So, you have selected the studio you will be doing your project with and the dates are set. You have been rehearsing right? Playing your songs in the studio is going to sound very different from the sound you heard in your rehearsal space. Sometimes its a huge difference. You will typically be separated from the other players. Physically as well as sometimes visually. You will be referencing your sound via headphones.
(More on headphones in the next blog)
Know your songs forwards, backwards and in between. In other words, be able to start the song from any measure and know where you are in the song. You may be asked by the engineer or producer, to play just a certain section to be edited later into the main take. New heads on the drum set the day before and tuned appropriately. New strings on guitars 2 or 3 days before the recording. New power tubes if using tube amps. If using a piano or keyboard tune to that. Record scratch (not really keeping) vocals so the rest of the band has a reference. Your engineer may even ask you to write out the vocals – it’s a good idea to do this beforehand and bring them to the session with you. Anything you can do to prepare before the session will save time/money and once in session everyone can focus solely on recording.
Record the rhythm tracks first, for all the tunes, then add the vocals and solo stuff as overdubs. Jam or play different songs, than what you will be recording, for at least a half hour to get a feel for the headphone sound and mix. Once that is done then and everyone is comfortable, go thru one of the project songs so the engineer can make sure tones are good and levels are good. Then make it happen.
There really is no sense in playing a song more than 4 times or takes. You will lose the freshness and it will sound bland. If it doesn’t happen, move on and come back to it later. Always have a couple of other songs to record in case it doesn’t work out with one of the tunes. Remember you do not need to record all at one. Sometimes its just a crappy day for playing. End the session and come back fresh the next day. If takes are going great pound the songs out, if not take a 20 minute break go outside get some air, relax and go back to it. Also, recording should not be arduous. Challenging a bit, yes and certainly fun and creative.