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Help with guitar tones
Old 9th August 2005
  #1
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Help with guitar tones

What's everyones method of getting a great rock guitar sound. I've got an R121, an SM57, an MD421, and some other stuff. I got a TG2 and an SCA N72 8-channel. What kind of placement and methods of getting phase together need to be handled in order to get a pleasing tone?
Old 9th August 2005
  #2
member no 666
 
Fletcher's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by arrogantbastard
What's everyones method of getting a great rock guitar sound.
Working with a great rock guitar player... then recording what they've played.
Old 9th August 2005 | Show parent
  #3
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Midlandmorgan's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher
Working with a great rock guitar player... then recording what they've played.
Best advice of the week...because...


Just too many great examples, and they are ALL different...some very sophisticated multi-amp with contrasting cabs, mics, pres, etc..., some a 57 into a Mackie tracking a Deluxe Reverb....

Or...start with Eric Johnson's rig and work your way up from there.... heh
Old 9th August 2005 | Show parent
  #4
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Bob Ross's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher
Working with a great rock guitar player... then recording what they've played.

It really is that simple (emphasis on the word great, naturally).

But if the player is there, you can't ruin the recording even if you suck as an engineer; you'd also have to want to suck before bad engineering can overwhelm a great performance.
Old 9th August 2005
  #5
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doorknocker's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by arrogantbastard
What's everyones method of getting a great rock guitar sound. I've got an R121, an SM57, an MD421, and some other stuff. I got a TG2 and an SCA N72 8-channel. What kind of placement and methods of getting phase together need to be handled in order to get a pleasing tone?
Simplicity is your friend, a 57 with a little time spent to find the best spot on the cab and put thru a TG-2 is a killer combination. The MD421 is a nice alternative, especially for something like a clean Fender amp.

If your room sounds good (and only then) why not put the 421 close on the speaker and use the 57 as a room mic. Guranteed to sound organic, a great player prefered as usual.

Although I do own a Little Labs IBP I hardly ever use 2 close mics on a guitar cab.

YMMV.


Andi

www.doorknocker.ch
Old 9th August 2005 | Show parent
  #6
VIP
 
mwagener's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
You've got an R-121 - use it!!!
Old 9th August 2005 | Show parent
  #7
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5down1up's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
its hard to figure out what you already know and what you dont know
[ typical problem ] . the gear you mention makes it kinda look like you already know a lot ... ?! but maybe you just bought it so i act like you know nada :-)

i think when recording amps , the most important part is how loud you set the amp for the particular room . if you play hard and you get those wired resonances and the amp sounds like its falling in pieces , that might not be the best thing
[ well sometimes its a nice effect ] . so set the volume of the amp in the recording room and dont try to emulate it with the gain of the pres .

i never liked the sound of an amp thats standing on the floor ... fender had those cool angled arms mounted to their amps . i like that a lot .
same goes for the backside of the amp , it shouldnt be to close to a wall . esepcially when the back is open .

the distance from the mic to the speaker is a big part of the sound . if you are to close you get that nasty chunk ... if you go to far away ... it sounds a lil lush .
so i am doing like " half a finger " away from the speaker cover

the easiest way ( and a real good one ) to get those mics in phase is that the capsules of the different mics have exactly the same distance from the soundsource . ( you dont need to measure it ) . so i throw up an sm57 and besides it an 421 . they both sound different and make a " nice tone " when mixed together . if you want the tone to cut more through you can raise the 57s level during mix if u need more " place filling sound " you increase the 421 .
or you have the 47 or the 421 alone . combinations are endless .

i like the 57 pointing at the cone and the 421 besides it . which side ... well on my marshall i like the upper right speaker so the 421 is left from the 57 on the combos it just the other way around ... LOL " neverding story " .


for combos ecue had a nice trick to have a backside mic + a frontside mic . use 2 similar mics and bring an sine tone to the amp . place one in front pointing at the cone and set one mic up behind the amp . now switch the phase of one of those mics and move it around ( make sure you wear some phones with the signals on , best one panned left next one right ) . now move the backside mic till the signal almost cancels out . press the phase inverse on the pre again and this sound is super nice . also works cool with small condensers playing clean sounds.

so thats a lil idea ... could go on for hours , but somebody should read that stuff @ least ... hehe

good luck
Old 9th August 2005 | Show parent
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
I have been messing around allot lately with with a splitter and using two amps. Usually for rock stuff a cool combo and a large Marshall. Putting a 121 on the marshall and 122 on the combo gets some unbelievable depth and is thicker than you could want.

Steve Mabee
-------------------

Primal Gear
Old 9th August 2005 | Show parent
  #9
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Put the mics and preamps away for now.

Guitar tones start with the guitar, amp and player. You should borrow (cough-cough) a milkcrate from the local deli and get the amp off the floor. Get your ears at the same level as the amp and plug one of 'em.

Listen to what's coming out of the amp.

The goal is to capture that sound. If you like what you hear, hang one mic and start sweeping it around until it sounds good in the control room. If you don't like what you hear coming out the amp, you'll need to make some changes to the guitar/amp/player combination. That could mean swapping out the amp, cabinet, guitars, pedals, strings, tubes, cables etc. until you get something good from the rig.

Once the rig sounds good, hang a mic and start with ONE mic. If you feel the need to add a second mic, please for the love of Mirtha check the phase in mono against the first mic. If it gets bigger, wider, deeper etc. then your Fonzie. If it sounds like a stuck wah pedal then the second mic needs to be moved. Or better yet, get a scope on there and watch the phase while listening to and moving the second mic.

A hipper trick that WAY more time to setup involves running pink noise through the guitar rig and using that to align the mics. I wouldn't try it unless you know how to use a noise generator, a scope and have some time to kill while you get the thing together.
Old 9th August 2005 | Show parent
  #10
84K
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1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher
Working with a great rock guitar player... then recording what they've played.


No Way!!!! WOW. Where did you come up with that?????!!!!!!!

I hate when people state the obvious and everyone acts like they said something brilliant. No $hit, the talent has to be there. That is not some revelation. I thing brother wants some mic'ing/recording technique advise. Sorry to rant, but every thread always has the wise ass that says, "you need the talent first.... start with the player..." No $hit. Really? Who would ever guess. Then a bunch of people chime in just to agree with the obvious.
Old 9th August 2005 | Show parent
  #11
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Kestral's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by 84K
No Way!!!! WOW. Where did you come up with that?????!!!!!!!

I hate when people state the obvious and everyone acts like they said something brilliant. No $hit, the talent has to be there. That is not some revelation. I thing brother wants some mic'ing/recording technique advise. Sorry to rant, but every thread always has the wise ass that says, "you need the talent first.... start with the player..." No $hit. Really? Who would ever guess. Then a bunch of people chime in just to agree with the obvious.
I disagree. Sometimes people miss the most obvious thing. Moshe Feldenkrais calls it "The Elusive Obvious".
Old 9th August 2005 | Show parent
  #12
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not_so_new's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by 84K
No Way!!!! WOW. Where did you come up with that?????!!!!!!!

I hate when people state the obvious and everyone acts like they said something brilliant. No $hit, the talent has to be there. That is not some revelation. I thing brother wants some mic'ing/recording technique advise. Sorry to rant, but every thread always has the wise ass that says, "you need the talent first.... start with the player..." No $hit. Really? Who would ever guess. Then a bunch of people chime in just to agree with the obvious.
thumbsup thumbsup
Old 9th August 2005 | Show parent
  #13
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
Kestral hit the proverbial nail on the head. thumbsup
Old 9th August 2005
  #14
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Kestral's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Here's another "Elusive Obvious" I don't get.

We get these posts daily, "Recommend me a Cheap Neve Clone" or "Help me! I want the sound of a Neve 1073 and Urei 1176 but I don't want to pay up for them! What can I do?"

If ya wants the Neve sound, you pay for a Neve. Not a Great River, not a Vintech, not a Portico-potty, a Neve, pure and simple.

I used "Neve" as the example, but it could be anything from LA2A to U47 or for the guitar folks my favorite is on the Harmony Central effects forum where weekly someone has to ask "how can I get my solid state practice amp to sound like a Vox AC30 or Fender Tweed Deluxe?"

Simple. You get it by getting it.

Why did I think of this? I finally got all the connectors and jacks soldered for these last night (AMS Neve 1073, UA 1176 rev B). Plugged a simple USA made Shure SM57 into it to test it, and I couldn't believe it. It's a sound like no other. So how could I get this sound with some other units? Simply put, I can't

Old 9th August 2005 | Show parent
  #15
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
I have yet to get a great sound out of a player that can't play...
Old 9th August 2005 | Show parent
  #16
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GearHunter's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Another common and obvious technique: Because the amp and guitar settings are where the tones come from, it's nice, if possible, to have the amp, or multiple amps, in the control-room. In other words, I keep a 1 X 12 and 2 X 12 cab in the tracking room, and even if the amp being used is a say, Fender Deluxe 1 X 12 combo, I disconnect the on-board speaker and plug it in to my tracking cabinets. You still have to get a good mic, like a Royer R121, in to the right spot, but once you do that, you can sit there in the CR twiddling the amp knobs until rock is achieved.

Actually good tone comes from the player. Some guys can pick up any guitar, plug in to any amp and make it sound good. It must come out of their fingers.
Old 9th August 2005 | Show parent
  #17
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Thanks guys for the posts. I'm recording a great guitar player. I have some killer amps at my finger tips (bogner ecstasy, orange ad140 and a fender "the twin". I ended up with the R121 and a Violet the globe on the bogner and a 57 and 421 on the orange cab. I used a Radial JD7 to split. It sounds good but for all that I just think it should sound better. Maybe I'll post some samples and you guys can tell me where I went wrong. It's definitely not the gears fault, or the players. I might just be too picky but I dunno, there's just something there that i've never been happy with with any of my guitar tones. Personally I wish I had a board so I could sum the mics on each cab to one track so I wasn't always changing the balance. That pink noise trick that Michael W is all about sounds like what I need to start doing. His tones are the ****.
Old 9th August 2005 | Show parent
  #18
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Igotsoul4u's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
First get the amp off the floor and then have the guy set his volume a little lower then he normally would. The volume thing sounds stupid but every guitar player I have told this too loves the results. I find it decreases the proximty effect when close micing a cab. The result is a very open sound. i usually use a royer 121 about 5 inches off the speaker into a 1081.
Old 9th August 2005 | Show parent
  #19
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jjblair's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Aside from the player, a great guitar tone starts with chosing the appropriate tone for the track. Malcolm Young's tone is amazing, but it's not the right tone for some music.

This is not the easy answer that you want to hear, but here's how I get great guitar tones: I have a slew of about a 12 great vintage guitars and piles of great vintage amps. I tend to find the right guitar to plug into the right amp, without the need for any boxes in between, where that tone fits the music for that particular guitar part. If I'm going to use one mic, I tend to use the Sennheiser MD409, but sometimes I'll use something else or I'll use a combination of mics. Do a search in Fletcher's PSW forum for my guitar mic shootout if you wan to hear the difference between some of them.

My current favorite mic pre/EQ for guitar is the Daking 52270. It does that Trident A Range thing, that just gives the guitar an in your face quality that no Neve, API or any other console can give you. It just kills. Depending on the tone or the part, I might compress it a hair. Clean guitar seems to like a little compression. Distorted guitar is already compressed, but if the part is dynamic, like a solo, you might want to use an 1176 or something. Fairchilds are great for solos, but they are a little price prohibitive I hear. LOL.
Old 9th August 2005 | Show parent
  #20
Kush Audio
 
u b k's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by arrogantbastard
It's definitely not the gears fault, or the players. I might just be too picky but I dunno, there's just something there that i've never been happy with with any of my guitar tones.

assuming the player and his tone are as good as you say, and knowing the gear you have, my gut is telling me that the problem is your room.

either that or you're being overly critical, which happens a lot in these parts. someone recently was complaining about boxy mixes, then posted examples and the mixes were not boxy, in fact they were bright. the power of your mind to fixate on a small part of the spectrum and blow it out of all proportion is insidious and crippling.

seek perspective. post an example or two of guitar tones you're not happy with, and a mix would be good too, so we can see what you're doing with those tones. don't be shy here, all of us excel in some ways and suck in others; if you want to improve your situation, check your ego at the door and be willing to expose your weaknesses to us.

we'll be nice, i promise. we can use words all day but if we're to help you we need sounds.


gregoire
del ubik
Old 9th August 2005 | Show parent
  #21
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GearHunter's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Malcolm Young's tone is amazing
Right On!
Old 9th August 2005 | Show parent
  #22
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not_so_new's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kestral
I disagree. Sometimes people miss the most obvious thing. Moshe Feldenkrais calls it "The Elusive Obvious".

Yeah but come on... at some point we have to assume something right. You could easily say the reason you are not getting a good sound is because you don't have the amp on or you did not hit the record button.

Over and over we hear about "the player" and "the source." I don't think you will ever hear one person who knows anything about recording say "gee what an incredibly bad out of tune guitar, this is going to sound great!!"

The source is the most important but in my world there is not always anything you can do with the source. The band is paying me money to record them (at least they were when I was doing this for my full time gig). They pay the bills I do what they say. I will make suggestions but in the end they are the boss and if they want to use a toob retumfryer they bought new last week at Guitar Center who am I to judge.

The only thing I can do is handle my part and I wish we could just focus on that part of the deal here unless the question is specifically related to guitar tone. We can only fix what we are able to fix ya know??? I can't call in another guitar player, that is not my job that is up to the band so because it is out of the question I think it sould be left out of the answer.
Old 9th August 2005 | Show parent
  #23
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rwhitney's Avatar
Though some styles demand a mic right on the speaker grille, I usually prefer to get a little space and room sound going, or put up a room mic in addition. Here's an example of a guitar track with close and room mics. Tele>Rocket44 CH1>sm57 close, plus U87 about 6' back. I've included the backing track for context, unmixed, in mono, no processing.
Attached Files

Gtr alone.mp3 (1.52 MB, 808 views)

Band-mono.mp3 (1.52 MB, 878 views)

Old 9th August 2005 | Show parent
  #24
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by rwhitney
Though some styles demand a mic right on the speaker grille, I usually prefer to get a little space and room sound going, or put up a room mic in addition.

Agreed. One of the best guitar tones I've heard came from an M149 placed about 5-6' back from the amp in a fairly dead medium-sized room.
Old 9th August 2005 | Show parent
  #25
Gear Nut
 
Dragomir's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by not_so_new
They pay the bills I do what they say.
...but it's also your name, your reputation involved. If your mix is lousy, just because the band wanted it that way, you might not get another job very soon.
I often hear lines like: "I have to use this delay from my Zoom, it's fantastic" ; "I need mone, more bass on my tone"; "This tone is helping me a lot"(even though it is so distorted and messy that you can't distinguish the notes he's trying to play; he feels it's better because he can't hear the mistakes). Sometimes you, as an engineer , have to fight a little peaceful war against some player's audio miseducation.
Old 10th August 2005 | Show parent
  #26
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superburtm's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Is it just me or isn't the response of a cab better if it is on the floor without wheels? On a milk crate the bottom end will go away.
Old 10th August 2005 | Show parent
  #27
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rwhitney's Avatar
Unless it's a concrete floor (maybe even then) I think cabs do couple with the floor to produce low freq. resonances.
Old 10th August 2005 | Show parent
  #28
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jjblair's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
My experience seems to be different. Allowing the air under the cabinet to move helps the low end. This is the very same reasons that a studio architect will tell you not to put anything underneath your console. Also, I like using the tilt legs on old Fenders for this reason.
Old 10th August 2005 | Show parent
  #29
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everybody's x's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragomir
...
I often hear lines like: "I have to use this delay from my Zoom, it's fantastic"
Man I just got that EXACT quote from a bassist the other day, we ended up using it because he was so adamant, man that thing sounds like ass.

as far as "start with a great player, blah blah"
well.....yeah, but I guarantee you take Edward Van Halen and have him strap on a plywood les paul copy into an old Crate head, it will still suck no matter how badass Ed may be. It will sound like Ed playing a sh*tty rig but a sh*tty rig nonetheless. Gear definitely has it's place in the big picture.
Old 10th August 2005 | Show parent
  #30
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by everybody's x
...take Edward Van Halen and have him strap on a plywood les paul copy into an old Crate head, it will still suck no matter how badass Ed may be. It will sound like Ed playing a sh*tty rig but a sh*tty rig nonetheless...
I'm not so sure I agree. Put Keith Jarrett on an out of tune upright piano, he's still going to sound amazing. I'd record THAT for free.
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