Recording a single guitar for a big sound (ZZ Top, Bonamassa, etc)

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by Barcslay, Feb 18, 2014.

  1. Username1

    Username1 Senior Member

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    What is this 'faking a 2nd guitar player business"?

    Doubling rhythm guitars is standard procedure to fill out the stereo space, i mean you don't have to do it but if you listen to almost every record with guitar on it, even now a days, you will probably hear double tracked rhythm guitar.
     
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  2. jerryo

    jerryo Senior Member

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    I just read over at the Joe B forum....he " tone stacks " his amps...

    It's not stereo as I originally suspected.

    But they are run through a split device creating a very massive sort of sound.

    Kinda like 3D sound .

    Pretty cool
     
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  3. rabidhamster

    rabidhamster Senior Member

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    Yep, a guitar into a splitter into a room full of low wattage amps is the way to go to sound massive and "organic" without the multitracked sound thats good in its own right. Gets pretty expensive though to have 4 or 5 amps with quality mics for all of them.
    SRV and ZZ Top, along with countless others, use it to great effect.
     
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  4. yeti

    yeti Senior Member

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    Really depends on the splitter box, IMO. And the amps of course.
     
  5. Freddy G

    Freddy G V.I.P. Member

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    In the early 90s I worked on a Jeff Healey record called "Feel This".

    His guitar went into an active splitter box and put out identical signal to a bunch of amplifiers which were all on, mic'ed up individually and each recorded to it's own track. Then for mixdown a blended sound could be achieved just by pushing faders around.

    [​IMG]

    We even did something really cool with my Gibson GA-17 amp. Jeff liked the sound of it but for something a little different this is what we did....

    "Feel This" was recorded in a mansion in Toronto and we used the house for it's sound. For instance the drums were recorded right in the front foyer at the bottom of a 3 story spiral staircase with ambience mics situated at different levels up the staircase. There was also an elevator, we put my GA-17 at the bottom of the elevator shaft and a feed from the splitter box went to it. Then we attached a microphone to the bottom of the elevator itself. This went to it's own track, it was used as an adjustable reverb tank....if a wetter sound was needed we'd send it up another floor!
     
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  6. The_Nuge

    The_Nuge Senior Member

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    How cool is that?!:thumb:
    I always liked Jeff Healey, and actually bought that album when it came out. Will have to have a listen to it again one of these days!

    Cheers

    Es
     
  7. 5F6-A

    5F6-A Senior Member

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    this thread is awesome
     
  8. BuzzHaze

    BuzzHaze V.I.P. Member

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    In my case, If I want to record 2 rhythm guitar tracks I play them separately and often pan them hard left and right. Not always depending on how it sounds in mixdown, but it is a cool sound when it's balanced. I would rather use 2 slightly different tracks than 1 thats copied over. I can play them off each other, change up the accents and stuff. I also spent some time to find the sweet spot to place the mic and it wasn't all that close to the grill. I guess I was getting a little room sound too.

    Here's an example of a hard L-R pan. For rhythm tracks, I go straight from guitar to amp. No pedals inbetween. I bypass the loop too. Pure Mesa/Les Paul tone. You can hear slight differences in the tracks but the guitar tone is matched as I did them back to back. I never use punchins either....EVER. IMO, it loses the flow. All my tracks whether it's bass, vocals, drums or guitar, are all done in a single take. I am also fortunate to have a Neumann mic to hang in front :D

    Crank up your system.....

    [SC]http://soundcloud.com/buzzhaze/she[/SC]

    [​IMG]
     
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  9. tenchijin2

    tenchijin2 Senior Member

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    For me, the massiveness of the sound comes from the duplicate performance of a doubled track, not the combined tones of a bunch of different amps with the same performance.

    There's massive like a big scary dude right up in your face, and then there's massive like the cliffs of Dover. To get in-your-face big you just need good mic technique and the right set up, and it can be done with one performance. But to get big like a mountain or the ocean, you need double tracking and panning.

    JMHO, not everyone hears the same things or likes the same things.
     
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  10. CwillyPlay

    CwillyPlay Senior Member

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    And here I thought it was all in your fingers
     
  11. Freddy G

    Freddy G V.I.P. Member

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    I agree with that. Nothing like 2 performances panned hard. But since the OP wanted to know about making a single guitar bigger sounding I put this together as I am in the middle of a recording project.

    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_FsMk4TaiM]Multiple Mics for Electric Guitar - YouTube[/ame]
     
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  12. blues_n_cues

    blues_n_cues Senior Member

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    guitar playing.
    edit-
    what I meant was,you should be able to play a riff,stop,arm another track (or another lane in the same track),hit record,& play the same riff again basically the same way. it doesn't have to be "memorex" perfect but that's what makes the bigger sound.

    if you can't play the same part twice in a row then you probably need to practice more and that's about what it is,doing the same thing over & over-a practice routine but on tape.lol

    same w/ a lead riff. try doing the same lead riff w/ the vibrato the same & picking the same but an octave apart then a 5th apart & so on.
    plus,in the DAW realm you use less resources than relying on vst's to do the work for you.
     
  13. Barcslay

    Barcslay Senior Member

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    Awesome guys! Over the weekend I experimented and I liked using a close mic (about 5 inches away) and one about 6 feet away and mixing them. Some tracks I did end up just doubling and panning hard right and hard left. But some tracks need that "live" feel so one performance recorded once ultimately sounds better, and this thread has helped me immensely. Thank you guys a ton!
     
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  14. blues_n_cues

    blues_n_cues Senior Member

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    speaking of that fat guitar sound-
    keep in mind that this is still very rough & in early producton but the guitars are manually double tracked and the harms too.
    Marshall JMP-1 midi rack preamp & Les Paul straight in.
    [SC]http://soundcloud.com/rlc-ltd/bass-song-excerpt[/SC]
     
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  15. The_Sentry

    The_Sentry Senior Member

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    Duplicate the track, then pan the speakers hard left and right against it.
     
  16. Username1

    Username1 Senior Member

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    That will just phase it out
     
  17. Freddy G

    Freddy G V.I.P. Member

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    Actually, it won't do a damn thing. If you just duplicate the track and pan it and it will still just be a mono track in the mix.
     
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  18. yeti

    yeti Senior Member

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    Nope
     
  19. yeti

    yeti Senior Member

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    it will affect the volume since a single track panned center will be down 3 dB on each side (that's what a panpot does) while 2 tracks panned hard will be at nominal level on each side
     
  20. Tidewater

    Tidewater Senior Member

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    Yes. That makes it louder and up the middle. Still doesn't make it sound any different, except louder and up the middle.

    Two thoughts to ponder. You have to start out with something that works. For something to sound bigger, other things must sound smaller.

    Very close micing. I cut the grille cloth and put a 57 or/and a U87 about a pinky thickness off the cone wall, deciding angle with a naked ear. You can use the amp hiss instead of playing. The loudest hiss in the range you want the guitar to poke out at is the angle.

    M/S pair. The S is a fig-8 pattern aiming sideways off-axis and head to head with a card pattern as the M aiming right at the source. The mics aren't simple head to head, the capsules are lined up. You record it then copy the S to a second track then flip phase on the copied track. This is surrealilty that folds down perfectly to mono with no phase issues. Mix the M level up where you think it needs to be then add the stereo S pair (gang the faders) in slight increments until it pops out and sounds pretty amazing with almost any source even with consumer gear.

    On your EQ, kill the guitar with a hi-pass at 70-80Hz and use -6db@8k shelf. The recorded guitar sounds you like best don't do anything good above 5.2k, even acoustics. The early ZZ Top stuff doesn't even have much 4k. Less highs sounds like more lows.

    In digital recording try to peak around -14 to -12 going in. Do not even approach -6 and for the love of music stay away from 0.
     

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