Rusty's tip of the week - one way to ensure the best result for your next guitar session

This applies to both electric and acoustic sessions and is something i've seen time and time again.
Its easy to get it wrong as well so many get half way there and then make it worse than before as well.

Common sense really - 'put new strings on!!'

BUT and it's a big BUT play them in properly, say 2-3 days BEFORE the session, never on the day.
And when you think you've played them in enough, play them in again!

This will ensure correct tone from the guitar, which is after all the source, as well as hopefully
greatly decreasing the chance of breaking a string right in the middle of that crucial take.

its what the pros do, every gig and every session is a new set, but they have stage techs that spend all day playing them in,
which is absolutely vital. If this isn't done properly the instrument will not hold tune and will most likely be worse than with old strings.

If you aren't confident with changing the strings have a music shop or tech do it a few days before the session, then spend the next few days playing them in.

So many times i have seen bands do it on the day in the studio and then we spend the rest of the day trying to keep them in tune, to laments of. 'the guitar was fine in rehearsal with the old strings'.

So be professional, do it right, and you'll be able to listen back and say, 'so glad i put new strings on, the guitar sounds awesome.'

Russ-T-Rok (Russell Pilling) is the chief engineer at Damien Gerard Studios Sydney where he has been pulling guitar sounds for over 25 years.

DG's celebrates 30 years -Full History

Damien Gerard Sound Studios celebrates 30 years of recording.

1985-2015 – 30 years of pre-production, recording, mixing, mastering across 3 different studio facilities.

Starting in the pre internet world of the 1980’s with a telephone and a hard copy ‘Booking Book’ DGSS began as a humble rehearsal room in Wattle St Ultimo. 30 years later the studio has hosted the likes of INXS, Hoodoo Gurus, Divinyls, Grimskunk (Canada), Dave Immrgluk (Counting Crows), Randy Jackson (USA), Noiseworks, Steve Balbi, Midnight Oil, Frenzal Rhomb, Died Pretty’s classic Doughboy Hollow album, The Ghostwriters (Rob Hirst) to name just a few. Most recently new Sydney band Big White who starred at SXSW this year and have just been signed to Caroline/Universal.

Read more: DG's celebrates 30 years -Full History

Nothing Beats a Great Live Room

This conversation has come up a few times with both live and studio engineers in the past month.
It's common sense really and no amount of plugins and sales pitches will change the fact that if you record in a professional tuned and treated room that simply sounds great naturally then 90% of the sonic is already done.
A drum kit, Amps and any acoustic instruments will have their own natural sound captured far easier than using modellers and crazy amounts of EQ and other treatments.
Of course the better the mics and preamps are helps as well but like a great vintage guitar and amp or Bosendorfer Piano the priority is the source.


We finally have one of Russ’ favourite set of EQ’s and Comps from back in the day when he was engineering on SSL Boards – lots of fun new tools and toys ITB and already finding their way onto the multitude of sessions #Russ-t-Rokk is working on. The plugin allows all the different patch variations the consoles have as well as an intriging 'analog' switch which seems to soften things and add some tape hiss. The buss compressor is surprisingly close to the rack / board outboard unit and we'll be hearing that on many mixes to come without a doubt..

New KRK Monitors

The importance of High Quality reliable speakers to listen to all day and make decisions with cannot be underestimated. The Control Room in Studio A now has 4 great reference monitor choices, the brand new Generation 3 KRK Rokit 8's, Classic Original Yamaha NS10's (running from a Perreaux Amp plus Sony 18" Sub, Klipsch Heresy 3 way Mid Fields with Ashley Amp and Fostex 6301's.
The Red Stairs is keeping up with its own NS10's from a Crown Amp, Event Opals, Auratones and a pair of Truth's.
Plus of course with the handy parking right outside the front door bands can still race out to their very own listening enviroments that have also stood the test of time - the trusty car stereo!!.


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