#1
Do you usually start recording guitars first? Do you start with the intro of the song first and work your way to the end? Or maybe you start with the chorus first? What instrument do you usually include last?

I just recently started recording original material and i would like to know you guys' process when recording a song.
#2
Drums first. Absolutely. Track the drums for the whole track before anything else. Then record everything on top of that. Preferably the rhythm section first, then leading instruments/vocals. Solos etc. last.
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#3
^ +1
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#4
This is how I like to do it:

Drums
Bass
Guitar/Piano (whichever plays the main rhythm part first)
Vocals
Extra stuff (solos, vocal harmonies, other instruments, etc.)

I know that some prefer to do guitar/piano before the bass, but for me it's easier in that order.

If it's a tough song to play I like to use double tracks for each instrument after the drums (and for vocals as well if needed), and then record one part at a time. Obviously this doesn't always work, it depends how the parts are connected, and what I can fix after when editing.

And sometimes I start by recording a temporary track with metronome clicks (which I obviously remove later), if it's a song where I really want to stay dead of the beats. Also it kind of depends, I'm not the best drummer so if I were to lay the drum track myself I need the metronome, but if I were to have a good drummer playing it's often not needed (or up to him/her of course).
Last edited by Arzosah at Feb 3, 2016,
#5
Pretty much what everyone said above.
I start with a scratch track.
Then usually drums, bass, guitar/piano, vocals, misc.. Not always but I'd say it's pretty standard.
I almost alway use click. I haven't run into many people that don't.

Rhythm section typically plays straight through, maybe a few solid takes and then a few touch up/experimental takes of different parts.

I'd say lead parts are pretty random as far as where to start tracking. Maybe a few takes all the way through to get warmed up, but tracking starts wherever inspiration starts.. Sometimes even the outro.

Vocals are probably tracked start to finish for 2-3 solid takes.. Then go section by section experimenting and fine tuning.

Save everything.. We've even pulled takes from scratch tracks.

I also like to edit as I go. Usually with a good drummer you can get by with little editing or just shifting a few sections. Crappy drummers can take a bit of work. Apart from that usually everything can be edited on fly.

Im always tweaking the mix during downtime.. But that's probably pretty common.
#6
I usually start setting up the metronome, then recording a guitar or keyboard scratch track, and a melody scratch track. Then drums or percussion, followed by either bass or rhythm guitar.

Next thing is keyboard and other effects, and maybe some guitar doubling. Acoustic guitar, for example, I usually the same thing twice, with two different mic placements, and plugged directly into the interface.

Then I'll either track lead vocals or lead guitar, depending on whether the lead guitar plays of the vocals or is more of a "fixed" thing. I follow that with recording guitar and vocal harmonies, extra voices, any extra instruments.

I then do a kind of pre-mix (just so I can hear it as a whole) and check if there is something I don't like/want to re-record. I'll usually tweak and edit drums and keys at this stage.

I usually have at least 2-3 good tracks of everything (except drums), in case I need to edit something, or want to double something up.
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#7
I always record drums first if I'm not using a live drum kit, then a keyboard (piano, organ), then I go for a lead vocal. The reason I go for a vocal as soon as possible is that the stuff I record is very vocal oriented often with a lot of harmony or background vocals. I find that if I continue to lay down more instruments before I have a vocal to guide the recording, I play to "busy" like I'm trying to make it sound fuller when the only reason it sounds a little bare bones is because there is no vocal. Also if I don't have a vocal in place early on it is difficult to put on the kind of vocal I really want because the instruments may be dictating an alternate or conflicting sound or feel. I like to let the vocal dictate the dynamics of the song.

After the drums, keys and lead vocal, I go for the bass, then guitars then background vocals. All the added percussion or other fluff stuff comes last. Season to taste and enjoy.
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Last edited by Rickholly74 at Feb 4, 2016,
#8
I agree with all the above. Exact same order as Arzosah.

I might go back and edit bass or drums later. But drums (I mean a drum machine, or some other cut/paste/repeat drum sample pattern) are essential as a regular pulse to follow. That's assuming you want a regular pulse! Mostly I do. But occasionally, if I want something a little looser, I might go back and delete (or mix down) the drum guide track and overdub real time drum hits.
I'll often overdub fills or cymbal hits anyway, maybe along with extra percussion. It's easier to get a feel for those when the track is more complete.