Lesson 17: Instrumental Overdubs

Though often taken for granted, overdubbing is one of the most powerful practices at a producer’s disposal. Overdubbing i.e. the practice of recording new parts over an existing performance, was introduced into commercial music in the late 50s when Les Paul and Mary Ford used an 8-track tape recorder to enhance their recordings. It was a game-changer. It gave musicians and producers unimaginable flexibility and enabled them to push the boundaries of what recordings could be. Back then, the idea that a group of musicians could add parts to song without having to record every part at one time was mind blowing. Now, it’s hard to imagine a world without it.

We’ll go into common methods for overdubbing, how various musical genres generally use overdub, building up parts of a song, recording overdubs, and more!


Understand the process of recording overdubs.
Understand why recording overdubs can lead to a better finished product.
Be able to plan overdubs, which they will add to their own projects.
Be able to determine which instruments will add to their arrangements in order to get their desired final product.
Be able to determine the quality of the recorded overdubs and determine if they enhance the product.