Ok lets say you've booked a weekend -16 hours in total to record four songs to a good standard- this is comfortable target...it will shape up a bit like this:
you arrive.....on time- usually 10.00am.....not too early...(arriving half an hour early won't equate to half an hours extra time!)I'll be there at least 20 mins before the agreed time but I'll be making tea, setting up mics etc, when we are all present I will endeavour to learn names-and we'll talk through how we can best approach the initial tracking- live rhythm tracks, drum takes with scratch bass, guitars, to click or not to click etc, etc.
Ideally at this point we establish the tea making rota and then on to sound checking the drums- if you are using the studio kit- most people do- it's good , well tuned , good heads,- ( obviously you don't have to but you need to factor in an extra 45-60 mins to set up and mic your kit if you are keen on using it) it will be mic'd up and just need some adjustments for player comfort – I'll record a sample piece of drumming so we can have a listen to it and then maybe try out some different snares if I/ you feel we're not quite in the zone-this will take about 45 minutes to an hour.
Next, set up guitar and bass, guide vocal, headphone mixes, we're at about 11.15-11.30am and it's time for a take, now lets keep calm...the pressure is on the drummer...we don't start getting annoyed and asking him what's wrong if the first take stops half way through....at this point time is on our side, I reckon on having until 1.30-2.00pm for tracking these four songs. Last take is done-agree everyone is happy with the takes-these are the foundation everything else will be built upon-if something bugs you with the drum parts speak now!!
Next up -critical listen to the bass takes- these will usually have been DI'd and can therefore be patched if the feel is good, re-taken or approached again through cranked amp if the sound needs work- it's now 3pm. 3pm is guitar time- amp selection, mic'ing, deciding whether to play from control room or out in the studio etc you may choose to spent the rest of day one on guitar parts or sometimes it may help the vocalist to spent the last hour getting a starting take or two down to break the ice. Note if you would like tracking mixes to take home that evening it will take the last 45 mins of the session to do this.
Sunday morning, 10.00am- you've taken it easy on saturday night, no-ones feeling delicate......half an hour or so to re-group listen to the tracks, feel good about things....no.1 priority -main vocals -we'll be generous- give them a couple of hours, maybe get the bv's down aswell. I'll be starting to build the behind the scenes elements of the mixes during this. 12.30pm- extras additional bv's, gang vox, guitar solos that need re-doing, percussion, ear candy etc. 2.00pm mixing, getting things in place and will involve you when the basics are done. 45 mins per song. 5.00pm mixes are complete -basic mastering- trimming stereo mixes, bring mixes up to “commercial” volume-resist any temptation to brick wall limit- all stereos have volume controls!- make cd's- one for everyone. 6pm-job's a good-in.