Arlen Roth on How to Run a Recording Session
There are definitely right as well as wrong ways in which we can run a recording session, and with my upcoming Slide Summit album really underway, each session seems to present new challenges and approaches that must be taken. Some recording studios are more in a “time is money, money’s time” kind of mode, and when you get there, there can be a rather strict vibe in the air.
I actually am all for making things happen in a short span of time, with an intense sense of creativity in the studio, and of course, making sure there are the right kinds of players who can make this sort of thing happen. Experience is a good thing all around, and I can remember how I was on such a “high” when I was first breaking in to work in the studios, because I could deliver what they wanted in short order, and I was able to keep them on or even under budget!
On these sessions, I have been of course, having to cut the rhythm tracks first and then do the overdubs with the artist whom I am doing the duet with. This means that we still have the option to try to get those “magic” takes as the track is being recorded, giving it an even more “live” approach. This is of course, only possible if you isolate the amps so they are not bleeding into any of the other mics being used for the drums, bass, vocals etc.
Above all, you must remember that it is the creative side of things, and the final result you are looking to nurture with the kinds of sessions you choose to run. There is psychology involved, timing, emotions, egos and many other factors as well. The main thing is to stay focused and to keep your fellow players tuned into what you’re looking for in them. Many times the hardest part is when the tracks are over but someone must stay to do overdubs, or to fix some parts they may have messed up, while everyone else got it right. An in-experienced player can fall into a ball of nerves during a time like this, and it can become a bit too much of being under the microscope for some people. These were the times that were hardest for me when I first started, because it seemed that every time it got down to me alone, they seemed to want to literally “milk” me of everything I was capable of. It always seemed that no matter how many perfect takes I’d give them, they over-utilized the luxury of having me there at their disposal, complete with all of their lack of understanding, as well as their lack of ability to hear when something is right! As I move along on these recording dates I’ll be reporting to you about how it is all going, and all the things about it I can pass on to you that can help!
Gibson.com’s Arlen Roth, affectionately known The King of All Guitar Teachers, is music lesson pioneer and the quintessential guitarist. An accomplished and brilliant musician — and one of the very few who can honestly say he’s done it all — Roth has, over the course of his celebrated 35-year career, played on the world’s grandest stages, accompanied many of the greatest figures in modern music and revolutionized the concept of teaching guitar.