The 4 Easy Sounds You MUST Record Yourself

Recording tips and techniques for beginner music producers

The industry is in a synthesis boom. More music than ever is being created entirely with synths, samples, and effects. If your artistic taste wants a unique sound, here is a list of the top 4 sounds you will want to record in your own music. (Plus some recording tips!)

– Guitar

– Vocals

– Percussion

– Sound FX

GUITAR:

Recording your own guitar has never been easier. Whether you are recording the blues or a “xxxtentacion” style strum pattern, recording guitar yourself will set your music apart from those using samples and synthesizers. When recording acoustic guitar, keep these tips in mind:

-If you don’t play, find a friend who does.

-Record the guitar through a gate (more on that here)

-Try placing the mic at the bottom of the guitars neck, and move the mic down (or up) to find the best sound for recording. I find placing the mic at the bottom of the neck gives me the clearest tone.

-Record 6-9 inches away from the sound hole if you can help it. The “proximity effect” or closeness of the mic will add unnecessary low frequencies and plosive sounds to the recording.

-Record a few takes of fret noise, fingers sliding, and harmonics to add later. You may place these sounds before, after, or in between your recordings to really spice up your track.

VOCALS:

Recording your own vocals is a must unless you are sampling for an artistic choice. Recording your own vocals and adlibs will give your music incredible flexibility and become a more accurate representation of your freedom of expression.

-Always coach your talent to record a few takes.

– I like to record my vocals through a gate as well to clean up any unnecessary transients or background noise.

-My “Vocal Booth” in high school consisted of a few comforters and blankets hung all around on the walls and pillows galore. Get creative with your sound absorption.

-Add a SMALL amount of delay or reverb effects to spice up and fit your vocals into any track.

PERC:

Percussion is a fun way to spice up your track, and it is a great exercise in recording technique. I’ve added loads of personally recorded shakers, rattles, and “tings” to my recordings. Here’s a few tips:

-Find some really interesting stuff like fishing lures or dinner plates and record some rhythmic sections. Your friends will be impressed when you explain your latest banger was made with a Rapala crankbait and a spring door stop.

-Record your percussion with close and far from the mic for a realistic range of sounds

-Add percussion sparingly as a way to relieve the repetitive nature of much music.

-Get creative with your percussion, and add a SMALL amount of delay or reverb.

SOUND FX:

Sound effects are what keep engineers and producers interested in your music. They are listening for “ear cookies” and little things to keep em on their toes. I’ve recorded bacon in a frying pan to replace vinyl dirt on a hip hop record. I’ve recorded whistling on a few EDM tracks which I’ve recorded to sound like birds and wildlife. You can get extremely creative here. Even Eminem got creative in the 90’s and 2000’s with his adlib soundfx that backed up his vocal tracks. Find what works for you and get at it!

Any more recording tips?
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