In this blog we’re going to take a brief look at recording guitar tones at home.
I’m going to provide a brief and simple way of doing this to get you started at home.
First off you need a small wattage amp preferably. I use a Taurus StompHead 4 (pictured above)
This particular amp has a studio mode allowing me to switch to 4watts output. I find this ideal for recording as it’s loud enough to get a good tone to disk without blowing my windows out or upsetting my neighbours.
- First off I start with mic placement. I like to use a on-axis position with a dynamic microphone. I point the mic about 1ich away from the grill cloth and dead centre of the cone. You can experiment by moving the mic say and inch at a time if you like.
- Secondly I dial in a tone on the amp with a reasonable amount of volume to get some air moving from the speaker cab . I use my studio headphones to monitor that tone through my interface’s headphone output until I get the tone I like. Note that I usually make the guitar tone slightly brighter than I normally would. This is a good thing, it’s much easier to make a tone duller at mixing time than brighten one up with EQ I find.
- TIP: Think about using less gain than normal on your amp (especially if layering guitars). More gain causes more compression and can actually make your guitar sound smaller and not as full. Try it!
- Hit the record button and get that tone down in your DAW
- Once you have recorded your tone let’s look at making it sound more natural.
- Now even though a guitar is considered a midrange instrument you will still find after recording there are a lot of frequencies present in your audio. Different microphones peak at different frequencies and although you may be recording a guitar there will still be high and low frequencies that need dealt with at the mixing stage.
- I start with a highpass filter. There is a lot of ‘mud’ in the lower frequencies below 100hz, I tend as a guide to highpass everything from 100hz down this removed subsonic’s and ‘muddiness’ from the guitar, say a 5db cut or even more.
- Next a Lowpass filter. My rule of thumb here isn’t very scientific but it works for me. A guitar speakers frequency response usually tops out at about 5Khz or there about. A microphone will record anything up to 20Khz which is very high. I run a lowpass cut at 6db from 5khz onwards to remove any super high frequencies, I find this makes the guitar sound more like it did coming from the speaker initially.
- Finally you may want to take a look at the midrange. If you are suffering any ‘woof’ from your guitars try a cut at around 750hz – 800hz about 3-4db. This should clear it up a little and help clean up the overall mix too.
Two great tool’s (VST Plugins) for the low pass and high pass filters are listed below:
Bear in mind these are just rough guides of where to start, you may find rolling of 120Hz works better with a particular guitar or less say 80hz. It’s really up to you!
Also trying different mic’s will give you variations in the sound. A dynamic is fine, a condenser can work and ribbon mic‘s are good too. Use what you have at your disposal to get that tone down!
- Recording with dynamic microphone in untreated room (gearslutz.com)