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Recording guitar with effects pedals

Discussion in 'F.O.H.' started by Rosner, May 26, 2017.

  1. Rosner

    Rosner Unknown.Despair.Lost

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    How are you doing guys? Been following this forum for years but this is my first post here.

    Recently, I've been trying to record guitars for my band's new studio album, and something is buggin' me. Thankfully, I'm not talking about technicals things such as mic placement or reamping: I'm talking about how many rhythm guitar layers should I record and if I should use my pedal effects on every take or not.

    We are a two piece band: drums and guitars. To achieve a big guitar sound in the absence of a bass guitar, I use a Radial BigShot ABY switcher, and I run the guitar signal through a guitar amp (Orange Dual Terror + Marshall 1960 B cabinet) and a bass amp (Hartke HA3500 + Hartke 410XL cabinet).

    In addition, this album has a lot of "blackgaze" inspired stuff. You know, lots of distorted guitar paired with analog delay and reverb: like Neil Halstead meets Ihsahn. We are looking up to bands such as Deafheaven, Oathbreaker, Alcest and Lantlôs. Everything really works live, but in studio we are wondering how to make this sound good and tight.

    On our last album, the guy who recorded us made me play two guitar takes without using effects, recording both amps at the same time. The only effects used were distortion (we did not record clean guitars and distorted guitars separatedly). One take was panned left 100%, the other one right 100%. Then we made another take mic'ing just the guitar amp and using effects, panned center. After that, we recorded the leads and solos, but that is not really an issue: the problem here are the rhythm guitars and the effects!

    The thing is, we are trying to get everything to sound as good as possible. We are not going for something really pristine and crystal clear, but we also do not want to sound muddy and brightless. What do you suggest?

    I know almost every effect can be added in the mixing stage with a DAW, but we have some complications. Firstly, the analog delay or the wah (for example) really affect the way I play those parts in terms of feeling/response. Secondly, we communicate with the guy who is doing the mixing/mastering via e-mail, using a language that we are not very fluent with (English). Because of this, it is really hard for us to tell him where and how to apply the effects.

    What do you think? Should I record just two takes (100% left, 100% right) with effects? Also, you think it's better to record distorted guitars and clean guitars in different takes? I know this questions may sound obvious and dull to most of you, but I'm just getting started in the world of music production. I'm trying not to be just a passive musician: I want to learn and get involved in the technical stuff to understand better the recording process.

    Thank you all, and excuse my poor English!
     
  2. bryan_kilco

    bryan_kilco Member

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    Why don't you record DI's of the two takes, while monitoring the wet/effect signal so you can get the feeling and response that you need? Then you have the dry takes and can process them however you please.

    Maybe also send him 100% wet scratch takes to give him a reference where to add the FX.

    And I'm not exactly sure what you mean by recording distorted and cleans in different takes......but I'd definitely do it separately and dial in the amp differently, or again, just capture the raw DI's and process them for cleans.

    Your English is fine man, no worries!
     
  3. nezvers

    nezvers Beast

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    As Bryan told, record DI and pedals together, that way you get performance and engineer can see what is needed or even he can end up using your wet sound through his amps and stuff.
    For a record, I'd still record some bass guitar to get THAT low-end, because it will sound REALLY weak compared to other records.
     
  4. Rosner

    Rosner Unknown.Despair.Lost

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    Thank you very much for answering Bryan and nezvers! The DI idea is good: I think I will record two rhythm guitars takes and DI's of them. Then leads and any other stuff, with DI's too! I didn't realize reamplification was a posibility, thank you again!

    Bryan, I was refering to not recording a song that has different sections (clean part, heavy part, etc.) in just one take, instead using the footswitchs/distortion pedals. We want a more polished sound on this record, so I thought of doing differente takes for distortion and different takes for clean/acoustic guitars. But then again, the DI is a life saver!

    nezvers, I kinda agree with that! Only recently by trying to mix a solo metal project by myself I came to understand the importance of the bass guitar in the mix. We try to make up for that with the two amps ABY setup. We also tune to standard A tuning and eq the Hartke head way more bassier than the Orange/Marshall. But then, I know we still lack some bass to make the mix sound tighter. I own an Electro Harmonix Pitchfork, so I was thinking of doing a single take with it configured an octave down. Maybe it can work, what do you think? I think on our last release we managed to sound 'big', despite the production being shit (here you can check it out: - not doing self-promotion, just want to know what you think about the lack of bass). But anyway, I agree with the more bass suggestion!

    Also, I got another question: do you think I should change the mic position and/or the guitars during the rhythm takes? Should I keep them the same?

    Again, thanks for the help guys!
     
  5. bryan_kilco

    bryan_kilco Member

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    About changing mics, that's entirely up to you. Difference in tone between left and right speakers is what creates the wideness effect. I mainly work with amp sims and easily just pick a different IR for my left and right guitars, and maybe tweak the amp slightly different. If I were working with real mic'd rhythms I'd probably keep the position the same and tweak the amp slightly. But in the end, it's entirely up to you!
     
  6. GRStudios

    GRStudios Member

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    I would record two DI's. One DI guitar and one DI guitar+FX/pedals.
     
  7. Rosner

    Rosner Unknown.Despair.Lost

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    Thanks again Bryan! Yes, we are using real mics. The thing with Orange Dual Terror amps is that they are not really versatile. Luckily, we have a lot of time to experiment different mic combinations, so I think I'm gonna go for different takes with different mics/positions and different guitars.


    Thanks for answering GRStudios! How is that posible? You mean recording two takes or is there a way to have achieve that in a single take? Do I need two direct boxes?
     
  8. GRStudios

    GRStudios Member

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    Yeah. You need two Di boxes.
     
  9. bryan_kilco

    bryan_kilco Member

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    Or could do something like Y splitter. I've done similar with my Boss NS-2 pedal. It has In, Out, Send and Return.

    So guitar into Boss, Output -> interface, Send -> fx. Then fx -> interface. Assuming you have 2 interface inputs......

    And that certainly wouldn't be the cleanest method either.
     
  10. Rosner

    Rosner Unknown.Despair.Lost

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    Thanks again Bryan and GRSTudios! The double DI sounds tricky, but it seems like an interesting method. I may be able to get my hands on another DI box, so I'm going to give it a try!

    Right now, I'm planning to do this:

    1º - Same mic position, guitar amp/cab and bass amp/cab simultaneously. Left and right rhythm guitars, one take for each, using the same guitar. Even though there's just one guitar player, I like to make the guitars a little different for each side in some parts of the song.

    2º - Same mic position, just with the guitar amp/cab settings slightly tweaked. Left and right rhythm guitars, one take for each, using a different guitar. I think another simultaneous take of guitar+bassis going to be too much, so just guitar amp on this take.

    3º - Different mic position, guitar amp/cab setting tweaked. Center rhythm guitar, one take, everything through an EHX Pitchfork detuned and octave (to give it the extra low-end nezvers suggested)

    4º - Some extra guitars for specific parts of certain songs (for example, for a pop-esque chorus I was thinking of tracking the chords with a single coil guitar through just the guitar amp/cab. I'm going to record the rhythm guitars with active pickups, so maybe the single coils can help give the track more texture)

    5º- Lead guitars, just through guitar amp/cab, two takes with same guitar. The leads are just a few, and they are not really technical or difficult to play. Also, sometimes there's some twin guitar harmonic stuff, and I think two takes would make it sound interesting.

    6º Solos, just one track.

    Of course, EVERYTHING through DI box! And regarding clean parts and distorted parts of the song, I think I'm going to use active pickups for the heavy stuff and passive single coil pickups for the mellower sections.

    And that's it! What do you think? Maybe it is way too much, but I want to give the producer a lot of stuff to work with!
     
  11. Shinozoku

    Shinozoku Senior Memory

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    I would appreciate the different options, were it me.. Just make sure the playing is tight.
    e
    My ideal for this would be a center take with the pitcher and the bass amp, then the regular guitar amps, one on either side. Use a different guitar for each, or use an overdrive on one and not the other. Have your ambient effects, especially if they're stereo, applied between the two guitar tracks. For example, a flanger effect would go from one side of the stereo field to the other.

    Now, for the recording you posted.... It's quite a cool sound! I'm not missing the bass, but bass wouldn't hurt it at all.
     

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