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How to record your guitar in a line so you don’t feel ashamed?

12 November , 2020

Having seen enough of the tough guys, we all dream of a big guitar stack, to which several microphones lead, and then necessarily to an expensive studio console (not forgetting about tube compression, of course, to give even more FAT). But more often than not, we have an inexpensive guitar, sound card, and a couple of effects pedals at best. And the question arises – is it possible to get not the most embarrassing sound in such conditions? Yes, you can, but you have to try. And of course, remember that you can never sound expensive on cheap equipment, this is an axiom.

— See also: iZotope introduced the Neoverb reverb —

So what are we going to do? Trying to sound underground, vintage, whatever. The main thing is that with a touch of “low-quality, but cool sound.” Like the same Jack White (for guitarists, I generally recommend watching the movie “Get ready, it will be loud.” You will learn a lot about the formation of a guitar sound. And the sound is very different). So, let’s sort it out on the shelves:

  1. We will use the overdrive pedal as a heating pad. By overloading the sound just a little, we rid it of the sterility of a guitar recorded in a line. It’s a bit of a cheat, but almost all guitarists have pedals. It is not worth writing through the “pizza fifth zoom”, but I used boss ds-2 for a long time and it turned out not so bad. But the “linemen” do not get upset, because further…
  2. We will write the sound of one guitar on two mono tracks at once. It’s great if the pedal has two outputs. But if not, it’s also okay – just split the track. Because we are going to “reamp” (run the original sound through a real or virtual amplifier to get a new sound). And put an amp simulator on each track. And then we make different settings on them. Fortunately, modern amp sims are quite flexible and the sound can be disturbed by some kind. Again, don’t overdrive too much (especially if you’ve already used a distortion pedal). But you can play with presence. And then we balance the volumes of these two tracks.
  3. Equalize. More precisely, we cut everything below 100 Hz and cut 800 Hz a little. This will remove unnecessary hum, plus give the sound a “guitar stack effect”.
  4. In the send channel, add a spring (required!) reverb and delay. This will add a little space to the sound and it won’t be so disgustingly electronic anymore.
  5. Optical compressor and gentle belt saturator. Just set a gentle saturation (20 percent), and on the compressor, not a fast attack and medium release (if any).
  6. If it is not possible to register a good live bass – register a sampled one, like the same Trillian. Bass (guitar or synth) is half the sound of a guitar, oddly enough. Especially if it’s rock and you need a wall (the instruments are similar). Then the bass will be responsible for the low and low mids, and the guitar for the upper mids and highs.

This is how you get something acceptable. You will not get a real tube color, natural compression and, most importantly, speakers. But if the guitar is not the main instrument, then it is quite possible to do something shameful. Well, noise, industrial and electronics with a guitar will sound quite edible to themselves.

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