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Getting good quality guitar sound

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by TheGuildies, May 27, 2005.

  1. TheGuildies

    TheGuildies Guest

    Hello, i have been having trouble getting a good quality sound when i record an electric guitar. With distortion and without distortion the sound is muddy and muffled. I should most likely list my equipment:

    Shure SM57 - for recording acoustic and amp (behringer)
    Tascam US-428 - input for mics and guitars
    IBM Thinkpad t42 1.6ghz notebook - DAW running Cubase 5

    Okay, well i dont have a ton of money most of this is stuff i had for a while but i recently purchased the us-428 to try to record my band. I will first start by talking about the electric guitar. I would like to be able to plug the guitar into the amp and through the output plug it into the input on the tascam interface which is connected via usb to the computer. Using this method i get a muddy and muffled sound like i described above, especially when distortion is applied on the amp. I have played with settings on the amp but nothing gives me the nice tone i hear coming from the amp speakers. I have tried micing the amp too with little to no improvement. I dont exactly know where to place the mic when micing the amp so that is a problem. Overall i really dont know how to get the best sound with what i have. Is it the eq settings on the amp or somethign else?

    The next problem is recording the acoustic. When i plugged it directly into the tascam interface it had a nice sound but the pickup recently broke(due from being cheap i presume) and i tried to mic it instead. I hear the sm57 mics acoustics well but i was dissapointed in the sound i got from the recording. I put the mike fairly close to where the sound would come from. Is this correct? What kind of eq settings should i use for micing the acoustic.

    I am fairly new to recording so any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks a lot for help. =)
  2. schizojames

    schizojames Active Member

    Feb 15, 2005
    Home Page:
    Just think about everything in the signal path...

    How it flows, what mic's add color, which just pass the pure sound, which has...oh, a overcompensated low/mid boost. Anyway just use the process of elimination to find where the weakest link is...and replace it or eliminate it. That mic adds (or subtracts, depending on how you look at it) a certain frequency response curve, the behr^#% amp has it's own special sound, and so on.

    Also, if you have to preface a question with "is it this?" then most likely you will find out for yourself in less time. No insult, just experiment with what you have and if it doesn't sound RIGHT to you, try other things. There is actually quite a bit of variation available with your current state of equipment.

    In response to the second half, umm...search terms!

    1) recording acoustic guitar
    2) SM57 frequency response curve
    3) EQ + live instruments

    There are plenty of posts, articles, even f'n blogs! OH YEAH. It's out there alright. Use one of these, too.


    You are now on your way to becoming a jedi.
  3. franco5885

    franco5885 Guest

    I think a useful tip for anybody who wants to record any guitar through an amp is to try real damn hard to get the best possible sound at source, instead of relying on using other things such as EQ or anything else for that matter.

    Remember an excellent guitar sound will sound better than an normal guitar sound that's been tweaked to SOUND excellent. If you understand that, you're halfway there.

    The other thing is of course mic placement. There are no real rules to this as every recording engineer and producer will have their own ways and methods of doing things, but I think a good tip is to try and use your ear as the microphone. You might feel stupid but place your ear next to the cone of the speaker on the amp and listen to the guitar sound, moving your head around until you find a 'sweet spot' and place your microphone there! Remember a microphone is practically like an ear as it picks up whatever it hears depedning on the polar diagram on the mic, ie in which direction the microphone is sensitive in, so if it sounds good in your ear, it should sound good on the mic.

    Hope I helped!
  4. jonnyc

    jonnyc Guest

    First off I crank the amp about as loud as I can. Secondly I use a 57 right on the grill at the center of the speaker, then I use a small condensor about a foot away and half way between the middle and edge of the speaker. If you're recording direct from the amp into the laptop thats gonna sound like crap even with a good amp. It shouldn't be hard for you to get a good clean sound thats usually the easy part, its distortion thats hard to record. Try bringing up your highs on the amp if you can and lower the mids this might clear it up a bit, you want the best sound possible from the amp.
  5. Duncanjp

    Duncanjp Guest

    I gotta try that! I'm a subscriber to the recording theory that amps should be turned way up, and adjust the mics accordingly.

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