The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
Calling all G'tar players!!!
Old 28th June 2005
  #1
Gear Nut
 
Bloodz's Avatar
 

Calling all G'tar players!!!

This goes out to the million billion producers/engineers there must be frolicking in the grassy meadows of the recording world who spent more time modding thier amps then shredding modes for 7 hours a day. I think it's the defualt path taken by those who are overly obsessive about their guitar tone. You got sucked onto the other side of the mics and now I'd like to pick your brain so I can get back to practising my modes. Anyone feel particularly willing to share some of thier closley guarded recording secrets? I'm intersted in everything from string guages, pickup mods, tunnings(nashville), pres, mic placment, mics used, amps...ect. What would be your ideal signal chain from source right through to conversion? I relaize this isn't a new topic but either is evolution.

cool as,
Bloodz
Old 28th June 2005
  #2
Lives for gear
 

I dig the questions, though I'm not the right one to answer them. I can say that as more of a newbie electric guitarist I just ordered some WCR pickups for both my Jay Turser Gibson 335 mockup (the JT133), and my mexican strat. You hear and read enough from more seasoned electric guitarists and it soon starts to sink into your head that pickups are very important in improving the sound of electric guitars. After doing a bunch of research the WCR pickups (Crossroads for the 335, SR Set for the Strat) seem to be a safe bet, though a bit expensive. I'll let you know what improvement I notice once they arrive and I have them installed. Similarly, I've also ordered upgraded electronics for both guitars to have installed along with the pickups. Should compliment the pickup upgrades very well.

I'm excited to hear stuff from the pros on this subject!

-Mike
Old 28th June 2005
  #3
Lives for gear
 

here is a closely guarded secret of mine

"tone is in the fingers"

when you practicing your modes (for 7 hours a day), focus on the movements of your right and left hands. Every interaction you have with the string affects its sound.

make sure when you practice, that all notes are played cleanly and evenly. Once you can do this, you can experiment with the following: Attack, note spacing, eighth note swing, vibrato, etc.

here is where it gets interesting. Once you have control of both hands, you'll begin to notice its effect on your amp tone. Find a good tube amp that has good touch sensitivity. I recommend a low wattage tube amp. Now experiment with this effect and how you can incorporate it into both rhythm and lead.

Finally, shredding modes for 7 hours a day is really bad practicing. You play like you practice. So if all your doing is running up and down scales, chances are when it comes time to perform, you're gonna sound like you're playing modes, hence boring. Try stepping back and creating melodies with as few notes as possible. Some of the best melodies are only one note.

I know I didn't talk much about capturing this sound from a recording perspective, but starting with a good player is the best secret to getting good tone.
Old 28th June 2005
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Oldone's Avatar
If you change string gauges readjust your string height at the bridge and possibly your pickup height to match.

Buy a fast tuner device.

You can design your own pickups these days and have one of the manufacturers build them to your spec. Not much more in cost than those sold in the stores.

Fender amps can be tweaked by changing capacitors on the tone and volume knobs.

New tubes can spice up an old amp.

Too many floor pedals kill your signal, keep it down to a few critical pedals or use rack effects.

Batteries are not your friend.
Old 28th June 2005
  #5
Lives for gear
 
RCM - Ronan's Avatar
I gotta second the tone is in the fingers comment.

Avoid Pods and other digital emulators unless of course your just don't care about guitar sounds and how well they work in a mix.

If there is any amount of gain invloved, a tube amp will almost always beat out solid state.

Thousands of records have been recorded with a SM57 on the grill of the guitar cab for very good reason.

If you have some extra cash buy a Jule Amp. http://www.juleamps.com/
Old 28th June 2005
  #6
Gear Nut
 
Bloodz's Avatar
 

An example of what i'm looking for (also building towards)

Les Paul Studio ->planet waves cables->Fultone Fulldrive-> '63 Fender Deluxe paired with HWJMI Vox AC30->Royer R121, MD421, 57 Blend ->chandler TG2, API3124->? (need a new mixer)-> analoge inputs on my Lynx 2 C and then into Nuendo/Cubase sx 3.0.

What else would you recommend with this type of chain?
Old 28th June 2005
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

Look into Evidence audio cables. They are real transparent and don't add any mud in the low end and they don't mask the highs. It is subtle but makes a difference. Fulltone makes some good pedals. I have the choral/flange. What type of tones to you plan to record? Just clean,little crunch or heavy?
Old 28th June 2005
  #8
guitar with seymour duncans (I like the trembuckers)>Marshall 2550>Randall ISO cab w/ vintage 30>sm57+md421>viking tube pre>DAW

sometimes I dont use the 421 but I always use the 57

sometimes I use a boogie 50 caliber instaed of the marshall

I also have 3 4x12 celestion cabs I might use if the iso seems too "clean"

I have been known to run it through my studer a807 before the DAW to get some "studerishness" on it.
Old 28th June 2005
  #9
Gear Guru
 
lucey's Avatar
there is no answer here, old strings can be good, slightly out of tune can be good, tubes are huge, speakers, amps galore, pickups, picks, fingers, fingers ... feel, feel, feel!

it's all about the player, the tone and the song.

mics: R92 best i've used. 57 - effect. 4038 - nice. R88 - similar, R121 - nice
pres: Altec 1567A, EMI TG2
Old 28th June 2005
  #10
Lives for gear
 
DrFrankencopter's Avatar
The player is the biggest factor...but assuming you can't change the player here are some other things that make a big difference:

1. Pickups and electronics....just changed the ceramic caps in my Les Paul 58 reissue to polyprops, and it's really opened up the sound.
2. Picks and strings, I find higher gauge strings sound better, sustain longer, and stay in tune better. Picks are less of a factor on electric guitars, but again thin picks tend to lead to a brighter sound.
3. Instrument setup. A properly intonated guitar sounds better. A guitar with a good setup is easier to play, which makes it easier for the player to get a good tone
4. Speakers...try a few different cabs, open back, closed back, 4X12, 2X12, 10's, whatever. They all sound very different. I'm diggin' open back combo's these days...

My current guitar rig is:
R8 lespaul (waiting for WCR pups), or Anderson strat-> homebuilt 18W Marshall in a 2X12 combo (1 Celestion alnico blue, 1 Celestion 12GH30) -> Weber Volume attenuator -> 57 on the 12GH30 -> RCA 77DX on the blue -> Neve 1272s, sometimes a room mic is thrown in there too.

Oh, another secret...watch the gain settings. Less (gain) is usually more (tone)!

Cheers,

Kris
Old 28th June 2005
  #11
Lives for gear
 
Ruudman's Avatar
 

What Lucey says, it all varies.

But I must say that it always helps pushing the power tubes a bit.
Bedroom guitar players must be unhappy people..

ruudman
Old 28th June 2005
  #12
Gear Guru
 
lucey's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruudman
Bedroom guitar players must be unhappy people..

Weber and THD Hot Plates!
Old 28th June 2005
  #13
or the iso cab.
I have cut full blast marshall tracks at 3am on my nice residential street.
Old 28th June 2005
  #14
Gear Addict
 

I will go along with the hotplate idea. I have them for all impedances in my studio. It kind of smashes the theory about needing a small amp for recording. I can crank an AC30 or a marshall into a hotplate and keep the SPL from overwhelming the room. I gig with them, I record wth them and have never been happier with my tone.

I will also support the tone in the hands concept. A big part of how guitar part sound in a song is to keep it clean. The whole Nirvana/Boston scratching between chords really washes out the drumer. I find that things sound much more punchy when the guitar player keeps things tight and clean. That doesn't mean it can't be loose, just not sloppy. That being said, sometimes it's the greatest thing in the world to have those big powerful noises break the silence.

For different tones and placements in the mix I will use differnet mics. Too many to mention all of them but a general starting point:
Big, single guitar w/male vocal I like a KSM44 into a Ward Beck M460
Big, single guitar w/female vocal Ilike KSM44 into a Averill 312
Really saturated leads can sound great through 57 or senn 409 and a neve 1272.
I use an AD16x for conversion.

As I type this stuff I keep thinking of exceptions where something else sounded great in the same type of setting. This is making me realize that I try to mix things up and this month I've been into the above suggestions. There are no constants. The variables are so many; speakers, amps, pickups, strings, player, song, room pedals, cables. You might even think my best tones suck for what you want to do.

If you are looking for what grear to buy, just buy something. You will either love it or hate it because it does or doesn't do what you expected. Chances are that it wont be as great or as awful as you think but at least you've got some experience to take into your next purchase.

Best of luck. wm
Old 28th June 2005
  #15
Heavier gauge strings sound better to me (at least 11s, which I use, and different types of strings sound better on different guitars. I generally like DM Blue Steel 11's for electric, though I swap out the 2nd string 13 for better balance); Dunlap Tortex Sharp .73 mm picks for more precise control (I sharpen them using an emery board when they start to lose their point); tube amps (Svetlana for 6L6s); Peterson digital strobe tuner; Palmer ADIG-LB for direct recording; (almost anything for miking a speaker, depending on the sound I'm after, though you can't go wrong with an SM57 or Royer R-121 for the classic distortion sound); stereo delay is a proven (if over-used and somewhat passe) effect that works well on electric--start with 25ms on one side, 50ms on the other, panned L/R. I still use it sometimes (though I'm passe, too).
Old 28th June 2005
  #16
Lives for gear
 
Ruudman's Avatar
 

I've used hot plate and stuff, it kind of works soundwise.

But the physical experience of dB's affects my playing;
makes me dig in, balance on the edge of feedback,
discover and make use
of the ghost harmonics and so on.

ruudman
Old 28th June 2005
  #17
Here for the gear
 

I like to use small amps (actually using two homebuilds lately, of 7 and 15 watts) and keep it pure and simple without too much crap in between the guitar and amp and amp and recording gear. It's nice with a small amp and then just crank the volume to where it sounds best (i.e. the perfect amount of overdrive).
Old 28th June 2005
  #18
Gear Nut
 

Hey, I second the use of Evidence Audio cables. Very balanced and non fatiguing.

I've never found an attenuator that did not kill tone. Have not played an amp with Power Scaling or a similar technology, though. I used to own an Aiken, which supposedly had a good attenuator, but even at the lowest setting I thought it killed the feel and tone.

I am not a fan of the guitarist in the control room and the amp in the studio. I am a fan of the guitar and amp in the same room, and the interaction between the two.

Beware of tone sucking pedals. You wouldn't believe how bad, for example, an Ernie Ball volume pedal sucks tone. I'm even careful with rows of true bypass pedals. Most of the time I like to plug straight in.

In terms of pickups, there are a million choices now. Lollar, Harmonic Design, TV Jones, Fralin. Same with guitars. And obviously lots of mics and pres. I would just say, take time placing mics. Front of cab, back of cab, off axis, on axis, close/far. There are lots of sweet spots, and they might not be where you'd expect.
Old 28th June 2005
  #19
Lives for gear
 
Oldone's Avatar
Close, mid and far mics on guitars, if you have the space, so you can play with various ambient tones.
Old 29th June 2005
  #20
Gear Addict
 

I should add that I prefer to track as much of the band together in the same room as possible. Therefore the Hotplate is a tremendous tool. I prefer feel of the ensemble over everything else and bands tend to play better together.

I also come at the hotplate option from a world of not liking pedals or front-end for distortion. A super or marshall at or around 7 it is tough to deal with in a club these days. Set the hotplate on -4 or -8 and the world is a friendlier place. I suppose with a highgain Satriani sort of tone the hotplate might not work. I have accomplished so much using them that the losses are well worth the gains. Does it change the tone? Yes a little. But then playing a super or marshall on 3 or 4 changes the tone too.

wm
Old 29th June 2005
  #21
Gear Maniac
 
cultureofgreed's Avatar
 

PRS CE 22 --> Mesa Boogie Mark IV = Holy Grail
Old 29th June 2005
  #22
Gear Nut
 

There's Only One Thing You Need

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bloodz
An example of what i'm looking for (also building towards)

Les Paul Studio ->planet waves cables->Fultone Fulldrive-> '63 Fender Deluxe paired with HWJMI Vox AC30->Royer R121, MD421, 57 Blend ->chandler TG2, API3124->? (need a new mixer)-> analoge inputs on my Lynx 2 C and then into Nuendo/Cubase sx 3.0.

What else would you recommend with this type of chain?

Talent.
Old 29th June 2005
  #23
Gear Guru
 
henryrobinett's Avatar
I'm also of the viewpoint that MOST of the tone is in the fingers. To the point that to much detail in the wrong direction, i.e. not the fingers/hands, gives bad results.

I just had a client ( no longer) who had written down all of these amp settings, rented the amp of some local hero and couldn't understand why he didn't sound like the hero. SOOOO much tone comes from the fingers, position, hands, angle of pick, dynamic of attack, tension of wrist. It drives me nuts when I hear so many people spending so much time and money on gear hunting down tone when what they need to be doing is practicing.

I'll shut up now.
Old 29th June 2005
  #24
Gear Nut
 
Bloodz's Avatar
 

Oh for fox's sakes, enough of the talent cop out . The talent's there fuuck . It's a controled variable in my equation. How come when somone chimes in on a vocal thread about signal processing everyone makes decent progress with little mention of the "talent" word. I'm not on a quest for the holy grail here just some different approaches to recording the guitar! Let's pretend player x can actually play the focking thing! I'm interested in the high end gear used to capture the talent. Once again, for the sake of my sanity, if you'd like to share your latest guitar signal process, then chain away!

cool as,
bloodz fuuck
Old 29th June 2005
  #25
Gear Guru
 
henryrobinett's Avatar
Sorry. My rant wasn't directed at you, but rather the countless guitar players who think the sound is more in the gear than it actually is.
Old 29th June 2005
  #26
Gear Addict
 

Ask a hundred session players, get a hundred answers. The difficulty with this sort of conversation is that everyone has their own idea of what good tone is.

To me, good tone is what fits the particular track I'm working on at the time. That's why I usually sit in the control room whenever possible. You lose the pickup/amp interaction, but the perspective you gain is well worth it.

hmmm...what else....

a 1x12 Thiele (design) cabinet with an EVM-12L is a pretty safe bet in the studio.

slaving amps to an external poweramp is neat trick. Why do it? A cranked 50w or 100w amp can over-power a room pretty easily. Putting a loadbox (like the Palmer PGA-04) in the equation allows you to crank the amp, while maintaining a reasonable volume.

"Nashville tuning" comes in handy from time to time. It's standard tuning, but using the octave strings from a 12 string set (of strings). I usually make my own set from single strings; I find even the heaviest set of 12 strings are way too light for proper intonation.

Another useful tuning is DADGAD (using standard strings). Of course drop-D is great too.

One handy gadget I tried yesterday was a "jellyfish" pick. Hard to explain what it does, except to say it's great for bright, shimmery parts.

Sometimes rolling the volume back on your guitar makes things punchier.

Robert Keeley makes a great sounding compressor (pedal).

Teles seem to twang better with .009 gauge strings.

That's all for now.
Old 29th June 2005
  #27
Gear Nut
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bloodz
An example of what i'm looking for (also building towards)

Les Paul Studio ->planet waves cables->Fultone Fulldrive-> '63 Fender Deluxe paired with HWJMI Vox AC30->Royer R121, MD421, 57 Blend ->chandler TG2, API3124->? (need a new mixer)-> analoge inputs on my Lynx 2 C and then into Nuendo/Cubase sx 3.0.

What else would you recommend with this type of chain?
I find the planet waves cables to brittle sounding.Zaolla cables are great.
Get a high quality low watt valve amp like Cornford harlequin and you'll be set.
Old 29th June 2005
  #28
Here for the gear
 

Here's my 2 cents
1) Get a strobe tuner (or a peterson virtual strobe). There's some kind of sympathetic vibrations that happen only when you are really in tune... I guess... whatever, it sounds better; way better.
2) Up the nickel content of your strings... that means more nickel or bigger strings.
3) Search the forums here and on rep for the pink noise trick when placing the "far" mic. That's made a big difference for me.

Jay
Old 29th June 2005
  #29
More cowbell!
 
natpub's Avatar
it all depends on what kind of music, etc.

there are a ton of diff rigs and set ups i may use depending on the song and what i want the gtrs to do

that goes for redcording chains double, too numerous great chains to mention, all excellent, all applied in different styles, songs, sections, etc. etc.
Old 29th June 2005
  #30
It sounds like you are going for a basic Old School rock tone. A good Les Paul or Strat would do great. A cheap upgrade would be to install an RS Guitarworks electronics upgrade kit in your guitar. Also good Pickups make a huge difference in tone. The better amp you have the more pickups make a difference. For cabels anything but Monster Cable. That has to be the worst cable for tone that I have ever heard, the jacks are also a tad bigger then standard so they end up stretching your input jack. Pedal wise it's really just playing and finding stuff you like. You might buy and sell 1000 pedals before finding 10 you like. Amp wise if you are looking for alot of sounds in one amp I would go with a Bogner XTC. I have one along with vintage Marshalls, Vox, Fender, Orange, Krank, Boogie. And the XTC can emulate the old Marshalls as well as create other sounds that rival my other amps. Cabs make a huge difference as well, even with the same speakers. Again it's a matter of taste. Ive gone through about ten and currently have 4 with different speaker configs in each and I still feel I need more. Mic and pre wise I single 57 into a 1073 or 1081 works great. The 1073 will have a tad bit more midrange presence then the 1081 on guitar so use each depending on the part. Rock On!
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump