Tiny Telephone Oakland is NOW OPEN!!

“Throughout the aughts, Tiny Telephone became a go-to place for the who’s who of indie rock: Death Cab for Cutie, Spoon, Sleater-Kinny, St. Vincent, Deerhoof, and the Mountain Goats have all had sessions there.” – Vice

“Since it opened in 1997, San Francisco’s Tiny Telephone has become a destination for some of the most respected indie artists around.” – SF Weekly

“John Vanderslice, owner of Tiny Telephone in SF, is renowned for his shaman-like knowledge of tone.” – Wired

“As a community of engineers and musicians cohered, Tiny Telephone became an important hub for a strain of ambitious American music. Deerhoof, Death Cab for Cutie, Spoon, Sleater-Kinney, and the Mountain Goats have all done interesting and influential work there.” – New Yorker

“The casual vibe has translated into remarkable recordings, including the high-water marks in several bands’ oeuvres.” – SF Weekly

“Vanderslice, the musician and producer, helped put out groundbreaking records from indie bands such as Death Cab for Cutie, Spoon and The Mountain Goats.” –KQED Forum

“Sleater-Kinney recorded in secret at John Vanderslice’s legendary Tiny Telephone.” New Yorker

“An eclectic roster of engineers ensure constant traffic from some of the hippest bands around.” – Mix Magazine


Tiny Telephone was opened in September of 1997 to provide affordable hi-fi recording to San Francisco’s independent music community. We have three wonderful studios to work in. My name is John Vanderslice, I’m a songwriter, touring musician, and producer. I own and manage the studios and am happy to help guide anyone through the confusing (and thrilling) process of record making. You can always contact me directly at jv@tinytelephone.com.

– Our 1700 sq. ft. A room has 3 main recording rooms, a classic discrete Neve 5316, and tons of keyboards, including a Hammond B3, a Yamaha C3 grand piano, and an Eller Harpsichord. The A room is a fantastic mix room. ($325 a day)
– Our 1200 sq. ft. B room, built in 2011 to accommodate demand, has an excellent sounding main room, plenty of isolation, and a restored 1904 Story & Clark piano. I love this room for tracking. ($275 a day)
– Our 2700 sq. ft. C room, known as Tiny Telephone Oakland, open as of Jan 2016, is our largest recording space (45′ X 60′ with 23′ wood ceilings), anchored by a rebuilt 64-channel 1976 Neve 8068. ($300 a day) Oakland Magazine just wrote about the new studio!

All three rooms have Studer 2″ tape machines (827s in A and B, 820s in C), rebuilt-Ampex ATR 102 1/2″, Pro Tools HD, and Bob Hodas-tuned control rooms.  There are many lovely pianos (a restored 1904 Story & Clark upright and an excellent Yamaha C3 in SF, and a 1971 C7 in Oakland) and tons of shared instruments available, including a vast collection of guitars, basses, amps, and mono/poly synths. The SF studios also share a patchable echo chamber, an acoustic environment so useful it can be heard on 100s of records. All studios have EMT 140 plates and classic instruments that every band should have access to: Hammond B3 w/ Leslie 122, Cunitz-rebuilt Wurlitzer 200a and Rhodes, and elemental monosynths like the Minimoog and Arp Odyssey.

We provide free 2″ 24-track tape to help bands to discover to magic of analog recording. Our Studer and Ampex tape machines are not for show, they are expertly teched, well-maintained, and precisely calibrated.

We offer top-notch session musicians at a fixed price, these are excellent players and great people to spend a day with.

Since I am painfully addicted to buying audio gear, our gear list will only improve. We’re right in the Mission in a gated, private compound with easy parking and Ritual Coffee and Five Mountains Tea. Tiny Telephone is stridently democratic, we encourage bands from all genres and experience levels to record here. Go to our FAQ to get detailed information about rates, directions and deposit info.

Tiny Telephone A room is $325 a day, the B room is $275. Engineers are $200-$250 a day. Please email or call me to get more information or book days. We are booked at least one month in advance so please plan ahead. Our pricing is clear and transparent and we are happy to help you accurately budget a record or project.

Magik*Magik Orchestra is the official house orchestra of Tiny Telephone. M*MO is a modular group of symphonic players that can ordered up as needed, from a single bass clarinet, to an 60-piece ensemble. Magik has worked with Walkmen, Explosions In The Sky, Jonny Greenwood, and Death Cab For Cutie (video). Videos of Magik are here, here, and here. Magik changed my life, I highly recommend you email Minna if you’re interested in orchestral arrangements and players.

Please email me if you’d like a studio tour, I usually schedule a few every week. I’m happy to give anyone a tour, I don’t care if you’re booking the studio or just visiting the Mission. Often late mornings and weekends work best.

John Vanderslice

some videos