#1
Hi there!

I am an aspiring musician and guitarist about to embark on my journey to build a personal home studio. I have been playing guitar for about 13 years now but I am an amateur when it comes to mixing and recording. I did some research and I need some advice. I would really appreciate if you guys could chime in.

1. Going to buy the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 2nd gen audio interface. What is the best way to mic up a singer-songwriter playing an acoustic/classical guitar? The Scarlett 2i2 has 2 mic preamps, so I could buy two microphone to mic my guitar and the vocals on separate tracks. Or I can just use a single mic and place it about 3-4 feet away from me while I sing and play an acoustic guitar. Which one is better in your opinion? I have a classical guitar, but I wanted to buy a new acoustic guitar. What are some good acoustic guitars at the $200 price point? In terms of sound, let's say, I want it to roughly emulate Jack Johnson's guitar.

2. I also want to play thrash/groove metal (think Lamb of God, Slayer, Pantera sound) and I own an Ibanez SA260FM (http://ibanez.wikia.com/wiki/SA260FM) which has an HSS-style pickup system. When I bought the guitar, I didn't really know what of all this meant and just picked a guitar I liked. Is changing the pickups on my guitar a lost cause if I want it to have a real beefy sound? I did find a thread that talks about this here (https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1740572). People suggested some hot single-coil humbuckers there. I don't know if this is a good idea, I don't want to go halfway through and compromise on the tone. So can you suggest some guitars that fit the bill? My budget is around $300-$400.

3. What are some basic tips for tracking metal guitars? I have heard that it's important to record in mono twice and mix them together to get a richer sound. Are there are such tips and tricks for beginners out there?

Any help is appreciated. Thanks!

- Matharp
#5
Two mic approach is usually better when recording acoustic guitar and singing at the same time, there is no 100% proven method as it varies with performer skills, instruments used, room acoustics, etc.
This will probably be helpful:
http://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/recording-singing-guitarist

Your current Ibanez HSS guitar should be fine for styles you mention, it would be a matter of picking the right modelign software if you're going in the box. Try IK Amplitube, NI Guitar Rig, Scuffham, Peavey Revalver, Thermionik, etc. and see what you like best for heavy tone.

Personally, I use a bit of each so I can't say what is best. I am probably most familiar with Amplitube so I'd start from there.
#7
In terms of pickups, it wouldn't hurt to swap out for a pickup that has a lot more mid-range bite to it. As you stated you're into the LoG and slayer sound, their tone is predicated on thick mids with some bite.

If you want some recommendations for pickups (if you want to go that route as well) I'd look at the following Dimarzios:

Dominion (The Morty pickup that's in the Dominion Jacksons)
Titan (The Jake Bowen pickup)
D Activator (Think of John 5 era Zombie)

These all have a common sound: Thick harmonic structure and good mid representation. For a rhythm sound, the Dominion wins for me as it has a massive mid spike and loves to saturate Mesa and Engl styled amps. The Titan sacrifices some of the mids that the Dominion has but I find it's a bit more multi purpose (on clean, the Titan whups the Dominion's ass every day).

As for tones, I find that Bias does the LoG/Slayer sound better than Amplitube or Guitar Rig, but falls behind on clean sounds. Also look at the LePou amps as they can also kill when set right.

Bias can get that LoG style chunk. I have no idea of the pickups used on this recoring (as it's from another UG user) but the processing was all me:

https://soundcloud.com/blockroom-recordings/guitartoneug1/s-rmkYc

As for recording guitars for metal, these things need to be looked at:

1) TIGHTNESS. Doesn't matter how good your chain is, or how good you are as a player technically. If you're not on time and dialed in metal looses it's impact. Make sure you know exactly what note goes where. No guessing. If you're not sure, practice.

2) TONE. Most often, a good guitar sound on it's own is crap in a mix, and sometimes the grossest sound works the best in a mix. Eventually as you practice you'll start to know when this applies. For metal, especially the style you like, a lot of the tone is mid-heavy air pushing with some crisp bite. Don't expect to get good mixes if you're recording LoG style metal with Periphery style tones. This ties into:

3) PICKING TECHNIQUE. This takes practice. You and I could play the same riff on the same guitar and sound completely different. I have a very ham-fisted palm muting style, therefor my palm mutes are super overpowering and fat. Knowing how to adjust your picking style to obtain a certain sound is critical when recording. You should get comfortable with adjusting your style to get the sound you need. This also applies to your fretting. I tend to be fairly heavy on the frets, some people are super light (Vai is a good example of this).

4) TRACKING. Sometimes, as you said, layering can help. If you don't have the first 3 points understood well enough it becomes a washy mess. I don't like layering, and instead use editing and multi-mic techniques to achieve the thickness that guitar layering provides.
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Last edited by the chemist at May 26, 2017,
#8
Thanks a lot, Chemist.

As my guitar doesn't have a slot for a neck humbucker, I can't really use those pickups you mentioned. The Soundcloud guitar tone is exactly what I'm looking for!

>  thick mids
What does this mean exactly? Just use EQ on the guitar track and push the mid frequencies on the track?
#9
Quote by matharp
Thanks a lot, Chemist.

As my guitar doesn't have a slot for a neck humbucker, I can't really use those pickups you mentioned. The Soundcloud guitar tone is exactly what I'm looking for!

>  thick mids
What does this mean exactly? Just use EQ on the guitar track and push the mid frequencies on the track?


The pickups I mentioned are Bridge pickups

As for EQ, pump it on the Amp itself.
Quote by Watterboy
Do you have any dilithium crystals or fresh warm dumps for sale