From the Muse’s Muse: “Singing and playing a great song is almost as good as getting a lesson from the person who wrote it.”
With recording and mixing, lessons from experts come even easier when the engineers and producers volunteer to share their knowledge.
Michael Tretow, the engineer for all of Abba’s studio albums, offers a wealth of information on his techniques in this 1980 article, Abba In The Studio:
I always try to place the electric guitar amp in a different room, if the studio has access to a storage room or something like that. I believe that to get a really loud sound you must play loud and literally let the sound fill the room. I use one close-up mic in front of the amp and one omni, out in the room, to pick up rattling windows and the like.
In this interview with Michael Fremer, Roy Halee, who engineered for Paul Simon from the 1960’s through Graceland and The Rhythm of The Saints, talks at length about his experiences (particularly some of the tricks used on The Boxer.) See also part II of the interview.
MF: And then there’s that big drum “kishhhhhh.”
RH: Well that was done in the elevator shaft at Columbia! So we go to the church, add their voices with Dolby, and now we’re out of tracks…Then we were going to do strings, so we decide to record it onto a two-track and wild track it into the final mix.
MF: You had to use a variable pitch control to keep it in synch with the rest?
RH: That’s what I did.