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How to get rid of fuzzy guitardistortion

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by sander_8, Dec 4, 2005.

  1. sander_8

    sander_8 Guest

    Hey, I don't know if this has been asked before, I couldn't find it, so anyway..

    I've been recording guitars for a while now, but when it comes to distortion, or overdrived guitars my sound always seems to become a big fuzzy mass of distorted guitars without definition or whatsoever. I doubletrack most of my guitars, and most of the time I record with 2 mics.

    And I don't know what the problem is. Is it the sound of my amplifier\mics\eq not properly adjusted\mixer\recording device. So I just summed them all up, and at the end is a file with the fuzzy distortion.

    - Line 6 Spider II head + cab 150 watt

    The mics I use are:
    - a shure SM57
    - a shure SM58 (or a slightly cheeper model, i'd have to look it up)
    - a samsung Q8

    Mixer is analog, IMG stageline, it says
    Recording device is a soundblaster Audigy 2 ZS Pro
    Software is Steinberg Nuendo 2

    Now I realize this isn't very high end stuff.. And I'm on a very low budget (read: no budget) so I'm looking for tips essentially to make it sound better.

    I'm aiming for a guitar sound like greenday, and this is clearly not it.
    The file:
  2. Mario-C.

    Mario-C. Active Member

    hard to know whats the problem without hearing any samples but I say focus on the midrange, you add too much highs and lows and the definition is lost, experiment with mic placement too ...
  3. headchem

    headchem Guest

    Maybe try a multi-band compressor? Also, you might be interested in gated white noise. I know there's a tutorial about that out there, but I tried looking it up on Google and I couldn't find anything. Any one know how to use gated white noise, or is it pink noise? Good luck!
  4. TheArchitect

    TheArchitect Active Member

    If you're like most guitarists I have worked with you are using way too much distortion. Turn the gain down about 25%. Particularly if you are using multiple mic's and doubling part you don't need massive amounts of gain. It just destroys the pick attack and punch
  5. McCheese

    McCheese Well-Known Member

    Yep, turn that gain knob down. When doubling takes the distortion stacks on itself. Lately I've been doing about 3 or 4 tracks of about 70% gain (for the normal 100% gain sound) and then one or two at about 20% to add definition to the track.
  6. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    Thirded! turn down that pre-amp gain!!! Its mostly the distortion/compression from the power valves that makes a good rock guitar sound IMO
  7. sander_8

    sander_8 Guest

    Hehe I'm probably like most of the guitarists you've worked with ;) I'll give it a try. And white noise\pink noise, I'll have to look it up, it doesn't sound like anything I'm (currently) familier with;)
  8. headchem

    headchem Guest

    I'm not familiar with it myself, but I heard on another thread here that adding white / pink noise adds to that 'wall of guitars' sound.
  9. Calgary

    Calgary Active Member

    Sometimes what can work OK in these situations after the fact, and not always, is to duplicate the track and then pump the heck out of it and bring it back in just under the original guitars, but be careful not to accumulate too much low end or get too phasey. Here's an example of how I might compress, EQ, and process this for that application:
  10. sander_8

    sander_8 Guest

    That also sounds alot better thanx :)

    I recorded some new sounds, with less distortion, and it sounds somewhat better, but not yet quite as I want it to be. Guess it has something to do with the sounds I picked\mics used.

    How do you doubletrack your guitars? Do you play just 2 times exactly the same track? Do you add some variation? Do you record more than one track?
  11. headchem

    headchem Guest

    For doubling, you want to record the same guitar part exactly the same, twice. It's very common to then pan each track in opposite directions. It's also easier to hear if the parts are doubled close enough the more extreme in the opposite direction you pan each track.

    If you are using software plug-ins to add distortion (say, in Reason, like I do), a way to cheat the doubled sound is to only record one track, duplicate it, and put slightly different distortion settings on one track while leaving the first track with the normal distortion. Watch out for phase cancellation, though. To test this, pan the tracks to center and see if it sounds any thinner. If it does, tweak the distortion on one of the tracks until it doesn't have any cancellation.

    There's also the phase shift trick: with your one guitar recording, make a copy of it. Now zoom in as close as you can get on one guitar track, and move it left or right just a tiny bit. Now pan the two tracks in opposite directions, and you'll have a double.

    Both the distortion, and phase shift methods are inferior methods to just recording the part twice, exactly the same. Real doubling is difficult to do, and takes a lot of practice to get good at it, but it will sound more natural in the end.
  12. Reggie

    Reggie Well-Known Member

    Actually, Nuendo is pretty high-end and high budget. Sell it and get some good monitors? :?

    Anywho....lowering the gain is a good idea when doing this kind of multiple guitar layer thing. Also, be sure to tweak the Line 6 settings to get the best sound. I LOATHE recording this amp with a mic. Could be worse, but it just doesn't sound big to me no matter what. Make sure you have some midrange going, and not as much bass.
    I wouldn't recommend adding pink noise to already fuzzy-sounding stuff; not sure why that was thrown out here.
    Also, try using different amp settings, mics, placement, etc for you 2nd track of guitar. Two identical guitar sounds L & R are not always a good thing, especially for the rhythm tracks.
    A good place to search for fuzz is in the 5-8kHz area. Just a narrow notch might help somewheres in there.

    Hope this gets you thinking at least.
  13. sander_8

    sander_8 Guest

    I'll take it all in consideration ;) I agree partly with you on the Line6, it suits me for live performing however, but it lacks here and there in dynamics. Right now I'm building a simple tube-amp, and I'm hoping to get some cool sounds from it soon.
  14. headchem

    headchem Guest

  15. McCheese

    McCheese Well-Known Member

    What you really need to do here is go back to square one and work on getting rid of it at the amp and guitar level. Trying to fix it in the mix will never get the same high quality results.

    Keep moving mics around, try different guitars/amps, and definitely different amp settings, since you've got a Line 6. Try something other than the obvious settings. I've noticed that I get a much better tone out of Line 6's if I get some space in there, instead of slamming the mic into the grill. Give it some air to work with.

    On a related note. I was reading an interview with Ken Scott by Joe Chicharelli and they were discussing how a lot of the high end fuzzyness comes from the newer high-gain pickups people are using. Get something with some PAF's or 57's in it and you might have all your troubles go away.

    BTW, saying you're low budget and having Nuendo 2 is a dead giveaway as to where you got it;)
  16. Calgary

    Calgary Active Member

    *Absolutely*. A great example are the stock pickups Ibanez puts into many of their RG line. They're OK-ish live but trying to get an articulate sound out of them in the studio is impossible *and* they add some fairly weird overtones at times IMO. I haven't had this problem with my Seymour Duncans FWIW.
  17. Reggie

    Reggie Well-Known Member

    Don't worry, I gave the authorities a heads up and they are already tracking him down through his IP addresses. I think this $amount counts as a felony. Ha Ha! :p
  18. Calgary

    Calgary Active Member

    Not necessarily, I got my copy of Nuendo by getting a design client to buy it for a project I was doing for them. In my experience people who are always accusing others hastily are often projecting. :cool:
  19. sander_8

    sander_8 Guest

    Thanks for the advice. I'm having another guitar here with different pickups, I'll try to do some recording with it.

    Oh and about Nuendo :oops: You're right. Unfortunately I'm not in the position to be able to spend those amounts of money on software, although I'm not proud of it. And as long as I'm not making any money out of it, and merely use it to gain some expierience, and do some hobbying, I feel its somehow more okay..

    I am however on the lookout for a free\low cost program that offers some of the functionality of Nuendo (asio2, audio recording\editting\mixing, recording at 24bit/96kHz) to use it instead, because as a software developper myself, I'm against piracy. So if you have an alternative please let me know!
  20. Calgary

    Calgary Active Member

    You aren't against piracy. You are a pirate. It is not "somehow more OK". It is what it is, you are pirating software and proud of it. Blaming Steinberg's pricing for your behavior is an absolute joke, truly bottom of the barrel. :roll:

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