Many musicians who have a lot of experience gigging never cut it in the studio. That’s because they don’t realize that the mentality of the studio is different. Where a gig is fairly loose and usually low pressure, the studio is more job-like and serious. Where on a gig every note you play is gone the second your play it, it may be kept forever in the studio and is under a microscope.
Playing in the studio is a different animal than on a gig and requires different mindset. Here are 5 tips from How To Make Your Band Sound Great and The Studio Musician’s Handbook that will help you get off to a good start in the studio.
Make sure that your gear is comfortable to you. Make sure everything’s working, the cables aren’t crackling, your instrument is in tune and intonated, your tuner is working, and your amp sounds good. Make sure that you can set everything up quickly and be zero hassle to anybody, either technically or personally. Turn off your cellphone. Make it a point that everyone sees that you’re turning off your phone or leaving it outside the studio so they all understand that you’re not interested in phone calls while you’re working. Make the session a priority. — Paul ILL: LA Session Bass Player (Pink, Christina Aguilera, Bill Ward, Tina Turner)
I over-kill. I bring so much more stuff than we’ll use because that’s part of the charm of hiring me. It’s part of the “oooh, aahh” factor, and also it’s to be of service to the muse and the spirit of the session. If you’re not sure what you’re going to be doing or where the music is going to go, that one extra piece that you bring can make the difference. I’ll bring as many basses as I can fit in my car for that day with a B-15. — Paul ILL”
These prep tips are simple yet can be very important to the success of a session. Make them part of your studio routine.