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 12, 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.

My credits include

Gear highlights

  • 1963 Fender Jazzmaster
  • 1965 Gibson SG
  • 1969/75 Fender Stratocaster
  • Fender USA Telecaster
  • Seagull Natural Elements Acoustic
  • Kemper Profiling Amp
  • Marshall amps
  • Fender amps
  • Egnater Tweaker
  • UAD Apollo
  • Mics by Shure - Sontronics - Røde

Genres I specialize in

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.

Reviews of Russel Smith

  • Default-avatar3 days agoby

    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.

  • Default-avatar20 days agoby

    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.

  • Default-avatar21 days agoby

    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 .

  • Default-avatar23 days agoby

    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.

  • Default-avatar23 days agoby

    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!

  • Default-avatar24 days agoby

    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.

  • Default-avatar24 days agoby

    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

  • Default-avatar24 days agoby

    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.

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Interview with Russel Smith

Tell us about your studio setup.
I typically work from my home space, on ProTools 12 or Logic X and track through UAD Apollo hardware.
Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
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!
Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
Jay Stapley, Chuck Sabo
What's your 'promise' to your clients?
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.
What do you like most about your job?
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.
What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
That there's a formula for a great record. There's no tick-boxing in art, its all about feeling.
What questions do you ask prospective clients?
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?
What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
I want to work on your project with you - let's work together to get the best result for your art.
If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
Telecaster, and old tweed Fender Deluxe, SM57, Laptop, some kind of interface. Could do a lot of work with that rig!
How would you describe your style?
Intentional, creative, understated
Which artist would you like to work with and why?
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.
Can you share one music production tip?
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.
What's your strongest skill?
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.
What do you bring to a song?
I always try to realise your vision for the record. I'll track with conviction, feel and accuracy.
What's your typical work process?
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.
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
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!
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
Tracking electric & acoustic guitars, lapsteel, mandolin, sometimes electric bass, and tuning/fixing vocals.