Recording Studio Sweet Spot: String Recordings, Rockaway Beach

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ROCKAWAY BEACH, QUEENS: Make no mistake about it, world-class strings have their place in NYC – a fact that Chris Tedesco is totally in tune with. The owner of the highly specialized Rockaway Beach, Queens studio known as String Recordings, Tedesco has been electrifying listeners with his phenomenal fiddle talents for a large part of his life.

Chris Tedesco is one with all things strings.

Before co-founding new country act The Ranchhands, the Endwell, NY native was the on-stage fiddle player for a 16-month national Broadway tour of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. He’s amassed commercial recording credits for AT&T, FOX Networks, and the 2000 Olympics, and has shared the stage with the likes of Randy Travis, Alan Jackson, Keith Urban, The Doobie Brothers, Anne Murray, The Moody Blues, Blue Rodeo, and Steve Wariner.

Get the thread? Tedesco knows strings, but it goes far beyond country. With his focused facility, he fills a void for artists and composers of all stripes who want to surpass  sample libraries and endow their creations with the real string thing. If you didn’t think the authentic sound of a 25-piece orchestra was in reach, then read on – and think again…

Facility Name:  String Recordings

Website:  http://www.stringrecordings.com

Location: Rockaway Beach, Queens

Neighborhood Advantages:  Oceanfront studio location, three blocks from the A train.  Taking a break from recording has new meaning when you can stroll out to the beach and watch seagulls dive-bomb for dinner from the jetty, or in the summer take a quick dip in the Atlantic Ocean.

Date of Birth: Initially 2007 in Greenpoint Brooklyn: reborn in Rockaway Beach in June 2010.

Facility Focus: The primary focus is to create and record string sections and/or fiddle or electric violin parts with the feel, vibe and texture that the artist desires.

Sometimes the artist or producer has some written parts, and I will work the melody into a full-bodied string section.  Most of the time the artist or producer gives me references of how they want the strings to sound (i.e. Barry White’s Love Unlimited Orchestra, Andrea Bocelli, Charlie Daniels, etc…).

I have a classical background, but the majority of my music career has been spent in rock, country, Broadway, and singer-songwriter genres.  For the string sections, I usually use between 30 – 40 separate tracks, individually recorded, stacked and then mixed into one section.  I use different panning, reverb and mic techniques as well as positioning myself in different parts of the studio to achieve depth and width.  I have partners who play cello and string bass that can be added.

The drivers's seat for String Recordings.

Mission Statement:  Providing string sections, fiddle parts, solo violin and electric violin for recording projects of all genres.  Most recording projects do not have the budget to hire a 25-piece orchestra — String Recordings is an affordable alternative that uses real instruments.

Clients/Credits:  PBS, Showtime, David Ippolito, Micheal Castaldo, Linda Chorney (whose newly GRAMMY-nominated album Emotional Jukebox features strings recorded here), Jon Divello, The Ranchhands, Skip Brevis, Markeisha Ensley

Key Personnel:  Chris Tedesco

System Highlights:  1864 Bavarian handmade violin, Knilling Bellini Viola, Macbook Pro, Pro Tools 8, AT 4060 Tube Mic, Shiny Box Ribbon Mic, AEA TRP Ribbon Pre Amp, and an ample supply of Ginger Tea Crystals.

Distinguishing Characteristics: It’s a comfortable, treated and well-balanced room.  The surrounding neighborhood is very quiet, but I still decided to build the room with 6” studs filled with Ultratouch soundproofing insulation.  For most of my clients, it’s not necessary for them to be here for the session, but I recently put in a very nice sofa for my clients who want to come over for a consultation, or to see how the process works.

The building is on fire, you only have time to grab ONE thing to save, what is it? My violin. Everything else can be replaced.

Rave Reviews: The most frequent compliment is depth and texture of the finished product.  With the proper recording technique and mix, a one-person string section can rival an assembled orchestra.  All of my clients prefer the sound and performance of the real instruments as opposed to high quality sample libraries.

Most Memorable Session Ever:  Tracking the electric violin solo for The Ranchhands song “Paradise.”  Even though I tracked it completely alone, it felt like I was recording it on a festival stage with big crowd energy and massive sound.

Session You’d Like to Forget:  None so far.

Dream Session: To work with a new or unknown artist who completely blows my mind and leads me down a creative path that I never dreamed of going to create something truly groundbreaking.

— Chris Tedesco, Founder, Strings Recordings

  • Great to know this exists! Sample libraries, especially with strings, just don’t cut it most of the time, as we all know. I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir here 🙂

  • Michele

    Chris laid down some great strings on a few of my bluegrass tunes….He knew JUST what to do… really made the songs hum!