You know, I don’t pick just any article and run with it… There are a lot of tips on the Internet on how to play a better guitar, how to become the next Tommy Emmanuel or whatever. The tips from the Disc Maker’s blog entry below go far beyond your simple “exercise every day” suggestions. These guys tell you about the importance of the room, the type of the guitar and the pickup you use, the microphones, effects, amps and more.
So, indulge and enjoy!
1. Set Up Your Guitar
Amazing guitar tones start with the player. Recording a great song with a good player is always key. Beyond the player, the instrument must be in top shape as well. Sending your guitar to be professionally set up is a great way to ensure your guitar tracks are properly in tune and there are no buzzes, squeaks, or hums coming from the instrument. A professional set up will also allow the guitar to play easier and feel better, which will help to create a better performance.
2. Isolate The Amp From The Floor
When recording guitars in small spaces, such as a bedroom or a project studio, the physical connection between the amp and the floor can cause the amp to sympathetically vibrate with the floor. This creates an artificial sense of low end that is often hard to equalize out and can make your recording sound muddy. By isolating the amp from the floor with dense insulation or a product such as the Auralex Gamma Pad, the amp can accurately reproduce the low end without vibrating with the room. This can be very useful with dense guitar arrangements where layered guitars can stack up to create a muddy mess in the mix.
3. Understand The Room
The sound of the amp is largely impacted by the room that is exists in. Standing waves are created when a loud guitar amp is played in a small space. To minimize the impact of standing waves, angle the guitar amp at 45 degrees to parallel walls. This will help to keep prominent frequencies from building up in the room.
For more control of the room sound, try draping a heavy blanket over the speaker cabinet. This will eliminate the room sound for microphones close to the cabinet. A second room mic can then be added for control of the room sound in the mix. This creates the possibility for all types of sonic experimentation when it comes time for mix. For example, the room mic can be panned opposite of the close mic. A delay can be added to the room mic for even more spatial distinction.
4. EQ With Mic Placement
There are tone knobs on a guitar, and often EQ and tone knobs on a guitar amp. Although these knobs are easy to use and tempting to play with, drastic EQ-ing on an amp can sound harsh or push the amp to distortion in unpleasant ways. A less conventional, but equally as effective method of EQ can be accomplished through microphone placement at the speaker cone.
The closer the microphone is to the center of the speaker, the more low end and high end will be picked up. As the microphone is moved to the outside of the cone, the midrange becomes clearer in comparison. In conjunction with this, the angle of the microphone in relation to the cone can also change the tone of the guitar sound. Angling the microphone 45 degrees outward will reduce the upper midrange frequencies. Angling the microphone 45 degrees inward will increase low midrange frequencies.
5. Pick A Pick
Although you probably have a favorite guitar pick that works well with your playing style, there are guitar pick options that can drastically alter the tone of your guitar. For more attack on leads and solos, a metal pick can brighten up the guitar tone without having to resort to EQ at the amp. In contrast, a felt pick can be the perfect choice for soft rhythm guitar that needs to sit well with keyboards and piano. Before spending lots of money on a new amp or effects pedal, a trip to the music store for a new guitar pick might be all you need.