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How To Record Perfect Guitar Parts In The Studio

Tom HessBecoming successful in the music industry and getting into a successful band is a goal that many musicians aspire to reach.  In the process of fulfilling this ambition, one of the critical skills you must develop is the ability to record your guitar parts well in the studio.  Learning how to record your music in a studio setting while meeting the established budget and timelines will increase your odds of success in the music business and will make you a lot more valuable for any band that you want to join.

Sadly, most musicians (including many of those who already play guitar at a high level) don’t begin to realize the importance of working on their studio recording skills until they walk into a recording studio to record their first album.  No matter how well you can play guitar at home (or even while performing live), walking into a recording studio for the first time can be a very humbling experience. Few things are more frustrating for guitar players than having excellent general musical skills but not being able to quickly and accurately record their guitar playing in the studio.

How does learning to record guitar parts well in the studio affect your music career?
When you are ready to record your next album with your band, the costs of recording in a professional studio can reach hundreds of dollars per hour.  The more time it takes your entire band to record the songs, the more money has to be budgeted for studio costs.  On top of that, if at the end of the recording session the songs are still not recorded up to the expected standard, your band (or the record company) can expect to pay a whole lot more money for the studio engineer to fix/edit the sloppy recordings.  You can do your part to avoid such situations by making sure that you are always prepared to record your music well in the studio.

Most bands that have a limited budget to pay for studio time face one of two choices:

1.  Hire experienced studio musicians (who do not play in the band) to help record the needed parts quickly, reliably and cheaply.  Many record companies decide that it would be cheaper overall to hire a session musician to record the band’s album in the studio than to pay for an additional hundred (or more) hours of editing time that would otherwise be required by the engineer to fix the imperfect recordings of the actual band members .


2.  Accept the mediocre recordings and settle for less than perfect sound on their album in order to avoid spending more money.

The good news is that it is possible to avoid having to make such unpleasant choices (as described above) by becoming proficient at recording your guitar parts in the studio accurately and quickly.  You can develop this ability in the same way that you develop your other guitar playing skills – by consistent practice!  However, the ability to record music in the studio is a very special skill that needs to be practiced in a unique way that is different from how you normally practice.  This is one of the reasons why even very advanced guitarists have a very challenging time recording even the most simple guitar parts PERFECTLY in the studio.

Spending more time “recording” will help you to improve somewhat, but until and unless you are aware of the most common mistakes that guitarists make in the recording studio you will find it difficult to track your progress in this area.  To learn how to avoid the most common mistakes made by guitarists in the recording studio, study this free guide on how to record perfect guitar parts in the studio.

The most challenging and time consuming aspect of recording guitar parts for an album is creating flawlessly tight rhythm guitar tracks.  This goes far deeper than simply playing “in time” (something that most experienced guitarists are already conscious of).  The fact is that although “playing in time” is definitely important, it is only of the things that must be paid attention to when recording guitar in the studio.  Here are a few things that need to be considered when recording rhythm guitar in the studio:

  • Maintaining a consistent amount of pick articulation and tone on each track.
  • Recording the guitars perfectly tight (in time) with the bass and drums.
  • Keeping all of the chords and notes on the recording sounding perfectly stable.
  • Not allowing any sloppy noise from the strings to end up on the recording.
  • Keeping the palm muting constant on every track.
  • Intonating the rhythm guitars flawlessly with the other instruments used in the song.  TIP: Tuning/intonating your guitar in the same way that you do for normal playing and practicing will make it extremely difficult for you to achieve this!  You can learn exactly how to tune your guitar for recording in my free guide on how to record perfect guitar parts in the studio.

The above listed points are not very difficult to pay attention to and control in isolation.  However, the greatest challenge of recording perfect rhythm guitar tracks in the studio comes from having to do the following:

  1. Get EVERY element listed above to be perfect on your recorded tracks.
  2. Do step 1 quickly and consistently to save yourself and your band a LOT of money in studio recording costs.
  3. Do both of the above steps 2-4 times (depending on whether you are double tracking or quad tracking the rhythm section).

Now that you understand more about the challenges guitar players face in the recording studio, here are some suggestions on how you can use this information to help you and your band:

  1. Stay determined and patient!  Recording guitar well in the studio takes time to develop just like any other musical skill.  Even though it may feel frustrating to start from the beginning in this area of guitar playing, you should feel excited from knowing that you are on your way to overcoming a major weakness that is holding back your guitar playing!  As with all musical skills, you will be able to master this area of guitar playing a lot more quickly by getting help from a master guitar teacher.
  2. Determine how much you truly know about recording guitar parts in the studio right now.  Use the free recording guide on how to record perfect guitar parts in the studio to help you do this.
  3. After you get specific about your weaknesses in this area, begin taking the actions needed to improve your skills for future studio recording sessions.

Improve your recording skills in the studio will put you far ahead of most other aspiring musicians and will greatly improve your chances for success in the music industry.

About The Author:
Tom Hess is a successful professional guitar player, composer and the guitarist of the band Rhapsody Of Fire. He also trains musicians to reach their guitar playing goals in his rock guitar lessons online. Visit his website, to read more articles about guitar playing, get free guitar tips and guitar playing resources.

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