Skip to main content

music & audio

Studio Pass: Sylvia Massy

Lesson 22 of 27

Guitar Solo and Overdubs

Sylvia Massy

Studio Pass: Sylvia Massy

Sylvia Massy

staff favorite music & audio

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2000+ more >

Lesson Info

22. Guitar Solo and Overdubs

Lesson Info

Guitar Solo and Overdubs

Overdubs, we're going to do some guitar solo bits here with Whitney from Thunderpussy. I wanted to try something though. This is a Veriac and I've had very good luck making guitar tones really saturate by using a Veriac, so I'd like to try that for us today. So we're gonna have to turn off your amps. We have the amps set up already, but I'm gonna change things around here so that we can try this. All right. And Scott? Yes? Will you help me please? Sure. I'd like to put the Veriac on this. The combo? The combo. Okay, no problem. Let's start with that and see. Now you'll see here and I want to show. I want to show the people that right now, 120 volts is where we're at, and this is basically what the power, the US power is. What I'm gonna do is take this Veriac. I'm gonna starve the guitar amp by bringing down the volts to maybe 110, maybe even farther. Well see how far we can go and this should make the amp work harder and saturate the sound. So we're gonna try this. We'l...

l start at 120, which is standard power and then we'll start starving the amp and see what it does. Awesome, let me get Okay, here you go. That hooked up for ya. Thank you. And I'll just stick it right on top here. And in the meantime, I'm gonna place the mics on these cabs. We're using two cabs, this old Marshall combo and then we're using this one over there, this four-by-12 Marshall cab which is being driven by a really lovely 50 watt Marshall head over here, so it's the big Marshall sound we're going for, but we wanna really make it fat and saturated. So I'm gonna go ahead and move. While he's setting up the Veriac, I'm gonna move these mics around. I like to mic guitar cabs with two mics and I have had such good luck with the 57 and that that's my go-to combination and I like to generally get the mics angled so that they're straight on and right around the seam of the cone. I know that there's a cone back here, a speaker cone. I guess we could take a look at it. So this position looks pretty good 'cause I want it right in the seam of that speaker and I'll go over here on this side. Same thing. I try to get them to be just about the same distance away from the speaker grill and close to the same position right on the seam of that speaker. I'm gonna do the same thing over here to, you already got that Veriac in there? Yep, it's ready to go. And the Veriac, is it on both of these amps or is just the one? No, it's just on the combo. Just on the combo, so. So we can start with this if you want to just hear how it sounds. Very good. Okay. Yeah, go ahead and play for us. Wait a second. Oh! Let me get my head out of there. (laughing) And I want to move this mic into position. All right, that looks pretty good. Yeah, and shred it? No, where's the Veriac? Do we? It's right on top of the amp. Oh, okay, there it is. All right, go ahead and start playing Whitney. Okay. (electric guitar music) All right, all right all right, so now that's down quite a bit. I'd like to have you play again and while you're playing, I'm gonna bring it back up and see what the difference is. If it's a big difference, I'm going to do it quickly so we can see if there's really a difference here. I'm not hearing a dramatic difference, so we'll do a back and forth and then I might go even farther. I might bring it down to 90 or 80, just to see what happens. It'll probably shut the amp off. (laughing) (faint speaking) hurt it? It shouldn't hurt the amp. Oh, it's the masher, man. You got (faint speaking). Okay, okay, good. Go ahead and play again. I'm gonna go, it's down to 100 right now. I'll bring it back up to 120 and back down to to see what it's actually doing. Go ahead. (electric guitar music) All right, all right, all right. Mm, not as big as a difference as I was hoping, so I'm gonna bring it way down and just to see what it's doing. I imagine that we'll lose some volume and if it's a sound that we like, that we'll have to make up the volume in the amp. It's really on like three or four, right? Right? (laughing) Yeah. Well, good. (laughing) Yeah. Okay, so go ahead and start playing. I'm gonna start back up at 120. Start playing and I'm gonna bring it down, down, down, down, down and see what it does. Here we go. (electric guitar music) All right, all right, all right. I think I like it. Yeah, really full. It got really full when I turn, and now and it's all the way down to 90, so we're really starving this amp. So let's go with this. I'll make up with the volume here so we're back up to a real strong volume and we'll leave it at and we'll go with that for this amp. We'll leave the 50 watt head where it was when we tracked. And now, that's kind of a fun new sound. Cool. Great, okay. So let's talk about the parts that we wanna do. What I'd like you to start with is let's double the guitars in the chorus. Great. And we'll actually do not only a double, but a triple and we'll do it with you wearing headphones and I'll just direct you from the control room, and then after that, we'll do rhythm parts behind the solo in the slow part, we'll actually triple those or we'll do it twice. Okay. Okay? Cool. And then I'd like to try redoing the solo, the first solo of the song and we'll try a little tricky thing with a jigsaw while we're doing that solo. All right. Okay. All right, so we'll start. Working on the first half. What's that? Working on the first half. Working on the first half, so let's do both choruses, first a double and then a triple and so you've got headphones right behind you. Ready to go. Let's see, and I think we're good to go. All right. All right, I hear the cab on. It's time to rock! Okay. All right. So, I have a question. Yes? So yeah, Yes? As you're coming back in, what is a Veriac? Can you just tell people online? We had some questions about it. Okay, the Veriac is a way to adjust the power going to whatever you've plugged into the wall. you're just adjusting the power that's being sent into an amplifier, so it's the way that I hook it up is to actually take the power cable from an amplifier and instead of plugging it into the wall, plug it through this Veriac. The Veriac's plugged into the wall and I'm changing the voltage, so from 120 I'm bringing it all the way down. In this case, we're bringing it down to and that will force the amp to work harder and it saturates sooner. There's a kind of a controversy over what makes vintage gear sound so good and one way of thinking about it is part of the reason could be the fact that the power supplies to all this vintage gear kind of gets weaker over time, so having weak power makes this kind of saturation happen in the circuits and so if you look at old, vintage consoles, old, vintage compressors, everyone raves about the sound of vintage gear, vintage amplifiers. It could be that all their power supplies are just weak and that they're starving. So we're doing the same thing now with this amp and I think it works really well with newer amps because you're giving it a vintage flavor by backing down the power. Cool. All right, you can get these Veriacs, they're at surplus stores, electronic surplus stores, electronic supply, electrical supplies, it's a popular item for adjusting power. Cool. Yeah, all right. And now we have. I've got the track set up and record. Okay. Fed from the same buses as it before. Okay, very good. Thank you, Scott. And I have the output assigned to the next two channels in live. So our new So right after the tape delay, yep. Right here, these are our new guitar tracks? Well, I'll need to send 'em to her headphones so she can hear herself, but other than that. You do that. No problem. I'm going to listen to what we have going here and I'm gonna park our. There we go. Our cursor (mumbles) guitar. In front of the first chorus because we're gonna want to record the first chorus of the double (faint speaking) of a first chorus doubling the guitar and let me think very carefully about what I'm doing (laughing). That should be good. All right. She should have it in her headphones now. Are you there? Okay, I need to find a way to communicate with her. She needs a talk back mic. Oh! We don't need that. We don't need this? Don't need that. Kay. But we do need a talk back mic. There's a vocal mic out there. Can we make one of those live so that we just have a way Yeah, well what we can use, we can just To communicate? Stick the vocal channel into input. Great idea. Oh, hold on real quick. I forgot I unassigned the inputs. Vocal is in 23. Oh, (faint speaking). Why would you do that? So emergency, no accidental recordings. Okay. So that should be the room. All right. Compressor. It'll be pretty loud, too. Hello, talk to me. Hey, hey, what's up? Thank you. Hello! (faint speaking) There you are! Ah! (laughing) Okay, let's see, make some noise. (electric guitar music) Oh yeah! I think the Veriac is working really well. This was a technique that Ross Hogarth told me about and apparently the Veriac is one of the secrets to Eddie Van Halen's sound, right? (electric guitar music) Okay! I'm going to play the track and if you could come in on the chorus, just on that bah-da-da-da, but don't give me any of the chicka-chicka-chickas, right? We're just gonna get those punches and we're gonna double those to make 'em bigger. So, this is the (faint speaking) combo. Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. This is the combo. Hang on. That's the stack. I want 'em on the same track. Oh. Say that again? I said, well, there's the chicka-chickas, I'm not gonna do those, but there's also the (electric guitar music) those, should I do those? Try it, we might abandon that idea, but let's try it to start. Okay. So you want all four mics going at the same (faint speaking)? I want all the, yes, I want all four mics. No problem, let me. What I wanna do is take all four mics. There's two cabs out there. There you go. And I'm gonna take all four mics from the two cabs and put them into one track. That should be. And then we'll double that track, right? Yeah, that should be it. That should be it. All four mics should be going there now Okay. In the bus 19 and you should be good on that track. Okay, go ahead and play again. (electric guitar music) Where is it? (guitar music drowns out speaking) These guys? Yep! (electric guitar music) Still more (faint speaking). (electric guitar music) (faint speaking) All right, good. Very good, very good. Okay, here we go. We're doubling. Okay, are we parked in the right spot? Yes, we are and here we go. (rock music) You know where you're at now? Okay. (rock music) Great. I like it! Let's double it. You'll have to assign the input on that guy to the other channel. It should be one lower. Great. 19, yep, thank you. Thank you. Here we go! I'm gonna mute that one. Here we go. (rock music) Beautiful! Hang on a second. I'm going to listen back to both those for a moment. Okay. All right, and I'm gonna split these left and right, panning wide and that should make for a big chorus sound. Let's see what we got. (rock music) Beautiful! I like it. Sounds huge. Sounds humongous! All right, we're going to the next chorus. We're gonna do the same thing. Let me see where the next chorus is here, right around here, boom, boom. All right. I'll give you a little more lead time this time. Okay. And we should be good to go. (rock music) Beautiful! All right, let's double that. Okay, that sounded good. We're gonna do the double, the triple now. (electric guitar music) That's all right. All right, here we go! (rock music) Ah, you're a little late there. Let's do that again. (rock music) Great! All right, now the next thing I'd like to do is rhythm parts behind the solo. Let's hear a little bit of you playing the regular rhythm part just on your own right now. Like, what I'm going to play for this behind the solo? Yes. (electric guitar music) Oh, she's thinking. (electric guitar music) Okay, very good, very good. (electric guitar music) All right, that's it. It's a little bit too, yeah, I think the Veriac is making the guitar really distorted and so I'm going to actually only use the mics on the four-by-12 cab instead of the combo so, but you don't have to do a thing. I'll just change it right here on the desk, so give me a chance and then we'll record it. So, I'll just pull this down here, bring that up a little bit there. We should be good. Can you play that rhythm one more time a little bit? (electric guitar music) I like that better. All right, great, great, great. Now let me find the right spot for this. I'm gonna just take a listen to the track to make sure we're in the right spot. Hang on. (rock music) That's where we're gonna start and then after the bah-bah-bah-bah-bah-bah-bah, rhythm start. Cool. Got it? All right. I'm going to, I'm gonna pan that back to the middle so it doesn't confuse her by being only on one side and we're gonna start now, making sure everything's good to go. Mute that. Okay, you ready? Here we go. (rock music) Let me see what she's saying. Play different, I think I'm gonna play a different rhythm than that. No problem! Try one. Let me do something else. Okay, here we go again. (rock music) Great, I like it! Did you want to do it over? Oh. Say that again. Did you want to do it over? May I hear what I just did? Yes. (rock music) What do you think? I like that. May I just try one more version of that? Yes, we'll do it again. Here we go. (rock music) So I'm making a duplicate playlist of that just in case we want to go back. I've just made a duplicate playlist. (rock music) So what do you think of that? May I hear that one? Okay. (rock music) What do you think? I think I like that one better. I like the other one better. Really? Yeah. You want to toss a coin? I like 'em both, so. You want to do one one way and the other one the other way? (laughing) That's be kind of, up. Let's just do this way, then. No, I kind of feel like if you think the other one sounds better because you have a fresh ear, you know what I mean? Maybe that's better. Fresh ear. I'm gonna side with you. No, I insist. We're doing this one! Okay. Okay. I tend to think that the artist will always make the better decision (laughing) so we're just gonna go with Whitney's idea. All right, let me get another track ready for you. What're we doing? The same one again. We're tripling it now. Basically, we're doubling your rhythm part. Okay, but I should play it the way that I just played it? Play it just the way that you just played it, the way that you liked it. Okay. Okay very good. All right, here we go. (rock music) Yeah, I think so! That cool? Yeah, I think so! Let's see, take a break, come on in. All right. So Sylvia? Yes? I have a question for ya. What are you listening for when you're listening like, to those overdubs and amp sounds? Well right now, I'm looking of a performance, a part that will support the guitar solo. This guitar solo right now has been turned down, but this rhythm guitar part is going to be underneath the guitar solo and now that we're recorded two tracks of it, I'm going to pan it hard left and right and tuck it underneath the solo and let's see if it's doing what it's supposed to do. Cool. That's basically what I'm listening for, is something that will support the solo but not steal the thunder of the solo. So, you know? So, let me do a little tweak here and there and pan these new parts out, turn up our main rhythm tracks, and take a listen. (rock music) You know, I think that it is stealing away from the guitar. It is more. Can it be like the verse? Need some space? Yes. Or the re-intro like, bow-bah-bada-bum-bah. Yeah, now that I'm listening to them both and them doubled, I think it does need that, the more space, yeah. More space. Mm-hmm. Or even go even lighter with it. Yeah. Bow-bap. Yep, with the pauses. Can we try that? Bow-bap. Yeah, with pauses. Let's try it again. All right, I will save all of this on Playlist, just in case we want to get back to it 'cause you never know. So playlists, duplicate. I like to use duplicate playlists over new playlists 'cause I like to see what's already been recorded. Woo-hoo! There she is, okay. Are you there? Play that guitar. Let me make sure that we're active. (electric guitar music) Can you make it even sparser? Mm-hmm. (electric guitar music) Yeah. Yeah, with stops in it. Lean back a little? Uh, just let me hear it and I'll try and do it really sparse. Great! (rock music) I honestly think it needs to be the ba-ba-da-ba-da, ba-da-da-ba-da, ba. (electric guitar music) But less than the original or the same? (electric guitar music) Like that? Yeah. Okay. Let's try it. All right, let's try it. Here we go. I'm gonna save that one that she just did on a playlist just in case. Here we go. (rock music) All right, I think we have a problem with tuning now. Can you check your tuning? Sure. Well, I hope we're getting somewhere. (faint speaking) my guitar. Not so sure that we're getting anywhere yet (laughing). Hopefully we're getting somewhere with this. We do have a question more related to mixing. Ah! So hi Sylvia and CreativeLive. This is amazing that you are offering this class. My question is more related to mixing. Do you do any mixing in the box or at this stage in your career, are you completely analog? If you do do mixing in the box at all, could you weigh in on the controversial topic of using plugin on the Mixbus. Do you use plugins on the Mixbus? If so, what kind, what settings? Okay, hold on a moment, Whitney. It's kind of a big question. Yeah. Here we go. I do do mixing in the box. I still prefer to mix outside of the box, analog. I'm using a hybrid right now, so I do a lot of sub-mixing through Pro Tools with the Pro Tools automation. I'll do sub-mixing using compression in the drums on a drum bus basically, so I'll use buses and put in plugin compression, put in plugin EQ and use onboard reverbs, but I still like to bring up basically stems up on the desk and get the analog kind of end of the mix and then use analog stereo EQ which is a GML 8200 like we have here at Avast and 2254 Neve compressors which are great and I use 'em on the stereo bus and then I also use these passive transformers, which when we get into mixing in future episodes, I'll show you how to use that, but yes, you have to go outside of the computer and then come back in during your mix to use these types of techniques. So right now I'm in hybrid. I'm gonna go full on digital mixing here soon, but I just haven't gone all the way (laughing). I'm still kind of attached to my old Neve. You know? Yeah. Okay. All right, we're gonna continue with guitar overdubs. Hello! Hello! All right, let's give her a shot. Okay. (rock music) I like this part, so let's double it. Okay. Did you get the end? I messed up the end a little. Let's punch in on the end then. I'll start ya halfway through that take and I'll punch you in. As soon as you know where you're at, just start playing. Gotcha. All right, we're in quick monitor. (rock music) Okay, I like it. Hang on, I'm going to do a little fix. I'm gonna slide that waveform over so we get just the good parts. Here we go, that chord change right there. Everything after the chord change was great. All right, we're good. Do a little quick fade. All right. Now we're gonna get the other side. We're gonna double it. (faint guitar music) And save (laughing). Yes. All right, here we go! (rock music) Great! I think we've got it. All right. Were you happy with that? Yeah, I might've played it a little differently, but I don't know. That might not be a bad thing. Yeah, you might not be able to tell. It was right both times, so if there's different, but. I think a little different is okay. I think the soul-searing guitar solo is probably gonna make up for that anyway. No one's gonna be paying any attention to this part anyway. Exactly. (laughing) Okay. Here's what I'd like to do next. I would like to double either this solo or the end solos with a very special guitar sound that I think that we're going to try to create right now. (faint speaking) Okay, it'll be using a Black & Decker jigsaw hopefully. That does sound special. All right, it'll very special. Okay, let's take a break. Come on in or actually, I'm gonna come out to you. All right. Very good. Okay Scott, are you ready for what comes next? Yeah, everything's hooked up. The Black & Decker is still. I think I would like to bring it out into the room. Okay. All right. I don't think we have to change any of that. Do you mind if it's on a separate channel then? No, I mean, I think this is the only thing we're gonna record. I don't think we are even gonna blend it with that. Oh, so you're actually gonna turn the amps off. Okay. Something like that. (laughing) well, let's see what we can do. What I'd like to do now is bring out this thing. Dimension. That we created this thing and we're going to add it into the existing solo to see if it might add a little color, coolness, or uncool-ness (laughing) to what we've done so far. 'Cause being uncool is really uncool these days. Hmm. (laughing) So we want to be as uncool as possible so that we're cool? Exactly, All right, this should be. So new frontier. This is gonna be so uncool. Dude. (laughing) Okay. So you want just the Black & Decker, right? All right, let's take a look at this. I'm gonna go ahead and put these in the standby. Yes, with a rat on it. Come look at this apparatus. (laughing) All right, we have a mic on a Black & Decker jigsaw and we're going to have you do, ah, let's see, is this gonna even work? I know what we do. All right, we're gonna do this during the first verse when you normally don't play. I want you to hold notes sustained and it'll make this thing start up and do weird things. Yeah, let's see if that can get the A to do that. Okay, could you do that right now? Yeah. Now, uh, we don't really need any of these other amps on right now. I've got 'em in standby right now. Standby, okay. (mumbles) Wanted to go back to 'em. Okay, let's see if we can make this thing go. I might (faint speaking) this thing. (faint guitar music) See like, right in there. It's not working. Oh, there it is. (faint guitar music) The low note worked. (faint speaking) That note. There we go. (guitar buzzing) All right, I think that's what we're gonna try to do. Seems to do that, stop's on. It belongs to the (faint speaking). There we go, it needs a little time to. To really just feedback. Yeah, okay. I'll leave the petal on so it'll just do that forever. (laughing) Great, then we might just get it going like, let's say we want it to be doing this underneath the first verse so start it up a half like, four bars before the first verse and then just let it run like this and wiggle it and do weird things if you could. (guitar buzzing) It's kinda cool. (guitar buzzing) You can hear both. All right, good. (laughing) Okay, let's see what we can do. (faint speaking) (laughing) She's in there finding notes. She's finding notes? She's finding notes that work with it. We don't even need that door to be shut, actually. Well, I don't want the control room volume getting into it since it's such a quiet source. Ah, good point. That is gonna be input number 22 is the dremel. Okay, input 22 is the dremel. So if you create a new. I'm gonna just use these same tracks. Okay. So it's gonna be 22. 22 should be the dremel. And let's see what this actually sounds like now. (dremel buzzing) Is it running? It is! Is that the sound of it running? That's the metal-y top end is the sound of it running, I think. (guitar buzzing) (laughing) Okay, we need it to change. (guitar buzzing) All right, here's what we do. Okay, okay, all right. Where's our delays? It's going to. We've got that guy Through aux one. And that guy. Yeah, yeah. So aux one goes to both of them? Correct. All right, so our return is coming back here. Yep, so you'll just turn it on there in the bottom. It's the bottom one of those two and then if you want to push Right. The orange one right above it, that'll make it pretty, fader, yep. And then. Right. So we should be hearing it right now? I'm seeing signal in the tape delay, but we don't, oh, the returns aren't activated, so we'll have to create new tracks for returns. Do you want me to do that real quick just so we don't erase over what's already there? Can we put 'em all, can we put this sound and the delays all on the same two tracks? Where is our summing? Where are we summing at? We're summing on the, all of the old board. On the old board, okay. So I'm just gonna go Control, New to. You want to do that. Okay, let's have stereo tracks for the effects. Guitar tape delay. Actually, let's do this. If we could have these two be our effects and this one will be our dremel. Okay? So hold it. You know what I mean? Yep. Great. And we're gonna go to 22 with that. So we're going to have the guitar drill on one track and we're gonna send that through our delay ATR tape delay and then this Chorus Echo up here and we're gonna record the whole thing. It'll be a big mess and I think there'll be room for it to actually shine underneath the verse vocals. Cool. So we're gonna try that. (guitar buzzing) 28, 29 for these. 29. Now those are coming, what? No, no, no, no, no, no, no. I think maybe we've confused you. Okay. I want these two which were our tracks for our overdubs to be, uh-oh, see? We've lost things. Just go. It was in your other playlist. Okay, leave that. These two tracks are gonna be our effects. What are the effects going into? What are the inputs for the effects? I have it 24 and 25, so that's, these channels are what you want, so you want 26 and for your effects? I want these two to be, these are my. 26, 27. Right. There you go. And then the next one will be 28. And that will be And that'll be the dremel. Just the dremel. Yep. So this one is just one track of dremel. Just dremel. Great. And then two tracks of effects. Yes. And then are we, hold on, pardon me, I want to make sure that we're not sending the delay to itself. Yeah, there you go. We get that going. Great. (guitar buzzing) Okay, the tape's not running, but that's the tape delay. Okay. Let me go over and set up the tape. Let's get that thing going. (guitar buzzing) All right, I'm gonna go talk to her briefly about this. Maybe we'll get it. All right! That is the craziest noise. So, good crazy noises, yes. It needs to have movement. It can't just be on one note, I'm afraid. If you could start with one note, this thing'll start running and then do some weird shit because it's going into a big delay now, so it's gonna be swirling around, so do some weird stuff, spacey stuff, and then go back to that note. Gotcha. Right? So we'll see what it'll be's kinda cool right now. All right? Here we go. Right now I've got the delays panned for you also. (electric guitar music) We're gonna try to make it four on the two. Tape's recording now. Okay. (faint speaking) We have a bad hum. Can you hear me? Yes. How do you feel about the wha on it? Did you hear that? Wha is very good. Water? Can we see what we can do about this bad hum? Is it coming through the effects or through the? It's just the dremel itself, right? It's the dremel. It's the actual vibration of the unit, I think. Yeah, it's just the noise of the, I mean, without it, it's just this high pitched feedback. Now hit it again, hit the pedal. Yeah, I'm on nothing right now. Turn it off. Now I got on. Okay, when you have everything off. Everything is off. Off, we still have the hum. What I'm hearing is the hum. It's not the squeal, I don't care about the squeal, the squeal's fine, but there's a hum in there. It might just be. I got my pickups off now. I'm not hearing anything. Turn your pickups on. Okay. Do you hear the hum, the low hum? Yeah. All right, let me see. The feedback sound is crazy. Hmm, okay I'm gonna do the. I mean, it's cranked! I'm gonna do a little EQ. The microphone is super cranked 'cause it's so quiet of a source. That might just be where it's coming from. All right, go ahead and turn that guitar on again. Turn it on, right? Where's our dremel? It's on the API over here. It's channel 43, I think it is. Right there, Here it is. It's dremel. Okay. (electricity buzzing) Okay, I'm just gonna pull all the low end out of it and that'll. We can also do this, too. There's a high pass on that channel. There you go. Okay. The tape is rolling. We still have a little bit of a problem, but I think we'll just go with it and see what happens. All right, make some noise! (faint electric guitar music) What's going on now? Seems pretty low. (faint speaking) (electric guitar music) Here we go. How's her level? (electric guitar music) Looking good. It's actually really low. Okay, right, right, right. And our delays are coming back. We're back on the channels before. Here? Before, no. Before the guitar, so it's delays. This is the return. Well, this is the return. Where's the send? It's aux one off of the drum one right here. Great, there we go. (electric guitar music) That's what I want. Great. (electric guitar music) All right, we're gonna try it. All right, you ready to try this? Sure! Okay, here we go. You wanna shut the door over there? Well, I got that one closed. Oh, you do? Yep. Good. (electricity buzzing) (laughing) (rock music) It's nice! (rock music) Nice, very, very nice! Come on in! (laughing) That was really cool, actually. Nice. I mean, it's gonna be subtle and crap, but awesome. I know, I'll turn it off. (laughing) All right, well it was pretty shit. You know, I'll try anything twice. Really? (laughing) Yeah. We might just have it with that first take. I'm going to actually clip gain up for these takes because they were recorded very low. Mm, and I now it's extra shitty but we'll just see what we got. (laughing) Oh man, all right. This is pretty rock and roll. Hey, the lives that we lead. (laughing) Okay, I'm gonna play a little bit ad see what kinda mess we got here. Actually, let me clean this up, do it like this. I'm gonna clean up the entrance so it kinda fades in a little more. Oh boy, here we go. And clean up that ending of it. Yeah, I had trouble hearing it when it came in through that fade. I wasn't sure, but I don't really know how to make it louder. Use a mic. (laughing) It might just be perfect. It's probably just great the way it is. Let's see what we got. (rock music) ♪ Never had a part, it's only ever zone ♪ (rock music) Perfect! That's great. Perfect. That sounds cool. It is, it's really cool. I like it. That's like, headphone stuff, you know? Oh, totally. You're like, totally stoned, you're just listening and it's really Did it just pan around the room? A dark room. Oh my God! Right, yeah. And you're just like, whoa. Perfect, okay. Very cool. All right.

Class Description

Over the last 30+ years, Sylvia Massy has built a career as one of the gutsiest and most innovative recording engineers and producers. She has worked with legends like Prince and Johnny Cash, and won awards for her work with bands like Tool, System of a Down and The Red Hot Chili Peppers. In this once-in-a-lifetime experience, you will get a peek inside the recording process of one of rock’s legendary engineers. 

While she is a proficient master of vintage gear, Sylvia stresses that great records come not from having the right gear, but from capturing great performances. Join Sylvia as she records a song in the studio with Seattle alt-rock band Thunderpussy, and learn how to work with an artist to capture that magical take in your own work.

Pulling from her years of experience and sharing stories from her newly published book Recording UnHinged, Sylvia will show you:

  • How to get interesting and vibrant drum sounds, using the room and the drummer to your advantage
  • Capturing great sounding guitars at the source, without editing and reamping
  • Pushing vocalists to deliver their best vocal takes 
  • Mixing both in the box and through a console using outboard gear

Sylvia is also known as a prolific educator, speaking and teaching at some of the best recording schools around the world. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from one of the industry’s most celebrated A-list producers. 

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


Jimmy Foot

This Studio Pass episode with Sylvia Massey covers a lot of ground. From fundamentals like correct mic placement and phase to experimentation with amps, cell phone delay and a few extra parts, Sylvia makes it fun! I have been lucky enough in my career to work with a number of great engineers and producers. I haven't had the opportunity to work with her, but Sylvia is certainly in that category, and anyone who gets a chance to work with her would be a lucky person. This broadcast is the next best thing. Great job there at Avast Studio and fantastic camera work! And as for Thunderpussy; you guys rock!

Marc Felish

Wow, that was such a blast. Thanks so much Sylvia and everyone else for making this such a fun experience. I picked up so many new ideas that I can't wait to try out! Sylvia is such a creative producer, it was so much fun to be a fly on the wall watching everything. Loved it!!

Marcus Soares

Awesome! A great opportunity to pick into the creative mind of one of the greatest and get that kind of knowledge that you can't acquire otherwise. Highly recommended!