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Studio Pass with Joey Sturgis

Lesson 7 of 29

Pre-Pro- Bad Transitions & Tying it All Together

Joey Sturgis

Studio Pass with Joey Sturgis

Joey Sturgis

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Lesson Info

7. Pre-Pro- Bad Transitions & Tying it All Together

Lesson Info

Pre-Pro- Bad Transitions & Tying it All Together

I wanted to take a moment to stress the importance of this uh this preproduction phase because even if you have the best guitar sound in the world if the guitar is not doing the right thing than it doesn't matter so I'm just trying to convey that uh this is this is really important stuff and this is actually what the meat and potatoes of being a producer is making the right decisions for the song um so we're gonna move on to bad transitions uh starting with parts of no tail that just go to the next generally sound like copy paste job let me explain what that means, so if you've got just a bunch of riffs and a song and you just kind of put them all together, there won't be much of a flow or ah, you know it won't be very smooth it'll just sound like one part goes to the next and there's no uh, continuity and and there's no marriage going on so there's there's some songwriters who are really, really good at writing riffs that have these tales and the tales kind of lend themselves teo tran...

sition and other parts so if you like, listen to this intro riff right here so really like that riff a lot because it has two different tales one that sounds like this and one that sounds like this those two things allow that rift teo basically interact with almost any part. It can go before and after any part of the song and it will work. But if those things weren't there, that riff would just sound very, very stale. So the songwriter did a great job in making sure the riff itself was was really powerful. But there are sections in the song that have weak transitions. Um, one in particular is, uh, let me see where is it? So we listen to this part on the demo I want to show you what it used to dio now so there was literally just a pause and then the next part started and, uh, sometimes pauses are good, but I wanted teo do is something a little bit more like I wanted to keep the pause, but I wanted to add a little something extra to it. So if you listen to the final version of the song you can you can hear how there's a guitar glitch that I added to it. Wait, so there's still have the silence? Um but we also have the, uh, the transition um, so also in here we have our their arrangement elements that could tie parts together, one of the biggest parts of this whole song that ties everything together is that intro scent of you back if you look here, you can see how that synth comes up like three or four times in the song it's it's good to take elements like that hookey elements and sprinkle them through the song because that it kind of identifies the song and allows each part to kind of connect to each other um are there production techniques that could lead into the next part so this this has a lot to do with uh you know, if you just have a regular uh, part going into another part of me, you should let me show you this part right here so so yeah, that works but it's not as exciting as having all of these other production elements that connected together so let me play it with with the elements in we meet the vocals and then without so it's just a little bit more stock without all those extra elements and I'll play with the elements are just by themselves a thief. So the adding those things to the song made that part a little bit more exciting wait and sometimes you're going to run into situations where you need to actually write a transition um and one of the things I wanted to convey with that is generally if I have to write a part in the song I try to use other parts in the song to write it I don't like tio pick up a guitar and plug it in and play new cords or playing new notes that weren't there before because then you start to deviate from what the song actually is so the more things that you can use from the original song tio extended or to help it out the better um all right, so tying it all together this is one thing you have to keep in mind with all these little decisions that you're making in the song the goal is to make the whole song more cohesive and and make more sense um and you also want to help, you know, convey the the idea of the song to the listener um now if your song is just a flat line it's not going to be very fun to listen to it's not going to be very interesting, so I like to say that the song should be a roller coaster ride there should definitely be, you know, times where you're slowly going up a hill and other times when you're going really fast down and twists and turns and unexpected things. And so we kind of accomplish that by all these techniques that we're talking about, um the ending needs to be a real ending, not just the song ending uh a lot of times you'll get a song and it just sound like the band ran out of ideas if you listen to the end of this uh which we heard a couple of times already it just sounds you know it's just got the okay it's not much of an ending so we added that sent back in there which connects it back to the intro we also added some vocal parts um the count down the uh and the scent line yeah. So like those kind of just those two small, tiny little things I think make makes the ending more of unending and connects it more to the rest of the song as well. Um summary of the vocals of hook melody uh you know this adding this pre course kind of connects it to too early in the song and having that they're kind of completes the idea feel like instead of just saying let me hear you scream saying one, two, three, four let me hear you scream is like all the difference in the world you're going to run into other situations where the band has the end of the song and there's just no vocals there and a lot of times what I like to do is take the tagline from the chorus or something that that was a really powerful statement the song and actually put it in the end just to kind of sum it up another thing you could do is a key change ah you can also do like like let's say, you have an intro riff that just starts with, like, a simple drumbeat are not a drum beat it all but, like, maybe just a drum break. And then you bring that intro back in at the end of the song. But this time now you've got a drum be a vocal part, you know, just a full force version of the intro. It's. Just another. Another way to end the song soap reproaches, let's. Wrap this section up here, um, pre pro is more than just fixing songs. Uh, there's, there's a lot that goes into the fixing songs, and I know we spent a lot of time on that, but there's also this this whole other side to it, uh, to choosing the right tunings in the keys. A lot of times, you'll get a demo, and the vocalist sounds like he's struggling really hard to sing the melody it's so high, maybe it makes more sense to lower the key. Or maybe the melody's really boring and kind of low for his register, and maybe raising the key would be the right thing. Um, another thing that you might want to do is is, uh, you might want to think about the right tunings and the right keys for the ah, what am I trying to say for the concept of the album? Like if the album is supposed to be heavier than maybe it makes sense to do it in a low key or something like that um pick your tools this is something that should be common sense I mean, basically you're going to decide what guitar you're going to use what kind of drums said are you going to use? Are you going to have to kick drums? They're goingto have to snares to def ensnare sounds is every song going to have a different drum sound? Those kind of things you want to decide ahead of time so that your prepared for it when you get there another thing to do during pre pros to trim the fat um you basically want to cut the bad songs and one of the ways that I like to do that is ah, literally listen to the songs and figure out which which ones I think suck and if they suck I don't want to record them so that's ah that's how you do that? I mean there's there's no technical thing about it's just a subjective experience um figure out the underlying concept I really like to do this before we start because I want to know what the goal of the album is, so you know it might be one of those scenarios where you you've got a poppy band that comes in and they want to be a little bit more experimental or maybe have a heavy band that wants to come in and they want to be alone a little bit more. Poppy um, just knowing that can help you guide the songs in the right direction, and I like to just be upfront and communicate with the artist to kind of figure out what they're trying to do. Another part of pre pro is analyzed the efficiency workflow this just has to do with making sure you're recording guitars with the best guitar player, you know, make sure you record the drums when the drummer is fresh and and not tired, and, you know, after he had stayed up all night last night learning with songs and then trying to record them all the next day, don't do that, uh, also planned for additional musicians depends on your clientele, but a lot of people I work with, they have, you know, guest, like stream composers and stuff come in, and if you're not prepared for those kind of things, uh, it can get very chaotic very quickly, so you want to be prepared to work with the additional people when you're bringing them in, they might request hey, I need a chart for this song, or I need the midi knows sir, can you send me a demo of this and if you're not ready than you're going to drop the ball, what are the main mistakes from of a songwriter from your perspective so when you're when we're talking about, um song writing song arrangement like what are the are their common things that as people are writing songs out there and watching this this broadcast are the things that you like pointers that you could give uh, two people about that so that I think we well, you can't really hear it with a fresh here anymore because you're you you're the one making the song right? So a lot of times you end up with these endings that just kind of sound like they ran out of ideas they might take one part of the song and repeated again and then that's it um but I think that's ok? Because if you're a songwriter and you're you're doing that, you need someone to step in and hear it for the first time and tell you how to change it. Another common problem is there's a lot of songwriters that struggle struggle with writing a song in a way that's that lends itself to a good production and I liketo tell people the correlation that if you have a great song it's going to mix itself and if you have if you write a song and you you have all these crazy elements and it's just too dense and there's too many things going on you're never going to be able to mix it right because there's just too many elements in it convoluted ce the main idea of the song so having simple just simple great basic song what's the word I'm looking for composition yeah just a great simple composition that just gets the idea across great melody and a great rhythm and that's pretty much all you really need and then you get into situations like this where you just have a little bit of someone like me who comes in and just put a little salt on it and makes it taste nice and that's really the final step I do want to say that I think one of the best songwriters of all time is dave girl and if you pay attention to how he writes songs it's it's very simple it's just a basic beat the guitars play a nice rhythm and he has a great melody on top and sometimes that's all it takes and that's why that band is able to go into a studio and perform a song live and just have it be amazing they don't have to go into the computer and add all these synthesizers but I'm not trying to say that this was a bad song or anything shiny means it's just you know different genres called for different kinds of work

Class Description

Joey Sturgis is the producer behind some of the biggest names in metalcore, including Asking Alexandria, Of Mice & Men, and I See Stars. His style is one of the most sought after sounds of the last decade and in Studio Pass he’ll show you how he produces it.

There is no magic bullet to Joey’s sound. It’s simply the combination of a million little decisions that add up to something incredible. In this class – for the first time ever – Joey will demonstrate his entire process: pre-pro, engineering, mixing and mastering, from A-Z. 

You’ll learn:

  • Writing and arrangement tips that take a song from good to great
  • Recording, editing, and mixing tips for guitars, vocals, bass, drums, and synths
  • How to get stuff to sound loud, super clean, and tight

Joey is a hands-on engineer – he’ll talk about how he works with bands to develop their writing and ideas so they are working with the best possible raw material. He’ll show you the specific signal chain he uses for mixing guitars, vocals, bass, drums, and synths. And he’ll give extra focus to vocal tracking, editing, tuning, compression, and effects.

If you want to transform your recording and engineering process, don’t miss your opportunity to learn from chart-topping metalcore producer, Joey Sturgis.

Class Materials

bonus material with enrollment


What is Vocal Production

Autotune Pitch Correction Modes and Tools

Understanding Pitch Graphing

Timing and Quantization

Vocal Mixing

Separating Lead & Background in Mixing

Mixing Harmonies & Adv Production Technique

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes



I have been following Joey's work since the early Prada days... This is one of the best discussions any producer has ever contributed to digital audio. I love the amount of transparency. He simply reveals everything and guides you on a very wise path on how to become a in-the-box producer like him! Turns out, the answer is -- a ton of hard work! Plus, this has to be the best use-case on his own awesome and super-affordable plugins. I have watched almost every popular producer/engineer workshops and have also sat-in on Eddie Kramer, Alan Parsons and Quincy Jones producer workshops and believe it or not... This is the best one yet.

Adam Train

I'll be honest, I'm not a fan of the bands Joey records. The only reason I bought this class was because I enjoyed the Periphery one so much. Joey takes modern production techniques to the absolutely extreme. He takes punch-ins and editing to a level where it's not even funny any more. If you're looking for tips on recording and mixing in general, this class is not for you. If you're looking for editing tips to see how far you can possibly push the strive for perfection, this is pretty spot on. If you're a beginner, don't take this class to heart - Joey's workflow is borderline psychopathic - go and get the Periphery session instead. If you've been recording for a while and you're looking to see how far editing can take you, it's worth a look.

a Creativelive Student

Easily one of the best investments I've made. There is so much information here that you'll have to watch it multiple times to really catch everything. Looked up to Joey Sturgis for a long time and this is literally a dream come true to get a behind the scenes look into his talent. He delivered the material in a very understandable fashion and was extremely clear with all his examples. I love creative live =)