Recording Heavy Guitar

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by Johnjm22, Jan 8, 2005.

  1. Johnjm22

    Johnjm22 Guest

    I am a guitar player for a metal oriented band. My sound guy and I have been trying to get a good guitar tone to record with but haven't been able to obtain the good solid tone that my Mesa Boogie Single Rectifier has. We are using two SM57 mics on one speaker of my 4x12 cabinet speakers. Our main problem is that on some of our songs I play bar chords, full chords, and individual notes while playing on heavy parts. When recorded the bar shords and full chords will sound descent but the indivdual note plaing sounds so dry even with the tracks being dubed. I think it has something to do with the amp preset itself but my sound guy wants to just record it the way we have currenlty been recording and use a spliter with a dry signal and later bring up the gain on parts that need it. What sould we do? Any suggestions.
  2. heyman

    heyman Guest

    Could be your choice of preamp. Maybe a pre with some color to make it stand out more. How about a diffrent guitar to do the single note stuff. How about pulling one of the mics back away from the amp to get some room color?

    The list goes on and on. You could even place an effect pedal in the chain if that is something you want in the song and dont mind keeping.

    How about doubling the sing note stuff?

    Like I said... Use your imagination.
  3. splurge

    splurge Guest


    To start with you aren't getting the true sound of your cabinet by only micing one speaker out of four. In my experience of 4x12s ( even 2x12, 8x10 ) each speaker will have a slightly different sound.

    Aswell as close micing the cabinet, put out a stereo pair of condensers 5 or 6ft in front of the cabinet and use these during the single note passages to even things out a bit.

    Anyway, the key here is experiment.

    Good luck

  4. Johnjm22

    Johnjm22 Guest

    Okay, first off let me explain that my original post wasn't actually me. That was my guitar player using my name to post with. I am the "sound guy" that he speaks of.

    Here's a clip of the recording we did today with the Mesa:

    The signal chain:

    -Mesa Boogie Single Recto
    -Miked by two SM57's, one right in the center on the grill, one closer to the outer edge at a slight angle about 2 inches back. (The Dustbro Method) And yes I'am aligning the Phase.
    -The mics are going to a Sebatron VMP-2000e, through and Apogee Rosetta into Pro Tools via SPDIF.

    Please give the song a listen and tell me what you guys think. Any Advice/Suggestions would be appreciated.


  5. Hack

    Hack Active Member

    Mar 20, 2001
    Little Rock, AR
    maybe its too late and my ears are shot... but I dont hear too much of the problem you are talking about on the clip... but I cant get more than about ten seconds to play... either way. Maybe you have too much low end coming out of the amp so that when you hit chords with low notes the amp seems louder than the single note stuff. I have found that when recording super loud amps I have to turn the low knob on the amp further down than may seem "right". Or perhaps a compressor pedal on the way into the amp could help.
  6. J-MADD

    J-MADD Active Member

    Aug 19, 2004
    Home Page:
    I am listening to this on crappy computer speakers, but It sounds GOOD to me. Seriously, I don't hear any tone problems. If it is not broke don't fix it.
  7. moshmonster

    moshmonster Guest

    Hey those riffs are awesome and sound great! Don't worry about dry. Just thinka about some of the best metal albums. 4 words...

    ...And Justice For All

    Mike placement can really change the sound of your speakers as well. 57's are great for gigging but sometimes other mikes work best for you when recording. Moving mikes around is like changing frequencies because of the way the sound hits the mike and is always a good idea.

    Other suggestions, use other cabinets hooked up to your rig if they are around the studio - I have used 15" bass cabs before and got monster tone

    I have to say I think it sounds great already (mesa and the playing) but it is always fun to experiment if you have the time and gear.
  8. Filip

    Filip Guest

    Your single notes do sound a bit dark, but as far as metal goes its great to me.
  9. splurge

    splurge Guest


    I browse the net on the office computer that has no speakers so can't have a listen. But you are getting some favourable comments.

    Keep experimenting.

    Good luck

  10. Chappy

    Chappy Guest

    Hey John, I've recorded a lot of metal lately and I've found that for that type of music I can't really get all the tone that I need from just 57's. One of the last projects I did I used 3 mics... 421, 57, and a AT4040 off-axis. The 57 gave me all the meat that I needed, I got all the bottom from the 4040, and just about all the clarity came from the 421. It was a killer sound. Your recording sounds good, but it is missing some crunch. I think you could get that from the 421. Just watch out for phasing! Of course
  11. Johnjm22

    Johnjm22 Guest

    Yeah I plan on trying some different mics. I'll probably use a 57 in the center, and a 421 twords the outer edge. I'd really like to use a large diaphram condenser, but I record in my house and the LDC just picks up way to much stuff. It picks up my leaking faucet in the bathroom, cars driving by on the street, and even the sting noise from my guitar player strumming his axe.
  12. Hack

    Hack Active Member

    Mar 20, 2001
    Little Rock, AR
    I use at4033s for the most part on big guitars. With 414s in the room.

    That string noise can be cool too. Think about how loud an amp sounds.... so if you hear just a touch of that string noise its a cool trick.
  13. guitz1

    guitz1 Guest

    the guitars sounded good to me....reminded me some of Megadeths guitar tone on their latest CD....just a tad raspy and flabby but it works.....the drums tho, sounded rather small and overpowered by the guitars tho maybe u did that just so the guitars could be better heard.
  14. Reggie

    Reggie Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2004
    Take a listen to Incubus's song "Favourite Things" for an example of this. Or at least that's what it sounds like is happening....

  15. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Mar 28, 2001
    The powerchords speak very well. The problem as I see it is that your guitarist has a very very tiny problem in getting the single note stuff to speak. The riff needs to be a tad bit tighter in performance. But this is only half the issue. You will need to fain ride those sections up to match the level of the power chords. I would also try the single line parts as an overdub tom the power chords, or visa versa. Also, you could try ditching the other mic. The single line stuff might sound great with just a single sm57 on the brightest spot of the best sounding speaker (over the voice coil) at an angle (45 degrees).

    Is there any compression going on? Back it off a bit as well.
  16. lorenzo gerace

    lorenzo gerace Active Member

    Jan 27, 2002

    Guitars sounded quite good on my PC speakers, maybe the only thing I can think of is to adjust the playing technique in doubling the single note parts, not that those aren't doubled well, but maybe changing the tone on the part by using a different guitar or amp combo, or even dialing a more cutting tone on the Mesa for those lines could work. The drums seemed a bit weak, but maybe as pointed out above it's just a rough mix to analize the guitars. Anyway, a bit of compression on the guitars usually helps getting them at a consistent level throughout and getting a bit more attack (or pick definiton), you could also use that directly in the Mesa loop and not in the recording chain, be aware (as Recorderman pointed out) not to overcompress.
    Usually too much distortion eats up the attack and definiton: another trick would be to split the guitar signal to two different amps and dial in a distorted tone on the first, while getting a less distorted, brighter one on the second, record the two on separate tracks and blend them in the mix: this way you get the crunch and overdriven tone from the first, but the attack and definition from the second and could adjust the proportion as needed; double and spread LR, watch out for phase.

    Hope this helps

  17. Johnjm22

    Johnjm22 Guest

    Thanks for all the replies everyone.

    Yeah It's just a rough mix. I just slapped it together real quick so I could get some critique on the guitar tone.

    Well the the guitar was dubbed 4 yeah it's not that tight. When I go do the actual mix there will only be two guitars during the verse (the single note stuff) and all four guitars during the chorus. I'll be comping his takes and using the best one's, so the techinical stuff should be plenty tight.

    Fain ride?

    Not sure I understand what you mean. Tom? Is this a typo?

    Yeah there's a lot of overall compression going on, but I just did that to bring up the overall volume of the song before I posted it here.
  18. sndo

    sndo Active Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Ottawa, Canada
    Home Page:
    How did you "align the phase"? The polarity reverse switch, delay, or something else?
  19. vagelis

    vagelis Guest

    All mics on the same speaker?
  20. Chappy

    Chappy Guest

    No, there was actually two cabs. The 57 and 4040 was on a closed back Marshall 4X12 slant-back, and the 421 was on this really old marshall cab that I'd never seen before. It was probably a foot and a half think and it sounded like balls, except with the other cab.
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