I'm very passionate about playing and recording guitar for the last 20 years. I have a good experience with recording guitars for TV commercials. I will do my best to help you with any projects related to Pop, Rock, Smooth Jazz and everything in between.
I've been working a lot as a session guitarist with various bands and singers, but my greatest passion is in the studio, recording guitar tracks for songs and soundtracks.
Learning and inspiration I gain from iconic guitar players like:
Steve Lukather (the ruler of the galaxy),
Paul Jackson Jr. (legendary rhythm guitarist),
Larry Carlton, Norman Brown, Ronny Jordan, etc..
I will put all my love to your track!
I'd love to hear about your project. Click the 'Contact' button above to get in touch.
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Interview with Joe Donchev
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: When I got the Huawei MediaPad TVC project, the composer told me that he wants guitars, many guitars.. I recorded several rhythm guitars and quite many little phrases and "effects". While making those phrases I got carried away and made a whole solo... :) I sent all to the composer in the morning (I was given just 1 night for it - 9 pm to 9 am). Finally, the composer and his client were very happy, and the biggest surprise was that they decided to add that guitar solo to the soundtrack!! On a TVC!!! :)) The commercial was made for the Japanese market and it was very popular there.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I'm currently working on a non-commercial collaboration with Italian composer for instrumental song.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: I don't know who else is here yet, but I know one and that's Peter Rangelov.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: The guitar should always go through real tubes, otherwise it sounds flat, lifeless, 2-dimensional. "Cosmetics", however, are most often better digital, because of the quality, noise, and control.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: The track will be better than before
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: No idea.. Addiction.. Passion.. Love.. ?
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Nothing comes to mind
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: Nothing comes to mind
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: Do you have some ideas about the guitars already? 44 or 48 kHz? Or other? :)
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: The more complete that song is, the more accurate I can blend in.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: 1. Music Man LIII, 2. Peavey Rock Master tube preamp (rack), 3. PreSonus Quantum interface, 4. Macbook Pro, 5. PreSonus R65 monitors
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: One day I saw my classmate bending a note on electric guitar and I bought a guitar myself. I started to take lessons from a top-class session guitarist. Later I studied "Pop-jazz guitar" in the university, but worked as a software engineer, for money. After I got tired of learning programming skills 24/7 I switched back to music and worked with various bands and singers in bars and events, playing mostly Top40. I've been recording guitars for other people for the last ~5 years.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: For decades I listen to Smooth Jazz artists and Toto, almost exclusively, but I've never got a chance to record anything similar. I have no idea what's my style then.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Simon Phillips and Joseph Williams, because I love them. Alternatively, Melvin Lee Davis and Land Richards.. same reason. It will never happen... :)
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Use your heart!
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Most often I get paid for recording guitars for TVC and Movie soundtracks - that's where the chance brought me. I rarely get paid to record for songs, but I still do anyway - for friends and myself.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: To add life/character/expression to a song/soundtrack. For songs, I'm particularly comfortable with pop, disco, nu disco, 90's RnB, and AOR (adult-oriented rock).
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: My aim is to make the song more beautiful, more complete, and enforce its message. I don't record more than the necessary, except 1-2 variations. For one of my recent projects i recorded just 2 notes! :) Sometimes, I just add a "sound", or a character, or even just a raw-ness to it. Sometimes much more, if there's more "space" :)
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Most often I record 1~6 guitar tracks of what I believe suits the song/soundtrack. Some of the guitar tracks are meant to work together, while others are variations. After revision I may record again some of these tracks, in case the client/composer had a different idea, but that's quite rare. Sometimes, if a track (especially TV commercial soundtracks) is rejected by the bigger client (who pays to the composer) I will record new guitars for the new version of the soundtrack. I deliver both dry and wet versions of each track.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I have several electric guitars, each with its own soul. I select one and plug it straight to one of my tube amps or tube preamps (each with its own soul). The amps I plug to a large iso-box with 2 different speakers and 2 different mics - Shure SM57 and Rode NT-1A, which are plugged straight to a PreSonus Quantum interface and Logic. In case I use the tube preamps, they are also plugged straight to the interface and I use my own IR (impulse response) for speaker replication. All effects (if needed) are software - Logic, Guitar Rig, Valhalla, Fab-Filter, etc.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: From the very beginning I was inspired by the "A-list" studio session musicians. It has never been my dream to get to the stage and be a rock star or something. My heroes are not just guitarists like Steve Lukather and Paul Jackson Jr, but also other instrumentalists like Nathan East, Melvin Lee Davis, David Garfield, Greg Phillinganes, Simon Phillips, etc..
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Most often I record guitar tracks for songs or soundtracks that already have most instruments/singing recorded. I've never had a situation where the client tell me what exactly needs to be recorded, but that's also fine.