Page 1 of 2
#1
Hello all,

I currently enjoying a much needed break. In one year's time, I graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in History and Politics (with a minor in Economics). I was pre-law, now I play music professionally. Also, I'm currently living in New York...well, I have a residence there, I'm more of a transient. Anyway, here is what I've learned as a full time professional musician:

Studio:

-- Keep your guitar in good order. Everything gets picked up in a studio, so if your strings are dead, so is your guitar sound. Make sure your intonation and tuning are correct as well. If its bad, it gets highlighted.

-- Check your tuning between every take. Time is expensive, don't waste it.

--If you're recording a rhythm part with a thick humbucker guitar, record the solo with a bright single coil guitar. This prevents a huge wall of sound and allows your leads to cut.

-- In the recording studio, leave effects processing until the final mix so as to allow sounds to be changed right up to the last minute. However, guitar players rely on many of their effects to create the right 'feel' at the playing stage -- specifically, effects such as overdrive, wah-wah or delay. Reverb can be added at the mixing stage, as stereo digital reverb is sometimes more appropriate than the mono spring reverb built into some guitar amps. If stereo reverb is to be added during recording, a pair of tracks will be needed for recording. Should you want to replace any of a guitarist's 'essential' effects at a later stage, arrange it so the player can monitor via the effect, even if you're recording without it.

-- You don't necessarily need a big amp to achieve a big sound. A small practice amp can sound great. In addition to the miking arrangements outlined in the previous tip, try putting the mic at head level so it 'hears' what you hear. Also, try miking the side or rear of the speaker cabinet to see what that sounds like. It's easiest to find the best spot if you wear enclosed headphones and move the mic around while the guitarist plays. Lift the guitar amp or speaker cabinet off the ground to reduce bass or stand it right in a corner for more bass. If the sound is too brittle, point the amp into the corner and mic it from behind. It's also worth trying different mics, both dynamic and capacitor, to see which one produces the best tone.

-- Following that, a 1x12 cab mics better than a 4x12. 4x12 cabinets have 3 unmic'd speakers, the 1x12 has none. Do the math.

-- Also, if you want authentic amp overdrive, don't use an OD pedal. Take your amp into a different room and crank it.

-- Compression is a useful tool to even out the tone of the guitar and also to add sustain. By using compression, you may able to get a better lead tone with less overdrive. For clean sounds, introduce EQ after compression: for more mellow results, EQ before you compress. Using compression after gentle overdrive allows more control over the amount of distortion via the guitar volume control without the overall level changing too much.

-- Hedge your bets by recording a clean DI feed (via a high-input impedance DI box) on a spare track so you can reprocess it later. This way, if the original sound doesn't work out, you can play the clean track back via a specialised guitar preamp/effects unit or even play it via a small amp and then re-mic it. Alternatively, use both the original and the reprocessed sounds to create an interesting stereo effect.

-- Manually double track your guitars. Artificial double tracking sounds fake.

-- If you decide to use a gate to reduce noise or interference, put the gate after the overdrive stage if possible, but before compression or delay/reverb-based effects. This is so the gate won't cut off your reverb or delay decays. Adjust the decay time so as not to cut off notes prematurely and set the threshold as low as you can without allowing noise to break through. Either an expander or a dynamic noise filter will do the same job, often with less noticeable side effects than a basic gate.

-- To get a 'glassy' clean sound, compress the guitar signal and then try adding a little high frequency enhancement from an Aphex Exciter or similar processor. When trying to achieve this kind of sound, DI techniques often work better than miking because more high-frequency harmonics are preserved. If you like a really glassy top, then try switching any speaker simulation out when using a clean sound.

Misc

-- If you want to eat as a professional musician, you will play covers. No body cares about your artistic integrity -- especially your landlord and your empty stomach

-- Teles don't fly well. I refuse to fly with anything that doesn't have a double truss rod (aka, why I love my Rickenbackers)

-- Make your guitar brighter than you think you want. Let bass players play bass, you play guitar.

-- The more musicians you have on stage, the more narrow the frequency range you have to use. Plan your rig accordingly

-- Conversely, the fewer musicians you have, the more elaborate your rig can be (in order to fill space)

-- Always carry duct tape. Its more beneficial than sunscreen to a professional musician.

-- Get the warranty. Bedroom players don't have to worry about this, but it will save someone that plays out nightly a ton of money. Your gear will take a beating.

-- Flight cases: you need them if you travel


That's all I've got for now!

Colin
#2
Another awesome thread Colin
Gear
Bugera 6262 Head
Harley Benton G212 Vintage
Ibanez RGA 121 Prestige
ESP LTD DJ600
Fender USA Stratecaster
Maxon O808
TC Electronic Flashback Delay
ISP Decimator
MXR 10 Band EQ
Boss T-U3 Tuner Pedal
#3
very good advice.
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
#6
Quote by denied
All excellent points.

Can you elaborate on the flight thing? I've been hearing mixed opinions for a few years now, never had a problem though.


Tele necks are very sensitive to pressure change (moreso than any other guitar I've owned). So, when I land, my neck usually has a nice bow and I need to turn the truss rod. My dual trussed Rics don't have that problem
#7
Quote by 311ZOSOVHJH


good to see you again Colin

FYI - Bostonrocks tried to make a sticky of stuff like this...


I think someone should. Advice like this for anyone intending on touring is important imo
Gear
Bugera 6262 Head
Harley Benton G212 Vintage
Ibanez RGA 121 Prestige
ESP LTD DJ600
Fender USA Stratecaster
Maxon O808
TC Electronic Flashback Delay
ISP Decimator
MXR 10 Band EQ
Boss T-U3 Tuner Pedal
#8
Quote by colin617
Tele necks are very sensitive to pressure change (moreso than any other guitar I've owned). So, when I land, my neck usually has a nice bow and I need to turn the truss rod. My dual trussed Rics don't have that problem


Very interesting. I've never flown with a Tele, but have never had the problem with any of my guitars (all single truss). Do you check them?

Quote by Adam124
I think someone should. Advice like this for anyone intending on touring is important imo


Brett made a thread a while back incorporating Colin's earlier thread, one of mine,and his own. But kyle was mean and wouldn't sticky it
Last edited by denied at Apr 11, 2011,
#9
Yeah, Kyle's a douche. Only jerks have SRV avatars.
Everyone is entitled to an opinion.

Feel free to express yours so I can make an informed judgement about how stupid you are.
#10
great stuff as always
Call me Dom
Quote by Dmaj7
I don't know how to count canadians, the metric system is hard

Quote by gregs1020
well if lbj pokes his head in here and there's no nuts shit's gonna go doooooooowwwwwwwwwn.



{Pedalboard Thread Native: The Muffin Man}
#11
Good thread!

However...
Quote by colin617
-- Make your guitar brighter than you think you want. Let bass players play bass, you play guitar.


DON'T PANIC! DON'T PANIC!
THEY DON'T LIKE IT UP 'EM!
#12
Hey thanks for sharing these insights.

What is your reasoning on the "mic up a 1x12 not a 4x12"? I think that this is something that really depends. It may be an overgeneralization to say a 1x12 is better period.

Also have you tried gaffer's tape as opposed to duct tape?
www.miraclemaxmusic.com

"Punk is not dead. Punk will only die when corporations can exploit and mass produce it."
Jello Biafra

(so is it dead?)
#13
Quote by Don't Panic Ok?
Good thread!

However...



Too many guitarists keep their bass too high and it begins to compete with the bass player, thus making the mix too dark and muddy. Listen to Van Halen and Queen iso tracks. In the mix, the guitars sound heavy. However, alone the guitars sound kinda thin.
#14
Quote by rawkandrowl
Hey thanks for sharing these insights.

What is your reasoning on the "mic up a 1x12 not a 4x12"? I think that this is something that really depends. It may be an overgeneralization to say a 1x12 is better period.

Also have you tried gaffer's tape as opposed to duct tape?


Less mic bleed. A microphone will pick up any sounds placed around it, so on a 412 cabinet it will pick up peripheral sounds from the other 3 speakers. Generally, this is not a good sound. A 112 ONLY has one speaker, so there is less bleed. However, you could mic all 4 speakers in a 412 and track each separately, but that is a pain in the ass.
#15
Quote by colin617
Too many guitarists keep their bass too high and it begins to compete with the bass player, thus making the mix too dark and muddy. Listen to Van Halen and Queen iso tracks. In the mix, the guitars sound heavy. However, alone the guitars sound kinda thin.

I take it you don't know who is in that picture then.

DON'T PANIC! DON'T PANIC!
THEY DON'T LIKE IT UP 'EM!
#16
Quote by Don't Panic Ok?
I take it you don't know who is in that picture then.


Doesn't charlie hunter also play bass parts to his songs on an 8-string guitar? I know who that is, but his style wasn't what I was referring to when I made that suggestion. These are generalities made for people who are new to tracking and recording.
#17
Quote by colin617
Doesn't charlie hunter also play bass parts to his songs on an 8-string guitar? I know who that is, but his style wasn't what I was referring to when I made that suggestion. These are generalities.

He plays a seven string now, but yeah. It was just joke

DON'T PANIC! DON'T PANIC!
THEY DON'T LIKE IT UP 'EM!
#21
Quote by colin617
Less mic bleed. A microphone will pick up any sounds placed around it, so on a 412 cabinet it will pick up peripheral sounds from the other 3 speakers. Generally, this is not a good sound. A 112 ONLY has one speaker, so there is less bleed. However, you could mic all 4 speakers in a 412 and track each separately, but that is a pain in the ass.


Sorry but this is just really not true at all. If you are close micing the cab with a cardoid mic like an SM57 (as is pretty standard) you are not going to have a problem. It generally will be a good sound if you do it right and countless engineers mic up a 4x12 cabinet just fine. Also not everybody close mics and there's nothing wrong with the sound of a mic a few feet back from a 4x12 cab and that is a very different sound than a few feet back from a 1x12 cab. Both have their applications. It is really up to taste.

BTW both EPs I've recorded were done with 4x12 cabs and one or two mics but I'm probably in a totally different kind of band than you.

I recommend this article on the subject to anyone interested. http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/aug07/articles/guitaramprecording.htm
www.miraclemaxmusic.com

"Punk is not dead. Punk will only die when corporations can exploit and mass produce it."
Jello Biafra

(so is it dead?)
#22
Quote by rawkandrowl
Sorry but this is just really not true at all. If you are close micing the cab with a cardoid mic like an SM57 (as is pretty standard) you are not going to have a problem. It generally will be a good sound if you do it right and countless engineers mic up a 4x12 cabinet just fine. Also not everybody close mics and there's nothing wrong with the sound of a mic a few feet back from a 4x12 cab and that is a very different sound than a few feet back from a 1x12 cab. Both have their applications. It is really up to taste.

BTW both EPs I've recorded were done with 4x12 cabs and one or two mics but I'm probably in a totally different kind of band than you.

I recommend this article on the subject to anyone interested. http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/aug07/articles/guitaramprecording.htm


This man is correct. I prefer to mic a 112 because it is easier for me to get a great sound, but he is right.
Last edited by colin617 at Apr 11, 2011,
#24
Wow, really good read. I enjoyed that.
But I have a few qualms.

Quote by colin617

--If you're recording a rhythm part with a thick humbucker guitar, record the solo with a bright single coil guitar. This prevents a huge wall of sound and allows your leads to cut.

Not everyone wants the lead tone to have the qualities of a single coil. The best way is to lower the rhythm tracks a few decibles to make the lead more prominent.

You don't necessarily need a big amp to achieve a big sound. A small practice amp can sound great. In addition to the miking arrangements outlined in the previous tip, try putting the mic at head level so it 'hears' what you hear. Also, try miking the side or rear of the speaker cabinet to see what that sounds like. It's easiest to find the best spot if you wear enclosed headphones and move the mic around while the guitarist plays. Lift the guitar amp or speaker cabinet off the ground to reduce bass or stand it right in a corner for more bass. If the sound is too brittle, point the amp into the corner and mic it from behind. It's also worth trying different mics, both dynamic and capacitor, to see which one produces the best tone.

-- Following that, a 1x12 cab mics better than a 4x12. 4x12 cabinets have 3 unmic'd speakers, the 1x12 has none. Do the math.

I sort of agree, a small practice amp can go a long way and sounds great if you know what you're doing. I had a small peavey practice amp and people were very impressed by how good I got it to sound in recordings because I know how to work with mic positions, EQ, and all the little factors that go into getting a fairly good tone.

But a 1x12 doesn't really "mic better" than a 4x12... IMO. I guess it's more efficient.. but you can stick a V30 in a 1x12 and mic a V30 4x12 and get radically different sounds. The construction of the cab plays a huge role in how the sounds projects, and 1x12's aren't just great for everything. I'm just saying I wouldn't record some brutal metal guitars with a 1x12, it just can't produce the tone most people are after, unless it's something like a Bogner Cube, which even though it sounds great, still has this boxyness to it that something like a 4x12 wont.

edit:
I forgot to say it really all depends on what music you're playing. You're advice would work great for certain types of bands. I'm just coming from a different perspective.
Last edited by Ignite at Apr 11, 2011,
#25
Quote by Ignite
Wow, really good read. I enjoyed that.

edit:
I forgot to say it really all depends on what music you're playing. You're advice would work great for certain types of bands. I'm just coming from a different perspective.


Thanks! I appreciate the kind words. I suppose I should have qualified this thread by saying "In my experience, this is a the best/most efficient way to do things."

Oddly enough, the 112 I use is a Bogner Cube. That's probably why I only use a 112 to track.

I am a studio musician and a sideman for nationally touring acts. The types of music I generally get called to play are country, pop, jazz, rock, folk, and R&B. If someone is trying to record metal or other heavier genres, I won't be much help. The heaviest I go is EJ and YJM.
#26
Dunno if you noticed Colin, but I pm'ed you.
Everyone is entitled to an opinion.

Feel free to express yours so I can make an informed judgement about how stupid you are.
#27
Quote by Ignite

Not everyone wants the lead tone to have the qualities of a single coil. The best way is to lower the rhythm tracks a few decibles to make the lead more prominent.


Playing with decibals is just the tip of mixing. You need to create space for each part to occupy. Using different types of pickups is one way to separate leads from rhythm. Also, different amps/guitars, and obviously different EQ setups and compression.
#28
Great job dude. Have you put these into blog form yet?
Gibson Les Paul Studio
Highway One Telecaster
Dean Evo
Mesa F-50
Laney GH50L
Vox AC30 C2
Ampeg V2
pedals
#29
Quote by denied
Playing with decibals is just the tip of mixing. You need to create space for each part to occupy. Using different types of pickups is one way to separate leads from rhythm. Also, different amps/guitars, and obviously different EQ setups and compression.

The precise point I was about to make. It's another good reason to have say, one guitarist playing a Gibson and one playing a Jackson, Ibanez, or ESP. The former is usually dark, beefy, and has the better tones for a Rhythm sound. Jackson, Ibbys, etc. are made from brighter woods and have bridges that add brightness. Disparity between guitars is a GOOD thing when recording.

Excellent thread, Colin!
Then there's this band called Slice The Cake...

Bunch of faggots putting random riffs together and calling it "progressive" deathcore.
Stupid name.
Probably picked "for teh lulz"

Mod in UG's Official Gain Whores
#30
Quote by LaidBack
Great job dude. Have you put these into blog form yet?


I can compile them if you'd like. I just post them here so it can reach a wider audience.
#32
One thing I've learned, although I'm not a professional by any means, is that EQ is important, is the most paramount thing to being heard, perhaps moreso than volume. You can be as loud as you want and crank your amp to 11 'til the cows come home, but if you ain't got the mids, you're not going to cut through.

Similarly, what sounds good at home at 1 or 2 on the volume knob won't always sound good in a band setting at 4 or 5 or 6. Be prepared to EQ again and again to get your sound just right.

Also, what sounds good right in front of the amp might not sound good far away. I notice this most often with bass frequencies. At home I play pretty quietly and I have to crank the bass to really feel it, but the louder my amp gets, the more I have to turn the bass down so I don't intrude on the bassist's territory.

Basically don't be afraid to re-EQ your amp for different volumes, and pay close attention to what is going on with your sound based on where you place your amp and how loud it is, what is going on with other people in your band, what is going on at the venue. All these things can and will affect how your amp sounds to the crowd and to yourself.
Quote by DeathByDestroyr
What the hell is a G&L.



Quote by Flux'D
Gay & Lesbian I think, the box smelled funny
Greg what did you send me??
#33
Quote by colin617
Too many guitarists keep their bass too high and it begins to compete with the bass player, thus making the mix too dark and muddy. Listen to Van Halen and Queen iso tracks. In the mix, the guitars sound heavy. However, alone the guitars sound kinda thin.


I know this is a bit of an old thread, but could someone elaborate on this?

May's guitar sound can get pretty heavy without a lot of bass? If so, how does that happen?
#35
Re. the single coil vbs humbucker debate for solos...

I usually track rhythm parts with a couple of guitars - most commonly a Les Paul and a Tele to achieve the separation. Also, each usually would go through different amps and play slightly different parts (ie. I'd play an open G and a few notes to the next chord at the third on the LP and play a G5 at the 10th on the Tele - the former through the Vox or Vadis and the latter, cleaner through the Orange). When it comes to placing a lead over it I tend to favour my SG Special - it's a swamp ash body and sounds naturally larger than the Tele but brighter than the LP. A slight tweak on the EQ (usually the Vox) - boost the mids and treble, cut the bass slightly and, well, go hell for leather (if appropriate).

I do tend to use effects at the time of recording on at least one track, but have the sense to only use what I connsider essential in my chain at the time.
It's an opinion. It's subjective. And I'm right, anyway.
#38
Quote by AcousticMirror
why u has so many then??


I get mad cred from strangers on the interwebz
#40
Quote by denied
UG really needs a like button.

like


you do it like that
Call me Dom
Quote by Dmaj7
I don't know how to count canadians, the metric system is hard

Quote by gregs1020
well if lbj pokes his head in here and there's no nuts shit's gonna go doooooooowwwwwwwwwn.



{Pedalboard Thread Native: The Muffin Man}
Page 1 of 2