Recording the Rhythm Section

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How to make recording 3 or more instruments at once and still get good sound and separation.

Recording the rhythm track is where the ability to record 3 or 4 tracks at once is a HUGE benefit. The ability to record the drums in stereo by using two channels, recording the bass into a third channel, and the rhythm guitar playing a "dummy track" into a fourth makes the recording sound tight and clean.

Miking the drums and mixing them to two tracks (left and right) is what to spend your energy to get sounding just right, because drums are very hard to fix once recorded. After that, the bass guitar can be run directly into the multitracker so it will come over the headphones, but, not be picked up by the drum mics. Then, finally, the guitar can be run directly also. Even if the sound is not that good, just to complete the rhythm section, then the guitar can be re-recorded over the first take by miking the speaker cabinet to get the sound you want.

In the event you are using a 4-track, the 4 tracks you just recorded will have to be mixed and recorded to a regular stereo deck to get it down to two tracks. This will bring your recording to the regular deck speed, which is a drawback, but, it will free up 2 tracks for vocals, guitar solos, sound effects, or whatever your music needs.

When mixing down the rhythm track, keep in mind that when it is mixed to the 2 tracks, it is permanently mixed, so be sure to get it right, the only way to change it after this is in the premastering (which will be discussed later) and the changes that can be made at that point is minimal.

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