Every engineers nightmare is when a guitarist walks into the studio plugs the guitar in to the amplifier then looks at you “ Make me sound like Jimmy Page” Well you are not going to sound like him just by plugging your guitar in and playing on the clean setting! The first step to recording is to evaluate what type of song you will be playing and what tone does it really need. The worst you could do is have a slow clean song with a heavily distorted guitar solo which does not link to the songs sound and is really not necessary. Look through songs which you like and take notes so you can make sure all the settings on the amplifier are correct. The set up you have on the amplifier will come through on the recording so make sure before you have everything pre-set so you don't waste your time on a sound your not happy with. There are numerous ways of recording electric guitar here are some ideas to try out.
Why not try two amplifiers and record them at the same time this will create a extravagant sound which most guitarist love. It is important to remember that high Watt amplifiers will retain a refined sound while a lower Watt amplifier will be raw and unrefined. Its also worth trying valve amplifiers such as the Marshall JCM range which will bring a smooth crunch sound like Led Zepplin or a high end distorted solo sound like The Darkness. By recording two amplifiers at the same time this will create the tonality you require during the recording process.
As well as the amplifiers it is just as important to get your settings on the guitar right. There is usually two tone and a volume dial on your guitar. Make sure before recording you have got this set the way you want. If you have both dial tones on zero this will create a muted sound like someone who is trying to talk but has tap over there mouth. While if you have both tone dials up you will have a clear and thin sound this is great for recording solo's so there is clarity on each note. Every time you record you want to make sure your volume is on full because the main volume while recording will be coming from the backline.
There are many kinds of microphones you can use to record and many different ways to set them up. One of the best Mics to use are dynamic because you can use these on tour and also record with they tend to be more robust than other microphones. While recording with them they tend to trap the noise you want and delete the sounds of the essences around you which you want in recording because you want to have a clear tone for your guitar and not have lots of surrounding noises which are not needed. Always experiment with microphones find the best one for your sound.
Remember recording guitar doesn't just stem from the mixing desk it starts from your amplifier and your guitar so make sure you take into account what you want to sound like on the record and get the amplifier set up right. Tonality is an important item when recording even though it can be changed on the system by using affects and a serious amount of editing but the foundations will still be the same. Let there be sound! Let there be Guitar!
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