Old 11-11-2010, 06:50 PM   #1
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Default Digital guitar tips

There seem to be a ton of threads on the topic of amp emulators, why I don't sound as good as the examples or someone's youtube vid, etc. So I thought I'd start a thread specifically on the topic of recording digital guitar with an emulator.

To get things rolling:

1. The guitar matters, a lot. Almost certainly more than it matters with a great amp. Analog preamplification stages are bi-directional, meaning, when the guitar (or mic) pushes the preamp, the preamp pushes back. Especially with crude stuff like guitar signal. Digital cannot realistically reproduce this, and it's the single most limiting technical factor of digital guitar amp emulation-- any distortion that can be recorded digitally can, by definition, be produced digitally given sufficient processing power and design effort, but the digital system cannot "push back" against the output current of the guitar the way an analog system does. So you really need to set up your guitar correctly. You don't necessarily need a million-dollar guitar, but digital is a lot less forgiving to poor setup or "bad" guitars than analog is. More on this below.

2. Layering tracks is much harder with digital emulators than with real amps. Unless the digital processor is set with some kind of randomizing function or whatever, the digital emulator is applying the exact same processing to whatever goes through it. For this reason (I suspect), double-tracking digital guitars often results in a thinnish, phasey sound compared to double-tracking guitars through a real tube amp that responds slightly differently every millisecond due to temperature, age, voltage sag, whatever. I'm guessing as to the cause but the effect is pretty noticeable. If you want to multi-track the same guitar part, you often have to use different brands of emulators to avoid a fake and "synth-y" sound.

3. You probably have to make your own presets. Because electric guitar is such a crude and imprecise instrument (although a wonderfully sensitive and expressive one), what works for one guitar does not necessarily work for another, even of the same make and model (more on guitar setup below).

4. This is huge: get in touch with your parametric EQ. For reasons unknown to me, digital guitar effects, even when they sound quite good, tend to leave a certain imprint of fizzy trash at certain frequencies, most often in the 2kHz~11kHz range. Set up a parametric eq with a sharp boost (say, +10dB with a Q of 3 or higher), and sweep around that upper midrange. What you are looking for is places where the EQ'd guitar sounds like a steady-state whine, with no change between notes, chords, beats, or whatever. Ten-to-one says you find at least one such frequency. When you do, zero in on the most obnoxious, offensive frequency (the one that sounds most like high-pitched fan noise, for lack of a better example) and turn the boost into a cut. You'll have to play around with Q and cut amount to find the best compromise, but a one or two such rips can make a huge improvement in a fizzy or nasal guitar tone (analog or digital, but digital amp emulators seem to be the worst offenders). You might find similar offenders in the lower mids, or anywhere else. It's trial-and-error to figure out how much and how many cuts you can get away with before killing the guitar sound, and sometimes it works better BEFORE the distortion/amp simulator, but usually after. But once you have it set up, it tends to work pretty well as a preset/template for that guitar sound.

Last edited by yep; 11-11-2010 at 07:59 PM.
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Old 11-11-2010, 07:40 PM   #2
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Guitar setup for digital recording. Most of this stuff applies to playing through a real amp equally, but digital inputs are a lot less forgiving than reactive tube-amp input stages. Before you ever reach the emulator circuit, the digital front-end is capturing your guitar's output with agonizing accuracy.

Rock stars hire skilled guitar techs to keep their guitars sounding and playing their best. Amateurs and home recordists often use guitars whose sound and playability is fucked-up beyond all recognition.

For starters, pick a brand and gauge of string to stick with, and buy them in 10-packs whenever they are on sale. Unless you know something I don't (and you might), skip coated, cryogenic, or other exotic strings and find an inexpensive brand and get in the habit of changing them frequently. It's easy and quick once you get used to it. (bass players might get more benefit from investing in pricier strings, since their strings are a lot more expensive). This is important since any time you change string gauge, you have to do a whole new setup from scratch.

Now, you can find a lot of advice on guitar setup online. Alternately, you can hire someone to do a setup for you once a year or so. DO NOT just drop it off at guitar center for $50 or whatever, unless you know the tech is good. If you pay someone else to do your setup, make sure it is someone who knows what they are doing. If you live near a big city, chances are you can find someone who does repair and setup work for bona-fide rock stars pretty cheap. Better yet is to learn to setup your own guitars.

Guitar setup basically consists of three factors:

1. Playability-to-fret-buzz ratio. Setting the action on a guitar is a back-and-forth interaction of four factors: truss rod adjustment ("bow" in the neck), bridge height, neck angle, and nut height. If it's your first time doing this yourself, buy a few nuts of the right size for your guitar (graphite HUGELY recommended), and file/sand them to different heights and experiment before gluing them down, if possible. These adjustments are an interactive art, but it's not that hard if you set aside some time and make small adjustments. The idea is to get the minimum possible fret buzz for your playing style, keeping in mind that the least "buzzy" setups will also tend to have very high action and more difficult playability. Digital is, in my experience, a lot less forgiving of fret buzz than real tube amps are, and you may need to sacrifice a bit of playability for clean studio playing through digital emulators. Bear in mind that some parts of the neck might play and sound better than others-- the ideal setup for a heavy-handed metal rhythm guitar might produce some pretty high action on the 24th fret. This should be tested up and down the neck, and all four adjustments might have to be tweaked multiple times to find the best overall compromise. One useful rule of thumb for setting truss-rod/neck bow is to take a medium-gauge pick (say 0.8mm thickness), and set the bow so that the tip of the pick just clears all the frets when you fret the "body fret", where the neck joins the body (e.g., you fret the 17th fret right at the joint between neck and body, and you can just barely slide the tip of a pick between the first and 12th frets without "sticking"). Bear in mind this is just a starting point. Once you are COMPLETELY done with the setup, take your best-performing nut and fix it down a TINY drop of superglue in the center-- the strings will mostly hold it in place, and you want it to be easy to tap/pry out in the future.

2. Intonation. This is how "in tune" each note up and down the fretboard is. The simplest test is to tune each string according to the 12th fret harmonic, and then see whether it's still "in tune" when you actually press down on that 12th fret (which should be exactly half the string length). If it's sharp when fretted, then string is shorter between the 12th fret and the bridge than it is between the 12th fret and the nut. If it's flat, vice-versa. Adjust your bridge saddle until both the fretted and harmonic notes are identical. Now do the same test with your 7th and 19th frets and harmonics. The idea is to get all those frets perfectly in-tune for each string. Ideally, ALL frets will be perfectly in-tune, but those are good starting points, since the 7th fret is 1/3 of the string length, the 12th fret is halfway down, and the 19th fret is 2/3 of the way down. Plus, each of those has prominent harmonics that easy to compare to the fretted note. The harmonics and fretted notes should both be correct on each string. Note that you should "test" the intonation the same way that you would "play" the note. If you tend to "squeeze" the frets a bit, as many guitar players do, then your setup should reflect this. Note also that changing the intonation may require some back-and-forth adjustments of neck bow and angle, and some compromise may be required with playability and fret buzz, above.

3. Electronics and pickup height. Pickup height is crucial to the sound of a guitar, and is easily adjustable. Pickups set very close to the strings tend to clip and distort. which can be kind of cool for a "chirpy", "clicky" attack when sent through a tube amp, but tends to get very ugly through digital setups. Plug your guitar into your digital front-end and put on a good pair of headphones and start playing perfectly clean notes and chords. If you are hearing brittle, clicky, "clipped" attacks, crank down your pickups or mess with your input level to see if you can subdue them at lower gain. This is exactly where the "pushback" of analog circuits fails when recording digitally. Crackly, noisy knobs and switches can usually be dealt with easy by a good shot of contact cleaner and some aggressive "swiping", i.e., cranking the knob up-and-down rapidly to get the internal brush to clear off all the dust and grime that's making the pot noisy. Hum is a topic unto itself, but can often be massively improved with some simple foil shielding and good grounding. Both cheap and expensive guitars often display shameful lack of attention to this stuff. The topic is big, but well within the realm of a competent amateur to correct. This site offers an excellent overview:

http://www.guitarnuts.com/wiring/shielding/shield3.php

The critical point to all this is multifold:

- Even an awesome guitar trough a top-of-the-line emulator (or real amp) can sound bad if poorly set-up.

- Cheap guitars can often improve several letter grades in playability and tone with a good setup. In fact, I would say that setup is the biggest and maybe even only substantive difference between a USA Fender and a cheap Squier, for example.

Last edited by yep; 11-11-2010 at 07:51 PM.
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Old 11-11-2010, 10:02 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yep View Post
Guitar setup for digital recording.
Yep, excellent post. I've just spent the last two days doing all the above e.g., two or more hours on getting the neck bow right where I wanted it, more time adjusting pickup height (a critical issue for my Humbucker), replacing a pot, doing the fine intonation adjustment, etc.

While all this had a big effect (I'm not blaming Line 6 for crappy tone any more), I found it not only changed the hardware but it also changed my approach. Though am only one day into this, I can reduce the nasty push-back, bad breakup, and harsh tonal qualities of my cheap guitar by using a much, much ligher touch.

I had set out to improve the action as much as possible for playability and found that it could be improved dramatically (though to a limit) by caressing the strings instead of using the medium heavy strum/picking/plucking I've used for many years. Playing speed is already up and the harsh tones are gone.

So, yes, adjust the hardware carefully but let's not forget that to play the instrument is to interact with it - it will play the musician too if he/she is open to this.

Thanks again.
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Old 11-11-2010, 10:57 PM   #4
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This is also a matter of psychology. If you think your gear is crap you will play crap. So spend some time to adjust your guitar properly and find a good tone, no matter if it's a real amp or a simulation. You have to like what you hear. You have to trust your equipment, then you will play much better and it will sound much better.
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Old 11-12-2010, 04:21 AM   #5
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I've been working on electric guitars and basses for almost forty-five years, and used to swap setup and maintenance tips with Dan Erlewine (who is a wonderful guy, BTW). At the moment, I own or have in route sixty (I believe!) personal guitars and basses of all sorts.

I may not be a fantastic player, but I know gear.

A few comments on setup and tuning and the misnomer, "setting intonation." Man, I hardly know where to start...

Well, randomly, here goes!

Take setup and "intonation" advice you hear on guitar forums with a grain of salt or disregard it completely, because 95%+ of these people simply have no clue. Real guitar pros who know what they're talking about leave within days. Dan lasted about two weeks when he tried to give advice on a major forum. Guitar forums are almost entirely about wannabees pooling their ignorance and aggressively institutionalizing it as unthinking peer group dogma. They resist new and better data with great hostility...largely because, well, they're stupid.

Avoid self-ordained "guitar techs" who offer instant "While-U-Wait" setups at fixed fees. My local Guitar Center had a big event where you could drag your guitar in and have it "professionally set up" on the spot for $20. Quick and dirty setups like this have about a 50/50 chance of improving or worsening a guitar, but they're never complete nor correct. A setup done right takes time and has to be rechecked after a couple of days after the adjustments, particularly to the neck, have had time to "settle." A pretty large majority of "guitar techs" I've encountered didn't know what they were doing and were duffers learning (if at all) on other people's gear as they went along and charging them for it.

Your guitar will NEVER be "intonated" or even "in tune." Jack Endino did a great little article about the sheer impossibility of the recorded guitar ever being "in tune," even if there was any actual agreement on what "in tune" even is, and there isn't. There are wide opinions on the proper temperament for guitar, and the played note does not have stable pitch in any case. To the extent "intonation" means anything at all, it means that all the notes you actually play sound more or less correct by your definition of on-pitch. And good luck on even getting that much in the ballpark. Fooling around with the 12th fret and its harmonic and adjusting the saddle to that is only an approximation, a starting point. In itself it means nothing. THE SINGLE BIGGEST TUNING PROBLEM IS THE NUT, particularly at the big E string, which is grossly mis-cut on probably a majority of the new production guitars I'm seeing at any price point short of Custom Shop. Pre-cut nuts are becoming the rule, and they are a scandal. The problem is that the big E, especially, cannot handle the break angle. The nut is not ramping the string properly and is levering it up at the back of the slot, which becomes the witness point rather than the front face of the slot where it is supposed to be and must be for the string to tune properly.

The above problem is extremely easy to diagnose and I'm amazed so few people notice it, including all these shake and bake "guitar techs"...but they don't because they have become idiotically hypnotized by electronic tuners and fiddling with 12th fret intonation at the expense of developing a good ear for finding bad notes.

OK, if you have "intonated" your guitar and have the open E "in tune," play the F, F# and G. Are they "in tune"? If so, cool. Are they decreasingly sharp as you go up the scale? You have this problem, and it's probably going to require expert nut work. Check the other strings as well. Until this is repaired, the whole string is off, just as if you'd backed a saddle 1/8" out of place. One of your two critical witness points is not where it should be.

I'm seeing this on brand new $2000 US Fenders (for example) as well as on cheap imports.

That's enough for now. In the next installment, maybe we can get to the grosser misconceptions about shielding.

Last edited by Bezmotivnik; 11-12-2010 at 04:53 AM.
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Old 11-12-2010, 07:25 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bezmotivnik View Post
Avoid self-ordained "guitar techs" who offer instant "While-U-Wait" setups at fixed fees. My local Guitar Center had a big event where you could drag your guitar in and have it "professionally set up" on the spot for $20. Quick and dirty setups like this have about a 50/50 chance of improving or worsening a guitar, but they're never complete nor correct. A setup done right takes time and has to be rechecked after a couple of days after the adjustments, particularly to the neck, have had time to "settle." A pretty large majority of "guitar techs" I've encountered didn't know what they were doing and were duffers learning (if at all) on other people's gear as they went along and charging them for it.
Hey - thanks for the warning. I'm lucky to have a really excellent shop near me that can do this for me. http://www.actionguitar.com/

If I'm asking for a set-up, should I separately ask about the electronics and pick-up height etc...or should that be included and addressed by a competent setup?
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Old 11-12-2010, 08:32 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bezmotivnik View Post
I've been working on electric guitars and basses for almost forty-five years, and used to swap setup and maintenance tips with Dan Erlewine (who is a wonderful guy, BTW). At the moment, I own or have in route sixty (I believe!) personal guitars and basses of all sorts.

I may not be a fantastic player, but I know gear.

A few comments on setup and tuning and the misnomer, "setting intonation." Man, I hardly know where to start...

Well, randomly, here goes!

Take setup and "intonation" advice you hear on guitar forums with a grain of salt or disregard it completely, because 95%+ of these people simply have no clue. Real guitar pros who know what they're talking about leave within days. Dan lasted about two weeks when he tried to give advice on a major forum. Guitar forums are almost entirely about wannabees pooling their ignorance and aggressively institutionalizing it as unthinking peer group dogma. They resist new and better data with great hostility...largely because, well, they're stupid.

Avoid self-ordained "guitar techs" who offer instant "While-U-Wait" setups at fixed fees. My local Guitar Center had a big event where you could drag your guitar in and have it "professionally set up" on the spot for $20. Quick and dirty setups like this have about a 50/50 chance of improving or worsening a guitar, but they're never complete nor correct. A setup done right takes time and has to be rechecked after a couple of days after the adjustments, particularly to the neck, have had time to "settle." A pretty large majority of "guitar techs" I've encountered didn't know what they were doing and were duffers learning (if at all) on other people's gear as they went along and charging them for it.

Your guitar will NEVER be "intonated" or even "in tune." Jack Endino did a great little article about the sheer impossibility of the recorded guitar ever being "in tune," even if there was any actual agreement on what "in tune" even is, and there isn't. There are wide opinions on the proper temperament for guitar, and the played note does not have stable pitch in any case. To the extent "intonation" means anything at all, it means that all the notes you actually play sound more or less correct by your definition of on-pitch. And good luck on even getting that much in the ballpark. Fooling around with the 12th fret and its harmonic and adjusting the saddle to that is only an approximation, a starting point. In itself it means nothing. THE SINGLE BIGGEST TUNING PROBLEM IS THE NUT, particularly at the big E string, which is grossly mis-cut on probably a majority of the new production guitars I'm seeing at any price point short of Custom Shop. Pre-cut nuts are becoming the rule, and they are a scandal. The problem is that the big E, especially, cannot handle the break angle. The nut is not ramping the string properly and is levering it up at the back of the slot, which becomes the witness point rather than the front face of the slot where it is supposed to be and must be for the string to tune properly.

The above problem is extremely easy to diagnose and I'm amazed so few people notice it, including all these shake and bake "guitar techs"...but they don't because they have become idiotically hypnotized by electronic tuners and fiddling with 12th fret intonation at the expense of developing a good ear for finding bad notes.

OK, if you have "intonated" your guitar and have the open E "in tune," play the F, F# and G. Are they "in tune"? If so, cool. Are they decreasingly sharp as you go up the scale? You have this problem, and it's probably going to require expert nut work. Check the other strings as well. Until this is repaired, the whole string is off, just as if you'd backed a saddle 1/8" out of place. One of your two critical witness points is not where it should be.

I'm seeing this on brand new $2000 US Fenders (for example) as well as on cheap imports.

That's enough for now. In the next installment, maybe we can get to the grosser misconceptions about shielding.
This is awesome. For someone like me just starting to learn how to do guitar setups, this is really good to know. It's not rocket science to me - but knowing all of the nuances and how they interplay with other parts of the guitar is really useful information.
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Old 11-12-2010, 09:31 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Bezmotivnik View Post

Avoid self-ordained "guitar techs" who offer instant "While-U-Wait" setups at fixed fees.
Big +1 to this. I've corrected totally hacked up setups from friends that had their stuff "set up" at a big music chain.

Find a good local guy that is recommended from long time local players. Pay the extra $20-$30 for the setup. I can almost guarantee he/she listen to your requests, ask what style of music you play, set up the guitar for YOU. Also, they will often even tell you what they did to improve your guitar, which in turn is a learning experience for you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bezmotivnik View Post
Your guitar will NEVER be "intonated" or even "in tune."
This is also true, in a sense. I'll add that a perfectly intonated guitar will still be out of tune if you man handle chords (like I do). If the tech pressed on the 12th fret lightly and intonates it and you grip the neck like a bear and press harder on the strings, the chord will be "out of tune". Jumbo frets amplify this problem.
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Old 11-12-2010, 01:15 PM   #9
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Since we're on the topic of setup, has anyone tried PLEK? http://www.plek.com/en_US/home/
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Old 11-12-2010, 02:30 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Bezmotivnik View Post

Your guitar will NEVER be "intonated" or even "in tune."
so true - many people dont realize that not only does a guitar have to be intonated and tuned - it also has to be PLAYED in tune! lol
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Old 11-12-2010, 07:21 AM   #11
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4. This is huge: get in touch with your parametric EQ. For reasons unknown to me, digital guitar effects, even when they sound quite good, tend to leave a certain imprint of fizzy trash at certain frequencies, most often in the 2kHz~11kHz range. Set up a parametric eq with a sharp boost (say, +10dB with a Q of 3 or higher), and sweep around that upper midrange. What you are looking for is places where the EQ'd guitar sounds like a steady-state whine, with no change between notes, chords, beats, or whatever. Ten-to-one says you find at least one such frequency. When you do, zero in on the most obnoxious, offensive frequency (the one that sounds most like high-pitched fan noise, for lack of a better example) and turn the boost into a cut. You'll have to play around with Q and cut amount to find the best compromise, but a one or two such rips can make a huge improvement in a fizzy or nasal guitar tone (analog or digital, but digital amp emulators seem to be the worst offenders). You might find similar offenders in the lower mids, or anywhere else. It's trial-and-error to figure out how much and how many cuts you can get away with before killing the guitar sound, and sometimes it works better BEFORE the distortion/amp simulator, but usually after. But once you have it set up, it tends to work pretty well as a preset/template for that guitar sound.
Great thread! Thanks for the advice so far. I've jsut started working on recording/mixing my first album, and for a variety of practical necessities, and I'm using primarily digital amp sims and sampled drums, so any help I can get is appreciated. I get some great sounds from Guitar Rig, but sometimes the high gain amps do have a nasty fizz going. Hopefully this will help.

I'm wondering -- you mention the pre-amp push-back when using a physical amp. I have an old Crate Powerblock that I sometimes use as a DI box - just to warm the tone before it hits Guitar Rig. It's solid state, but actually quite warm. Would this restore that push-back?

Thanks again.

Finally -- there's another great thread starting up that is a great pair with this one:
The Metal & Hard Rock Production Thread
http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=68501



Thanks to the Reaper community for being so eager to share!
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Old 11-14-2010, 02:58 AM   #12
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4. This is huge: get in touch with your parametric EQ. For reasons unknown to me, digital guitar effects, even when they sound quite good, tend to leave a certain imprint of fizzy trash at certain frequencies, most often in the 2kHz~11kHz range. Set up a parametric eq with a sharp boost (say, +10dB with a Q of 3 or higher), and sweep around that upper midrange. What you are looking for is places where the EQ'd guitar sounds like a steady-state whine, with no change between notes, chords, beats, or whatever. Ten-to-one says you find at least one such frequency. When you do, zero in on the most obnoxious, offensive frequency (the one that sounds most like high-pitched fan noise, for lack of a better example) and turn the boost into a cut. You'll have to play around with Q and cut amount to find the best compromise, but a one or two such rips can make a huge improvement in a fizzy or nasal guitar tone (analog or digital, but digital amp emulators seem to be the worst offenders). You might find similar offenders in the lower mids, or anywhere else. It's trial-and-error to figure out how much and how many cuts you can get away with before killing the guitar sound, and sometimes it works better BEFORE the distortion/amp simulator, but usually after. But once you have it set up, it tends to work pretty well as a preset/template for that guitar sound.
Any chance of supplying some audio examples of the sweep, finding the EQ notch, then before and after comparison?
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Old 11-14-2010, 03:04 AM   #13
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Also, what are your thoughts on current vst amps?

I understand there's a well argued opinion that if you're happy with your sound, it doesn't matter how you arrive there, and I am wary of this turning into A vs B...what am I trying to say...

I tend to use LePou amps and Redwirez cabs for my guitar, compared to Line6, they just sound more alive. On the guitarampmodeling.com forums, there seems to be a sense of triumph of their analogue modelling over commercial amp sims.

And, further that, how do people approach using vst amp sims? Is it to get a convincing 'real' guitar tone, or is it to get an awesome guitar tone? As in, autotune used to be getting a singer to sound like a real 'good' singer, but now it's used as an outright effect.
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Old 11-14-2010, 06:24 AM   #14
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...I tend to use LePou amps and Redwirez cabs for my guitar, compared to Line6, they just sound more alive...
I am using LePou's LeXTAC in conjuction with a variety of cab IRs about 90% of the times these days. There is "magic" in the power amp knob on that thing.

My primary tones are clean to on the edge of break-up using my Variax or Gretsch Tennesean. I have found that LeXTAC is superior for these tones (in most instances) to all of the other ampsims (both commercial & freeware) that I have. In particular the high end seems more "open" to my ears (sorry that I have to use a subjective term).


Quote:
...And, further that, how do people approach using vst amp sims? Is it to get a convincing 'real' guitar tone, or is it to get an awesome guitar tone? As in, autotune used to be getting a singer to sound like a real 'good' singer, but now it's used as an outright effect.
I generally have a tone in my head that I associate with a particular hardware amplifier. I use whatever combination of ampsim/IR/effect it takes to achieve it.
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Old 11-14-2010, 07:19 AM   #15
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I'm not a guitarist. This gives me a big advantage in my opinion.

I have never been on a quest for the 'ultimate guitarsound'. Koch, Fender, Mesa-Boogie, Marschall, LePoulin, TSE X30... I really don't care what generates the noise. I listen to the song/band and I try to find the tone that it needs. This may end up way different then the guitarists 'own sound' but when you deliver a good sounding mix with a nicely fitting guitartone, they'll probably forgive you...

Even outside the scope of recording. Most guitarists really have the wrong idea of what a guitar should sound like. They spend 95% of their time filling up their spare-bedroom with a sound that fills every little squeek in the frequency spectrum, completely ignoring the fact that they'll have to spend the other 5% (the percentile that matters) in a collaboration with other instrumentalists. If had a dime for every time I heard a guitarist say: 'But it sounded great at home?!'...

On the upside: The people in this thread probably aren't 'most guitarists' as I described them. Since this is the REAPER forum, you probably have an interest in recording and mixing, which seems to give any musician a broader perspective.
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Old 12-02-2010, 02:51 AM   #16
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I'm not a guitarist. This gives me a big advantage in my opinion.
Even outside the scope of recording. Most guitarists really have the wrong idea of what a guitar should sound like. They spend 95% of their time filling up their spare-bedroom with a sound that fills every little squeek in the frequency spectrum, completely ignoring the fact that they'll have to spend the other 5% (the percentile that matters) in a collaboration with other instrumentalists. If had a dime for every time I heard a guitarist say: 'But it sounded great at home?!'...
I'm probably more like this person - I studied as a guitarist as a young chap but barely play now and this helps I think to get away from the idea of "the perfect tone" and more into "what does the piece need"

also I think when talking about 'sound' people should give examples - it would be really helpful because 'guitar sound' is so broad. Personally I tend to EQ out the frequencies covered by other instruments quite heavily. But solo guitar recording is completely different.

re tuning - people sometimes forget that how hard ones fingers press affects the tuning as much as many other things. I take the view that one should tune to the individual piece being played - I'm assuming we're talking recording here, not live, which is much more restricted

here are two different sounds in the one piece, both DI'd, (G&L for clean sound and Jackson for the distorted sound) rough mix coz it is late. All freeware fx on guitar I think - it is an old piece and I haven't gone back to see what I used - probably freeamp3.

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Last edited by slow; 12-02-2010 at 05:03 AM.
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Old 11-14-2010, 12:19 PM   #17
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And, further that, how do people approach using vst amp sims? Is it to get a convincing 'real' guitar tone, or is it to get an awesome guitar tone? As in, autotune used to be getting a singer to sound like a real 'good' singer, but now it's used as an outright effect.
That's a great question. My personal approach is that I want an awesome sound, and I don't care how accurately it replicates a particular real amp. But I can understand different styles and genres of music might not work with that approach.
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Old 11-23-2010, 07:19 PM   #18
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What about the quality of the preamps in most interfaces today like RME and/or Presonus? I plan on doing mostly guitars in my studio, would it be smart to invest in one really good quality channel for miking and D.I.ing guitars, thus bypassing the interfaces internal pre's?
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Old 11-24-2010, 11:49 AM   #19
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sorry if slightly OT, since the thread Yep's started out was about getting a nice ALL-ITB guitar sound.
I do not believe anyone could get a nice sounding egt even from a pricey preamp direct to the box, - I mean a decent sounding guitar compared to a well amp'd/mic'd real situation (such a difficult task, per se).

As an owner of a vox ac30, nothing compares to it when it comes to emulate that sound digitally.

that said, even if I don't understand too much about electric impedance, magnetic fields, bla bla, the better result I've got so far ITB is via that little device called Vox Amp Plug plugged into my guitar and direct to the audio card input (presonus)
by experience, I can get rid of many disturbing frequencies from the source

or, to make it short, I like it more :-D
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Old 11-27-2010, 12:21 PM   #20
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As an owner of a vox ac30, nothing compares to it when it comes to emulate that sound digitally
That amp is really a dream to record. Haven't gotten any comparable crunch sound out of a digital sim yet. Clean and heavy distortion tend to work better in digital, although the heavily distorted tones can be a little harsh/fizzy/noisy.
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Old 12-21-2013, 11:53 AM   #21
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I'm not a guitar head. I usually just plug my guitar into the input, record it dry and then add whatever is necessary to get the sound I want.
This is the future, and welcome to it.

I don't listen to pop music much because I'm no longer paid to, but when I do hear money music these days, guitar sounds to me like a straight A/D transduced tracks worked on by a pro sound designer later on under the direction of the producer.

That's fine. That's progress. I'm 100% for it.
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