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Help me settle an argument with tracking bands in the Golden Era
Old 21st October 2018
  #31
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vincentvangogo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Master Moss View Post
Can you tell us more? Which songs do they refer to on the site that you know for certain aren't done to a click, though the site argues that they were?

Have read that page a few times and have only seen the plots for some very classic songs (Highway To Hell, Stairway etc.) and some well-known modern ones (Never Again)..

The plots seem like compelling evidence for the presence of clicks or not.. They generally look to sounds right as well.. One can very easily here the tempo increase before the first chorus of 'Highway To Hell' for example..

Can you link to the song plots for the 'handful of songs' you know to be incorrect?

Thanks,

-MM
I just had a look and they've either taken them down, or it was on another site that did the same thing. (There was a GS thread maybe five years ago on the same topic which is how I found them.) I was surprised because they were pretty garagey sounding tracks. It's possible they've subsequently improved their detection method, but it made me pretty skeptical of claims that certain 60s bands had used clicks.
Old 21st October 2018
  #32
Leon Russell did the first "one man band" album here in LA back in 1971 or so. He played everything, including the drums. He can't play the drums so he hit them one at a time and overdubbed the rest. Needless to say it's not that great. A few years later I did some stuff for him at that Encino house studio. By then it was the full band, everyone playing together. I was very impressed on how much fun they were having compared to any commercial studio sessions I'd been to.

That's when I got sold on the lucy-goosie home studio vibe.
Old 21st October 2018
  #33
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127Riot's Avatar
 

I would always choose to have a band play together capturing the drums, bass, guitars, as much as I could of the main rethym sections. Then overdub solos and vocals. IME this is the way to capture the best of what live players offer. I like bleed and use it to benefit the recording. I was born in 78 and didn't start recording till the 90's so I'm not sure how they did it. I did research Phil Spectors recordings and he did record full bands vocals and all.
Old 21st October 2018
  #34
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Phil Spector at some point was recording with two drummers on the original tracks.
Old 21st October 2018
  #35
Lot’s of great music has been made piece by piece, part by part.
Stevie Wonder has been mentioned. Lots of Prince’s recordings. McCartney solo album. Hermit of Mink Hollow by Rundgren.
In 1980 when I started recording it was most common to lay down a basic track with drums, bass, guitar and a guide vocal. But the drums might be the only thing kept, with everything else redone.
By the end of the 80’s and with more and more programmed machines being involved, I most often tracked drums with no other musicians involved.
To be honest, I had a lot more fun tracking to other well recorded instruments, than getting towards the end of my best drum take only to have the bassist or guitarist monumentally screw up, and we have to start all over again.
Old 21st October 2018
  #36
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BIG BUDDHA's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by 127Riot View Post
I would always choose to have a band play together capturing the drums, bass, guitars, as much as I could of the main rethym sections. Then overdub solos and vocals.
you are right on the money Mr Riot, and doing good work.

don't stop mate. the world needs you.

here is my latest set up. Analog is good down here

Buddha
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Old 22nd October 2018
  #37
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127Riot's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BIG BUDDHA View Post
you are right on the money Mr Riot, and doing good work.

don't stop mate. the world needs you.

here is my latest set up. Analog is good down here

Buddha
Hahaha thank you,

I can promise you I will do it this way or not do it.

I lived it and know what gets me the best results I hear in my head before tracking begins.

I want to feel the mix on the Faders as I push Audio through a Console. I want the band behind me to be in as much love with the sound as I am. I want the band to know I care about this project as much as they do.

Your room looks awesome, it's good to see that board and tape deck!
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Old 22nd October 2018
  #38
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Pale Pyramid's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by gravyface View Post
Bands not up to snuff to do it? You'd think with today's tight budgets, more bands would be tracking live off the floor.

Or maybe the rooms can't support it (i.e. the huge rooms are all mostly gone)?
A significant amount of bands now are one guy in a bedroom recording most everything themselves. The band may or may not play the songs until live dates are booked and rehearsals begin.
Old 22nd October 2018
  #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pale Pyramid View Post
A significant amount of bands now are one guy in a bedroom recording most everything themselves. The band may or may not play the songs until live dates are booked and rehearsals begin.
I weep for the future.
Old 22nd October 2018
  #40
Two of my favourite bands...The Felice Brothers and Belle & Sebastian play as a band in the studio. Belle & Sebastian probably not so much lately, but their classic mid 90's 2000's stuff was. As for The Felice brothers...they just whack mics up and play as if on stage.
Old 22nd October 2018
  #41
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frans's Avatar
I mostly do whole bands together - if the band and the style are up for it. The math is simple: track-by-track takes roughly five times as long on average. Remember the (early) Beatles, when the A-side of the LP was after breakfast and the B-side after lunch? Good records can be made in any way, but to de-humanize things is a slippery slope. Why should anybody kill a reasonable ammount of expression if expression is linked to the emotional reactions of the listeners? The music industry would go down the toilet, if... oh, wait.....
Old 22nd October 2018
  #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frans View Post
I mostly do whole bands together - if the band and the style are up for it. The math is simple: track-by-track takes roughly five times as long on average. Remember the (early) Beatles, when the A-side of the LP was after breakfast and the B-side after lunch? Good records can be made in any way, but to de-humanize things is a slippery slope. Why should anybody kill a reasonable ammount of expression if expression is linked to the emotional reactions of the listeners? The music industry would go down the toilet, if... oh, wait.....
That's kind of my feeling too. I've only really recorded friends and my own bands since the 90s, but every time it comes to doing it layer-by-layer, it always feels like a drag.

Bass player doesn't think the feel would change if he recorded separately vs. following the drums after the fact, but the drummer follows him (and vice-versa) live. I should know because I play drums.

I'm adamant we cut rhythm tracks live though; I think this is what's wrong with rock music these days.
Old 22nd October 2018
  #43
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vincentvangogo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gravyface View Post
I weep for the future.
I weep for the present.
Old 22nd October 2018
  #44
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Swurveman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pale Pyramid View Post
A significant amount of bands now are one guy in a bedroom recording most everything themselves. The band may or may not play the songs until live dates are booked and rehearsals begin.
That may be true-and understandable- in large cities where space is very expensive, but in my smaller town Midwestern studio and others in the area full bands came in and recorded together. I typically recorded the drummer and bass player in my large room (26'x22'x8') with the bass player playing through a DI, while the guitar player(s) amps were in a large utility room along with the vocalist. All played with headphones. I would record the band with a click and keep the drums and bass for the groove and then overdub the guitars, vocals and any other bauble's the band wanted to enhance to the song. The best thing about this was, like in the old days, the studio was a good magnifying glass forcing the band to hear how good, or not, they were. The committed ones benefited, and got better inside and outside the studio as a result.
Old 22nd October 2018
  #45
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doorknocker's Avatar
I just want to throw in some thoughts:

- If you record a full band, don't use a click. If the band is not used to playing to a click (highly unlikely that they would rehearse like that) it will stiffen the feel and work against the very idea of live tracking. Hopefully though the players are used to practice to a click and thus are able to play with steady time. In other words, if you practice to a click you won't need it for performing. A lot of folks go by the logic of having the full band play to a click but only keep the drums and bass. By doing it this way the drummer will concentrate much more on the click than on the other instruments and again, the idea of 'response' is not happening. Especially with 'studio nerves' added for players that are not super-experienced.

- A one-man-band can work fine in the studio given a proficient player. Since the rhythmic feel for the various instruments comes from the same player, it can gel really nicely. On the other hand, I think it's a bad idea to record a band with single overdubs.

- In the end nobody cares HOW it was recorded but rather how it sounds and feels. Some of the very best records were done by one person playing most everything (Stevie Wonder, Prince, Shuggie Otis, Remy Shand, Stephen Stills, etc) while many records that were tracked as a band failed to capture the live energy of a great performance. And vice versa.
Old 22nd October 2018
  #46
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Swurveman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by doorknocker View Post
I just want to throw in some thoughts:

- If you record a full band, don't use a click. If the band is not used to playing to a click (highly unlikely that they would rehearse like that) it will stiffen the feel and work against the very idea of live tracking. Hopefully though the players are used to practice to a click and thus are able to play with steady time. In other words, if you practice to a click you won't need it for performing. A lot of folks go by the logic of having the full band play to a click but only keep the drums and bass. By doing it this way the drummer will concentrate much more on the click than on the other instruments and again, the idea of 'response' is not happening. Especially with 'studio nerves' added for players that are not super-experienced.
I always encouraged the band to rehearse with a click. I found bands very amenable to it, perhaps due to places like Gearslutz that talk about professionals using click tracks. If they didn't want to record with a click I wouldn't force them, though I never had a drummer or the band say they were wooden because of the click. I never told the drummer I was going to not use the vocals and guitars and would have kept them if I though they sounded up to par. Often, the band would come in with POD's and bad amps. They would often ditch that sound after they heard my tube amp. That being said, I mostly recorded rock bands who loved my Marshall 4x12 cabinet as well. I also enjoyed using room mics on amps with close mics in my large room at times, which would have been impossible in my utility room.
Old 22nd October 2018
  #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pale Pyramid View Post
A significant amount of bands now are one guy in a bedroom recording most everything themselves. The band may or may not play the songs until live dates are booked and rehearsals begin.
from what I have seen, the "band" may not even purchase a guitar amplifier and learn how to operate it until live dates are booked. The first dozen rehearsals will be dedicated to taming the wild beast of wattage and also figuring out the little details of interacting with other human beings - such as that a human drummer may not ignore your mistakes as blithely as the drum machine did.
Old 22nd October 2018
  #48
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vernier's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by gravyface View Post
I'm of the opinion that, most of the 60s/70s rock bands tracked live off the floor, playing in a room together, gobos or isolation booths as required.

Not all of those tracks were kept, but the rhythm bed tracks were likely kept.

Overdubs would've been guitar leads and double tracking, vocals, percussion, possibly other layers.

I'm thinking Zeppelin, Sabbath, Deep Purple, The Who, etc. Bands that could and did fill arenas, bands with chops.

Counter to that, a colleague believes that these albums (and those like it) were tracked one at a time: drums (to a bass scratch track), then bass, then guitar, etc. etc., with minimal amount of tracking done as a group.

I find that hard to believe, going by photos of gobo'ed up Olympic Studios and other big rooms of the day, biographies (which tragically seem to gloss over recording process/workflow), and a few good articles and posts I've found online.

Also feel like a ton of energy would be lost if tracked separately like that: I know I play off of vocals and lead as much as I play off of the bass, etc.

Looking for some definitive voices of the era here so I can prove my point and we can on with tracking the "right" way
Yep, in that era we tracked as a band, no matter the engineer or producer.
Old 22nd October 2018
  #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vernier View Post
Yep, in that era we tracked as a band, no matter the engineer or producer.
I'm bringing sexy back.
Old 23rd October 2018
  #50
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The drummer for REO Speedwagon told me that one of the reasons they dropped a producer after one of the albums before High Infidelity was that he made the band record some songs to a click track.
I was in the same studio complex, and sometimes in the room during the first tracking sessions for High Infidelity. They usually tracked as a group all the instruments but the guitar and keyboard leads. A couple of tracks that ended up with keyboards were tracked without them.
High Infidelity was HUGE in the mid 80s, so that’s on the money for the era we’re talking about.
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