Axe Hero?


Throb Farmer
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Straight outta muthaf***ing Surbiton

So like a mug I've offered to help my axe-wielding mate sort out his rubbish guitar sound. All his recordings sound flat, overcompressed, lifeless and all that.
I babbled on about mic'd amps, eq and gentle compression being the things to sort him out. Of course, I've never actually recorded any guitars before and I'm completely blagging it.
Can anyone offer any tips that will make me look like a hero?

depends what they want it to sound like! thanks to all this wonderful new digital technology and software modelling, there are all kinds of options...

maybe it would be helpful if you could give some information about what kind of equipment your mate has at their disposal?
Depends entirely on his setup.

If he's recording straight in from a Pod or similar, the amp modelling will be really good, but the room modelling's not quite there, so play the recording back though a miked speaker and record it to give it a little more of an organic edge (mix the Pod track and the room track to suit).

If he's recording from a miked-up amplifier, there's a bewildering array of variables involved - try a couple of these links:

I'm using a couple of SM57s with my Fender Deluxe amp - one pointed at the centre of the speaker cone about 2.5 inches away, and one pointed to the bottom corner at the back of the amp (the amp is open-backed). Small changes on the mid control make huge differences when recording guitars.

If your mate isn't already aware of this, it's worth reminding him that the guitar sound you hear on records is usually futzed with an awful lot to get it sounding the way it does - once mine's in there I use a bit of rgcAudio's Hi-frequency Stimulator to brighten it up, and a little bit of MaxxBass to round out the bottom end.

If we're talking about acoustics, I tend to either use the SM57 or borrow my ex's NT3 (small-diaphragm condensors are better for this), plus if the guitar has a piezo pickup, record that in as well and balance the two sounds.

Cheers J, thats exactly what I need to hear.. my buddy has a pod, as well as an amp and thus far has been recording stuff directly from the pod into cubase, hence the sterility and overall flatness.
I like the idea of mixing room ambience with the pod, and I think I'll try to get him to record the guitar parts dry , DI'd into cubase with fx on the monitor. That way there's more scope for some deep dicking about later.

saxopholus said:
NI Guitar Rig is pretty rude if u are recording dry. Maybe an exciter if is sounding flat?

Could be. That NI thing looks like the dogs conkers....
I think half the problem is recording the pod->cubase and the other half is a lack of time spent on production...
That NI thing looks like the dogs conkers....

i can confirm...NI Guitar rig IS the donkeys conkers :speaker:
Having recorded via pods before , I can safely say I wasnt madly impressed by their compression. It could quite easily be responsible for the symptoms you describe. For the most part, I seem to remember getting better results switching that out altogether , and either patching through another compressor, or leaving that until the software stage.
Good advice.

Only thing I would add is to resist the temptation to crank up a guitar amp when recording it. They sound "louder" when they're quiet. If you know what I mean.
Find a video of Yes's performance at Glastonbury 2003* and ask him "In all honesty, is that *really* what you want to do?".

Not much more help I can offer than that, really. :Sad:


* - Truly awful - caught ten minutes of it due to waiting for someone... I felt kinda sorry for them.
let him do prog rock, sounds ideal, gives you some nice fdder with some musical content u can really get your teeth in

fashioning it down from wank to taut is your job :P
Fashioning it down from wank to taut is your job.

Never was there a more succinct description of the sound engineer's craft.

I might get that printed on a t-shirt.