Rock session guitar tracks
Rock music is where it all started for me. Radiohead, Smashing Pumpkins, Pink Floyd, Nirvana, U2, Gun N’ Roses, Frank Zappa, Steve Vai, The Beatles, Rage Against The Machine, Pearl Jam, Incubus, Mansun, Jimi Hendrix, Prince – I could go on for ages. My lifelong fascination with and pursuit of great guitar sounds is mostly fuelled by the exciting and incredibly diverse range of tones and playing styles of the guitarists in these and other bands. The staples of a lot of rock guitar – tight double-tracking, guitars occupying different parts of the frequency spectrum, arrangements that build through the song, the use of effects to bring emotion and control a sense of space, and the knowledge that sometimes it’s ok to throw all of that away and just bring a raw energy and fire – are a big part of my make-up as a rock guitar player.
Below is a playlist of some guitar sessions I’ve done for other online clients which fall into the ‘rock’ category. It’s a such a diverse range of music so there’s a bit to look through.
Bit of my history here. I co-wrote, recorded, mixed and co-produced two records with my alternative rock band Abandon Mute. We’re not playing any more, but when I hear our stuff I still can’t believe we didn’t get signed and become huge… bad timing, wrong era, lack of proper funding – maybe just not quite good enough, who knows. But they were some of the best times, musically. Our stuff was described as ‘swerving elegantly from delicate and soul-baring to the downright nastiest and most aggressive 21st century space-rock’. The process of making those records was very instructive for me; I made a lot of mistakes and found out a lot about how to get the best out of myself as a recording artist. I saw that sometimes I could become preoccupied with making things ‘perfect’, and would lose the immediacy and energy in the guitar tracks. Then I’d over compensate and have days where I thought ‘that’s good enough’ and then when I went back to it and saw that maybe the timing was a bit sloppy and it needed to be redone. I’d listen to artists like the ones above and realise that that there were so-called imperfections in their records but that they added to the overall effect because the guitar parts were so great and it was played with passion – and that’s what I strive for when I work now. I learned when to edit and when to just leave things be, and I learned a huge amount about guitar tones and how different types of pickups, amps and effects could sit in a mix.
I also learned some best practices in terms of routines like backing up, managing large sessions/projects, working to deadlines and efficient file transfers.
When I’m recording guitars for clients these days there’s not nearly so much trial and error. Through experience – hundreds of sessions – I have a pretty good idea of what’s likely to work and how to go about putting it all together. There’s still experimenting and I’m often finding cool new effects and tricks for a few of my more adventurous clients.
In addition to interesting, tight rhythm work, melodic solos, and really nice guitar tones, I love adding colour and ear candy and I get great feedback from clients on this. Double-tracked acoustic guitars can add a great ‘energy bed’ in some circumstances, and more intense delay, pitch shifting and modulation effects can be great to lift that second verse or middle 8. There’s no formula to it and I take each track as it comes, but often you’ll get a little over and above what you asked for. You don’t have to use it of course, but usually the response I get is ‘can I have more of that’ or that it’s just loud and proud in the final mix. That makes me happy!
Ok – here are some examples. If you want to discuss a studio session or use my online session guitar track service drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or use the contact form below.