Lets take our hats off to the songwriters!


Well-Known Member
Feb 10, 2001
I dunno about you guys, but, I am stuck without a song and a band. I am a non writer and 'retired' musician. I DO pick up a gtr to demonstrate ideas when producing, but it soon gets handed to a musician. I can't read music, have no theory and would LOVE to know the piano and feel ashamed I don't.

I find myself helping along middle 8's, bridges from time to time with little musical ideas. I help shorten over long songs and get involved in verse chorus type arrangement/constrution. I also help add counterpoint melodies by singing them to the musician and expect them to 'pick it up'.

What musical involvement do YOU get up to? I appreciate some of you are self recording artists and I salute you for wearing two hats!

Do some of you provide musical services along with recording?

Survey - take part!




Aug 30, 2001
Seattle, WA USA
I guess I'm one of those lucky ones that has a good combination of musical skills to complement my technical skills.

I come from a very musical family and was studying trumpet at a very early age, and a few years of piano lessons along the way as well. I also taught myself a bit of guitar.

Now days, I wish I had a lot more experience with the piano. I never pick up the trumpet anymore, and haven't touched a guitar for quite a while either.

I do a lot of work with singer/songwriters where I'm composing/arranging all the background music for them. I'm mostly using keyboards, computers, drum machines, and loops for this, but I know enough to bring in the REAL musicians to bring a song to life. My piano skills are OK, but I'll bring in a real keyboard player or pianist when needed, and there are several guitar players I love to work with as well. Also, nothing beats real drums (except for when I'm doing rap or other electronic based music), but I do get quite a lot of use out of the Performance Loops - Drums series that I produced and sell through Big Fish Audio... very handy for the clients that can't afford a real drummer.

I'm still more on the technical side, haven't studied computer & electrical engineering in college, and then working 5 years as a Nuclear Engineering Officer for the Navy, but I've always been involved in music in one way or another... played in bands, did recording from my home studio, etc.

I'm a good enough of a musician to do most of the pop and electronica styles myself along with maybe one of my guitar player friends. Other than that, my musical knowledge really helps me to communicate with the real musicians much better.

I enjoy producing music more than being simply and engineer or studio for hire, and I've been working on shifting more into the direction of a production company that just happens to have its own project studio.

Probably more than you wanted to know!



Well-Known Member
Feb 10, 2001
I guess the grass is always greener... I probably can speak for a lot of musicians who crossed over into engineering who feel envious of your engineering knowledge. We may have some advantages in reading skills, groove knowledge, an ear for intonation or reharmonization, the ability to pop in a quick synth string part, or left-brain stuff in general, but lots of us still feel we don't know crap about the tech side. I got hooked because I happened to have had a four track cassette and a hundred year old Steinway back in the day, and musicians would just keep showing up at my place begging... (about $100,000 of gear ago). Maybe the ideal would be one of you and one of me in tandem.


I end up playing bass on many sessions by default. I do not promote myself as a player. I have been known to play the odd piano, key bass, melodica, harmonica, and guitar track. I avoid vocals. I want to learn to play drums and hand percussion just for fun. I am not well trained at any particular instrument other than bass.

I like to work with producers that cover all of the musical bases. The main guys I collaborate with are pretty good at just about any instrument you hand them. They usually can't get along with a band very well, but they do great producing solo artists.


Jul 2, 2001

As like many others, I'm primarily a musician, re-directed into audio production 'cos it was what I did along with music from the time I was a young kid of 12 - multi-tracking thru 8-track recorders onto a cassette deck, writing wacky songs about our crushes, a#$hole teachers, you name it. I went and studied music ( at the same school Mr Massenburg is adjunct professor of sound recording :D 'tho I took Performance :D
Having a strong musical background is an asset, but for what I use in my daily regimen that stems from University training equates to less than 5%. Had I done what I really wanted to do (go to ROCK'N ROLL UNIVERSITY and get my degree in LIFE :D :D :D :D ), I would probably be way ahead in the recording department, but wouldn't have the depth of knowledge for many other interests, such as teaching jazz courses, and coaching brass quintets, etc.

However, learning the ropes of audio production seems to call a certain type of personality - someone who can spend an entire day/night/day/next night solid on something, and wake up the next day, and can't wait to get started again! Now that is the calling of a Producer! Forget the women/wife/nag/and even your kids sometimes, all for the sake of some creative stake in something so precious, gripping, powerful, that you'll forget almost anything to get back to it - that is a rare breed!


PlugHead Productions

Nate Tschetter

Well-Known Member
Feb 28, 2001

My dad played in Rock 'n' Roll bands and repaired stuff in music stores. I was "hanging out" while in kindergarten which is also the time I started playing piano. In my teens I had access to 4-track recorders and some of the first MIDI gear so I became a bit of a whiz on that stuff. As a young adult, I decided to study Film Scoring, went to Berklee, "re"-discovered Jazz and ended up studying Jazz Composition.

Since then I've worked for several MI Manufacturers creating sounds, patterns, demos and even entire products. I still do that but I'm moving into a phase where I'm recording and (I dislike this word) "producing" more and more.

Personally, I consider my recording skills to be my "weakest link" but I shore that up with arranging advice, synth programming, my keyboard playing, good cooking, etc.