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Best way to record electric guitar?

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by manfan, Jun 6, 2007.

  1. manfan

    manfan Active Member

    Hi All, I want to record my electric guitar onto computer and I was wondering what the best way to do it is. What are peoples thoughts on devices like the M Audio Black Box or Boss Micro BR? I would also like to add realistic drum tracks to my music, is the best way to do this via keyboard? I am told I can tap out the rhythms this way rather than do it mechanically using the mouse. Any advice would be greaty appreciated.

  2. pr0gr4m

    pr0gr4m Well-Known Member

    Do you play your guitar through an amp?

    If so, ideally what you would do is get a microphone to record the output of your amp and send that signal to the computer with an audio interface of some sort. The interface would need to have a pre-amp and a connection to the computer (firewire, usb, etc) There are many of those type of devices on the market.

    But since you mentioned the black box, I'm guessing you are looking at a device like that because you want to use it's sounds/effects and record those. If so, then that's all you would need. It's got a USB interface to connect it to the computer and it's got built in drums. I've never heard it so I don't know if it's good or bad or how it compares with the ZOOM device. All I can say is it will allow you to record your guitar into a computer.

    You would also need software to record. There's lots of choices out there ranging anywhere from free to thousands of dollars. The features you will likely want are VST compatibility and MIDI sequencing (for the drums). Some of the type of devices you are looking at come bundled with recording software like Sonar or Cubase.

    Lastly, the drums. The blackbox has beats included. I don't know if you can access them via MIDI to create your own or not...if so, then you could tap them in from a MIDI keyboard or possibly a MIDI pad controller (which can be a bit easier for programming drums for some ppl).

    Your alternative for drums would be to purchase drum sounds or drum loops and compose your own drum tracks with them. OR you could by a separate drum machine which would have pre-programmed beats and be accessible via MIDI.
  3. RandyJohnson

    RandyJohnson Guest

    I am not able to speak to your question on recording guitar yet.....at least the best way........I am still trying to nail that myself.....

    BUT as far as using a keyboard VS a mouse for doing work with drum parts or MIDI in general for that matter......

    You will want to consider VELOCITY. When you use a mouse or "CAPS LOCK KEYBOARD" available with some software......it does not handle velocity like you will get with a keyboard......

    The velocity will affect the "attack" on beats. If you want to have emphasis on certain beats you will b elacking without the control of velocity.....that is not to say you can't adjust it after your performance.....I know in Logic Pro you can....but why waste they time if you can have more control to begin with.

    Best Regards.....
  4. manfan

    manfan Active Member

    Thank you very much for all the advice guys, most helpful. Yes the advantage with midi is definately that you can grade the attack, I'm just wondering which option is more intuitive and would 'feel' the best. I think I may go with the keyboard approach.

  5. bwmac

    bwmac Active Member

    Hay Man;
    I sometimes mic my guitar but not often.
    I have the tone that I like in the guitar peddle that I use and most of
    the time I just jack it straight to the line in on the PC.
    It might help if we knew what card or PC interface you are useing(if any) and what recording program you are useing.
    I started with acid express and went to cake walk but on the way I tried Fruity loops, reason, cubase,
    and you can find free or trial programs of each on the web.

    As far as the drums go, .... I have tried to tap them out and it sucks.
    reason and FL are programs that you can use to make decent midi drums,
    But to my ears they are low quality and require much processing to get close to the real thing.

    For a while I was recording the drum presets out of the head phone jack
    on my key board to try and get a more real sound.
    Then someone showed me where to find free drum tracks on the web.
    for example you could use sonys samples to make your own here

    You will like this page of free wave samples

    I now use the Sony Session Drummer
    check it out and watch the videos here
  6. Kent L T

    Kent L T Active Member

    Well I use jammer professional to make drum tracks during writing. Some times I can get some pretty good drum lines from if. Band in a box can do the same thing. That and a good software synth. just export the midi file it generates to your favorite recording program patch in your soft synth and there you go.
  7. manfan

    manfan Active Member

    hi bwmac,

    Thanks for all the links. Basically my setup is a Digitech RP300 pedal which I plug straight into Cambridge Soundworks computer speakers. The pedal came with Pro Tracks software but the USB socket on the pedal has now been damaged, I tried to replace it by soldering in a new one, that consequently didn't work either. So now I have no way to record. Pehaps a microphone into the computer would be a good option as prog4ram suggested. Does anyone know if the audio capture would be good enough from computer speakers? I do manage to get a good sound out of them.

    What I would like above all is to be able to record a distorted, sharp, crunchy 'early van-halen' type sound onto computer, so again; would the microphone technique be the optimum approach?

    bwmac, I'm not sure what card or interface I am using, I have a VAIO VGN-FS215B laptop. Another thing I've heard is that laptops aren't good enough to record music :S I don't know how true that is. I also have an HP Pavillion desktop though incase the laptop doesn't suffice.

    Cakewalk seems to be mentioned a lot, so I am thinking I could stay with the comp speaker-Digitech setup, get a mike, install Cakewalk and get Jammer Professional for drums.

    What do you guys think? Thanks again for all the great advice, very much appreciated guys.
  8. EricIndecisive

    EricIndecisive Active Member

    i use a small mixer, an sm57 right up against the amp at a 45 degree angle off the cone. i think that it works pretty well. if i had more than a 40$ mixer then it would come in more clear. But it sounds pretty good to me!
  9. bwmac

    bwmac Active Member

    reply to manfan

    Hay manfan.

    protracks is a sony/cakewalk clone so no need to spend anything on
    anything else untill you get use to using what you have.
    I have protracks with my GNX-4 and its fine.

    Any line in or mic input on a pc can be used for your recording
    be it lap top or desk top.
    As a rule of thumb a lap top hard drive ram and processor is less
    thats why its not recomended for heavy work.
    should be fine for starting out though
    Connect a cable into the ear jack on the RP and plug it into
    the mic line in on the pc you have protracks on..

    In control panel/sounds and audio/audio/then under sound recording, click vol and your mixer will open. If you don't see mic, go into options and check all the boxes, LOL then you will see it all.
    by the way if you check wave you can record what ever you here on the pc including what you play on the pc.

    Have fun
  10. manfan

    manfan Active Member

    Thanks sarnz and bwmac, I have two speakers so how do you think I should angle a mike with respect to them? Also, by 'mixer' do you mean mike? :)

    I do want to get a VERY good recording sound using a mike, would this be possible with protracks, digitech and cambridge soundworks speakers? Especially since I would like to capture a highly distorted sound.

    Thanks again.
  11. Kent L T

    Kent L T Active Member

    Jammer will only help you with creating "sort of" realistic midi drum lines as well as other instruments that you may not be able to play. The sound you get will be dependent on the software synth or sound card you have. They have a trial version so try it before you buy it. I may not be what your looking for.
  12. Always Mic the Guitar- Unless you play a marshall mode four, in which case, use the XLR out. As for drums- You must buy Fxpansion's BFD- the very best drums for "tapping" out rythms, by far. Control it with any midi controller, INCLUDING electronic drums- You have to see it to believe it.


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