How to properly record a miced guitar?

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by Dwin, Apr 15, 2011.

  1. randelli

    randelli Senior Member

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    Great thread!

    I plan on doing some recording and need to know how to set it up. I have already experienced a bad mic placement so hopefully I can avoid that in my next recording.

    What do you think about placing the mic inside the cab? I used to lay a mic inside the open cabinet when I played live to cut down on some of the highs. I don't know what that would do in recording though.
     
  2. solidwalnut

    solidwalnut Junior Member

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    Never tried that. But I have tried mic'ing the back of the cab a couple of times. No high end whatsoever. But hey, try it with multiple mics and see if it can be blended in to the mix.
     
  3. LeftyF2003

    LeftyF2003 Premium Member

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    If I'm doing tracks for someone else I'll mic up my 2x12 (G12 65s) with an SM57, but if I'm recording my own stuff I always use my ADA MP1 preamp to a Hughes & Ketner Red Box Cabinetulator C speaker emulator, then a Rane PE7 5 band Parametric to a TC Elecronic G Major. For my purposes I get great sounds out of that rig, and I don't have to muck around with mic placement or rattle the windows on my house. It's also nice to be able to go back to work on a track and be able to pull up the exact sound that I was using without experimenting for hours or worse not being able to get it back at all. I see that Hughes has gone back to making the active version of the Red Box. I'd highly recommend picking one up, if even to run another direct line from your guitar rig to mix with the mic sound. They are very inexpensive and sound really good. Just beware of the passive (non powered) version of the Red Box as it sounded like a#$!
     
  4. Sweeper5

    Sweeper5 Senior Member

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    You've touched on something here that is so basic, yet so overlooked. Does this scenario sound familiar to anyone..."I was playing guitar in my bedroom, and I found the most glorious magical tone...and couldn't wait to use "that sound" at my next band rehearsal or recording session. This was "the sound". But when I played it with my band...or recorded it and played back the mix, it SUCKED so hard." I would think all of us have experienced that a time or two. It's because "good tone" only relates to the other tracks it is mixed in with. In the above example, gilmourjunkie spoke of listening to a solo'd track of David's magnificent solo...and found the track sounded lame when solo'd. Can you believe that? Well it's true. I'll tell you another really lame sounding bunch of guitar tracks...that's Brian May's stunning solo work in Bohemian Rhapsody. When I heard those tracks solo'd, I could hardly believe my ears. They are astoundingly good in the context of Queen's mix, but solo'd...uggggh! Suck-orama! So next time someone plays their lone guitar through an amp and asks, "is this a good tone"...you can answer, "compared to what"? I know I'm rambling here, but this is great food for thought. I mean, everyone pretty much agrees that Stevie Ray Vaughan had a damn good tone. And so does John Petrucci. But follow me here...how do you think that Stevie Ray's guitar tones would sound in a Dream Theater tune? Or how do you think ol' Jimmy Page's guitar tones would sound in a ZZ Top tune? It wouldn't fit would it...and we would quickly say, "that guitar tone sucks". See...the tone doesn't necessarily suck...it just doesn't "fit" in that environment. Give these things some thought...and when you do record a guitar track, try to make it as close to "what you want" as possible. By that I mean try to have it so well dialed in, that you don't hardly need to do anything to the EQ at the mix stage. I know it's impossible to get it perfect, but strive to get the "sound in" as close as you can. Resist the temptation to say, "It's ok, we'll fix it in the mix."
     
  5. hellraiser_666

    hellraiser_666 Senior Member

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    Another reason, why some people were disappointed with the slash sig amp, its a perfect replica of the AFD sound, which is a thin, harsh, bottomless sound by it self, but worked gloriously with the mix
     
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  6. stinger

    stinger Senior Member

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    I bought an app for my Ipod a while back and this app was a music player for jamming along with certain songs. These songs used the original recordings and you could drop out the song and leave the guitar or drop out the guitar and jam with the song, replacing the original guitar with yourself. The song I have is Rock Candy by Montrose. Well the tone RM got on that album was always a favorite of mine. It had a nice bottom end to it that was awesome to my ears. But when I dropped out the band in that song, the tone of the guitar had no bottom at all!! The bottom end of that tone was really from the Bass! A sum of the mix. That changed how I view this thing we call tone. It's not always what we think it is.
     
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  7. solidwalnut

    solidwalnut Junior Member

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    You're absolutely right in this tone quest as far as recording is concerned. It's good to understand the architecture of producing recordings vs. trying to come up with 'monster tone' playing live, which isn't the same thing, as I know you already know.

    And it will be a 'live and learn' process for everyone. Plus, there's always more than one way to go about getting to the goal. It's good to understand the tools in the toolbox when it comes to producing and mixing, that's for sure!

    So, for example, you can spend the time to dial in the right tone for the mix if your project is one where you're going to go for a 'one-shot'/record the band all at once project (one way, anyway), but it's possible that can limit the options in the mix. Dialing in the right tone might work if a band/artist was practicing the tune to perfection and didn't care about studio time. But mix decisions are usually best left to either another set of ears or a fresh set of ears on another day. For sure, you want the right tone to be available in the pallette come mix time, no matter when that is.

    EQ carving/crafting/blending is just a part of the process that is usually better served when all of the information is in place. It's often better to capture an instrument/voice in all it's glory.

    But that doesn't mean that dialing it in before recording makes it bad, it's just a different way to go about a goal. It just depends on what you intend and the scope of the project, etc.
     
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  8. 76Custom

    76Custom Senior Member

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    I've heard of people having good results with 2 dissimiliar but complementary guitar tones each panned hard to opposite sides with your main flavor right up the middle. For the miniscule amount of electric guitar I've had recorded has been a 57 off axis and a condenser vocal type mic a few feet away. Very satisfying results to me. Made my one guitar track sound nice and big.
     
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  9. 76Custom

    76Custom Senior Member

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    Excellent post Sweeper. But playing Devils Advocate. On the opposite end of the spectrum is reamping. Get a good clean uneffected guitar tone recorded and tweak it and twist it within an inch of it's life. Use whatever signal path that you have available at your lesiure. The performance is already there.

    Kind of like the argument between printing effects during the recording or adding them later. No right way or wrong way I guess. Jimmy Page was a freaking Einstein in the recording studio. I'm guessing maybe Les Paul (even more of a genius) might have done things a bit differently than Mr. Page. :)
    I am reasonably sure he would approve of the results. Everyone that doesn't already know it needs to research how the drums on When the Levee Breaks were recorded. When that's done, watch It Might Get Loud for the staircase scene at Headly Grange. You can so hear the room there. Jimmy played that room like it was an instrument in recording Bonzos drums. No rules. Cut your vocals in the bathroom if the acoustics are better. :)
     
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  10. 76Custom

    76Custom Senior Member

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    Hell of a lot of good info here although I'm wondering if the OP is going "man I am sorry I asked!!!!!" ;)
     
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  11. LIBERTYMACHINE

    LIBERTYMACHINE Banned

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    It's threads like this that make me wonder why I waste so much time in the Backstage forum. Excellent info from all of you guys. Thank You.
     
  12. nicolasrivera

    nicolasrivera Senior Member

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    With a 2x12 cab i like to use 8 mics, 4 on front and 4 in the back if its an open back cab.
     
  13. BigAl

    BigAl Senior Member

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    Now, I'm no noob when it comes to getting a great live sound out of my amp/cab, but I'm a TOTAL noob at recording. I have a Shure Beta 57 super cardiod pattern dynamic, and an interface, but that's it. I play all sorts of styles, and with cleans I can usually get away with a recorded sound that is fairly true to what my ears hear. That's not to say it can't be improved, because it doesn't sound nearly as pristine as what my ears hear coming from the cab.

    My big gripe is with distorted sounds. Having only one mic, I am a little bit limited in terms of micing techniques and all. Every time I record distorted sounds, it just comes out having this sort of "fizz." I've experimented with different mic placements to no avail, only yielding different eq results such as more bass, or more top end. Does anyone have any suggestions?
     
  14. Ed Zeppeli

    Ed Zeppeli Senior Member

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    My first suggestion would be to turn down your gain on the amplifier a bit. I've found that that live high gain sound doesn't translate well to recordings for me as well. You can still achieve it though, try dialing back a little.

    Just try it on a quick test track.

    Good luck,

    Warren
     
  15. BigAl

    BigAl Senior Member

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    I'll give it a try tomorrow when I can. I'm not sure how to get a hi-gain recording if you have to dial back the gain for a good sound. How do/did the metal heros of mine from the 80's (think 'Tallica, Megadeth e.t.c.) get those crushing tones by dialing back gain (because they definitely did, I've read about it). Was it by blending tracks? Or doubling?

    I'm not used to being such a noob :lol:
     
  16. Ed Zeppeli

    Ed Zeppeli Senior Member

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    Honestly I'm not too sure. Maybe they used large diaphragm mics but I'll bet there was doubling involved.

    Try doubling your track with the gain turned back and see if the sizzle disappears but you still have the metal gain tone you're looking for. Pan them separately and play it twice!
     
  17. BigAl

    BigAl Senior Member

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    Will do! I'll post a soundclip of my results with that tomorrow.
     
  18. Ed Zeppeli

    Ed Zeppeli Senior Member

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    That'd be great!
     
  19. BigAl

    BigAl Senior Member

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    By doubling, does that mean just copying the track? or do u make it slightly out of time? with the other like what a chorus pedal does? (without modulation of course)
     
  20. Freddy G

    Freddy G V.I.P. Member

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    You can do it that way for sure, but the more popular method is to play exactly the same thing twice, on two different tracks...as tight as you can and then the 2 tracks are usually panned left and right. It makes the guitar sound huge while leaving room for other elements in the mix that take more of a centre stage pan...kick, snare, vox, bass....
     

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