I love all aspects of the production process. Songwriting, production, recording, mixing, mastering…love it.

But if I had to pick my favorite part of the process, I think it would be overdubs. I LOVE tracking with a bunch of musicians, laying a foundation for the song, but the next series of overdub sessions are the most fun for me.

Ideally after a tracking day, I’ve got drums, bass, and some guitars. It’s feeling awesome. Now it’s time to fill thing out.

Here’s how I like to approach overdub days: everything within reach.

I’m sitting at my desk:

  • Keyboard to my right, MainStage up and running on my laptop, outputs of that rig feeding my mixer.
  • Pedalboard and a rack of guitars right behind me.
  • Guitar amps set up (ideally in the other room) with mics in front of them.
  • A pair of condensers in XY for acoustic guitar recording.
  • A ribbon mic nearby for recording percussion; percussion instruments within reach.
  • A vocal mic set up right at the mix position for singing background vocal tracks.
  • Extra long headphone extension cable

I want to be able to lay down any instrument quickly. If I want to put a wurly track down, then turn around and add an electric guitar riff, then put together a shaker/tambourine loop, I want to be able to fluidly go from one to the next.

I’ve gotten lost in a song on many a session. The hours fly by, and I’m able to build something super special and fun.

You don’t have to be the only musician in the room to do this. Set up different “stations,” and make it easy for folks to move around.

You can also do this if you only own one microphone. Just move that sucker around from station to station.

It looks different for every person and every studio, but how can you set your studio up in an “everything within reach” sort of way? I tell ya, it inspires me like crazy.

Joe Gilder
Home Studio Corner

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