How to record a whole band when you are all on your own

To know how to record a whole band as a guitarist is challenging but also very vital to your success.

When you are a guitarist trying to start a band, it might be difficult to find band members you can really count on and who know what they are doing.

When I myself tried to get my own ideas started and hear them in a band context it took a loooong time until my band mates finally knew what to play.

Because learning new things is challenging for most, especially among hobby musicians.

As a professional you have to play a different game and learn to adapt quickly but not everyone has the luxury immediately to get access to professionals.

If you want something done properly, it’s better to do things yourself, especially in the beginning.

You can see this as a rite of passage that you have to go through before you can get musical contributions from others that are usable:

You start to develop your ideas yourself to make them sound like a full band before you get the band.

But it is easier than it may seem like now.

And when you have found your team you can start to work together as a band more effectively.

Here are things you need for that as a guitarist to record a whole band on your own:

The ability to record your playing on a somewhat decent level.

I wrote about it in THIS ARTICLE: How to record your playing

The ability to record other instruments

That mainly includes:

Keyboards, drums and bass.

Bass guitar will probably be quite easy as long as you have the instrument.

If you don’t know what else to do just stay close to what the guitar does.

Later you will learn more about writing bass lines and get more refined with those.

For drums, simply use some sort of drum creator. For example the MT Power Drum Kit.

You can also use Guitar Pro* software to create your own drum tracks in MIDI and export them, then import them into your recording software.

The biggest hurdle will most likely be the handling of a keyboard.

Good news is that it is very versatile and universally applicable.

So everything you learn here will translate into many different things.

You can use it for drums, bass and pretty much every other instrument out there, as long as your recording software has an integrated voice for it.

You CAN also work without a keyboard and don’t learn the basics of how to play it.

But then you have to do a lot of pointing and clicking and that can slow down the creative flow by a lot:

I recommend learning to play simple chord changes.

It will make a big difference and you get much more creative from learning how to change chords on a keyboard.

When you want to record let’s say a chord progression of 4 chords, you don’t even have to record them in one take.

What you can do is simply go measure by measure and first play chord 1, then stop, restart the recording from the next measure, record the 2nd chord, and move along through the whole cycle like that.

From there it is just copy and paste if you choose to reuse this chord progression.

Which you most likely will end up doing.

If you already know the notes on the fretboard and you can translate them to a piano keyboard, then you can also record bass lines ON THE KEYBOARD.

Remember though:

When you record a live instrument (like the actual sound) you have to create an audio track.

If you however create something digital like the piano sounds, you need a MIDI track, so you can pull notes around and edit the tracks just with your mouse, without having to record everything again.

Whatever you choose to do, remember:

Where there is a will, there is a way.


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