first time recording guitar

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ochaim
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first time recording guitar

Post by ochaim » Tue May 21, 2013 8:18 am

I'm a hip hop guy and I thought for the summer I'd try to learn something new.

I've been messing around with guitars, just learning some chords and I'd like to learn how to produce that country/pop "guitar bed" sound.

I tried it out this past weekend but I'm not sure I'm getting the right sound.

I've researched a bit and it seems the sound I'm going for needs "quad tracking", so I gave it a whirl.

I sent the output of the guitar into the hi-z input of my UA 6176, then into my audio interface hoping I could make the most out of a clean signal using guitar rig presets.

Set the 4 tracks: 1 hard left, 1 hard right, 1 50% left, 1 50% right.

Meh, it's ok, the presets all sound kinda thin and brittle to me. I even varied the preset settings for each track as the quad tracking info I found suggested.

Is there anything I'm missing here? Should I really be tracking with FX pedals in the signal chain?

Would I necessarily get a better sound to work with if I mic'd my guitar preamp (Digitech DG15R)?

This is totally brand new to me but I'd like to at least have a rudimentary grasp of how this guitar bed sound is produced.

Any advice is welcome!

Owen.

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Re: first time recording guitar

Post by playagibson » Tue May 21, 2013 6:49 pm

Hey Ochaim,

First thing, record a single guitar , one track in mono. You rarely need to record in four parts, you usually end up with phase issues.
You can add effects to a bus and pan the effects to spread your sound.
If you have guitar rig, use their virtual amps and you will get some nice sounds.
Is there a particular sound your going for ?

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Re: first time recording guitar

Post by ochaim » Tue May 21, 2013 9:18 pm

This is the sound I was aiming for: that layer of what appears to be guitars that sounds, to me, like a pad effect, a kind of fullness.

starting at 15sec:

http://youtu.be/oajuSNChUOo?t=15s

I'll give your suggestion a try. Now that you mention the potential phase issues, it could explain the weird airiness got when I didn't push the effects as much.

In terms of the signal chain, does just using the UA 6176 between the guitar and audio interface make sense? or should I be micing a preamp/speaker?

Thanks for the advice!

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Re: first time recording guitar

Post by andygabrys » Tue May 21, 2013 10:54 pm

yep sounds like a phase nightmare

a sound like you desire might have 2 or possibly 4 guitars in it:

1 slide guitar playing sustained chords hard L, and a second performance of the same line panned hard R

then maybe 1 more guitar playing some kind of arpeggio part panned 90% L and a second performance of the same part panned 90% R.

then add mandolin / banjo whatever.

Note I say 2 performances (each has gotta be tight). That is the best way to get the wide stereo feel in that mix. if its the same performance that you pan L and then just duplicate it and pan R, it will just sound like the guitar is straight up the middle. and depending on settings etc, you can end up with stuff that will be out of phase, and instead of sounding meaty, will just sound like there is no low end. which sounds like what you ended up with.

the major reason people do hard panning of doubled performances is to make a hole in the middle for the vocal.

you should be able to get close with guitar rig.

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Re: first time recording guitar

Post by Kolstad » Wed May 22, 2013 12:55 am

Yeah you should be able to achive it with what you have. On the track it sounds like a Les Paul or a PRS slightly overdriven with quite a bit compression on.

I would track with just an inch compression from the 6176, as you can't get the same density from the ITB compressors in the ampsims. Then I would try a plexi patch with very little overdrive to it, in Guitar rig (and not use much else from the ampsim, perhaps an eq to roll off some (harsh) top end from Guitar Rig). After the ampsim I would use a compressor plug-in to smoothen out the overdrive and make it sustain (important). Could be the Waves Ren or an La2a (which is very often used in country). If it's still too thin, put a short delay with no feedback on it to fatten up the tone, and make it sit in the mix with bus reverb.

For this type of bed track it's important to level the electric with the acoustic guitar, so it doesn't overpower it, and stays low in the mix almost like a harmony vocal.

If the compression from the 6176 doesn't work, I would track with a Boss Compressor pedal (a staple in country) or a Ross type compressor to give density and sustain to the clean tone on the way in. Ampsims need to have a strong and more complex signal to work with to sound realistic.

Just some ideas you can fiddle with.
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Re: first time recording guitar

Post by Silversun » Wed May 22, 2013 1:21 am

One thing that make a huge difference here is what your actually recording. Are you recording one guitar pass split 4 times ? If so, then I suspect it wont sound great. If they are taliking about quad tracking I would guess they mean recording the same guitar part , seperately four times as close in terms of timing as you can get , and then panning the resulting four tracks. That will sound completely different (and much better probably)

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Re: first time recording guitar

Post by AlpacaRoom » Wed May 22, 2013 6:25 am

I'm with Andy here. Two separate lines, each performed twice, hard-panned. Maybe a third line of chunking power chords up the middle, mixed really low, for weight, underneath an acoustic guitar.

One thing I really like to do when I'm tracking guitars like this is to use a capo to play the chords or lines in a different position. So, if I'm playing a progression in C, one side might be open, and one side capo 3, for example. You get the sense of a little extra width for free that way, I find.

In any case, the performances have to be super-tight. (And I wouldn't compress the guitar on the way in at all; Guitar Rig or similar should do just fine in most cases.)

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Re: first time recording guitar

Post by playagibson » Wed May 22, 2013 6:44 am

Hey Ochaim,

I just listened to your example.
Those are all mono guitar tracks that are high passed and panned to sit in the pocket.
There is compression going on but I would use it very sparingly, afterwards. It's better to play evenly and compress later
except for really clean guitar sounds.
There is one guitar with distortion the rest are clean with some light tube saturation.
If you use the Guitar Rigs ,VOX, Marshall and Orange amp sims you will get those sounds.
Also the guitar you're using will make a HUGE difference.
The key here is you eqing and high pass.
The main distorted guitar probably has the most bottom and the noodling guitars would have 150-250 k cut out.
Trust your ears on that.
Also low pass the harshness and add some saturation to the guitars like a decapitator or even de esser if the highs are harsh.
The acoustic is all about the micing and eq and yes compression. You have to get the 230k rumble out and still make it sound nice.
In this mix you have plenty of play room because the acoustic is not a solo instrument.
The reverb and delays are very subtle which is important when your layering.
Less is more.

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Re: first time recording guitar

Post by ochaim » Wed May 22, 2013 7:31 am

Andy: thanks for that breakdown! The non-chord stuff I might be able to get away with using some sample libraries I have. Its the strumming I find hard to do with vsti's I have. I do have an acoustic as well which I can probably add to give more texture.

Magne: that's exactly what I needed to know about guitar rig and processing in general for this, the types of processors that are typically used. I do have UAD's LA2A so looks I'm set to do some fiddling with the right pieces.

Silversun: when I read about the quad tracking, I recorded about 8 different takes and set the panning hard left/right and several in between. Just really overkilled just to see what happens. I think I ended up with some phase issues and probably not a strong enough signal for guitar rig to work with.

I have a much better idea of what I should be doing now, thanks so much for the advice guys!!

Hopefully I can do a good enough job this next time around to share it and get more specific feedback.

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Re: first time recording guitar

Post by ochaim » Wed May 22, 2013 9:15 am

Awesome tips and insight alpaca and playagibson!!

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