Tracking #3: Guitars

Next on the long list of things that need to be done to finish a project was tracking guitar.

As before, and as with all the other posts in this series, my setup available for this is the same as described in my post “And then Began the Tracking: Drums”.

If you have read my post introducing the band, then you will know that they have only one guitarist. Because of this, their arrangements didn’t have lead guitar parts already written, and for the most part, the band wanted to keep to a fairly accurate expression of their music (i.e. they didn’t want to layer tonnes of guitars and lead guitars on the record.

We used a different amp on each song, to give them each a unique tone.

The first song we tracked was The Victor. On this, we used my brother’s small 7-watt tube amp made by Fender (although the Fender label is not anywhere on the amp) with a couple of pedals. We tried the Boss Blues Driver and the Ibanez Tube Screamer. In all honesty, I can’t remember which one we ended up going with on the track, but I know for sure that it wasn’t both.

When it came to mic’ing up the amp, I used the Shure sm57 as the primary mic, close to the centre of the cone but slightly turned away to prevent it from being overly bright. In addition to this, I placed the NT2000 LDC right up against the grill, in front of the edge of the cone, to capture a more dull sound with an emphasis on the lower midrange and lows.

Of course, I also took the dry DI signal. This not only serves as a backup for changing the amp tone later but is also a great help for editing distorted guitars which don’t have many distinct transients.

The second song we tracked was Stranger. On this, we used Ryan’s amp and pedals that he uses for gigging. He uses a Boss digital effects pedal, and when he loaded up his “Stranger preset” it sounded pretty good to me in the room. I mic’ed up the amp in pretty much the same way as my brother’s amp and away we went. Unfortunately, I later decided that the tone that we had captured was not the best tone for the song and I ended up using a virtual amp from the Waves GTR3 collection to craft the final tone (thank you DI signal). This was a good lesson to make sure to capture the right tone on recording day, and to be very deliberate about the tone you choose.

As far as performance goes, Ryan was the weakest of the group. This being said he didn’t do a terrible job. He knew his parts well and was determined to play them as close to perfect as possible. We spent about 5-6 hours on guitars in all, and after some helpful editing, the guitars sounded pretty good on the track.

Thanks again for taking the time to follow this series.

If you have any comments, questions, opinions or just want to say hi, then please leave a comment below.

Have a great day!



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I am a sound student currently in the third year of my sound degree at the SAE Institute Cape Town, South Africa. I also have a home studio called Lauda Sound. I am passionate about both Music and Audio Post-Production, and I hope to bring a good mix of them to you guys. I hope you stick around for the fun and get in touch! Have a great sounding day!

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