A few months ago, I received an enquiry from a composer / music producer who had already recorded some live strings for his track but hadn’t been happy with the playing, so had decided to get them re-recorded. I’ve had several enquiries from potential clients who have wanted strings professionally arranged, which were then to be recorded on a budget by a friend or amateur player in order to keep costs down. Almost always, this proves to be counterproductive as the accuracy of tuning, tightness of rhythm and the ability to phrase in a musical way with a good tonal range are qualities that require an accomplished player. When corners have been cut by hiring music students, amateur players and semi-professionals, the standard of the end product is often disappointing and the music does not stand up to the scrutiny of professional ears (such as radio stations, record label representatives or music libraries).
The client whose music was being re-recorded had originally brought in a young player who he quickly realised could not give the strings the sound he was looking for, but the second attempt had involved a professional player from a well known symphony orchestra and this too had fallen short of the standard required. As the player was unaccustomed to projecting as a soloist and spent the vast majority of their working life ‘blending in’ to a larger section, they had struggled to give the solo violin part enough substance.
Understandably the client was nervous of hiring in a third player and was only reassured by the ability to view youtube videos and hear sound samples of the string section on our website. We recorded three violin parts with four layers for each one (12 overdubs altogether) and the whole session went smoothly with a happy outcome and relieved client at the end.