Experimental Recording Techniques: Creative Tricks to Try in the Studio

Stacked drums, auto-filtered acoustic pianos, slapback vocals served up by a garden hose: To get signature sounds in the studio, we like to get weird. Or, more precisely, we like to get experimental.

Appearing through the years and solidified in our Experimental Recording Techniques series, our writing and video squad has documented a world of novel approaches to pinning down a new sound.

Below, you'll find the full series to date of our Experimental Recording Techniques videos, along with plenty of other articles, videos, and interviews from engineers and producers designed to expand your horizons and inspire your next session.

Start exploring below and check back often; we’re always getting into something new.

Experimental Recording Techniques

Teaming up with Chicago's Rax Trax Recording studio, our Experimental Recording Techniques series shows how to manipulate standard recording equipment and instruments to achieve innovative—and sometimes slightly bonkers—sounds.

Use a Noise Gate to Trigger a Guitar with Drums.
Craft Ambient Soundscapes with an Acoustic Piano & Effects

The first video above is one of the wildest of the series. Starting with an eBow and an electric guitar, you can have a continuous guitar signal being played—but, by using a noise gate, you can set the guitar to only be heard when drums are being played, resulting in a skippy, glitchy rhythmic effect.

The second video shows another inventive approach to a tried-and-true instrument, this time, an acoustic piano. Through use of a contact mic (placed on the piano's soundboard), you can run the sound through a pedalboard and out through a couple amps, creating wide, heavily effected soundscapes that sounds like an acoustic piano reimagined and played by aliens.

Follow the links to check out the full series:

More Creative Recording Tricks

Finding new tones and strange effects through unconventional methods is, of course, not limited to just one video series. Over the years, we've published enough recording tricks—and interviewed enough producers, engineers, and mixers—to give you inspiration for many sessions to come. Unlock some new ways of music-making after reading a few of our favorites below.

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