Got the tracks, but do you have the vision?

tracking with guyThis post from Gino Robair at Mix Magazine reminds me of our first commercial studio setup in the 1970s. Eight track analog tape. I used to always record drums as a stereo mix to two tracks. The basic idea was to get things sounding as good as you could and then just go for it. Of course, at that same time you were tracking the rest of the rhythm section -- guitars, bass and whatever keyboard, which at the time was either piano, organ through a Leslie speaker or a Fender Rhodes. But we always left two tracks open so we could submix the band down to two tracks in order to make room for vocals and other instrumental overdubs. I remember one of the most common methods of deciding where lead guitar licks were needed---it was wherever the lead vocal wasn't singing, as the lead guitar and lead vocal often shared the same track. Of course I wouldn't go back to those days because it's great to have as many tracks as needed, etc. It is however, important -- as Robair does a good job pointing out -- to have an inner vision of where you want to go with a production, so as not to get lost in all the options.