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As the subject says, I'm interested in what some averages/expectations are to pay musicians in the studio; or be paid myself which would be a LOW rate, I assure you (if you've heard me play...)

My reality it this- I can conceptualize some guitar parts in my head that I can't get my left and right hands to cooperate with. So we might have someone fill in for my lack of skill in certain spots.


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jonyoung Fri, 02/06/2004 - 09:47

Jeff, I guess every market's a bit different...for project level sessions here in Nashville the average is about $50 a song per session (a guitarist would make that for each round, basic tracks, overdubs). Obviously for master sessions the union dictates scale for a standard length session. Hope this helps.

Kemble Fri, 02/06/2004 - 10:22

Nashville! Thats actually what I have been lookin around the net for; I figured that there would be some "Nashville Association of GuitaristS" NAGS? rate scale or something.

Sometimes I feel like Salieri-
"All I ever wanted was to sing to God. He gave me that longing... and then made me mute. Why? Tell me that? If he didn't want me to praise him with music, why implant the desire? Like a lust in my body? And then deny me the talent?"

Then again, maybe I should just try practicing.... :D

anonymous Sun, 02/08/2004 - 20:09

At my studio, I charge anywhere from $100 - $1000 per musician PER SONG. It depends on the "resume" of the session musician. $50 per song seems REALLY low. Almost, unreasonable. I agree it depends on the market though!
Remember, if you pay fairly, or MORE than fairly, you'll get a GREAT reputation, and will gain access to the BEST musicians!
Realize, if you pay a musician $100 per song, you could can be making that back in future album sales for the rest of your life, while that session guy collects nothing but his $100!
Keep that in mind.

-Matt Feddermann
Phase Recording Studios
Highland Park, IL

Kemble Mon, 02/09/2004 - 05:28

I'm smart enough to know I'm not good enough for certain parts/certain songs.

But I'm also smart enough to at least consider that the $250 might be better spent on some LESSONS! :D

I thought having Steve Vai sign my guitar would help me play better, but alas, no such luck. :confused:

This is great info. Thanks everyone.

jonyoung Mon, 02/09/2004 - 05:29

I agree, $50 a song IS really low. It's a supply and demand issue here....there are so many players in Nashville for the number of sessions going on. The master sessions are locked up by "The A Team" which is a group of about 20 players that play on all the label releases. I guess that's why all Nashville records sound the same! On the other hand, the project level players here are good enough to get a keeper within an hour of looking at the chart for the first time, so everybody makes about $200 for a half day session. The cost of living is also pretty low here, so that contributes.