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How to find and hire session players in L.A.
Old 14th June 2006
  #1
Lives for gear
 
SK1's Avatar
 

How to find and hire session players in L.A.

OK ..... I'm breaking down here ......
Good songs, good signal chain, BAD TAKES !!!!

I feel it's time to stack the deck in my favor ... I'm sick of the BS

Time to make ME look better than I am , instead of the other way around all the time !!

When my freinds, relatives, old band mates and contacts can't cut it ..... where can I turn in Los Angeles
to find quality studio cats ???
How do I check em out ?? To make sure they are capable ??
What questions should I ask ???
How much should I pay ?? ( I'm not made of money )

Right now, I need rock vocs in the style of soundgarden/311 and simple folk acoustic guitar. No out of town/internet deals. I wanna record and produce it.

I just need to make sure that if I throw down the cash, it WILL GET DONE.

Help !!!
Thanks people
Old 14th June 2006
  #2
Lives for gear
 
doug_hti's Avatar
 

what's your budget

there are LOTS of VERY VERY capable folks that will do great indie stuff for $100/hour

there are also some crap out there for $100/hour

if you really want to step to the plate and do your homework getting a double scale guy (if produced properly) can knock something out exponentially faster (and better)....Once you mention your budget I can PM you some names and info....if it's below $100/hour I don't know of anyone I would recommend.
Old 14th June 2006
  #3
Gear Addict
 
smoothmoniker's Avatar
 

You need two things:

A union directory, and a phone.

Go pull out the CDs that you own that have the sound you're looking for, find the names of the people who played on them, go to the directory, look them up, and call them. Really. You'd be amazed at who you can get to show up, if they have a gap in their schedule. We're talking centerfolds here, top players.

Like everything in the industry, people run in networks with other people of similar ability. If you dig through the directory and find that killer guitarist you want to hire, ask him to recommend other players for the other gaps in your lineup. Chances are, you'll be very pleasantly surprised.

It's perfectly reasonable to ask for a credits list for players you don't know, and do your own research. Go to iTunes, listen to what they've done. If they don't have credits that are readily available, ask for mp3s in the style you're tracking. Nobody gets offended by asking for examples of their work (I mean, don't ask Vinnie for a demo CD, but you know what I mean).

As for how much you should pay them, there are no shortcuts. You get what you pay for. If you want players with chops and experience, expect to pay union scale, at least. You can see the rates here. You can also see the scales listed their for limited pressing and demo recordings, which might be more in line with what you're doing.

If you want direct referals, feel free to PM. I can point you toward some A list players.
Old 14th June 2006
  #4
Gear Addict
 
smoothmoniker's Avatar
 

or, PM doug - we probably have the same list.
Old 14th June 2006
  #5
Lives for gear
 
SK1's Avatar
 

I've never hired studio cats before, even though I've been paid to record and play live myself (bass) ......

do you know people who will work on a per song basis ???
What if dude comes in and struggles with the tune ???

Basically I'm saying what's it going to take ???? ....... if that's the rate fine ..... but if I can find a better deal, I'll take that first.

Who can come in and nail it by ear in an hour or two ???


Please excuse my ignorance

I just need results

Any answers to my other questions in the original post ?
Old 14th June 2006
  #6
Lives for gear
 
True North's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SK1
Right now, I need rock vocs in the style of soundgarden/311 and simple folk acoustic guitar. No out of town/internet deals. I wanna record and produce it.
I have heard some of James Lugo's stuff and while I am sure he can make his voice sound like a lot of things, I have heard him pull off some great 'Cornellish' style vocals. Come to think of it James also plays some pretty decent GIT.

If you didn't know already, James is a moderator on this site and I am sure he would work out a great deal for a fellow slut!!



BTW, if you ever need a smokin drummer get a hold of Randy Cooke. He is a recent Canadian import in LA LA Land and an outstanding player. Randy pretty much had all the plum gigs in Toronto but wanted to see if he make it in LA - nice blend of chops and musicality, you won't go wrong.

http://www.myspace.com/randycooke

Good luck on your project, cheers!
Old 14th June 2006
  #7
Lives for gear
 
SK1's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by True North
I have heard some of James Lugo's stuff and while I am sure he can make his voice sound like a lot of things, I have heard him pull off some great 'Cornellish' style vocals. Come to think of it James also plays some pretty decent GIT.

If you didn't know already, James is a moderator on this site and I am sure he would work out a great deal for a fellow slut!!



BTW, if you ever need a smokin drummer get a hold of Randy Cooke. He is a recent Canadian import in LA LA Land and an outstanding player. Randy pretty much had all the plum gigs in Toronto but wanted to see if he make it in LA - nice blend of chops and musicality, you won't go wrong.

http://www.myspace.com/randycooke

Good luck on your project, cheers!
Good call ....... I'm sure he COULD do it.

James ?? You're not too busy with tv are you ???

Any other suggestions ??
Old 14th June 2006
  #8
Lives for Jesus
 
stevep's Avatar
Hi, I am in Orange county, Tustin And could help you out with the session players and a break on studio time, only thing is I'm 25 miles south of you, I know the rates would be way less down here and may offset the gas money.



I am just opening a new room and will be giving discounted rates for a few months,
we could work on a pr song basis if thats what you want,

PM me or call me at the studio
949 701 3819



steve






Old 14th June 2006
  #9
Gear Nut
 
Open Sky's Avatar
 

I don't know how quickly you want this done, but there are SO MANY GOOD MUSICIANS playing gigs all the time everywhere. I'd search out some players and singers by going out and targeting some good clubs. Pick up the LA Weekly or New Times and use their descriptions of shows/performers as a starting point. I'm sure you can find plenty of musicians who would have the skills you need. Just be cool and tell them what you need. And many, if not most of them are willing to work for less than the above quote of $100 an hour--depends on how "big" your project is. Offer them what you think you would want to be paid if it were you.

Good luck.
Old 14th June 2006
  #10
No Silly English Humour this time

Quote:
Originally Posted by SK1
OK ..... I'm breaking down here ......
Good songs, good signal chain, BAD TAKES !!!!

I feel it's time to stack the deck in my favor ... I'm sick of the BS

Time to make ME look better than I am , instead of the other way around all the time !!

When my freinds, relatives, old band mates and contacts can't cut it ..... where can I turn in Los Angeles
to find quality studio cats ???
How do I check em out ?? To make sure they are capable ??
What questions should I ask ???
How much should I pay ?? ( I'm not made of money )

Right now, I need rock vocs in the style of soundgarden/311 and simple folk acoustic guitar. No out of town/internet deals. I wanna record and produce it.

I just need to make sure that if I throw down the cash, it WILL GET DONE.

Help !!!
Thanks people
In LA there are three session fixers that I can think of that are right in the thick of this kind of project.
Mark Wolfson
Marcus Barone
Joel Diamond
Mark Wolfson has a very flexible attitude to new material and if he believes in the songs will wave any advance fees. But wants very clear control of prduction.
and is very good at finding fine students of Berklee that want a go in the big time.
wants to record at the mothership (steve Vai) though, so money has to be found.
Swings and roundabouts, cheap session players expensive studio's.
Marcus Barone will listen to your ideas about production but wants money up front. But he is a Berkley Boston guy with piano hands. So you won't be looking
for Keybds.
Joel Diamond is looking to manage the whole deal but knows everybody and has track record to die for in placing songs in movies etc. Also Joel is a New Yorker in
LA with the kind of fizz that makes people think they should be doing somthing if you know what I mean. Bada Boom Bada Bing.
The Songs had better be good.
Regards.•:*¨¨*:•. ¸¸.•´¯`•.Mark Fairfax-Harwood, Engineer Springvale Studios
Old 14th June 2006
  #11
Gear Maniac
 
ryguydrum@netsc's Avatar
 

Talk to other musicians in the area (there are only 3,475,002 in the L.A. area as far as I know ). Also, are you doing demos, or a project that is going to go on a major release album/TV/movie/video game? That matters. I do a lot of session work as a drummer and I produce a lot of demos/projects for Disney/artists in Los Angeles and if it's a demo, I usually charge per song. If it is an ablum project (depending on the budget) I might charge per hour, or a day rate depending on how many songs they want me to drum/produce on. Just be sure of what you are bringing to the table (i.e. what your project is, your budget, your needs, the singers range-this is a biggie). Plus, a lot of big players in L.A. have websites where you can listen to what they have done and see their discographys (sp?) so you get to sort of audition them before you hire them. I usually try to never turn work down, no matter what the price is becuase I just like to play-but if you make it worth the players while by offering a little more cash it makes it all the better (plus you can probably get a few more takes out of them for $50-100 more bucks)

Hope that helps somewhat.

Ryan
Old 14th June 2006
  #12
Lives for gear
 
SK1's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bassmec
In LA there are three session fixers that I can think of that are right in the thick of this kind of project.
Mark Wolfson
Marcus Barone
Joel Diamond
Mark Wolfson has a very flexible attitude to new material and if he believes in the songs will wave any advance fees. But wants very clear control of prduction.
and is very good at finding fine students of Berklee that want a go in the big time.
wants to record at the mothership (steve Vai) though, so money has to be found.
Swings and roundabouts, cheap session players expensive studio's.
Marcus Barone will listen to your ideas about production but wants money up front. But he is a Berkley Boston guy with piano hands. So you won't be looking
for Keybds.
Joel Diamond is looking to manage the whole deal but knows everybody and has track record to die for in placing songs in movies etc. Also Joel is a New Yorker in
LA with the kind of fizz that makes people think they should be doing somthing if you know what I mean. Bada Boom Bada Bing.
The Songs had better be good.
Regards.•:*¨¨*:•. ¸¸.•´¯`•.Mark Fairfax-Harwood, Engineer Springvale Studios
Thanks for the pro advice brother ........ BUT

I'm producing this for better or worse ... there's no way I'm giving up the reigns .....

My money, my fun.
My project studio (whenever possible)

What did you mean by "english humour" ....... did I speal somting wroung ??

O well F it LOL

LOL

Old 14th June 2006
  #13
Moderator
 
James Lugo's Avatar
 

I feel honored to be considered.

As far as Soundgarden goes I can usually kill that stuff. I'm not a session singer by profession though I do sessions from time to time. I'm up against a wall these next few months, I landed a TV pilot. So we start taping in 3 weeks. The pressure is on. There's another guy in LA named Hal Yaskulka (b-magical's brother) he's got the Cornell sound but not the evil top end. I have less of the Cornell sound but gallons of evil top end.

Let me know if I can help out.
Old 14th June 2006
  #14
Gear Head
 
bimbam's Avatar
 

I thought LA is full of talented musicians and you will be able to find them on every corner?
OK - maybe in the middle of the 80`s until the beginning 90´s there was such a great selection... and now?

C´mon tell me something about that...
Old 14th June 2006
  #15
Lives for gear
 
SK1's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bimbam
I thought LA is full of talented musicians and you will be able to find them on every corner?
OK - maybe in the middle of the 80`s until the beginning 90´s there was such a great selection... and now?

C´mon tell me something about that...
LOL !!!!

I've gone to the roxy and seen 10 bad bands in a row

no kidding ......

Of course there are many, many talented musicians out here .... you just have to weed out the crap to get to them.
I'm sure that, given time, I could come up with somthing. It's just nice to here people's opinion, to help me wrap my brain around this.
That's why I love gearslutz.

Out here when you get to the top 5% ... watch out !!

any other ideas people ???
Old 14th June 2006
  #16
No mate. Its just I try to make light of things round here.

What did you mean by "english humour" ....... did I speal somting wroung ??

O well F it LOL

LOL

[/QUOTE]

On the odd post.
Regards.•:*¨¨*:•. ¸¸.•´¯`•.Mark Fairfax-Harwood, Engineer Springvale Studios
Old 14th June 2006
  #17
Lives for gear
 
SK1's Avatar
 

Cool ... thanks for the advice bassmec !!
Old 14th June 2006
  #18
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

I'd seriously consider a trip to Nashville.
Old 14th June 2006
  #19
Lives for gear
 

if esession.com ever gets finished you can try there.
-brian
Old 14th June 2006
  #20
Lives for gear
I can handle any of your acoustic guitar needs and possibly the vocals. Need to listen to Soundgarden again and refresh my memory. PM me. I can send you some mp3 samples if needed.

Listened to Soundgarden and 311. My voice leans more towards 311. High tenor. Soundgarden is a bit deeper, atleast at times, a baritone.
Old 14th June 2006
  #21
Lives for gear
 
Berolzheimer's Avatar
 

If you haven't found anyone yet PM me & I'll hook you up with some great folks.
Old 15th June 2006
  #22
Lives for gear
 
SK1's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson
I'd seriously consider a trip to Nashville.
No confidence in the L.A. crowd ???

There are alot of records being made out here .......

Do you mean, beacause Nashville has slowed down, so things are cheaper there ?

Old 15th June 2006
  #23
Lives for gear
 
SK1's Avatar
 

I've gotten a bunch of pm's and replies ......

Great resource people.

I'm going to add em to my database and get on it asap.

I've already come across some cats that I wouldn't be able to find through the normal channels.

I might be needing a electric guitar player as well .... say satch to soundgarden.

Much appreciated !!

Old 15th June 2006
  #24
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SK1
No confidence in the L.A. crowd ???
It can obviously be done but according to people I trust it would be lots harder to find comparable players in LA at this point in time.
Old 15th June 2006
  #25
Gear Nut
 

Try http://www.esession.com

has tons of session players and mixers and engineers on it.

might find what/who you're looking for.
Old 15th June 2006
  #26
Lives for gear
 
doug_hti's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson
It can obviously be done but according to people I trust it would be lots harder to find comparable players in LA at this point in time.
I very respectively disagree

however, if someone needs to fly in from North Dakota to get a pool of quality session players and studio time in a functioning studio....i would agree nashville would probably be a better call for value when comparing apples versus apples...
Old 15th June 2006
  #27
Lives for gear
 
robmix's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson
It can obviously be done but according to people I trust it would be lots harder to find comparable players in LA at this point in time.

I'd have too disagree as well. As a matter of fact, the session scene is so much slower out here than it used to be that you can get many of the top call guys for very cheap.
Old 20th June 2006
  #28
Gear Addict
 

Being an L.A. session player myself... I still do sessions locally... but actually, I'm starting to do more and more long distance sessions (over the internet). It's really convenient (provided the player in question has a high quality recording setup... great mic, great pre, great compressor, great AD/DA converter, etc).

I think the rest of it is really word of mouth and relationships. I get calls from the same producers and engineers that I have worked with before.

My specialty is Flamenco Guitar and Steel string acoustic guitar...

http://www.myspace.com/michaelannasallaf

Hope you find what you're looking for!

Cheers,

Michael
(Long Beach, CA)
Old 20th June 2006
  #29
Here for the gear
 

For session musicians, you can check out my business: BackingBand. I don't know of any voacalists that can pull off the Cornell thing convincingly.
Old 20th June 2006
  #30
Lives for gear
hey,

thought i'd chime in.

I'm an LA session musician (guitar) and been doing it for about 10+ years. One word of advice is that you get what you pay for...also there is a difference between guys who primarily play live and those who record. it is a different mindset and approach. if you are going to spend the cash i'd make sure that you use guys who are experienced on the recording side. Many including myself now have our own studios. if you need help finding people then shoot me an email:

[email protected]

what I think you will find is that most can deliver what you want but it comes down to personality and vibe.

I know guys who've done everything from Avril to Seal to 2pac to Clapton...just a call away.

ej
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