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> Which Skills A Guitarist Needs Nowadays To Make It
Bogdan Radovic
post Jul 24 2014, 12:45 AM
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I have noticed that nowadays, a guitarist/musician needs a lot more skills than before in order to make it. Somehow, some of these skills which are not strictly guitar related have become "must have" and "standard" over time and with the technology advances. I'll try to go through some of them and add my impressions about them and why they are relevant to modern guitarists.

* Home recording skills

OK, this one is probably the most "standard" one and we usually assume a guitarist has these skills, especially if he has been around for some times and is not a complete beginner. The truth is, not so many guitarists have this add-on skill as its assumed. Even if they have been playing for years. I have met so many of them. I must confess that it often surprised me, I somehow thought this one is always on the top of the add-on skills you must have in order to be successful in playing in bands, making music, sessions playing etc - being a musician. Essentially, home recording is not really a guitar related skill except that you'd be playing guitar in the process. Why do we need it?

Here are some benefits of guitarist knowing how to record music/guitar tracks at his home :

- Sharing ideas : it is so convenient to be able to lay down some tracks and share them with your band mates over internet when working on the new songs. It makes the process so much more efficient in comparison to going to the rehearsal just to find out if the part you came up with works well with the song. Also, you get so much more composing freedom, for example you can do layers and immediately hear how they sound together. This is something which is often hard to do on band rehearsals and you only get to hear/try it out when you get to the studio which can be expensive to have your experiments on the spot there.

- Collaboration possibilities : if you can record at home it means that you can take part in projects which are not strictly local, rather you can get involved with musicians from all over the world and make music together. This is very powerful. Such workflow using a traditional studio would probably be impossible as lots of changes/composing is involved in the process of musicians collaborating strictly online. This is a very exciting prospect one should not miss.

- Increasing recording experience : truth is that we all get nervous when recording. Some more than others of course but it is essentially a skill which is trained the same way you practice your alternate picking runs. With time and practice you do get better at it with manifests itself in being more comfortable when recording in the studio, being more creative on the spot and generally used to playing against a click track for example or other specific things you only get to experience when recording.

* Video recording/editing skills

Youtube is no doubt a extremely powerful tool every musician has access to. The problem is - it is video based. You need a video in order to take part. In order to get it, not only you need to know how to shoot it, you also need to know how to edit it and get it uploaded online. It is really annoying in essence, after so much guitar practicing we need to essentially be computer wizards and practice video recording techniques as well? What is the alternative, get professionals to shoot it? It is always an option but it is not very efficient one because : not all professionals have necessary equipment or know how to shoot the guitar videos (they'd be extremely good at shooting weddings though for example smile.gif ) ; sometimes you need to wait much more than you'd like, for example to schedule the shooting session, for materials to be edited and delivered etc etc. Of course, with the right professionals this job can be done really fast as well so probably the biggest downside is that there is less flexibility in this solution. If you hire a professional, you only get one chance to do it right and that is it. No changes afterwards, unless you are prepared to book multiple sessions for the same project.

This brings us back to the benefits of video recording/editing skills :

- You can expose yourself and your music via Youtube and other video services. Good video and audio will make you stand out of the crowd and if you are creative, unique and have that x-factor, you might just strike it big and get a popular video. Once it becomes popular, it is like playing hundreds of regular bar gigs where 100 people see you - but globally. Thinking more about it - it is so powerful isn't it?

- Collaboration projects : again, in order to collaborate with other musicians online in most cases you'll need to be able to provide a video. If you can do it, it means more opportunities for you (and fun! smile.gif ).

- Band benefits : being able to shoot video will mean a lot to the band you are playing in. You could shoot promos, short interviews, shows, tour diary or any other videos. It can help the bend reach more people tremendously with those materials. After all, you need a lot of fresh "materials" to keep it interesting.

* Promotion/marketing skills

This one probably completes the circle of add-on skills you need to have in order to stand a chance of being noticed. If we are good in the promotion and marketing department, that can really change the level and help us reach more listeners and ultimately expose our music to more people. I once read about a young band which made a simple agreement : they will consider playing in a band like a job and they'll work X number of hours on it every day. They will have different assignments/tasks and they will try hard every day. For example, one member would work on social networks presence, other will contact offline media like radio/tv etc, the other one would book/promote local concerts etc you get the picture. When I read it I was like : but of course! smile.gif That is a brilliant idea. How many young bands do such a thing? What is stopping them from doing it?

Here are some benefits of honing those skills :

- You are able to meet new people and expand your network - possibly the most valuable thing for the working musician btw.

- You can market your music and things you do more effectively, ultimately exposing your music as it deserves it.

- Be able to get and play more gigs. In the end, it is all about the gigs and you need to be able to play live as much as possible.

- Get experience (and exposure) from attending radio interviews and TV shows.

- Getting the feedback from the people who listen to your music. As you promote your music, you'll get all sorts of comments on your music which only means one thing : someone has been listening to it! Its so cool to get that feedback, even if it is negative smile.gif I don't know about you, but my fear has always been that I'll make music which no one would hear in the end for this or that reason.

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Now on the other hand, this is as much frightening prospect as it sounds exciting. IF you MUST have all those skills we talked about above, when do you get a chance to do actual music and practicing? I guess those who can do such multitasking have much better chances than others at "making it". I'd agree that the best approach is the one of the past where you get others to do all those distracting things and you focusing on the music, but those times are behind us now? Are they?

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What do you think about all this? Have you ever thought in that direction and what where your conclusions?
Some of those "extra skills" can be as hard or harder than playing the guitar itself. Are they worth putting the time in?
Which skills do you think will become "a must" in the coming times?


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Mertay
post Jul 24 2014, 01:16 AM
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+1

Today I was in a guitar shop chatting with the owner and there were a bunch of people there too.

Someone opened a video he recorded on youtube, it was a pretty basic pop song (vocal, drum, bass and acoustic guitar sort of stuff, the drums were plug-ins and mix quality was very average...nothing special at all) that didn't even had a guitar solo at all and immediately noticed the attention he got! as if even the better guitar players who didn't have video's got jealous for a moment!


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klasaine
post Jul 24 2014, 01:58 AM
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When you say 'make it' do mean make a living?


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Bogdan Radovic
post Jul 24 2014, 02:07 AM
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QUOTE (klasaine @ Jul 24 2014, 02:58 AM) *
When you say 'make it' do mean make a living?


Good question smile.gif

I guess I was mostly referring to making the next step as a guitarist.
We all start at the same place starting to learn the guitar and practicing. Some make more or less out of the whole playing/music thing depending on their goals. For example, getting into bands, making a living out of music, composing and getting songs out there, teaching, getting recognition as a guitarists, collaborating with other musicians, session work etc etc.


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Jim S.
post Jul 24 2014, 02:14 AM
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I do agree that with whatever instrument you play, you have to be able to record it and share. I have a drummer friend, he and I could collaborate very well except he will not give computers and recording a fair try. This has been going on for 10 yrs. I remember having a huge windows computer with a 50 foot RCA cable running from a mixer in the other room when I was 21 or so.......

Thank you for making me realize that I have learned basically nothing new in 10 yrs. lol

That's not really true but I haven't learned nearly as much as I should for the exposure.

Guitar is fairly easy to record but drums or a real piano or sax ect.. Would be a lot harder because you would need a dedicated space which is available anytime you have the time to play. Setting up mics on drums and mixing it And having an environment suitable is harder to find than someone like me who headphone records/plays.

Needless to say I know deep down in my heart that if another instrument should suit me well, I'd find time and resources to do it.

Nowadays you need to know your instrument, learn how to use a computer to record/share with whomever you want.


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Bogdan Radovic
post Jul 24 2014, 02:22 AM
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QUOTE (Jim S. @ Jul 24 2014, 03:14 AM) *
I do agree that with whatever instrument you play, you have to be able to record it and share. I have a drummer friend, he and I could collaborate very well except he will not give computers and recording a fair try. This has been going on for 10 yrs. I remember having a huge windows computer with a 50 foot RCA cable running from a mixer in the other room when I was 21 or so.......

Thank you for making me realize that I have learned basically nothing new in 10 yrs. lol

That's not really true but I haven't learned nearly as much as I should for the exposure.

Guitar is fairly easy to record but drums or a real piano or sax ect.. Would be a lot harder because you would need a dedicated space which is available anytime you have the time to play. Setting up mics on drums and mixing it And having an environment suitable is harder to find than someone like me who headphone records/plays.

Needless to say I know deep down in my heart that if another instrument should suit me well, I'd find time and resources to do it.

Nowadays you need to know your instrument, learn how to use a computer to record/share with whomever you want.


Thanks for sharing this story. Now that you mention drummer vs recording, there is always a solution but we need to keep adapting (or do we?) smile.gif For example, depending on the project demands etc - drummers nowadays can use electronic drums for recording/sharing. Some electronic sets out there are killer and you can barely notice the difference between a live set or electronic one. Actually, quality electronic drums in 90% of cases should actually sound better out of the box than home recorded real set.

The question and doubt I'm still having is : is it worth it? Is "evolution" a necessity in music? Do we need to learn skills which are not guitar ones to make more of the instrument in the end?


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Jim S.
post Jul 24 2014, 02:54 AM
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QUOTE (Bogdan Radovic @ Jul 23 2014, 09:22 PM) *
Thanks for sharing this story. Now that you mention drummer vs recording, there is always a solution but we need to keep adapting (or do we?) smile.gif For example, depending on the project demands etc - drummers nowadays can use electronic drums for recording/sharing. Some electronic sets out there are killer and you can barely notice the difference between a live set or electronic one. Actually, quality electronic drums in 90% of cases should actually sound better out of the box than home recorded real set.

The question and doubt I'm still having is : is it worth it? Is "evolution" a necessity in music? Do we need to learn skills which are not guitar ones to make more of the instrument in the end?


It's is a good question and the answer is specific to ones own goals. Do you want to jam at a coffee shop and share an intimate setting or plan on writing and getting people to notice you? Keeping up on equipment and learning how to do computer things has always given me motivation to play and learn more. I've always been into these sorts of things.

It's worth it if you want to and if you can use it effectively. Having no direction or encouragement toward computers will make you stray. I like figuring out glitches or searching for answers but it really does not make me a better player.

If you took one person and cloned them. Person 1 had Internet and person 2 had a record player with their favorite songs. I'd have to believe player 2 would be much more genuine and comfortable player
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Todd Simpson
post Jul 24 2014, 04:19 AM
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DUDE!!! PLEASE ask FRAN to put your original post in our WIKI!!! Maybe make a new section about "Which skills a Guitarist Needs To Make It" and we can use this as the introductory post and have sub posts related to each topic?


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klasaine
post Jul 24 2014, 06:44 AM
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QUOTE (Bogdan Radovic @ Jul 23 2014, 06:07 PM) *
Good question smile.gif

I guess I was mostly referring to making the next step as a guitarist.
We all start at the same place starting to learn the guitar and practicing. Some make more or less out of the whole playing/music thing depending on their goals. For example, getting into bands, making a living out of music, composing and getting songs out there, teaching, getting recognition as a guitarists, collaborating with other musicians, session work etc etc.


Each one of those requires a different skill set. There is of course overlap.
* If you want to be a solo artist you gotta develop your own thing.
* If you want to be the touring guitarist for for say Joss Stone (or whomever) then you need to be able to cop tones from records, be a quick study, don't have any attitude problems and be cool to hang out with ... and can you sing!?
* Maybe you want to be a 'pit' guitarist on Broadway? Heavy reading, lots of styles, banjo and mandolin skills ...

But if you ask 50 different guitarists how they 'made it'? - you'll get 50 different answers.
Some get a gig just by meeting the right person at the right party. Happens everyday.

So really, for any actual individual ... ? I have no idea what you need to make it.

This post has been edited by klasaine: Jul 24 2014, 03:41 PM


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Mith
post Jul 24 2014, 10:01 AM
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QUOTE (Todd Simpson @ Jul 24 2014, 11:19 AM) *
DUDE!!! PLEASE ask FRAN to put your original post in our WIKI!!! Maybe make a new section about "Which skills a Guitarist Needs To Make It" and we can use this as the introductory post and have sub posts related to each topic?


Totally a good idea. Alot of people don't think about this kinda of stuff. You don't have to be the best at any of these things "even at playing guitar" but if you do a decent job out of all of those it will be amazing how far it will get you.


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Cosmin Lupu
post Jul 25 2014, 02:52 PM
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QUOTE (klasaine @ Jul 24 2014, 05:44 AM) *
Each one of those requires a different skill set. There is of course overlap.
* If you want to be a solo artist you gotta develop your own thing.
* If you want to be the touring guitarist for for say Joss Stone (or whomever) then you need to be able to cop tones from records, be a quick study, don't have any attitude problems and be cool to hang out with ... and can you sing!?
* Maybe you want to be a 'pit' guitarist on Broadway? Heavy reading, lots of styles, banjo and mandolin skills ...

But if you ask 50 different guitarists how they 'made it'? - you'll get 50 different answers.
Some get a gig just by meeting the right person at the right party. Happens everyday.

So really, for any actual individual ... ? I have no idea what you need to make it.


Great answer from a pro smile.gif I'd say make a list with what you want from your guitar playing and be honest about it:

- what you wish for
- where you are now
- what would you need to do to get there - basically we all know pretty much what we have to do, but the biggest problem is keeping the course steady smile.gif

You know, when I asked Drew Goddard - I told this story at least once more - from Karnivool, what his advice toward aspiring musicians would be... he said 'NEVER give up! Stick to what you are doing and work on doing it the best you can!'

This is a very honest thing to say smile.gif It encompasses a lot in it and it may seem like a very ambiguous thing, blurry even, but for each one of us, it's actually the choice we make towards music and not something else smile.gif That's how I see it.


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Jul 25 2014, 03:46 PM
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Here's a brutal truth for you and one that I doubt many will like, accept or agree with.

Many musicians do not have the skilll set of a sound engineer. They do not have the time or focus to really gain the skills as they have to focus most of their attention on learning and practicing their instrument, networking as a musician and working as one. Worst still many don't even know or even understand that they don't know that which they don't know but so many record, mix, master and produce not only their own material but charge others to do so.

If you're doing home recording just to get your ideas down then fine but don't fool yourself that it's much more than that.

Oh and +1 with what Ken says.


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klasaine
post Jul 25 2014, 05:41 PM
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You may have noticed I didn't mention one word about 'recording' in my post.


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Jul 25 2014, 05:45 PM
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I did Ken and thought that it was a deliberate omission cool.gif .


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Bogdan Radovic
post Jul 25 2014, 10:31 PM
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QUOTE (klasaine @ Jul 24 2014, 07:44 AM) *
Each one of those requires a different skill set. There is of course overlap.
* If you want to be a solo artist you gotta develop your own thing.
* If you want to be the touring guitarist for for say Joss Stone (or whomever) then you need to be able to cop tones from records, be a quick study, don't have any attitude problems and be cool to hang out with ... and can you sing!?
* Maybe you want to be a 'pit' guitarist on Broadway? Heavy reading, lots of styles, banjo and mandolin skills ...

But if you ask 50 different guitarists how they 'made it'? - you'll get 50 different answers.
Some get a gig just by meeting the right person at the right party. Happens everyday.

So really, for any actual individual ... ? I have no idea what you need to make it.


Very insightful reply and it really is that individual. There are some overlaps there though that got me thinking about this in the first place. Somehow, more and more the need to become "multi-skilled" is surfacing this way or another. Which surely drags away the focus from the main thing - playing the instrument. Is this skills balance shifting over times?

QUOTE (Mith @ Jul 24 2014, 11:01 AM) *
Totally a good idea. Alot of people don't think about this kinda of stuff. You don't have to be the best at any of these things "even at playing guitar" but if you do a decent job out of all of those it will be amazing how far it will get you.


Good point - I'd also agree that you do not need to be the best out there (is that even possible?) but with a twist : you need to give your best and believe in what you are doing in order to achieve your goals/dreams. When it comes to music, what I found that works for me in order to keep pushing and be inspired is to set reachable, short term goals (I can easily call them dreams). That feeling of being "almost there" really helps me focus. One of the first ones that got me into playing was "just" performing live in a high school gig or similar stage. Nothing fancy but it was a long way to get there and it kept me motivated.

QUOTE
If you're doing home recording just to get your ideas down then fine but don't fool yourself that it's much more than that.


Absolutely - many musicians don't have those skills unless they want to develop them and put their time into study.

The home recording skill I have mentioned is how it can affect a guitar player or any other musician. I can't imagine not being able to record at home. How would I "document" my composing/ideas when working on the songs? It is not possible to go to the professional studio or keep it all in the head. Also there is little point in going to the pro studio to record tracks for an online collaboration project where other participants will record at home in varying quality.

On the other hand, home recording specific to the instrument we play can surely be achieved? (not by any musician of course). For example, recording guitar tracks via Kemper amp unit makes things a lot easier than the "traditional way" (mic+preamp+amp+treated room+mixing console etc etc). With the right gear and knowledge (study) one should be able to learn how to record usable guitar tracks on his own. This is what recent technology brings to musicians and it is powerful. When my band was recording an album, we basically composed on the go (for example fill lines etc which can't be done live) in the professional studio and experimented there on the spot (and time was ticking away). We surely could have used more preparation if we had better home recording possibilities and skills. Some ideas that sounded cool on rehearsals didn't turn out well when recorded. Also, the minimum quality of the guitar tracks/recording really depends on the intended use. You would not aim for recording a full band album at home rather in a professional studio for the best impact and presentation of your music.

But this is a very wide subject - there are more details smile.gif

Young bands usually can't afford big studios, also we are seeing (at least in my country) decline of big studios as the big record labels are more and more hesitant at signing new bands (and big record publishers pay for the big studios/pro sound engineers which they usually also own). These bends in this case are forced to do their recording themselves or hire low end "studios", they just have no other options. They record a demo, put it up on soundcloud etc and they pave their way forward. Ultimately, pushing through the obstacles course and getting better gigs, fans base, making some money of it and usually investing it all and more back into music (pro studio time, pro video recording etc).

Let me share a specific story somewhat relevant to this : when my band was applying for a big guitar contest, the rules stated that we need to submit 3 demo songs. The term was short and we only had 2 songs that were recorded in somewhat pro studio. Extremely conveniently - we had another song recorded completely by ourselves at home. We quickly mixed it the best way we knew and bang, we had 3 songs to submit in order to apply for the contest (done by playing live in front of the audience and jury). Consequently, it turned out that we won the contest and it meant a huge music break for us. If we didn't have any home recording skills (any of us in the band), we would surely not be able to apply and therefore miss a huge opportunity for us.


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Bossie
post Jul 25 2014, 11:07 PM
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Not to forget....grow those skills and keep your ego down...seems to be rare these days huh.gif
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klasaine
post Jul 25 2014, 11:51 PM
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QUOTE (Bogdan Radovic @ Jul 25 2014, 02:31 PM) *
somehow, more and more the need to become "multi-skilled" is surfacing this way or another. Which surely drags away the focus from the main thing - playing the instrument. *Is this skills balance shifting over times?*


I don't think so.
The guys and gals that make it/made it all have more 'skills' than what they show or what they become known for.
Whether that's doubling on different instruments, being a decent engineer, a good arranger, can write out string and horn parts, write lyrics, sing well, is an expert at a particular type of ethnic music, is a great business person, knows everybody, etc.

You'd probably be surprised at the 'other' thing(s) your favorite guitar player knows how to do well.

*Quick example: Steve Cropper http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Cropper and http://www.allmusic.com/artist/steve-cropp...0751738/credits was also one of the guys doing the 'books' (an accountant) at STAX records (and studio) at the same time as he was doing proably three sessions a day as a guitarist, songwriter and arranger.
If you don't know who he is check the links I posted.

This post has been edited by klasaine: Jul 25 2014, 11:56 PM


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Jul 26 2014, 11:46 AM
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QUOTE (Bogdan Radovic @ Jul 25 2014, 09:31 PM) *
...
Absolutely - many musicians don't have those skills unless they want to develop them and put their time into study.

...


When a pro studio shuts down you lose that facility as well as the engineers and their skill set. I personally know an awful lot of very skilled engineers who have lost jobs because a lot of pro studios that have closed their doors in the last 15 years or so. A lot of those engineers were and are friends of mine. What have they been replaced by? Very little if any thing.

I've been in this industry long enough to have seen my income/turnover drop by 2/3rds despite doing the same volume of work. None of my costs have gone down in that time. I make less per hour than any other professional that I know. I make less per hour than any skilled tradesman that I know. I make less per hour than a lot of unskilled workers. I paid my last trainee more than I paid myself. If I achieve 75% booking I make a little over minimum wage once I've paid all my costs. I actually set my rate card as low as I possibly can so that independent musicians can have access to a cost effective mastering solution. Regardless of that I'm continually told by musicians and bands to charge them less or they will do the work at home in their daw. Those same people still ask me for free help and advice when they decide to 'master' their own work to save themselves a few $s.

The industry is at a point now where I don't know any professional engineer who will advise a young person to go in to the industry. In the same way studios are not regarded as a good investment at all so it is extremely difficult to get banks to provide a line of credit. I'm continually told by my accountant that I should consider selling up and closing.

Technology doesn't necessarily replace a skill set by the way. Proper gainstaging remains an issue whether you do analogue or digital. What we do see is that very few people nowadays have a clue how important digital gainstaging is becuase they lack the training - at best all they have done is read their daws manual, watched some youtube vids and so on. Take a listen to the majority of home/project studio releases n Soundcloud - very few are properly gainstaged. A lot of them are so poor that you can hear distortion, ISOs, clipping, high noise levels etc even on a poor quality audio stream.

As for guitar modellers like a Kemper - whilst they certainly may have a place and can save time and space the sad fact is that modelling technology still isn't 100%. If you listen to a reamp recording made with a Kemper or similar A/B'ed in a studio with good 3 way mid or far fields you start to hear the differences. If you pile on lots of instances of the same modeller in to a single recording you will again start to hear issues. It's much the same reason why a recording engineer wil use 20 KM184s to close mic a full orchestra rather than 20 Rode NTs. The difference between a single Rode and a single 184 may be magrginal but if you use a lot all at once it aggregates. If you learn how to mic your cab properly you will also learn a lot about the sonics and positioning of your set up, which is a skill that you can then translate to live work. Reamping doesn't teach you to focus on that.

Home/project and even small professional recording studios do not possess the equipment or space to be able to hold and use a wide range of mics. Home/project and small pro mixing engineers do not have the room to house a full size console and outboard hardware. Yet again whilst modelling has come on there are still differences between say a real Manley passive and a vst emulation, which become all too noticeable if you use the latter in multiple instances.

The same is true at mastering - sure you can 'master' in the box but don't fool yourself that it will achieve the same quality as using mastering hardware - you will lose quality in terms of, for instance, width and depth. Mastering isn't a case of slapping any old thing on the 2 bus just to push level. it's much more about a final, critical and objective check of a recording and if you don't have big 3 way mid/far fields and a studio set up to house them then you can not do that properly. I have way over £100,000 invested in the room and sound tratment before even trying to cost in equipent and the build cost of the building generally - the investment is so that the monitoring eniironment is appropriate for mastering. All those 'home mastering' and worse, all those small mixing studio who 'master' don't understand that and really are fooling themselves and their clients.

A large part of why the recorded quality of a lot of recent music is so poor is that people do not have the skill set and can not or do not put the time in. To be a mastering engineer takes 1000s of hours of training and practice AFTER you have worked as a mixing or recording engineer or similar. To be a good mastering engineer requires 10,000s of hours. Each time that I buy a new item for my studio I literally work with it off line for over 1000 hours to really get to know it sonically.

The majority of recent musicians and producers seem to think that recording a couple of their own releases qualifies them as an engineer. Sorry but it doesn't and it's not even close. The continuous erosion of the skill base will result in there being very few engineers left who actually do have the skill set and so recordings will suffer. Sadly there are far too many small studios and young professional engineers who don't have the skill set but who think that they do. Sadly there are far too many whose entire knowledge and experience is based on incomplete and often inaccurate autodidactic experience of using a daw at home.

What you are losing is both the skill set and the facility to do a high quality recording.

It really is a case of people not knowing what they don't even know and probably not even caring.


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Get your music professionally mastered by anl AES registered Mastering Engineer. Contact me for Audio Mastering Services and Advice and visit our website www.miromastering.com

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We use professional, mastering grade hardware in our mastering studo. Our hardware includes:
Cranesong Avocet II Monitor Controller, Dangerous Music Liasion Insert Hardware Router, ATC SCM Pro Monitors, Lavry Black DA11, Prism Orpheus ADC/DAC, Gyratec Gyraf XIV Parallel Passive Mastering EQ, Great River MAQ 2NV Mastering EQ, Kush Clariphonic Parallel EQ Shelf, Maselec MLA-2 Mastering Compressor, API 2500 Mastering Compressor, Eventide Eclipse Reverb/Echo.
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Cosmin Lupu
post Jul 26 2014, 01:15 PM
Post #19


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Tony, you are very correct in your statement and I think I said it before - in here, we lack people with actual knowledge and true experienced based on using the knowledge during the years. Sound engineers are trying to learn nowadays, with the aid of online courses or the SAE University, which is THE ONLY one place in Romania where you can learn sound engineering.

On the other hand, people are looking for the following combo:

Less costs with good quality

When they have no idea about what quality is, they can become amazed about something which doesn't come even close. And costs, let's face it, everyone tries to cut some and usually, people, even if they know it's hard work and it can mean the rise or fall of their music, will still want to cut some costs.

It's sad, but unfortunately this is the trend. How do you see it? I mean, the future? Is there any solution for this?


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Jul 26 2014, 02:32 PM
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Cosmin - rightly or not the course offered by SAE and their like aren't particularly respected by pro studios. The students just don't get anything like enough hands on studio time and far too often lack basic skills. At best I'd see someone who had been to SAE or a similar institution as just starting a proper studio apprenticeship. I know manypro engineers however who wouldn't even give them the time of day.

I agree about low cost with good quality - that's what i set my stall at - offering an effectiv and efficient mastering solution. There's always however a minimum charge below which one can not go or you just don't break even. My breakeven is based on things like facility and service costs - things like electricity, internet, business rates, accountant fees, social security and taxes. I charge very marginally above that so that I can have a wage and also so that I can reinvest in and maintain equipment etc.

Where do I see things going?

Sadly I think we're going to lose an awful lot of studio facilities, experience and knowledge in the industry. What we'll end up with is a small number of large multi-room studios owned by major labels and/or digital aggregators. The latter will get a lot of digital mixing/mastering business from indie groups and charge what they want for so-so quality work simply as there will be a lack of competition. You can already see this happening with the 'in-house' mastering offered by digital (re)sellers/aggregators the mastering is really so-so These 'in-house' studios often treat non major names as over night cookie cutter work - so all the music is processed the same way via templates. Worst still they very often aren't even checked or verified before it goes to the pressing plant/put up on-line - I know of instances where work has been screwed by incorrect SRs because of this. One big 'in-house' spent months/years embedding incorrect and useless ISRCs in to a huge number of indie releases. Iif a band/label isn't happy though they have little, if any, redress as they are not the studio's client - the (re)seller is.

If you use an independent studio however your contract is direct with the studio. I provide revisions so that the client gets a product that they are happy with. I never cookie cut/use templates and I always listen, verify and check audio etc before I do anything. I very often let a band send remixes but don't charge any extra even though I should as a remix is usually regarded as additional/new work. I provide free help, advice, mix feedback whether or not a band uses my studio. If I screw up an ISRC etc I correct at my cost. All of that helps provide an effective service and is value added. More often than not though all that bands want is the cheapest solution and you get what you pay for.

You could say that major labels have always funnelled new talent towards their pet studios ona 360 contract. That's true in part but in the past the band still had some say and some redress about the quality of what came out of the studio. Now however...

So for all of you indie musicians, producers and labels your future will be a couple of large multis who will charge for indifferent work or DIY at home without the facilities and with limited skills. Most people won't care as they won't ever realise what's gone.

Is there a solution?
Yes.

Accept and budget for proper, professional recording/mixing and mastering. Bands seem happy to pay a graphic artist to do their cover art/tshirts and a video crew and post to film their music vid etc but then don't want to pay for professional recording/mixing/mastering. To me that is asinine as they are actually paying out on secondary things whilst skimping on what should be seen as important. Which is more important in the medium/long term - having a great looking album cover but a record that sounds crap or an ok one but with good/high quality audio? It's your choice. Use the independent pro studios or you will lose us.

This post has been edited by tonymiro: Jul 26 2014, 02:48 PM


--------------------
Get your music professionally mastered by anl AES registered Mastering Engineer. Contact me for Audio Mastering Services and Advice and visit our website www.miromastering.com

Be friends on facebook with us here.

We use professional, mastering grade hardware in our mastering studo. Our hardware includes:
Cranesong Avocet II Monitor Controller, Dangerous Music Liasion Insert Hardware Router, ATC SCM Pro Monitors, Lavry Black DA11, Prism Orpheus ADC/DAC, Gyratec Gyraf XIV Parallel Passive Mastering EQ, Great River MAQ 2NV Mastering EQ, Kush Clariphonic Parallel EQ Shelf, Maselec MLA-2 Mastering Compressor, API 2500 Mastering Compressor, Eventide Eclipse Reverb/Echo.
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