The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
Tips on production around usually solo artist w accoustic gtr?
Old 20th July 2002
Tips on production around usually solo artist w accoustic gtr?

This guy dosen't dig drums hammering away..

His own music is steady in the Verses & choruses, but his 'inbetween' riffs have their own 'special' timing and he re starts back in rythem whenever he damn well feels like it!

He wants a Blood on the Tracks style production, so I get to play Phil Ramone for a week and a half.

He also likes The Joni Mitchel / Jacko Pastorius colaboration...

His demos give out the message the he doesnt WANT any extra music on his stuff... Yet and here's the open door for production, he wants the album to be acessable...

Help jules out!

Be my (unpaid & uncredited) co-production consultants!

So I bought that Dylan album and will hear it tonight...

for the sake of the topic assume the artist is

a) a good lyricist
b) a good accoustic player
c) has recorded many previous albums (that I have never heard before, we figured I should start with no preconseptions)
d) worthwhile working with

The cast:

Artist + acc gtr
Session Drummer experienced with acc music & using brushes
Session Bass player = 2 fretted bass one fruitless bass
Session gtr - good at acc & elec

My first call drummer has fixed the core Bass & gtr guys - I have never worked with em before....

On call - (and payed out of my production money!)

Mando / pedal steel / elec player
Hammond / piano player

4 days with the core band to track & overdub 11 songs

I am initially looking for sratagies for working with folks normally used to accompanying themselves.

Thanks a lot guys!

Old 21st July 2002
Gear Maniac
vsl666's Avatar
🎧 15 years
hard question

thats a hard question madd

im sure at the end of it all he will be very happy tho and youll be the golden boy rollz

put this situation is intrinsically flawed ? difficult ?

11 songs 4 days ? ouch ..have they ever met before ?..or rehersed ? coz 4 days gives poor old jules no time 4 them to be getting familiar and not much time to change his poor mind as to how best to approch this .. which you wont really know till it happens !

the 1st thing i would know would be to forget a click
and the second that he should probly sing and play his gtr at the
same time .. tho weather with the bass/drums etc at the same time is a hard call...

but i normmaly find that they only want the songs to feel how they are used to playing them .. when they are all relaxed and having platinum moments on their own at home .. and clicks and separating vox/gtr only takes away from this ..*shruggs*
its also quicker to just put a few mikes up and say go on then play the tune a few times ..grggt

i guess then i would get him to add a few bv's
so then i would have his gtr .. which he loves ..
his vox..which he loves
his bv;s///which he really loves and might not have heard b4 ,, now he thinks hes the dogs and your hot coz u understand.....

so know he loves the tune and u are real and have kept it honest ..if he hates it it cant be your fault coz u didnt do anything !!

assuming it sounds great .. which it should them add the other guys .. and now they know what the tune does coz its down and they can only get it wrong which they wont

i would also be intrested to know what happens if he played with
bass and drums and hammond etc but that might take practice and time to get tight + maybe a bigger studio than u have ?
upstairs at battery with the nice neve and all the fairchilds might do it ! can i come and record it there ? *LOL*fuuck

rather u than me jules good luck !!

ps get yer valves out !! yyyaaaaarrzzzzheh

your gonna need the perccusion and hammond which is a shame as u have to pay them ! forget the madelin second gtr ! save the cash and tell him u dont like hobbits ...
Old 21st July 2002
Lives for gear
RKrizman's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Re: Tips on production around usually solo artist w accoustic gtr?


I think everything will hinge on establishing a good relationship between the artist and the rhythm section. Everybody play together, leakage is your friend, forget the clik track. When your guy is playing with the band he should hear how his a-tempo licks don't work and will adjust. Or else, he'll plow on through, the cats will accommodate him as best as possible, friction will ensue, the groove will grow and convolute, the chorus will hit, everything will fall into place, and rock n' roll will occur. Hopefully, if you just make everybody feel comfortable and don't worry about it too much, whatever is supposed to happen will happen and it will be fun.

Hit "record". It's only hard drives.

Rick Krizman
KrizManic Music
Old 21st July 2002
Lives for gear
RKrizman's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Re: Re: Tips on production around usually solo artist w accoustic gtr?

Two other specific suggestions. If the groove seems a little erratic, add a tambourine. And consider sending me an mp3 if you want some gravy smothered, south-of-the-Mason-Dixon-line, American-as-peach-cobbler Hammond tracks.

Good luck,

Old 21st July 2002
I might just do that Rickster...

Thanks for the offer..

Old 21st July 2002
Gear Guru
Drumsound's Avatar
🎧 15 years
I've seen you mention Jimmy Miller as a production hero. Well, here?s your chance. Put the cats in a room together and make "a sound." Let them figure it out. Don't be afraid of honest mistakes, bleed, confusion or the like. You might just let them go for an hour or two without stopping the Alsihad rig. You can trash the trash later.

I think I can open PT files in Digital Performer, I could add some percussion here at the house...
Old 21st July 2002
Should be cool, another great offer!

Old 21st July 2002
mwagener's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Jules, before you even move them into the Library, rent a garage somewhere for at least a week and have them rehearse under your supervisoin for 8 hours a day and record it on some 2 track format with one stereo mic. Most of the musical problems will be ironed out after that week. Then I would follow drumsound's advice and stick 'em in the room together and let them "perform" the rehearsal. 4 days for 11 tracks is awfully short, better get that coffee pot going.

Good luck and let us hear it when you're done.
Old 21st July 2002
Gear Addict
🎧 15 years
Too bad you couldn't get the bass and drummer I did sound for last night, two young guys in a well known jazz program in Montreal. They were playing in a cover bad doing funk and blues and country and Hendrix , a real mixed bag. The guitar player had that same quirky end of verse stumble I think you are talking about and these guys fell in and out on a dime and it gave the tunes a wonderful quirky feel, not mention the dancers a moment of awe ;-).
So dont straighten out all the kinks, sometimes they are very cool. I agree that it would be nice to be able to get everyone together to jam a little more informally before the pressure is on.
As far as the time factor goes, **** you guys are getting lazy us bottom feeder often have to do 10 songs in a day and mix them. Then the band will invaribly say as they are packing up, " can you burn us 5 CDs to listen to when we get home" Ah well.
Good luck with it, I'm sure you'll have a great time.
Also I assume this is the same session that you're looking for the glue with, can't help ypu beyond the advice you already gotten on that end but see if you can locate a Buzz MA 2.2 for the accoustic pre, it is seriously deadly , for a great accoustic sound. Take care Logan
Old 21st July 2002
Lives for gear
🎧 15 years
Julian, follow Michael's advice. Two weeks is even better. Pre-production my friend!!

Let the fun begin! Coffee everybody??
Old 21st July 2002
Gear Guru
🎧 15 years
Oh, I know what you mean about that "special" timing!

Unfortunately, people with this "gift" often are uncoachable. They get defensive about what they can't do and take the position that it should not be done. That it isn't part of their "style" etc.

The two albums he cites as benchmarks may have a "rough" or "raw" feel, but loosey-goosey timing is not part of that feel.

I would try tracking live with the band. In the best case the momentum of the other players will carry him through the tune in steady tempo.

In the worst case you have him sit out of the basic tracks and overdub him later.

I don't suppose you could anonymously mail him a metronome?
Old 21st July 2002
Lives for gear
loudist's Avatar
🎧 15 years
All good advice!
This is my absolute favorite way to record, You get to hear the song and performances all at once in real time.
Remember... the performance makes the sound, so do whatever you can to get great feeling performances, even if you have to sacrifice some sonics to do it.
One suggestion is, 3 takes per song, and then move on to another, you can always come back to it. It gives the impression of progress, and keeps the takes from becoming stale and over contrived.
Don't use a click for the take BUT do give them the tempo for the countoffs.
The more you can 'snapshot' record all the players, the better for this situation. Live lead vocal is a must. Live lead guitar could be an option as well, theres nothing like a live inspired lead with the band playing.
If you know a GREAT percussionist, I would have him/her on the live date as well, not only is it a human click track, it adds so much to the feel and time referrences while making it feel like an immediate record while it is going down, also, it keeps the drummer from overplaying.

Keep a rough log of the takes as they are happening ie: 'good chorus' and 'nice intro' ect. First impressions are important!
There is a tendency to want to assemble the takes together right there and then, this is a 'have to be there' call. Keeping the players in performance mode is most important. If they are flagging a bit, then some assembally of a previous song will provide some distraction to allow vibe recharging, and they will get excited when they hear one of the songs assembled and kicking ass, and horney to go and nail some other ones.
With the magic of DAW's, punching bass mistakes (or whatever) during tracking time is less of a priority as you can paste the right note or entrance from another take. Keeping the performance momentum is key. I have had tracking session vibe grind to a halt while punching in mistakes, if it can be avoided then by all means avoid it.

Have fun!

If you need some slide guitar parts, give me a shout.
Old 22nd July 2002
Gear Maniac
vsl666's Avatar
🎧 15 years
this hippy ideal of getting them all to play along to the songs at the same time has a downside tho ...

err without the rehersal and THE ARTIST telling the band what to play how do they now what he sounds like ? if u see what i mean
and you are also kinda assumming that the timing changing is a mishtake . i mean is he just wandering around out of time jules or is he pushing and pulling coz he wants to ?
you did say he was experienced and had done several albums ...
so maybe he knows what hes up to and doesnt want to be
straightened out .. u dont want a situation where the band dont know whats in his head they all just play along following the main cords and u end up with somthing he doesnt recognise
so i still rekon personally and not being there its hard to tell but no rehersal = get him to lay the vibe down .. as once u have that you are home free.. mubbe


tho i do agree with the ideal of what is being suggested ..
Old 22nd July 2002
In Nashville they would have it knocked out by lunchtime.

4 days will make a fina amout of time for an artist in the UK with session musicians.

He is a 3 take type guy. We need time to tell stories and drink espresso and for me to get sounds, swap around instruments and help with direction...

Dinner with the artist was cool he just arrived in town. He has an early 60's Martin as his favored gtr..
Old 22nd July 2002
Lives for gear
loudist's Avatar
🎧 15 years
It happens to be more than a hippie ideal... its what all timeless recordings have in common. Where are the timeless recordings of the 80's 'machine age'?

Of course there should be some pre production, but not too much, more like a rehersal really to make sure that the musicians instincts are right. Dylan's work was all with session musicians before The Band. They showed up, had lead sheets given to them, and played it down a couple of times. Nashville sessions too. Do you know the "Everbody Must Get Stoned" story? I digress.
Many times the first instinct of the musician is better than what one could tell him to play. If not, get a different muscian. You should have folks there that are going to bring something to the party besides mere chops, it serves the song, artist, and public way more.

Jules, do a rehersal and give the band lead sheets and very little direction from you or the artist. Let the artist play the song (live) that should tell them what the artist and song is about much better and more directly than any thousands of words. and insist the players join in and jam a bit when they feel the song. the parts will come. Rinse and repeat with another song. You will know very quickly whether this is the right bunch to be playing together. If there is a snag player who isn't on the same instinctual page as the rest... replace immediatly, (having another set of players on call is not a bad contingency), and rehearse again.
This is the most important part of your job...
Weeding through and finding the right cats to play onthe date will make you a hero to your artist, record company, public. And the band will love being 'trusted' tp play what they feel.
Other artists will seek you out for that 'custom combo' that you can put together for them. It will also make the recording of the tracks enjoyable and fun. Don't over-rehearse!
Old 22nd July 2002
There is only one
alphajerk's Avatar
🎧 15 years
my suggestion would be [from working with a couple acoustic/singer solo acts] would be to get a tape/cd/whatever of his songs just laid down for the rythym section. dont have to sound good... just enough for them to hear it so they dont come in stone cold. im certainly not a great drummer but i can figure out songs really quickly just playing along to a recording a couple times.... i good drummer should easily be able to do this.

then as above, track em full on live...

good luck my friend.
Old 22nd July 2002
Thanks day one is today!
Old 22nd July 2002
Lives for gear
David R.'s Avatar
🎧 15 years
Re: Tips on production around usually solo artist w accoustic gtr?

Originally posted by Jules

His own music is steady in the Verses & choruses, but his 'inbetween' riffs have their own 'special' timing and he re starts back in rythem whenever he damn well feels like it!

Jules, I just did a second cd with an artist like that. Drove me nuts. The only way I could do the backing tracks was after him. I had to play the tracks a bunch of times to transcribe and get the feel of when he would be 'special.' I have the feeling your person is better than the artist I worked with.

If the guy is not able to play in time with a band, this might be a good approach. Tell the players to get rid of their notions of steady time and focus on the music. Multiple listenings to pick up the feel.

Let us know how it comes out.
Old 22nd July 2002
There is only one
alphajerk's Avatar
🎧 15 years
thats the way i usually do it... although i usually want to retrack it live after all the parts are learned [why i mentioned the previous post]

you can totally forget about "time" but its not really that hard to pick up on the solo performers "time" after a few listenings.
Old 22nd July 2002
Gear Head
bump's Avatar
🎧 15 years
GGRREAT thread!
I hope yer gettin' sumthin' out of it Jules, I know I am.

(I really just stopped by to ask how that fruitless bass sounds)heh
Old 22nd July 2002
Lives for gear
Fibes's Avatar
🎧 15 years
I can't wait to hear how it goes... I'm currently producing two "solo" artists that I would never consider tracking "live" with the band. I wish it didn't have to be that way but the timing issues, fear of performing in the studio with others and a lack of budget have put me in this situation.

I ended up tracking them to a loop, making a composite track, sending the cds to the session guys/gals and re recording the acoustic and vocals once the band found the groove. I hate working this way but it had to go down piecemeal or it wouldn't have at all. Actual looped drums helped keep things in line. The songs with tempo changes and some push took a bit more preplanning however.
Old 22nd July 2002
Lives for gear
Kris's Avatar
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Sounds like it's a bit late for advice, of which I have none anyways, but since were all offering help, let me know if you need some blistering harmonica, or some sweet melodic harmonica too!

dfegad Ahhhh... feel better now.
Old 22nd July 2002
Gear Head
🎧 15 years
How does the artist perform live? … with drums, bass etc or solo. I'd try to replicate his live situation in the studio, make him nice and comfortable then say, "play it right first time or I'll kill yah"

You could also use Beat Detective later to lock back into time for retracking etc.

Blood on the Tracks is a great reference ... good luck.

Wayne Gardner
Producer / Engineer
Sydney Australia

"Bruce just listened to all the songs on the greatest hits LP. He wants to
speed them all up, except for 'Thunder Road', which speeds up all by
itself." -- John Landau
Old 23rd July 2002
Well, he veers in an out of moods but he is overall thrilled at how he hates working with the band so little (he likes it) Drummer sat out one tune (after one comment 'shall I use the sizzle ride'? - I had to rush him to saftey away from the singer!)

All mic placement no eq - (good thing the Genelec 1031's added sizzle!) Swapped hi hats (first ones were brighter than all the cymbals) Spent ages getting a snare sound (mic choice & placement)


Neve 1073 - Vocals M149 UA1176
Neve 1073 - Di Martin (His!) (1963) UA1176 Fatso
Acc Neumann U67 - Drawmer 1960
Chiswick reach mic pre - Royer SF12 stereo OH
Kick API Royer 121
Sn Beyer 201 (on the shell side hole!) API - Fatso
Gtr 1 API
Gtr 2 API

The rest - Neve V series console

complete list will be updated here over time...

Tracking to 16 ch Prism Dream ADA - into PT Mix + 48k

Monitor mix in PT - D/A via Cranesong Hedd

Fold back (all from PT sends)

Singer - stereo
Drummer - Stereo
Bass - mono
Gtrs - mono

High concentration, lots of chill out diplomacy required, session musician direction etc...

Good start but the road ahead is long...
Old 23rd July 2002
Lives for gear
RKrizman's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Originally posted by Kris
Sounds like it's a bit late for advice, of which I have none anyways, but since were all offering help, let me know if you need some blistering harmonica, or some sweet melodic harmonica too!

dfegad Ahhhh... feel better now.
Hmm, so far we have Hammond, percussion, slide guitar and harmonica. Almost enough for the "gearslutz house band". Jules you should pick a tune and take everybody up on their offer. I'm only an mp3 away.

Old 23rd July 2002
I may well do. If so I will try to email em out Friday for work over weekend.. I am an FTP dunce but just the OD as a stuffed AIFF or Mp3 back to me should be ok!

Old 23rd July 2002
Here for the gear
dennisWNCW's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Getting the Singer/Songwriter session vibe is one of the most diffcult I've ever done. Trying to keep "The Artist" feeling the center of attention while still getting a foundation and working relationship with the rythmn section is sooooo hard. Some will go with experience like yours Jules and allow you room to create an open sound that works. Others demand things and smother the project. When it goes South, put on something that you did that worked-have tea and smile. Remember you do make great records.
Old 23rd July 2002
Lives for gear
loudist's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Looking good Man!

Do you know the Stephen Stills Acoustic Guitar sound for Martin D-28?
U87 cardioid, no filter and no pad if possible--->
Pultec EQP1 [email protected] 60hz cut @100 or 60hz Boost @ 2k (this is an old skool trick to boost and cut at the same low frequency on a Pultec)--->
1176 attack @1 o'clock, release @9 o'clock 8 : 1 ratio with healthy compression.

Give it a shot, could be love, could be crap... it depends on the guitar and player, day of week, phase of moon, strength of coffee.
Old 23rd July 2002
Gear Maniac
vsl666's Avatar
🎧 15 years

glad to here it went smoothly..
mmmm chiswick reach ? how is that pre ?
is there comp any cop ?ie is it anything like a fairchild ?

but much more to the point how was dinner ??
Old 23rd July 2002
Its a big esoteric Pre but the best for my Royer SF12 stereo Ribbon mic I have heard. In fact I bought if from the studio I am tracking at, so it has come home for a visit!

Dinner was very tasty but I threw my rattle out of my cot when my lunch order was wrong!
πŸ“ Reply

Similar Threads

Thread / Thread Starter Replies / Views Last Post
replies: 5773 views: 1858054
Avatar for crestifer
crestifer 4 hours ago
replies: 57 views: 20621
Avatar for gpiccolini
gpiccolini 12th May 2016
replies: 57 views: 23643
Avatar for Trev@Circle
[email protected] 4th January 2015
replies: 1357 views: 228309
Avatar for
[email protected] 3 days ago
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearspace Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.

Slide to join now Processing…

Forum Jump
Forum Jump