Guitar Setup

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by skawful, May 21, 2007.

  1. skawful

    skawful Guest

    I'm looking for a great full - professional - clean - amazing - distorted - guitar sound.

    If I had the money I would

    grab a collection of vintage and new tube amps and cabs and send the guitar to several of them with true tube distortion and mix it to perfection...

    but I dont have that money...

    what could I buy to get that kind of sound...within a reasonable budget??

    I know there are modelers like the PodXT but I have had 0 luck with behringers VAMP pro...

    I'm also looking for a great hollow body within $3-400

  2. The Pod isn't bad- That said, I don't like it. I use a lot of playing dynamics, and the pod tends to compress things to sound kind of the same no matter how hard or some you pick, and vibrato/bends don't seem as expressive.

    My advice to you is simple: I've wasted a lot of money and time buying new pedals and gadgets. If you just practice more, it will take you a lot farther than worrying about gear.

    That said, the ibanez artcore series is very respectable for your price range and playes well will a full sound. I would suggest saving up another 400 dollars and scoring yourself a used tube amp off craigslist or ebay. Look for something with your needs. If it's just for recording, 15 watts is more than enough for most applications, but if you're playing live, you might want 40, 60, 120 watts. Make sure it's all tube. A lot of amps have power sections that are tube with transistor preamps. Sometimes that's cool, tough, depending on your musical style.

    The guys from skynyrd used Peavey Deuces, and that's a solid state pre.

    Try googling you heroes and checking out sites like for information on how to get certain sounds.

    I would suggest getting a little Fender Blues Jr, an mxr 10 band EQ, a visual sound onespot power adapter, an ibanez tubescreamer, and an Ibanez Artcore. That's 900 dollars US. Using that, you can get a lot of good sounds out of a little tube amp.

    You can use the eq before or after distortion, and it will make a big impact on your sound. Please believe me when i say it's not worth buying budget gear.

    What are your thoughts?
  3. skawful

    skawful Guest

    Hey thanks for the respnse...

    you are definetely right about practicing... but the setup is mostly for recording other guitarists than myself.

    I really like the idea of using a smaller amp to record... does this put me at a disadvantage when recording heavy distortion though?

    The artcore was what I was pretty much set on... maybe I'll actually get it.
  4. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    When recording other guitarists, I find that its a good idea to spend some time listening to them play 'live' it in the studio or at a venue. You get a better idea of what they're looking for and what they're capable of.

    That being said....with cold-call sessions, you're gonna want something that is very flexible in its tonal variations and distortion capabilities.

    A modeler can do this. And do it quickly. A modeler through a tube preamp or tube driven direct box will take that fake edge off of the modelers basic sound. A modeler on one track and a mic'd amp on another gives you much options and blendability.

    The Fender Blues Jr. is the best value for sound there is. While it will NOT do DethMetal or genres like that, it will give you a wide range of tones. Tube selection can change these rather radically and a couple of sets with different characteristics is a cheap way to apply this.

    There are others. Use the search function here for more info.

    Your path back to your recording device can have a lot of effect on the sound of the guitar. Preamps respond at different speeds and have different platforms which they operate on. If you're looking for a grinding saturated sound, you probably dont want a preamp with the 'clean' character in the path. Something with some 'iron' or a tube. Preferably a 'tube' thats actually doing something!

    A pre like a Sebatron is particularly adept at this, and with a source thats putting out what you want to hear, a mic that captures this sound accurately, in a room without serious issues that show up at big sound volume, you can get that huge guitar sound fairly easily and not be dependant on a player to bring a perfect rig into the room. They're so far and few anyway.
  5. skawful

    skawful Guest

    very good advice...

    The problem I have a lot when recording is I give myself many options... and I'm happy picking and chosing but I never really master any one option...


    I'll throw several mics on a cab (planning to throw some away) and also grab a pre and post effects directly into the board...

    but I never end up really loving any one of these options... they are all just mediocre... so I guess my next question would be... is a huge part of getting a great sound out of miking an amp/cab - experience with that setup?
  6. mark02131

    mark02131 Active Member

    Jun 9, 2004
    Boston, MA
    It's mostly personal preference but I like using a Fender Deluxe Reverb. It's one of my favorite amps and if you pair it with a Boss Super Over Drive You get a very warm engaging sound.
  7. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW

    Well, yes and no.

    Of course you want to have a 'go-to' that you know without a doubt what its going to do to a mix and what its effect is going to be on the creativity and psyche of the player using that setup. You want em to flip when they hear themselves upclose and personal, and you want the 'feel' of the setup to enable the fingers to go places they've only dreamed of.

    So, in this case, Yes, you need time and a fairly regimented trial period to iron out any flaws you might have.

    On the other hand, no, a great setup is a great setup is a great setup......etc...

    So this brings age into play. By this , I'll explain.

    In the old days....(all run away!!) before there was electricity....(LOL)....

    When there was a limitation on track count and a limitation on outboard gear, a recordist was pretty much faced with the task of making a decision on how they were to go about capturing a sound to the recording medium while considering its eventual use in a mix of sounds to make a cohesive recording of a piece of Experimentation was cool, but were 'options'. These all took up space on the tracking and while you could submix various ideas, the passing of tape over the heads an infinate number of times was impossible due to the 'lossy' characteristics of magnetic tape.

    So you had to know what you were doing, and be strong enough in character to know when enough was enough and its time to move onto the next part. Decision making 101. Probably why most engineers had a 'setup'....worked everytime.

    When it gets down to it.....versatility is not necessarily a bunch of different mics bused to different tracks bundled together on a single source or even as you suggested, a bunch of sources in different parts of a room (although this does work well!), but the ability to recognize what is required by each individual to enhance their vision of their art and duplicate it to completeness in your environment.

    So, Yes, a thorough knowledge of your recording path for a particular instrument will serve you much better than a plethora of almosts or hopefullys' simply put up in front of a source to be ironed out at a later date.

    The choice of the gear to accomplish this is one of the perks and headaches of the engineer and its all due to the huge amount of choices available these days.

    It comes down to whether you feel you can accomplish this with what you already have, in which case it will take time and experimentation for you to develop a fool-proof methodology to work within, or it will take you spending some dough on 'better' gear which in the end will still involve the time and effort to learn the boundaries of.

    Lifes all about choices............A completely developed skill-set in the engineering department always trumps selection of gear no matter what the price or level of the gear.
  8. The other big piece of advice is to blind-test your gear. Don't look at the name brand or the price tag. You might end up finding a winner for cheap. I have an Ibanez Acoustic Martin Clone that I prefer to anything below 3000 dollars. It cost me 180. In tracking it sounds great. People won't care what you used to record. They'll care about the songs, and that's what people neglect.

    In 1960, they only had three pedals, and they most the most of what they had.

    Take Care,

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