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Recording Punk-guitars

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by Blor007, May 29, 2005.

  1. Blor007

    Blor007 Guest


    The guitars in albums like NOFX or Greenday sound beautiful.
    My first question is: are they the same when playing alone as when they are blended in the mix?
    I mean, when you have a guitar intro and then the bass and other instruments join the song, is it commen to change the guitar EQ?
    Or does it stay the same in general?

    I'm using this equipment:

    Gibson Les Paul Studio
    Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier
    4*12'' G12-T75 Celestion speakers.

    I'm micing it with 2 SM57's.
    1 pointing straight at where the cone meets the speaker and 1 pointing 45 degree angle to the same spot.
    Then some minor adjustments for taste.
    Playing it 2 times with slightly different settings.
    1st take guitars panned around 75 and 50 to the right
    2nd take guitar panned around 75 and 50 to the left

    Recorded into this:

    Now my question is : when I record these tracks they sound lifeless and dull not at all as they sound on professional records.

    I tried:
    -Cranking the gain: Heard little difference in quality
    -Repositioning the mic's: Just furthered the guitar in the mix
    -Boosting the middleknob: The guitars came up front a little but missed a broad spectrum
    -Using little gain: The guitar did not have enough substain and sounded dull, altough it came up more in front in the mix.
    -Renewing the strings on my guitars: no difference at all
    -Deadening the room: Made a little difference but was to my ears not a big boost.
    -Putting the cab a little angled: Little difference in sound because of the other mic positions.
    -Putting the cab in every corner or in the center of the room: Made difference when the guitar stopped playing but while it was playing not much difference.
    -Software Compression: I used a Waves plugin pack and I just got the guitars to sound louder but not much ''different''
    -Layering guitars: I played some parts 8 times and layered it 4 tracks left 4 tracks right
    -Using different guitars: Ibanez Iceman on the left and Les Paul Studio on the right.
    -Only recording 1 take and doubling it with 20 sec delay: Didn't have the fat stereo effect of the 2 takes
    - Playing 2 takes: take 1 and take 2:
    Take 1: panned left and right: left: inverted and right normal.
    Take 2: dead centered.
    Take 2 kind of made the center too crowdy but when you switch to mono it sounds better because take 2 is disappearing because of the 2 inverted signals bleding together and thuss creating silence.
    -Ramming as hard on the guitar as I could
    -Playing as softly as i good
    -Using different plectrums
    -Different EQ settings: altough a rule of thumb is it should sound +-90 procent before touching it with EQ

    Could anyone pleeeaasse give me any advanced tips on recording a real fat sounding guitar.
    Or point out my signal-chain failures.
    cf.Could a good pre-amp fix all these problems?
    Or does that Staudio card destroy every warmth there is in the sound?

    I think that the thing that would help me the most is someone with a +-same setup recording it before and after EQ/compression/reverb or something.
    I'm wondering how much drastic changes you can make by using EQ or compression.
    As a feel it when you listen to the track without eq it should already sound 90 procent as good as the end result?!
    Is this right for Punk-rock guitars or is there a secret trick involved?

    This is my unhappy sounding guitar:
    Link removed
    Link removed

    Any tips would help me ALOT.

    Thx in advance for reading all this bullcrap :p

    Friendly greetz,
  2. Rider

    Rider Guest

    onoly thing i see is they sound pretty warm. youre miking the direct center and a 45*? ive never miked a boogie, or any stack for that matter, but when i see a cab miked i either see it dead on from a few feet away or dead on between the center and the edge of the cone. i have 2X12 celestions in my combo, and i usually mic it a few inches away from the edge of the cone. the direct center gives a much crisper warmer tone than outer.

    green day it just sounds like left-right guitars, nothing more. just one take per side gives a pretty saturated tone on its own. granted my stuff isnt perfect sounding, im still learning too.

    just try doing one mic and take 2 takes left/right panned. try and get a reasonable tone then mess with thickening it up with multiple mics and layering more stuff.

    also remember they probably use multi thousand dollar mics in the studio, which give a mcuh more accurate tone.

    btw whyd the original punk thread get deleted? (eep, cause i was in wrong forum haha)
  3. WRX07

    WRX07 Guest

    Are you only recording with the Dual Rectifier?

    It doesn't sound bad, but I know what you mean by getting more professional tones. I'm in the same boat as you and have yet to get really good distorted tones.

    I don't know anything about the dsp so I can't tell you if it's good or not. Bands like Green Day, NOFX, Blink182, whatever use awesome mic's and pre's in the studio. I know on Blink 182's last cd they used Royer R 121's and different large diaphragm condensers jammed right against the grill of an amp. http://www.royerlabs.com/blink-182.html. When recording, a lot of amps don't sound that much different from each other but when you have one amp panned right and a different one panned left their small differences from each other can create a pretty big sound. You also might want to work on your bass tone. A really fat bass can really compliment the guitars
  4. jimbo_baby84

    jimbo_baby84 Guest

    maybe you should try posting this in the recording technique forum if you want more engineers to read it and help.

    it's very common to find an sm57 on guitar amps in even the best studios. it's the rest of your signal chain that's on the cheap side, but it's not cheap enough to stop you producing a great guitar sound. i've gotten fantastic results with a $30 mic and a very cheap m-audio interface. what exactly do you mean by "where the cone meets the speaker"? are you saying where the cone meets the dust cap (bump in the middle of the cone) or where the cone meets the surround (the rubber around the cone)?

    try in the middle of these places, with only one mic (to eliminate any phasing problems that may have been screwing you up) pointed either on axis (at an angle perpendicular to the actual cone, not perpendicular to the speaker grill) or off axis (the opposite of this). if you have another decent mic, use this instead for your second take, and maybe change your mic technique from on axis to off axis (or visa versa), and think carefully about your amp settings for each take, depending on how different or similar you want them to be. also, try hard left/hard right panning.

    hope that helps.
  5. WRX07

    WRX07 Guest

    Jimbo, I don't mean to contradict you but I know there are a fair amount of professional cd's that use 57's on amps. I believe Death Cab for Cutie used or is using 57's. Albeit they all use VERY nice pre amps. An SM57 is going to sound a hell of a lot better going through a vintage Neve 1073 than thru a Behringer.
  6. RandomGuest

    RandomGuest Guest

    Feb 10, 2001
    He did, but assholes like me started ranting about "punks"
    Am I Sorry...maybe, but most likely not
    Reguardless, IMO any all tube amp or even Marshall amps are gonna sound great. I think that's what Billy Joe Armstrong uses.
    And everybody else too, on the planet (damn near everybody).
    But that is a BIG part of his sound. And I am sure you will get a kick ass sounding bass tone with a good Bass DI pedal.
    Something like the GT Brick, or a SansAmp Bass DI, or a Sebatron Thorax, or an Avalon U5, or, or, or, I mean I really could go on and on.
    As far as the drums. I am gonna make a bet right now that if you DO NOT use outboard pre-amps (API, Sebatron, GR, ect, ect.) Than you are not gonna get results that rival a major label production. As far as drums go.
    Hope this helps
  7. WRX07

    WRX07 Guest

    I'm pretty sure one of the guys from NOFX uses a newer marshall head like a JCM 800 or 900. Green Day was in a Mix magazine a couple months back but I can't seem to find my copy. I think he used an older Marshall head like a JMP or some plexi and old Gibsons with P-90s.

    This is off the subject, but, it's that guy again, do you have any clips of drums you've done with your API pre's? You have the 3124, right? I've been thinking about getting some more pre's so I can record drums and have been thinking about getting the 3124 instead of two more Vintech X73i's
  8. RandomGuest

    RandomGuest Guest

    Feb 10, 2001
    Sorry, nothing that I can post at the moment.
    I am working on it.
  9. Blor007

    Blor007 Guest

    Owkeej so in general I conclude:

    -I have a lack of technique and engineering skillz
    Wich is good because that only costs time and no money :p
    I'm not into this business very long.
    -Good pre-amps would make a huge differences!
    -I should not worry about my SM57 but I could try my Studio Projects C1 a little further from the grill.(Watching carefully for phase issues)

    As for drum, bass and vocals I kinda know where I went wrong I think. But I keep messing up guitars.
    When I have a good preamp I will record some tunes and you can comment on them.

    Still 1 question about phase:
    What is the difference between adjusting the microphone in the room and adjusting it in time?

    -I mean you can pull it back and forth till you solve the phase problem but it's kinda hard when you are doing this alone.
    Also I tend to go much to far away, It seems like the phase issue stays but shows itself in lower frequencies.
    And I don't trust my Studio Projects as close as my SM57 (against the grill)
    -Or I tried adjusting the wave tracks in Cool Edit untill the phase issue sounded resolved. This was much easier for me.
    Altough I don't trust my ears very much.
    Any comments maybe involving sound fysics?

    Anyways thx for your help I think this will give me a fresh start 8)
  10. RandomGuest

    RandomGuest Guest

    Feb 10, 2001
    The difference is BIG time. It is night and day. But phase issues are rare, maybe only 10% to 25% chance

    Also try "new" bass strings. That will help your recordings some. It a cool trick to get more tone out of the bass, without all the "high priced" gear. New strings sound great recorded on bass, but they lose the "new" quality quick. Sometimes within a weeks time or so.
    Adjusting it in the room is better described like this...
    Put on your headphones and move the mic around the room until you find the best sound.
    And adjusting it in time...
    or keeping it in phase is another way to put it. Can be looked at like this...Say you are recording 2 cymbal mic's as overheads, one left, one right. If you put one of the mic's over the high hats, then the other mic needs to be in time with the first mic you put up. So either take a measuring tape or a mic cord, or whatever to make sure that they are the same distance away from the snare. Reason being is that the snare is gonna get in both tracks. Now say the drummer hits the snare and it takes appox. so many nano sec. for the signal to reach the closest mic (the ones as overheads). If the other mic is too close or too far, then you could end up with one signal getting to the mic in it's positive side of the waveform, and the other mic may be just enough (out of phase) for you to end up with the negative side of the waveform as well. Which makes the signal drop, because you are canceling out the frequencies.
    Like I was saying, just try to wear headphones while you move the mic around the room, you will hear the difference.
    The waveform on lower frequencies has to travel further to create both the + and the - cycles of the signal. Say for instance, a high note on guitar makes 40 cycles for every 1 foot of space that it travel's. But a really low note on bass only makes appox. only 6 and a half cycles every foot. So the lower frequencies have a longer rise time on the signal. Thus making a little more room for error.
  11. WRX07

    WRX07 Guest

    If you're having trouble hearing mic placement properly in front of an amp I suggest getting Remote Audio HN-7506's. I had a thread a couple weeks ago about good isolation headphones you can search. They are AWESOME. I really really like mine. I can kneel in front of my screeching amp and still hear my mic placement.

    Also, I don't think it would hurt the C1 if you placed it in front of the amp. Check the manual but most condensers can handle high decibels. Be sure if you put two mics on the same speaker that their capsules are the same distance from the speaker
  12. CoyoteTrax

    CoyoteTrax Well-Known Member

    May 25, 2005
    Home Page:
    I hate to post so late on this one but I'm new here so I've been mostly reading.

    Take care of arrangement first and foremost. It's smart to arrange the instruments so they impart a little space to one another sonically within the song. One big huge wall of sound can be extremely difficult to record. I know it sounds great live but it's very difficult to mix.

    Having said that, lemme say this: Start looking at what's happening in your lower freq ranges and begin shelving (or filtering) in the low bands for ALL the instruments.

    Roll off at about 60Hz to 75Hz on your guitar in the mix and shelve everything below 60 Hz on the guitar. Experiment filtering some of the highs above 12kHz too (maybe even lower, i.e. 10kHz).

    Also, roll off below 60Hz on the bass and filter the highs above 5.5kHz or so. Experiment with that.

    Back off of the space the kick drum occupies too. Filter below 45Hz to 50Hz until you hear everything open up a bit. You may have a lot of competition happening in these lower freqs that are muddying up the guitars and possibly even the drums.

    Also, try a kick drum mic on your 4X12 cabinet to capture the beef and growl of those celestions.

    These tips may not be specific to tracking your guitar but they should help in opening things up so you can hear if you actually are tracking the guitars correctly. And they're things that will at least help your mixing in a general way.

    Also, with panning, try panning the guitars at 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock (instead of hard L/R) and put the bass right up the middle with the drums right up the middle.
  13. vividsonics

    vividsonics Guest

    I agree with most of what's been said already. I especially like the suggestion of using a high pass filter on everything but the kick and bass. I've recorded many punk bands and used that exact Boogie amp many times. When I layered it I used the different settings/pre-amp voicings like the "raw" and "vintage" on the different tracks and also made eq adjustments for different flavors. I then (time permitting) recorded several tracks. Then I chose the track I liked the best performance wise and used gating on all the other tracks with the main track in the side chain (in Digital Performer). I almost never use any compression on high gain guitar amps. I also do different tracks at different volumes for different levels of power amp distortion and compression. If I use more than one mic I'll use a '57 up close and a large diaphragm condesor a few feet back (I don't have any fancy ribbon mics like the R121). If you really want to layer sounds you might invest in one or two smaller low wattage amps that you can crank up with out deffening levels (I.E. Marshall DSL401 or Fender '65 Deluxe reissue).
  14. CoyoteTrax

    CoyoteTrax Well-Known Member

    May 25, 2005
    Home Page:
    Yup Yup.

    Small, low wattage amps absolutely Rock for recording purposes. Same with Bass guitar.

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