Recording Heavy Guitars

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by fontenel, Jan 13, 2003.

  1. fontenel

    fontenel Guest

    Any suggestions on getting a super tight, heavy guitar sound (ie new deftones, tool, chevelle, etc.)? I have a semipro recording studio so I don't, by far, have all the best gear, but I'm sure it can make the guitars sound pretty good with what I have if I knew what I was doing. My problem has always been too much "shhhhh" and not enough balls/warmth/punch. I have a mesa triple, a marshall jcm 900 and a marshall jmp-1 pre and I use a '80 LP custom and a '78 SG standard and I can't get anything to sound like I want it to. I want a huge, hi-gain sound with clarity and punch but without all the hiss and noise. Can someone help me?
  2. Bob Mould

    Bob Mould Active Member

    Nov 29, 2001

    amps first off:
    the jcm900 is exactly just what youre describing "no balls/warmth/punch". Replacing the stock EL34’s tubes (good supplier: helps but its still not a great amp IMHO, so you should go for the MESA, maybe you could use the JMP-1 as preamp for it sometimes for a different character in sound. You didnt mention what Cab you use?

    Anyway as far as sound goes backing off the gain is often good for clarity an size, and you could probably turn down the bass some aswell, the proximity effect with the mic up close will give you enough bass boost.

    A Shure SM57 right up the grill on the cab (listen for the best sounding speaker) into a good MicPre should to the trick, the key here is not to aim the mic at the center of the cone but more off center towards the edges for a more midrangy sound. The hi freguencies comes from the middle of the cone and the low frequencies from the edge so finding the right spot for the mic is crucial.

    Double tracking is your friend, record the same part 2-4times with different sounds.
    It needs to be supertight though, otherwise it will sound mushy and you will loose alot of attack.

    HiPass at 100-200hz to leave space for bassguitar and kick, Lowpass at 6000-7000khz to get rid of the worst hi frequency buzz.
    Pan the guitars hard left and hard right to leave space for vocals.

    hope this quick guide is of any help
  3. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Well-Known Member

    Mar 28, 2001
    Good advice Bob.
    Definetly work on the sound at the Gtr/Amp first. If it "hisses" there it always will.
    A '57 by and large really is all you need if the tone is right at the amp.
    If you can get a Neve mic pre will help accentuate the bottom and smooth out the top.

    [ January 18, 2003, 08:46 AM: Message edited by: SonOfSmawg ]
  4. Sebatron

    Sebatron Well-Known Member

    Dec 22, 2002
    yeah '57 is a good all rounder.
    I usually turn the amp quite high so you get it really rockin'.good dead tight room.valve pre preferably.

    Try and get the distortion from the amp though.Less circuitry is always better.
  5. sign

    sign Guest

    Bob is right! :tu:

    A great guitarsound is a combination of a great player, a great amp and great recording gear.

    I have never heard a good sound from a JCM900, the JCM800 is much better.

    A Sennheiser MD421 will give you a bright and open sound with a nice bottom. A Beyer M88 will give you a very tight sound and an SM57 will do a good job too. Sometimes I use them all three together.
  6. fontenel

    fontenel Guest

    Thanks for the tips, guys. I'm still a little in the dark about getting the huge hi-gain sound without the noise/hiss/nasal tone. I'm able to get a good, big dirty sound without a problem, but I'm having a hard time capturing the huge, tight distortion sound that, for instance, the mesa is so well known for. I have a good tone right out of the marshall 1960b, but I can't get it on my board. More or less I'm trying to achieve Terry Date's soundgarden/deftones huge guitar sound. Maybe there's something I'm missing at mixdown (i.e. compressing, EQing, etc.) I don't know...I don't mean to be so dense, I just hear all these amazing huge guitar tones and I have no idea how to get them...
  7. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Well-Known Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    As far as getting that tone you want, what kind of pre amps are you using. What are you playing back and mixing on? That may have something to do with it. Try different mics and placements too. Regarding the noise problems, I use noise gates when tracking distorted noisy guitars. I like the Drawmer 404 or 202 gates. I have found nothing else that works correctly. Look around for a used 202, they can be quite affordable. A lot of recordist don't like to use gates when they track because the have a tendency to trigger falsely or not trigger when they should. They also sometimes can cut off a little of the initial attack of the signal. I have however had amazing good fortune in this in regard with Drawmer gates. IMO they are the best. If you're working in DAW you may forgo the gates and simply edit out the noise. Remember signal masks noise. You only need be concerned about it when there is no signal present. Hope that helps some, Fats :tu:
    It's my opinion, I'll play with it if I want to!
  8. tundrkys

    tundrkys Guest

    From reading his posts, I believe he is talking about a hiss behind the distortion of his Amp. I have noticed it also on alot of amps, when using lots of gain. On most major label recordings, you don't get that sound, instead all you hear is the distorted guitar. I believe it originates from the amp, and it is quite common, but it doesn't appear on high quality recordings. I believe he is asking how did they get rid of it.
  9. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    Oct 7, 2001
    Gain hum is an unavoidable side-effect of high gain guitar amplifiers, unfortunately. As Fats mentions, it should only be apparent during the quiet or muted passages. It depends on how you are recording the guitars, but if it is with a computer-based DAW, it is fairly easy to cut out the sections between solos or rhythm sections to remove the hum, or as suggested, noise gates.

    When I am playing it has become a habit to turn down the guitar's volume knob between passages and for abrupt endings. My little finger just naturally goes there now.

    The good thing about high gain hum is that is usually accompanied by a very loud guitar, and the signal-noise ratio is so high, the noise is not evident.
  10. mixman77

    mixman77 Guest

    We appologize for the inconvenience, but this member's posts have been deleted.


    [ January 29, 2003, 12:51 AM: Message edited by: SonOfSmawg ]
  11. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Well-Known Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    Signal masks noise. If you have the pre amp cranked but the master turned down low, you will hear hiss from the pre amp even when the notes are sounding. Pro recording environments allow the amp to be turned up to a point that the notes are way louder than the hiss, so when you play the signal will mask the noise. In the quiet passages, the hum and hiss from the hi gain setting will become evident. This is where a noise gate, volume pedal or a little finger on the volume knob comes into play. If you find it absolutely necessary to record at a low volume a speaker attenuator such as the "Power Break" can be of great value. Hope that helps. ........ Fats
    Tannoys, Dynaudio, Blue Sky, JBL, Earthworks, Westlake, NS 10's ,Genelec, Hafler, KRK. Those are good. …………………….. Pick one.
  12. mickas

    mickas Guest

    i have just finnished recording my bands new CD.. for guitars we used a Peavy 5150 and a Peavy JSX, both hi gain amps that suit the Heavy/Tight sound you are talking about.. and have plenty of balls.. the trick i learnt was after finding the sound you want, roll the bass of ALOT more than you would have it live, turn ur amp up nice and loud, it might not sound as big in the room, but recorded it sounds huge... also to get rid of the hiss in the track, put a noise suppressor in the FX loop of your amp, this will clean it up ALOT and also make it a bit tighter... just make sure the threshold is set correctly or it will kill your sound!
  13. philsaudio

    philsaudio Active Member

    Apr 23, 2003
    Are you doing this all alone or do you have an assistant that can move the mic around while a second assistant listens to the amp through the mic in isolation adjusting your record equipment while you play the guitar in the control room and tell them " better- worse- perfect" ?

    If not then you are up against some pretty dificult obsticals trying to do this all alone. But it can be done the hard way if you are very patient and not on a schedule. It would take 5 minutes with the assistants.

  14. separation

    separation Guest

    as a side note, I've found that the Marshall Power Brake is a TONE SUCKING MONSTER!! If I were looking at a unit go with the THD hotplates!! Great sound and not tone sucking monsters under its hood. They have specific units for 2 ohm, 4 ohm, 8 ohm and I believe 16 ohm!

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