Russel Smith

Guitars | Lapsteel | Mandolin

17 Reviews (1 Verified)
Russel Smith on SoundBetter

Session guitarist, lapsteel & mandolin. Studio experience inclusive of tracking/writing/engineering for artists published by majors such as Universal, BMG, Kobalt & more, as well as independent artists & bands. Live experience includes TV, Radio & international touring across 3 instruments as a sideman to various artists.

I have a wide array of instruments & sounds at my disposal, and will always aim to deliver 'that sound' to your project. Guitars include genuine vintage (1960s) Fender & Gibson models.

I work in Protools 2019, or Logic X. If necessary I can deliver close mic'd tracks, room, and DI (for re-amping) separately.

I can supply Lapsteel and Mandolin for your project across various genres. Lapsteel especially has proven indispensable on many records for its ability to create stand-out melodies or parts, as well as ethereal pads and textures. Lapsteel and Mandolin tracks are offered at the same price as Guitar tracks.

If you would like me to re-amp your existing tracks, I offer a re-amping service for $15 per individual guitar or bass track. My studio includes a Kemper profiling amp loaded with hundreds of profiles (including a vast array of vintage amplifiers from Marshall, Fender, Vox etc as well as boutique amps from Dumble, Divided by 13 & more, profiled by Michael Britt in Nashville), so any tone you require is possible.

I also offer a vocal tuning/correction service, and work in Melodyne 4 Studio. I can also align your BVs to the finished vocal for an additional cost.

Tell me about your project and how I can help, through the 'Contact' button above.

17 Reviews

Endorse Russel Smith
  1. Review by Mendy Portnoy

    Russel was great to work with. Incredibly efficient, communicative and nice to work with - Highly recommended!!

  2. Review by Peter Conway

    Part 5
    In closing I personally have found Russel to be invaluable to any project he works on whether as a musician or an engineer and I believe that anyone would benefit from having him involved on their project.

  3. Review by Peter Conway

    Part 4
    As an engineer I have now brought Russel on board True Sound Productions due to his consciousness' and professionalism. The first project that I was producing and arranging that we worked on together where Russel was an engineer was Yoji's single Shine, where not only did Russel engineer the brass recording and electric guitar and bass recording, but also played electric guitar on the track. This track went on to be co-mix by Cenzo Townsend and has now gone on to have over 60,000 streams on Spotify.

  4. Review by Peter Conway

    Part 3
    As a multi instrumentalist whether lap steel, mandolin or accordion he brings fourth the same attitude as he does with playing the electric and acoustic guitar and I have personally worked with him and been producer on projects with all of these instruments.

  5. Review by Peter Conway

    Part 2
    He is as comfortable playing exactly what is asked of him, to digging deep within to connect to that un-manifested realm, to recognize and discover the notes that are desiring to come through. Basically in laymen's terms Russel Smith is one of the finest guitarists and one of taste and feel that is both sensitive to what is being asked of him and the creative piece itself.

  6. Review by Peter Conway

    This review section only allows a certain number of words/letters so I am going to leave as many reviews as needed to finish my review, so please read the additional ones for the full review.

    Part 1.
    I have known and worked with Russel for over five years and since the first session he has proved to be a priceless assets to every project I have worked with him on.

    As a guitarist I named him 'Cream' for when he play's it is as simple as that and speaks for itself, with huge dollops of creativity and artistry.

  7. Review by Tim Williams

    Russel played both electric and acoustic guitars on our debut album (SOUTHVILLE). He was amazing to work with right from the word go - always willing to go over and above. Very adaptable and, with his immense amount of gear, he literally had something for every sound and tone. Would highly recommend him for any project!

  8. Review by Bridie May Miller

    Russel is one of the most capable and versatile musicians I have had the pleasure of working with. Whether engineering, producing or recording for sessions, Russel is able to work efficiently and professionally. He has great creative input and is incredibly dynamic in his abilities. Would highly recommend.

  9. Review by Josh

    Russel is a top quality player, has a great sound, and is an all-round brilliant guy to work with. Very professional indeed. Can't speak higher.

  10. Review by Mike Lawetto

    I've worked with Russ numerous times and will continue too. I've produced and engineered a few tracks with him and it's always relaxed and fun. Great player and his gear is too die for.

  11. Review by David Plumb

    I've worked with Russell on numerous sessions both as a session player and a songwriter. His musical knowledge is deep, he's technically amazing and has bags of chops, but the key thing is he knows what's right for the song and doesn't over-play anything. I can't endorse him highly enough and wouldn't hesitate to book his genius for studio or live.

  12. Review by Angus

    In the 30 years that I have been running a studio , Russel stands out as one of the very best guitarists I have ever worked with . His ability to come up with ideas is exceptional . He can get the sound that suits the track and nails the part effortlessly .If I ever need a guitarist ,I call Russel .

  13. Review by Miles Mitchell

    I've worked on several projects with Russel and each one his talent has been astonishing. Not only are you working with a highly professional, versatile, incredibly gifted guitarist, but his musicality and understanding of how to best use his skills are what sets him apart. He is a very clever guitarist/producer, he's a huge asset to every track.

  14. Review by Joe Lonsdale

    I worked with Russel on two EP's and an album for Robbie Boyd. Russel has a natural and accomplished musical skill that became a feature of all the songs. His attitude (and his equipment!) were amazing and he was able to play many different instruments with the same natural flare and skill that he did the guitar. A nice guy to hang out with too!

  15. Review by Dynahorns

    One of the best guitarists we've had the pleasure of working with. Russel is hardworking, efficient, friendly and very professional in his approach to both guitar and his work in the studio. We, the Dynahorns horn section have worked with Russel on several different projects over the past 3 years and can't recommend him enough.

  16. Review by Dan

    Very accomplished guitarist. Worked with him in a writing, artist and band capacity. Highly motivated, a good team player and can play what you want in no time. Would recommend him highly, particularly as a session musician

  17. Review by Hayley Tucker

    Russel worked on my debut EP. He was the height of professionalism, whilst remaining open, warm and very receptive to ideas. He also made very appropriate suggestions, using his immense creativity to add to the production. His musicianship is exceptional and his playing is incredibly emotive and impressive. HIGHLY recommended.

Interview with Russel Smith

  1. Q: Tell us about your studio setup.

  2. A: I typically work from my home space, on ProTools 12 or Logic X and track through UAD Apollo hardware.

  3. Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?

  4. A: Working on the album 'Stay' by talented singer/songwriter Peter Conway. I played electric guitars, mandolin, lapsteel, accordion, and also some acoustic guitar on the record. We tracked in Far Heath studios in Northamptonshire - with a backdrop of some amazing countryside, and the whole band lived in the studio together while we worked. We got to track though a beautiful SSL console and some great analog gear, and the whole record was cut with minimal comping (if you made a mistake, you'd do the take again! absolutely no pitch correction on any of the vocals). It was a great feeling to be 'in the room' with the whole band for the process - and then to chill out together as friends when the day's work was done. I love the songs on the album, and I feel that the energy we all put into it makes for a thoroughly enjoyable listen. I recommend giving it a spin!

  5. Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?

  6. A: Jay Stapley, Chuck Sabo

  7. Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?

  8. A: I'm working on your project because I think it's worth working on. I'll endeavour to deliver exactly what you're looking for.

  9. Q: What do you like most about your job?

  10. A: I get to make music for a living. Also I get to meet and work with new people on new things all the time - it constantly broadens your horizon.

  11. Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?

  12. A: That there's a formula for a great record. There's no tick-boxing in art, its all about feeling.

  13. Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?

  14. A: What do you want this record to say - what is the vision? Do you have any sonic references you can send me? What exactly do you need me to deliver, and what is the deadline?

  15. Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?

  16. A: I want to work on your project with you - let's work together to get the best result for your art.

  17. Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?

  18. A: Telecaster, and old tweed Fender Deluxe, SM57, Laptop, some kind of interface. Could do a lot of work with that rig!

  19. Q: How would you describe your style?

  20. A: Intentional, creative, understated

  21. Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?

  22. A: Lindsey Buckingham. I admire him as a writer, musician, and producer. The man is a genius. I'd love to shadow him on a writing session.

  23. Q: Can you share one music production tip?

  24. A: Less is more. Music makes people feel things - as musicians we need to track in such a way that contributes to the journey of a song. Know when to play and when not to play.

  25. Q: What's your strongest skill?

  26. A: Building my parts around your work, and taking care to realise your vision. I'll always try to liaise with a client and get them to sign off on the tracks before delivery, ensuring that what they hear when they open the session up is exactly what they were looking for. I always listen to what the client wants and work to provide that. My typical turnaround time is quick, usually between 24-72hrs but often faster.

  27. Q: What do you bring to a song?

  28. A: I always try to realise your vision for the record. I'll track with conviction, feel and accuracy.

  29. Q: What's your typical work process?

  30. A: It differs from job to job, but if it's a particularly creative role, i'll discuss with the client to find out exactly what they're wanting the song to say to its listener - what they want the message to be, and then call the track up and start sketching ideas. I'll always build my parts around the song, rather than my instrument. Typically I'll do all the 'bread and butter' takes first (double tracked chords, layers etc), and then start to build all the interesting ideas on top. I'll constantly be refining as I go. If I'm tracking parts that are already written, I'll pay special attention to making sure the sounds (guitar, amp ,mic choice) are suitable, and underpin the song as best they can. I'll also provide some different approaches to playing the part (with pick, fingers, different tones, different chord voicings etc) if appropriate.

  31. Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?

  32. A: Fleetwood Mac, John Mayer, James Taylor, Paul Simon, Phil Collins, Stevie Wonder, MJ, Peter Gabriel, The 1975, Jacquire King, CLA, the countless session musos that contributed to the world's favourite records... too many to fit on here!

  33. Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.

  34. A: Tracking electric & acoustic guitars, lapsteel, mandolin, sometimes electric bass, and tuning/fixing vocals.


I was the Electric guitarist, Lapsteelist, Acoustic guitarist and Mandolinist in this production

Terms Of Service

It's my job to create 'the sound in your head'. I'll liaise with you before delivery to ensure this happens. 1 revision included - after that, I'm open to negotiate . Typical turnaround is 24-72hrs.

Gear Highlights
  • 1959 Gibson ES-125
  • 1963 Fender Jazzmaster
  • 1965 Gibson SG JR
  • 1969/75 Fender Stratocaster
  • Fender USA Telecaster
  • Kemper Profiling Amplifer
  • UAD Apollo
More Photos
SoundBetter Deal

Discounted rates offered to do multiple tracks in one day session - get in touch and let's talk!