kiwiburger - been there did that and love it. regularly tweaking with every aspect of recording guitars: rooms (I have two), mics (sm57/58, at4050, 37r, rodes...), their placement, recording chain (dda board, spl, tla and focusrite pres) and what not.
but when it come to make distorted guitars sit in the mix you sometimes need to cut very surgically. and, believe it or not, the mxr does something special to guitars that clients and I like!
I also have the blue MXR graphics. A wonderful design, not constant Q like all the newer graphics designed for SR tuning.
These older graphics extrapolate the curve selected into a musical smooth curve. A "smile" will trace on the Audio Precision analyzer as a smooth curve, any change in EQ settings will smooth out between bands. In a constant Q graphic design, bumps at the band centers are visible with the AP frequency VS amplitude sweeps. They look like a picket fence with bumps at every band center. Bad for phase response and the bumps will drive you crazy.
My MXR's are dead quiet, with 200k to DC bandwidth and very low .0008% THD. All the filters were changed to Wima polypropylene film caps and all the opamps are very fast and quiet, unlike the stock 4558 opamps. I installed a large PSU as the original one will not supply 22 opamps with enough current, the power transformer is tiny. I made the outputs balanced and biased the whole thing class A.
Tom Sholze (?) in Boston used the similar Altec graphic to get all his Boston guitar sounds in the 70's. The joy of these graphics is that they are capable of very complex EQ curves, no single parametric can do these curves.
The GR eq shines in that application!
But I have to agree with the others, if there is something realy wrong you need to check for different mics, amps, cabs, pickups, ......
OR! And it wasn't mentioned before eq the guitar befor it hits the amp!
On the crazy high side I've not tryied anything that works better than tha Massive Passive. Onward to a little lower anything API works incredibly well and I always get good results with my SPL QURE eqs, they have a tube based exiter that sounds really good on just about anything(the QURE circuit , the EQ itself is solid d state) and the eq itself reminds me a little of API stuff. Further down the line the Speck stuff always sounds good.
Hope this helps
How about no eq, and change your amp settings, cab, mic or preamp?
Exactly! I think that eqing distorted guitars is very difficult, it mostly takes from the sound what it gives to it. You should really try to avoid radical eqing!
The only thing sometimes works for me is a Pultec. But as you know that's not a surgical or flexible eq.
Ok guys, let's all assume he's not recording guitars, but he is trying to mix a song and make whatever guitar tracks he has to work with sit in the mix nicely. So no more, "change your amp settings / different mic / you suck at recording guitars man!" lol
When I need to bump or subtract 2-4 db with a nice smooth musical Q, API 550 / 550A / 550b never fail. If I need a little more control, the 560's are excellent. If I want a bit of secret weapon mojo, that's not really that secret anymore, hunt down an Aengus thumbwheel eq. They are a 500 series format eq from back in the glory days. Hard to find, but if you have the opportunity, get it. One click boost on the 1k and 2.2k band, and your guitars have just been defibrillated back to life!
Here's my thoughts on this: Really distorted guitars don't need more color, so a clean EQ is fine. Color isn't necessarily bad, but it's probably not going to add much. Probably don't need one with a sweetening air band or anything like that for the same reason. Rather, I'd be looking for one with nice HPF and LPF, and some good selections in the mid frequencies. If you don't need super easy recall, continuously variable filters are great so you can really target those frequencies. Not sure what EQ best fits the bill here, and I rarely use EQ on distorted guitar, but when I do it would be Kush Electra for its HPF which is perfect for dialing out rumble and the high band, which although technically not an LPF, seems pretty steep so it can work similarly. Also, the high mid tops out at around 5KHz, so it's pretty easy to find the top end on electric guitars: just turn all the way right, which is just at the high end of the guitar signal.
Love the Helios Type69 for mids and highs on guitar, both hardware and the Waves-version.
UAD and Waves API 550 are great for shaping guitars, as is a Pultec type of eq.
Really enjoy the Fabfilter Pro-Q if you need more precision. The hpf on the Pro-Q also has a resonance function so you can get a little(or big) boost at the cut-off frequency so the guitar doesn't go thin. Very useful.
Lots of options, so it kind of depends on what your guitar recordings sounds like and were you want them to go.