“Throughout the aughts, Tiny Telephone became a go-to place for the who’s who of indie rock: Death Cab for Cutie, Spoon, Sleater-Kinney, 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. 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.

Tiny Telephone San Francisco closed in July 2020. Tiny Telephone Oakland, which opened in Jan 2016, is 2700 sq. ft. (45′ X 60′ with 23′ wood ceilings), anchored by a rebuilt 64-channel 1976 Neve 8068. ($400) Oakland Magazine just wrote about the new studio. There is an excellent 1971 Yamaha C7 grand piano here. TTOakland just acquired a 1960 Neumann U47 and a Neumann tube SM69 (essentially a stereo U67). 

Engineers are an additional $250-$350 a day. Please email or call me (415-819-1960) 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.

The brilliant Brian Hood is the builder and co-designer of Tiny Telephone. 

Tiny Telephone features Studer 820 2″ tape machines, rebuilt-Ampex ATR 102 1/2″, Pro Tools HD, Aviom headphones, and Bob Hodas-tuned control rooms. Tons of shared instruments are available in all rooms, including a vast collection of guitars, basses, amps, and mono/poly synths. We have an EMT 140 plate 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. The studio stays stocked with 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, direction, and deposit info.

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 Oakland. Often late mornings and weekends work best.

John Vanderslice

some videos