Actually posting your mixes is a great starting point. We could tell you what you are doing wrong by hearing it. Below is an article I put together on some recording basics. A TON of this info comes from threads and advice I received her on this forum: =============================================== Getting a good tone The 1st priority when recording your tunes is getting a good tone either using DRP's or by micing a cab or amp. The better the tone going into the software the less work you will have to do later on when mixing. I go by the saying SHIT IN SHIT OUT, No matter what you do to a crappy guitar tone after recording it will still be crap! Even the cheapest amps can get a good sound. Bands like Carcass recorded using a Marshall 1x12 combo for some guitar tracks along with 4x12 cabs and a Peavey 5150. SRV used Dumble, Marshall and Fender combos. Hell on the album Family Style, SRV recorded a solo on a PIG NOSE with a 5" speaker! So just cause an amp is small doesn't mean it cant get a good tone. Proper mic placement can make the smallest amp sound huge if done properly. More on proper mic placement later. Guitars are a big part of your tone aswell (duh!!). The pickups, electronics, picks, and strings all attribute to our tone as well as your technique. The best advice I can give is find something that works for you! Dont try to copy someone elses tone. Its nearly impossible, you can get close but not exact. 90% of a guitar players tone comes from his hands and technique, and no one can ever replicate that perfectly. One thing for starters that most guitarists fail to realize is there is usually more than 1 guitar track recorded on any given song. For rhythm guitars in metal and rock theirs usually a minimum of 2. One panned right and one panned left (see more info on panning below). By doing this it leaves the stereo spectrum open in the center for things like vocals, bass guitar, kick drum, and snare drum. Remember to pan your guitars around in the mix till you find a good spot for them to sit. This is probably the most invaluable piece of experience I ever learned. PANNING IS KING! Use as little effects and EQ as possible. Try and record your guitars using no effects other then distortion or a WhaWha pedal. Over EQing something will kill you mix faster than an anything. Get as much tone as you can out of the AMP before recording your tracks. If you find yourself boostin or cutting frequencies more than 2 or 3db then you know the sound going in wasnt good at all. This means you should go back and re-record all of your parts with a better tone. Also keep in mind that moving the mic around the speaker will provide different frequency enhancements. On a Celestion v30 speaker moving the mic 2 or 3 cm up, down, left, or right can yeild completely amazing changes in tone. Experiment and move the mic around to try and find the Sweet spot. Same goes for different speakers. 4 v30s of the same design will all sound slightly different. What makes a good guitar tone? This subject is purely subjective! Its all about your preferences, and what YOU and your ears find pleasing. Things you want to strive for when getting a good tone are: 1. Clarity - make sure the sound doesn't have to much bass or to much treble. Do any of the frequencies hurt your ears? Do any of the frequencies compete with any other instruments in the mix? 2. Cleanliness - This is probably the single most important aspect. Good technique = Good tone. Is the playing tight? Are there any mistakes? String noise? Trem spring vibration? All of those aspects affect the over all guitar tone. These are things you should think about when choosing a guitar tone. What settings should I use on my amp? This one is another subjective topic. What sounds good to you? My biggest advice for this in particular is dial in a tone on the amp you like. Then test the tone with your mix and see how it sits. I tend to always get guitar tones LAST when doing a mix. Its easier to find a guitar tone that fits your mix then try and EQ everything else around your guitars. Here is something to try. Dial in what you think is the perfect guitar tone for your amp. Stick a microphone in front of it. Get a mag light, and point the microphone directly at the center of the cone, straight on, about an inch back from the amp. Record it then go listen back. Now lets take the same test and lets move the microphone an inch to the left. Record your part again. OMG ITS DIFFERENT!! Lesson number 2 my friend! Microphone Placement! (see below) Lets do it one more time. this time put the microphone back in the center and just tilt it at a 45 degree angle to the front of the speaker. OH MY GOD IT CHANGED AGAIN!!! Lesson #2 again. Proper Microphone Placement: Yet another subjective concept when it comes to recording. The above examples should have shown you that this is just as an important part of your guitar tone as your amp and guitar. The technique most often used when recording guitars is referred to as CLOSE MICING. The term comes from the proximity to the amplifier of the microphone to the speaker. This technique produces a very present sound that is perfect for Rock / Metal type of playing. Technique 1: ON THE CONE This technique refers to the placement of the microphone to the center "cone" of the speaker. if you look at a speaker there is a place in the center of the speaker where there is usually a beveled disk looking thing. This is the speaker cone.This is the place where you can pick up the best frequencies of your tone, but if you are not careful there could be some pretty horrid ones too. Technique 2: Off The Cone This technique refers to the placement of the microphone away from the center of the speaker. This technique can be any place on the speaker not right on the center with the microphone at a 90 degree angle to the front of the speaker. By placing the microphone in this spot it is possible to pick up additional bass frequencies as this is where the speaker does most of its movement. The closer you get to the center of the speaker the tighter the sound will be with more definition. The further you move out the less definition there will be. This may be the sound you like, it may not be. Like I said previously this is purely subjective. Find a good place between the cone and the edge of the speaker that sounds best to YOU, and sounds best for your mix! Technique 3: Angled (off axis) This technique is similar to technique 2 but it is at an angle to the front of the speaker. This technique give a more "mid scooped" sound that may be useful in some circumstances. This technique I find also reduces some of the high end buzzy frequencies that can be annoying with some speakers. Experiment with these techniques till you find what you prefer! Always check every speaker as they all sound different! Putting it all together: Ok so now you have an idea of how to get a good tone. Here are some additonal pointers that you should keep in mind when recording. 1. Don't try and replicate what you hear on a CD in a "mix" - Keep in mind that what you are hearing from your speakers is a MIXED guitar sound. All of the other instruments in the mix are helping to drive that guitar tone into what you are hearing. Especially the Bass Guitar! in addition to that there are normally anywhere from 2 to 4 guitar tracks on any given song in the rock / metal genre, sometimes even more! you cant replicate this sound from a single amp and guitar so don't try! once your guitars are multi-tracked the sound will fill itself out. There is also the "mastering" process which tweaks guitar tone. 2. Back off on the gain - Most guys into rock and metal usually crank the gain. This is ok in a live setting when the amp doesn't have a mic in front of it, but not when recording. Too much gain just adds mud to the mix. It kills the definition of the guitars and cuts down on its dynamic response. If you find yourself reaching for the gain knob for more distortion DONT DO IT. Once you multi track your guitars the amount of gain you want will be there. A good area to start is cutting your gain about 25% of what you normally use live. Start there and once you multi track listen to the clarity and definition. The guitars will be clear and defined yet the gain will still be there. 3. The Performance Is Everything! - Keep your tracks as free from noise as possible. Try to lift your fingers cleanly to reduce unwanted string scraping or open string ringing. When multi-tracking guitars make sure all the tracks are in perfect sync timing wise, unless of course thats the "technique" you are going for. But in rock and metal tighter rhythm guitar tracks mean a better over all guitar tone. Alot of the time, I'll end up taping up strings that arent getting played, dampening springs on a tremolo system, put hairband around the headstock, everything I can do to reduce string noise. Getting the sound "on tape": The term on tape refers to the actual process of recording the guitar either on your 4 track, PC, or recording system. Whatever way you are recording, be it a 4 track, PC based software, or a big all in one unit the techniques above are the same for all of them. Multi-Tracking Guitars: The term Multi-Tracking refers to the technique of recording the same guitar part or variant there of multiple times. This is probably THE most useful technique when recording rock and metal. This technique has been used by everyone from Jimi and Eddie to Metallica and (insert new flavor of the week band here). The idea behind this is to give yourself a BIG guitar sound without having the guitars too loud in the mix. By separating out the performance into 2 parts you can leave the center channel of the mix open for the instruments that should be there. How many tracks should I record? This is another subjective decision. usually I tend to do no more then 2 per guitarist in any recording situation. I find that doing more than 2 per guitarist clouds up the mix. If both guitar players are on their game 1 per guitarist may be enough to make it sound great! Panning: This is the most important thing when it comes to mixing and recording. Panning is a technique used to make instruments louder or quieter on a given "side" of a stereo mix. For those of you that are not familiar with how "stereo" works here is a quick bit of info. Sterophonic sound or "stereo" is a technique by which 2 "tracks" are played simultaneously in sync one being considered the LEFT side and the other being considered the RIGHT side. This technique was founded in the 1920's Using 2 speakers and sending 1 signal out the left speaker and another signal out the right speaker we achieve stereo sound. Stereophonic sound was the precursor to Multi-Track recording. It is what actually makes it possible.The Multi-Track technique was founded in the 1940's and its origins are debateable, but most notable use of this technique was by Les Paul and Mary Ford in the late 1940's. Having 2 tracks playing simultaneously give you a "stereo" sound. One signal is panned hard left and the other is panned hard right. by turning the volume up or down in either speaker you can move an instrument or sound around in "the mix". A pan knob or adjustment changes the volume of the sound in question to be louder or quieter in either speaker. By turning a pan knob to the left you are decreasing the volume of that sound in the right speaker thus putting that sound on the "left" side of the mix. by doing the opposite it is being moved to the right side of the mix. in all honestly its much more indepth and complicated but this is a generic introduction to all of this. So a basic knowledge of the technique is all that is needed. So how does "panning" relate to my guitar tone? This is how you can turn a thin basic tone into a stereo monster / wall of guitars! By recording your rhytm guitar parts twice then panning each performance left and right it makes your guitar sound fuller.