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Why is my guitar sound so muddy? (clips)

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by Guitarfreak, Apr 27, 2010.

  1. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    I reamped somebody else's DI's today and compared them to my own playing (not reamped) and the results have me a little down. His tone had a lot more mids and definition and mine just sounded muddy. I have been thinking about this for the good majority of the evening as to what could be the cause of the mud. His DI's through my shitty rig sounded almost pro quality, and nothing that I have ever heard recorded from my rig has ever sounded anywhere near pro quality, that surprised me a lot. My guitar is Alder, which is generally considered a brighter sounding wood. My pickups are DiMarzio D-Activator and are generally bright pickups with lots of pick attack. My pots are even 1M, which allow for more headroom and upper frequency response! With all this you'd think for a second that I would have a problem getting bass to outweigh the piercing highs, yet they are almost nonexistent.

    Both used identical pedal's/settings/mic position yet the problem with mud remains. Take a listen for yourself.

    His DI's:
    SoundClick artist: Bleeding Arrows - page with MP3 music downloads

    My Guitar:
    SoundClick artist: Bleeding Arrows - page with MP3 music downloads
  2. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    What's different? Just the guitars? The DI box?
  3. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    He has stated that he used a DI box with an EMG 89 pickup and that is it, no EQing or compressing at all. After I reamped his DI's, I played the riff through my rig using the same exact settings and the results were a lot muddier with little to no perceivable high end. I find this hard to believe that the difference is solely down to the pickups used as this is quite a large difference.
  4. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Maybe this is where your trouble is: at half-way on the volume control, the guitar has an output resistance of 250K, which would interact with 6m of 100pF/m cable to roll off at around 1KHz.

    Is the tone any different when the instrument's volume control is all the way up and the amp or pre-amp gain correspondingly lower?
    1 person likes this.
  5. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    Hmm, how did you know I recorded the clips with the volume knob down a bit haha? Either way that sounds very intelligent and most likely a cause for at least some of the problem. How would that cutoff point change if I was using 500k pots instead? I don't exactly have the pot at half, but it is logarithmic/audio taper, and I use it just under the upper swell so that I don't get feedback and gain a bit of clarity so as to not oversaturate. After this I compensate by using a ten band EQ to cut mud and then accent attack and then an OD to boost mids and bring the input level up.
  6. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    GF, are you picking at the same general location as your buddy? There is no doubt that I know you know that I know that you know that picking the strings closer to the bridge will get a cleaner sound as opposed to up towards the fingerboard. Or maybe your buddy has cut up ping pong balls glued onto his finger nails (an old trick).
  7. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    Yes, I do remember that conversation that we had a while back. I guess I will try it again once I get a lighter set of strings and teach myself to squash my right hand uncomfortably tight in order to pick closer to the bridge. That's another thing that I realized, I've got some pretty heavy strings on because with lighter strings I had some string buzz at this tuning, but hell I'll take buzz over mud anyday I guess.
  8. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    I'm afraid I can't help you too specifically. All of my guitar training is on classical nylon/gut strings. And with mandolin and tenor banjo it was all gaelic bar music so no finesse required after whiskey #4.
  9. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    And it's possible you were not yet walking when last I played any of them. :)
  10. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    Consider what Jack, Bos, and I have said..

    What DI box did your friend use? Where is your volume knob? Your pickup selector?
    Where are you picking? How are you picking? What else might he have done while recording that DI track?

    There's a lot of variables here, and unless you start eliminating some, you're breaking the camel's back with a needle in a haystack.
  11. MorMez

    MorMez Active Member

    To that I'll add, what cable are you using, what cable was he using?
    What audio interface / sound card are each of you using?
    Is there anything else in the chain that is different between the two of you?
    And, I have to agree with the others - how is your playing different? No matter what gear you have, it's your playing and your touch that are the most important thing to achieving a good sound.

    EarsandGears.com - quality audio, explained
  12. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    I recorded this this morning. I changed my strings and put a lighter set on, also played with my EQ a little bit. Haven't gotten around to re-recording the DI yet for the original reamping comparison (I think somebody asked me to) but so far it sounds much better, lots more mids and clarity.

    SoundClick artist: Bleeding Arrows - page with MP3 music downloads

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