- Play through a rough track on acoustic guitar and establish the speed of the recording. This is pretty standard.
- With the speed of the recording established, I produce an arrangement track complete with the position and length of all parts of the song including: Intro, Verses, Choruses, Transitions, Bridge, Outro and Fade. This is time-consuming and is where the cerebral and creative aspects of song composition and production merge.
- Next I do drum tracks. I may do a highly simplified version of the drums that I choose to produce a particular sound, or I may get fairly detail oriented early on. From what I can tell, this is pretty backwards. But I have found that I play a lot better with a tight drum track and the more defined in the transitions the better.
- Now I record the main guitar rhythm track. (Nearly all my songs are guitar oriented since I am first and foremost a guitarist.) If this track is strong enough to drive the song, I leave other guitar tracks for later on.
- Next I do the main vocal track.
- Go back and adjust arrangement, drums, guitar, and vocals until they are TIGHT together.
- Add bass track. By now the groove should be well established and the bass line should come naturally.
- More adjustments if needed and tweak tracks to all sit in the mix.
- Add background vocals and edit vocal tracks until they are tight.
- Add more guitar tracks- lead guitar, electric rhythm, banjo, slide etc.
- Add piano, organ, and / or synthesizer.
- Add harmonica, brass and woodwinds.
- Add percussion and special effects.
- Create group tracks and Effects channels.
- Adjust mix, add EQ, Compression, etc. and remix.
- Add mastering components.
- Export mixdown and listen on various devices and environments: Stereo in my studio, car radio, through computer speakers and headphones, through Ipad.
- Adjust and remix until I satisfy my ear.
Let me know your tracking methods or if you spot any holes in mine!
Happy tracking to you!