I have no percussion instruments. Maybe I'll buy some egg shakers or some bongos, but outside of vague Jazz-Fusion and Latin Rock, I don't have much use for those, and I lack the money, skill or space for an electric drum kit or an acoustic and the micing equipment. As a result, my instrumental recordings tend to sound bland, non-energetic, having just guitar and bass.

I know it's possible to avoid that though; Les Paul used to record everything on his guitar except Mary's vocals, Joe Satch recorded the Satriani EP with just a guitar and I think a borrowed bass. Even a more recent example, albeit with acoustics so it's a different dynamic, Rodrigo y Gabriela's 11:11 is one of my most energetic albums, but it's all two classical guitars, save for one guest spot.

So, I was wondering if there any secrets or tricks to getting a good, strong, full-sounding, "above-meh" energy from the recording without percussion?

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Or you could just consider a VST-plugin such as Drumkit from Hell and such? You make a MIDI-track in guitar pro or with a synthesizer, and the VST-plugin will do a pretty good job emulating the drums. I believe Meshuggah even recorded an album with it.

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