to hell with it. These guys are clowns and driving me and my partner crazy. We're going on 2 weeks and still not done tracking. Just a crappy punk band too.

None of the guys are competent players and everything's taking forever. To top it off the leader thinks he's Brian Wilson and is always talking about Pet Sounds and how that was recorded and all sorts of horse****. Meanwhile he can't play a damn bar chord correctly!

Anyway I think there has to be a point where you have to put your foot down and stop worrying about who plays the part and get it done correctly and move on. At least on this session it was the right thing to do, but each situation is different. If it's completely hopeless-like this session is-what else can you do?
Old 23rd January 2009
  #12
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KUTCH 1's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by etcd32 ➑️
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
It really depends on the project, and who you are working for. If a small indie band hires you to produce, and they don't want you playing their parts, I wouldn't go there unless it was some kind of emergency. I would also make an exception if I was confident that I knew what they were going for, and felt I could accomplish it better. Ideally you can just take care of it without them knowing, just like you can make a few Pro Tools edits without making a big deal out of it. Convincing someone that they aren't good enough to play their part is not a talk you wanna have with a band member. Figure out another way to make that happen, thats your job.

On the other hand if its a major-label project, the philosophy is a little different because you might be working for the label as well as the band, sometimes more directly than you'd like to. I haven't produced anything of that caliber so I won't pretend to know the details of those politics.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #13
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Brad_Wood's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
There are plenty of ways to make a record and even more ways to produce one, but I am appalled at some of the posts here. The eagerness to play a client's instruments for them is bad enough, but the willingness to post such harsh assessments on any forum is worse. I feel badly for your clients and better about my continued survival in this business. Some of you folks just don't get it.


Best- Brad
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #14
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GordZilla's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Protools Guy ➑️
When you are ASKED to step in and play THEIR part...
I'm with this
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #15
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JQ127's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad_Wood ➑️
There are plenty of ways to make a record and even more ways to produce one, but I am appalled at some of the posts here. The eagerness to play a client's instruments for them is bad enough, but the willingness to post such harsh assessments on any forum is worse. I feel badly for your clients and better about my continued survival in this business. Some of you folks just don't get it.


Best- Brad
I wasn't eager to play anyone's instrument. I doubt anyone on here is 'eager' to jump in and play stuff on someone else's album. But what do you do as producer when they're counting on you to get the album done properly? If you ok a part that isn't done even halfway decently then you're ultimately the one to blame-not the guy who can't play.

When I'm making an album with a producer I want someone to tell me the truth not BS me. The worst engineers I worked with were the ones who pussyfooted around and told me what I wanted to hear. Ultimately a huge waste of time.

When it's time to mix down and give them a finished product most bands stop worrying about who played what and start listening to the finished product. Yeah I may be upset at the band I'm working with now but the album's sounding great and that's what counts to me and them.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #16
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🎧 10 years
What I do is to make a new track the way I think it should be and let the band have a taste of both versions

It's kind of like your Google search saying "Did you mean... (different result)"

No one gets mad at Google, in fact I'm flattered they care enough to go out of their way (yes I know it's a program saying that) :D
Old 23rd January 2009
  #17
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KEYBEEETSSS's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by etcd32 ➑️
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?



-Evan
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...
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #18
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Haha, i dont think i would straight up say "Hey, let me play your damn part ya cook!" (Or something along those lines)....

I would maybe imply it, to simplify it or let me do it... but i dont think i would really do it unless asked to...

I was actually suprised some people were straight up on doing just that...

Being a musician, i would be offended if i knew i could play something and i was just stressed about it, and someone told me i sucked and couldnt play it (Or anything along those lines)
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #19
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Joey thats a good idea....

I do songs right now for 50-150 a dollars depending on how many tracks are needed and how much time i put into it...

So there isnt a time basis here...It is just my own time bein wasted, and i pick bands i want to record because its just a project studio for bands on my indie label and me.

Other bands are bands i scout and record because i know i can produce them into something better

Evan
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #20
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Brad_Wood's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by JQ127 ➑️
I wasn't eager to play anyone's instrument. I doubt anyone on here is 'eager' to jump in and play stuff on someone else's album. But what do you do as producer when they're counting on you to get the album done properly?
Good question. 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.


Best- Brad
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #21
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henryrobinett's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Yup. Never. As an engineer, never. If asked by the band, if not solicited, OK. And still sometimes I've declined. In part because I didn't want any part of it -- not wanting my name associated.

But yes, pre-production is the key. If it's not working and they know it and they ask, offer suggestions. Maybe suggest they should hire someone. Or suggest they should go home and rehearse the parts better. But, for me, I think the role of the engineer is to engineer.

Now as a producer -- that' a different subject altogether. If I'm producing it, I might just play the part myself -- at least to give an example so the actual player can practice and do it him or herself later.

But if it's A BAND, it should be the band playing, unless you hire ringers. That's my point of view. There is no right or wrong, except as you and primarily the band deem it so.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #22
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Well in this case i would be producer and engineer...
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #23
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🎧 15 years
As a producer I do it from time to time with certain types of part. It tends to be rhythm guitars or acoustics which are out of time or have clashing open bottom e string ringing etc. I will try many times with the player first. I quite often mute strings for people as they play. It might also be making contributions to bv stacks. As said above it depends totally on the band. Indie band scenario: I'll discuss it with them. Major label pop type of thing, maybe not.

I never play parts which are crucial to the personality of the player or band eg solos etc but I might do a buried supporting part or a double track.

I never change a part.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #24
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JQ127's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad_Wood ➑️
Good question. 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.


Best- Brad
You're right on all these for sure Brad. I hit the wall on this session and I'm going nuts so I was a little harsh (alright-quite harsh) in my last post. We managed to do get thru everything but that one part I played on. They were happy once it was done and everyone breathed a sigh of relief cause we could move on.

But one other thing to take into consideration is the responsibility to the band and their label to bring the project in on time and budget. I guess it's a fine line and every situation is different. This was one of the hardest recording projects I've ever been on in my life.

Take care-Joe
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #25
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i like contoversial subjects like this...it seems everyone has a different answer, more or less leading towards DONT DO IT though.

evan
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #26
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
If I'm producing a four-piece (gtr, bass, drum, vox), and they need a mandolin part done, I'll play it. If it is a gtr/bass/drum/vox thing than I'd rather work with the musician to help them get it right. Isn't that a HUGE part of producing? A combination of musical knowledge/talent, session flow and people skills can go a long way in this business. It is our job to inspire GREAT performances, and not to give up on our clients.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #27
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theblue1's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
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...
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #28
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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
  #29
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AnthonyRochester's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I only do it with percussion things when it sounds really bad that its out of time (people think playing the tambourine is easy, but its not), and these are instruments where no one cares who played it.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #30
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Waltz Mastering's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Make him a rough mix without his part. Tell him to go home and shed and let him know it's a waste of time if your pulling teeth.

Guilt and Editing will probably work the best. That being said, a lot of producers are known to step in and play a bit on an album.

TW
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