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In The Studio: A “Secret Weapon” For Full Mixes

It's something that works on nearly any type of song
This article is provided by Home Studio Corner.


Here’s some advice you may not want to hear.

You may nod your head in agreement as you read it, but when it comes to working in the studio, it may be obvious that you’re not completely on board.

(And I’m no exception. I have to constantly remind myself as well.)

Ready? Here it is:

The key to a full mix lies in the RECORDING phase, not in the MIXING phase.

Let me flesh that out a bit.

Probably 70 percent of the questions I get from readers have to do with mixing. That’s understandable. Mixing is difficult.

BUT…we tend to make mixing MORE difficult by how we record our tracks. We race through the recording phase, and then wonder why our mixes don’t sound “full.”

What I’ve found is this — if my mix doesn’t sound full, it’s because of one of two things:

1) I didn’t record enough tracks.

2) I didn’t record the RIGHT parts.

You’ll notice that neither of those have anything to do with my mixing skills.

Take-away point: the better your recordings sound, the better your mixes sound. Boom. Period.

I know, I know. It’s easier said than done.

But I’ve got a “secret weapon” that I’ll use if a particular song isn’t sounding full enough.

It’s not a huge wall of guitars. It’s not a bunch of synth pads. It’s not even a great B3 part (although I LOVE to use B3.)

It’s something that works on nearly any type of song. Big huge rock tune? Yep. Intimate ballad? Yep.

What is it?

Background Vocals.

(Or BGV’s as we like to call ‘em.)

There’s nothing quite like a big, huge, lush BGV part to fill out a chorus, or draw the listeners’ attention during the bridge, or make the turn between the chorus and the verse interesting.

Over the years, I’ve recorded HUNDREDS of BGV tracks. And I’ve developed a pretty cool system for getting great-sounding BGV tracks.

There’s a method to my madness.

Next week,  I’ll be doing a live training for VIP members. I’ll cover how I go about writing, recording, and mixing BGV’s.

To become a member (and get access to this video and over a dozen other in-depth training videos), go here.

P.S. You don’t have to be a singer to use this tactic. In fact, if you can learn the ropes of getting a great BGV part, your vocalist clients will LOVE you. (A lot of them want to record big BGV parts, but they just don’t know how.) You could be their hero.

Joe Gilder is a Nashville based engineer, musician, and producer who also provides training and advice at the Home Studio Corner.

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