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How do you tell a guitarist that his tone needs changing.
Old 12th August 2011
  #61
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Knox's Avatar
 

Thank God some engineer didn't take it on himself to take a DI signal and "reamp" Hendrix the way he liked "at a later stage" (when Hendrix wasn't there) . . . . as many times "tone" is subjective.

If I come up against the scenario the OP describes, I explain to the guitarist the issue . . and I offer some changes, but obviously keeping the tone he is going for somewhat intact. Sometimes it's not the guitar tone at the amp that stinks, but the tone the engineer is getting. Of course some players have no clue how to make records and why we need to get certain tones. If it's an outside session and it's his tone and he is inexperienced . . . show him why his tone may not be happening inside the track and the reasons why. If he doesn't want to listen and he is paying . . . do the best you can to make it work.

I track with the heads in the control room (for the most part), so I can play the track and tweak accordingly until it fits inside the track WITH the guitarist listening. Let him hear in real time what I'm doing and why.

I have had guitarists come in with big ass hi-gain, trendy amps and they just sound like **** because they don't know how to get a good 'recording' tone . . . I can't tell you how many times we ended up using one of the smaller amps here and got a much better BIGGER tone. *smile*



Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulMac View Post
If he's just not listening to you then D.I. the guitar and cable the signal out the mic'd amp. Record the D.I. and the amp. Reamp how you like at a later stage.
Et Voila.
Old 18th August 2011
  #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PRobb View Post
Then they come back and say "See- I told you I got great tone!"
EXACTLY!
It's like when you spend 2 days editing drums for an album because the drummer is terrible and treats the click track like it's not giving him the correct information. The band come in to hear the final mix and the drummer says "damnnn I'm a good drummer"
Old 18th August 2011
  #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Hayat View Post
Bad, bad bad idea if the guitarist is part of the band you are recording, and you are recording his music. I am actually shocked beyond belief that some people agreed with this. Doing that, is bad form, and unprofessional. Unless, it is a studio musician, and this guitarist is not your client. Then, and only then would it be acceptable.

This is all going under the assumption that the sound really was bad. But was it? Please don't take this the wrong way; for all I know, you might really know your ****e. But.....



Just because you personally were unimpressed, does that mean that the guitarist needed to change his tone? Maybe it was in fact good, but you personally just didn't like it? I don't know; I wasn't there, and without hearing it, it is not my place to judge. But I have seen too many engineers want to change things that did need to be changed -for no other reason than to feed their own ego.

Cheers.
Well it's not like the guitarist comes in with screaming distortion on his amp and then you reamp it to be extremely clean - an entirely different sound.
Some people don't listen. Some guitarists are adament their Line 6 Spider will sound absolutely perfect on the thousands they're spending on a recording. When I have a few mics on it and coming through the speakers they thought it sounded perfect. I let them hear a metal track I'd previously recorded with a mid-range Peavy that I said I could set up and get a much better result. They said "that sounds much better. I think we have to turn the mid up on the Spider"(!)

The other day, just as with many sessions, I stuck a tube mic infront of the guitarist's amp hooked up to a UA Twinfinity with about 80% tube and drove the preamp extremely hard, although with a modest output level. I then had it going through the BLA AM/CHA1 EQ with some pretty hefty gains and cuts as the overall sound was weak and I knew the cleaner guitar would conflict with the rythmn acoustic guitar. This signal sounded completely different to the Sennheiser e906 and Shure Unidyne IV I had closer to the amp and had ran through clean pres. The guitarist says his acoustic guitar sounds "too tangy". I drop out the cleaner electric guitar and introduce the tube signal. "whoah. that sounds much better - what did you do to the acoustic there?" he says. This signal couldn't have been more different from his original guitar tone. Seriously.

And by "really knowing my ****e" you mean knowing what will make the best final product - yes. A lot of the time the guitarist will have amp settings that makes an acceptable final product and they can accept that me mucking around with the settings for 5 minutes will mean they can maintain a similar sound and create a guitar sound that overacts with the overall mix more. After all - the last thing you want to do is be re-amping an amp because the guitarist wouldn't simply take a recording engineers advice on a recording.
Old 18th August 2011
  #64
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Strange Leaf's Avatar
 

How do you tell a guitarist that his tone needs changing?

Don't tell him, show him.
Old 18th August 2011
  #65
Gear Nut
How do you tell a guitarist that his tone needs changing.

Mark iv is a great amp but there are many many many more options than your standard amp.
Unless you have owned one for some time it is hard to realize how hard it is to dial.

mini nibnob's advice is very good

To add to the less bass advice, treble is critical in getting drive from this amp. Turn the treble up.

Which channel? Sounds like rhy2. Rhy3 Might be better or vice versa.

Both channels have lots of modifier push pulls. Especially rhy3 which also has harmonics/midrange focus switch.

Class a/ ab switch makes some difference too.

The amp has lots of low mids. Having the graphic in with V shape (smiley - mid cut) is probably needed. I fought for years against doing this but eventually realized it is how the amp was designed to be used. (it's in the messa manual repeatedly)

Less likely to be an option, you can run it with 6l6 output tubes, a combo of 6l6 and el34s or 6v6s
El34s make a big difference again and give a more 'british' sound which is maybe what you are looking for.

Classic mark iv rock sounds are John pettrucci from dream theatre. Lamb of god and to some extent Metallica Black I think (not so sure about the last though)
Old 18th August 2011
  #66
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Record with 2 amps and let her/him choose
Old 18th August 2011
  #67
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mowmow's Avatar
I think we are making music together so I will tell what ever I feel about performance or sound strait.
I'd praise the good point and then tell him or suggest him whatever to make it better.
Old 18th August 2011
  #68
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Eutoxita's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TehGuitarist View Post
He was using a tele and the music was rockin, not heavy but you know... It ended up just sounding spongey and not cool... same happened when he used a les paul and an ibanez...
There are some mindblowing (in a BAD way) posts in this thread. I think it went south when people started suggesting--and applauding--behind-the-back techniques.

@TehGuitarist, before I add my 2 cents to the rest of it, is the guitarist using a pick or fingerstyle? I know it sounds obvious, and forgive me if you've already thought of it, but that could be the sponginess factor just as easily as the amp setting suggestions people have made here.

As to the rest of the thread, this is engineer angst vs. guitarist angst, and IMHO is the reason why so much modern music sounds--as we often read here on GS--like crap.

The engineers are worried about their name being on something that sounds awful. I hear you (pun intended). But, really, if you're timing correcting the drum tracks, replacing drum sounds with samples, and reamping the guitars, all after the fact, with no input... maybe you should start turning down clients. I know that isn't what anyone wants to hear, as many folks on here are paying their kids' college tuitions (to be entertainment lawyers?...) with their engineering, but I think this is a huge factor in why there are so many bands COMING to you NEEDING that. Just a thought.

Guitarists... sometimes need to be shot in face with rock salt, er, I mean... shown other options for tone. But, quite often, they're right. In one of my old bands' first studio experience, with the engineer all our peer bands used because he was so "awesome", we had a terrible experience all around. The drummer was a loud one, and wanted to hear his miced drums in his headphones... a mix the engineer kept feeding to the rest of us (live tracking), despite all of our protestations that all we could hear was drums. Trusting the engineer, we suffered through... until he discovered--while tracking the LAST SONG--that we had been right and he had been sending us the drummer's headphone mix all along. When the guitarist was setting up his rig, the engineer had him strip away all of his usual sound dressing--different EQ, performance-based effects, etc.

Then, for an overdub session, the "awesome" engineer couldn't make it and one of the studio's other guys--a guitarist himself--did the session. The guitarist set up and said, "Okay--what do you want me to change?" The engineer finished setting up his mics and said--nothing, let's roll! Those are the only tracks that TRULY sound like that guitar player. Even tone-deaf civilians notice. The other guitar tracks sound fine... but they don't sound like that guitarist.

I think diplomacy is the key. I love the "10 minute rule" suggestion. But, at the end of the day, you can't engineer from the standpoint of "people are going to hear this crappy guitar tone and blame me" because, frankly, you could deliver a tone that would make Hendrix (or insert name-of-guitarist-whose-tone-you-think-is-good here) weep, and someone's going to say it sounds like junk.

<steps down off of long-winded soap box>
Old 19th August 2011
  #69
Gear Nut
How do you tell a guitarist that his tone needs changing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eutoxita

There are some mindblowing (in a BAD way) posts in this thread. I think it went south when people started suggesting--and applauding--behind-the-back techniques.

@TehGuitarist, before I add my 2 cents to the rest of it, is the guitarist using a pick or fingerstyle? I know it sounds obvious, and forgive me if you've already thought of it, but that could be the sponginess factor just as easily as the amp setting suggestions people have made here.

As to the rest of the thread, this is engineer angst vs. guitarist angst, and IMHO is the reason why so much modern music sounds--as we often read here on GS--like crap.

The engineers are worried about their name being on something that sounds awful. I hear you (pun intended). But, really, if you're timing correcting the drum tracks, replacing drum sounds with samples, and reamping the guitars, all after the fact, with no input... maybe you should start turning down clients. I know that isn't what anyone wants to hear, as many folks on here are paying their kids' college tuitions (to be entertainment lawyers?...) with their engineering, but I think this is a huge factor in why there are so many bands COMING to you NEEDING that. Just a thought.

Guitarists... sometimes need to be shot in face with rock salt, er, I mean... shown other options for tone. But, quite often, they're right. In one of my old bands' first studio experience, with the engineer all our peer bands used because he was so "awesome", we had a terrible experience all around. The drummer was a loud one, and wanted to hear his miced drums in his headphones... a mix the engineer kept feeding to the rest of us (live tracking), despite all of our protestations that all we could hear was drums. Trusting the engineer, we suffered through... until he discovered--while tracking the LAST SONG--that we had been right and he had been sending us the drummer's headphone mix all along. When the guitarist was setting up his rig, the engineer had him strip away all of his usual sound dressing--different EQ, performance-based effects, etc.

Then, for an overdub session, the "awesome" engineer couldn't make it and one of the studio's other guys--a guitarist himself--did the session. The guitarist set up and said, "Okay--what do you want me to change?" The engineer finished setting up his mics and said--nothing, let's roll! Those are the only tracks that TRULY sound like that guitar player. Even tone-deaf civilians notice. The other guitar tracks sound fine... but they don't sound like that guitarist.

I think diplomacy is the key. I love the "10 minute rule" suggestion. But, at the end of the day, you can't engineer from the standpoint of "people are going to hear this crappy guitar tone and blame me" because, frankly, you could deliver a tone that would make Hendrix (or insert name-of-guitarist-whose-tone-you-think-is-good here) weep, and someone's going to say it sounds like junk.
I agree with this totally.

Still, as a guitarist who spent lots of $$$ on a mark iv and the struggled with the amp for many years I suspect the complexity and uniqueness of the amp has something to do with this situation.

This is an amp that sounds good on it's own but you don't realize how low mid heavy it can be till you record it or put it against other amps.
Also it's only as an engineer you really understand these are the frequencies you need to carve out.

It took me a long time to realise it was designed to have the built in graphic set to a smiley curve. Not so much to scoop the mids but to normalize the tone.

Pulling a tone from this amp is sometimes easy but can also be like coding in C++.
it is a very advanced players amp with many mods built in and while the manual spells out all the tricks, most of us ignore instructions and assume it will be like any other amp to dial.

They liken it to a Ferarri in the manual- very capable of great things but easy to spin out if you aren't an advanced driver. (amp tone driver, not player - it's possible to be a very capable player and not know the finer intricacies of amp tones)
I think it might be more like a Porsche. Great classic car but very counter intuitive and easy to spin out in certain situations.

Still, as above quote says a unique sound is the artists prerogative and I've always found the amp recorded well.
Old 19th August 2011
  #70
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the mark 4 is a killer amp he wasnt using it properly if he couldnt get a good sound out of it - it's incredibly versatile

always liked the front xy mics and also a piezo on the back of a cabinet combo for recording
Old 19th August 2011
  #71
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andychamp's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zombie H View Post
(...) also a piezo on the back of a cabinet combo for recording
You mean, like a contact mic?
Old 19th August 2011
  #72
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zombie H View Post
the mark 4 is a killer amp he wasnt using it properly if he couldnt get a good sound out of it - it's incredibly versatile
He almost certainly wasn't using it properly - along with the other 90% of MB Mark IV owners who aren't either. Mark IVs are notoriously difficult to dial in - they work great for some players but their owners should be required to have operators licenses. I've heard LOT of bad tones coming out of MBs.

Unless someone in the studio knows how to work it the player should use a different amp altogether.

You can approach it diplomatically - "Listen to that tone. It sounds like ASS! Use one of our amps our your record will give people hives!"

As a guitar player I think I would be able to relate to that kind of suggestion.
Old 19th August 2011
  #73
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I like to watch the band play live in a good venue when I can, more than once if possible, to get a bigger picture of what the band should sound like recorded.

That really helps win the band's trust, for one thing.

It also helps you get a little more objective about doing things like switching out an amp vs. trying different recording techniques, or making the sound cool in context.

That way you can say, let's try this and this so we can try to get your guitar to speak like it did when you played the other night since studio and stage are so different, for example.

Or you might confirm that the amp problem (if it is that) indeed crosses over to his live sound too...

In which case I agree with the above post- SHOW him the difference.
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