Pre-production: the core of a professional production

Most of Studio Pros’ full music production projects start with the rhythm section tracks–first the drums, then the bass immediately after. Later on, we continue to the guitars, keyboards and any other instruments. The vocals are usually last to be recorded, right before the mixing and mastering stages.
In order to get the best results from the rhythm section, we create a guitar or a keyboard “sketch” for the song before bringing the session players into the studio.

What is a song “sketch?”

The sketch is a simple guide made by one of Studio Pros’ arrangers  played on guitar and/or keyboards. It includes a chord progression and a melody line that mimics the vocal. It’s extremly important that the sketch is 100% synced to a click track, as the drums and the bass will be recorded to it.  In most cases, the sketch tracks won’t be used in the final mix. It will probably sound way too simple and sometimes even awkward. This is because the melody lines need to be straightened out and quantized, and the chord progression should be as simple as possible so it won’t distract the session players.
Remember: the only purpose of the sketch is to serve as a guide for the rhythm section, and its tracks won’t be used in your song.

Basic sketching OR full arrangement and composition?

If you only have the lyrics or a rough a cappella vocal recording of your song, you’ll need our enhanced sketch service that includes composition and a custom chord progression. This pre-production service is an additional $170.  However, if you already have a solid chord progression in  the rough recording you send us, you can use our regular sketch service that’s included for free with our basic full music production package.

How can you tell if the sketch is good enough?

1. Make sure all the parts you wanted are there. Sing along with the sketch and make sure you can sing your song properly. Pay special attention to all the lines in the verses/choruses/other parts, plus any breaks, transitions or other elements that the rhythm section should take note of.

2. Make sure the key and tempo is right for you. In most cases, changing the tempo or the key after recording the real instruments for the production will required a complete redo.

3. Try to ignore the simplicity and the sound of the sketch. Always remember it won’t be used in the final recording.

Don’t worry if the sketch sounds too simple or different from what you imagined…  What matters is that you are hearing a basic guide that will be the basis from which the rest of the song is recorded.  As long as it serves this purpose, you are ready to get started recording the final tracks for your song!

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