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Help with achieving a good guitar sound.


ajcassidy

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This has been discussed before but I am still unclear as how to achieve a "full" guitar sound in logic. People have discussed doing multiple takes and duplicating audio tracks to "beef up the sound". For the part I want to play, doing multiple takes and piecing them together never sounds that great. Is it really pointless to just duplicate the audio track and play with panning and adding effects to achieve a better sound? Some of the experiments I have had with this sound promising. Some have pointed out that this only boosts the volume of the track, is this really true? To my ears it's more than just volume, the track does sound stronger and fuller. Please advise.
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What style of music are we talking about? What genre of sound? Disto, clean, rythm, lead....?

 

I'm not a big fan of the "duplicate track..." technique, but it's a quick way to thicken the sound. If you pan it differently and add different effects than on the original, then it does do more than simply boosting the level.

 

It really all depends on the style...

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Thanks to all for replying

 

Recording is direct to logic through edirol usb audio interface and using plug-ins to enhance sound. The styles range from heavier distorted blues to clean jazz. Please keep any suggestions coming. Thanks again

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During a session one time we a/b'd a pod with a real live dual recto with the huge boogie 4 x 12 cab. Well not even close. On another session, using a sans amp pedal we ab'd it with a real black face fender twin. Well they didn't sound alike, but the sans amp actually stood up to the fender twin and we were able to use them both.

 

The moral of the story? Use what you have and try to make the best of it.

 

One other thing. If you're multi tracking the same guitar part, you'll need to then port it over to pro tools and put it into vocalign. I'm sorry, but I am a guitar player and the multi tracked sounds they're getting these days aren't human. They're vocaligned. Apple, Emagic, you need to get a version of this plugin into Logic, It's been around for years so what';s the deal?

 

Guitar rig is good, a pod is good, of course a real amp is better. You just have to deal with what you have..

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Hi!

For rock (and various sub-genres), I suggest taking a 4x12, get it off the ground and isolated from the ground as much as possible. Put a set of cans on the guy you send out there with some mics, make sure he/she wont get hearing damage.

 

I would decide what you are going for, and then over mic it. Use a nice large D condesner for a room tone, then place a good old 57 up close and take the time to place it well. Lastly, a nice ribbon. Using a nice one, such as the Royer stuff, backed off about 8-12 inches should do it.

 

You migth only use one mic in the end, or blend them all. The ribbon should give you incredible body, and the 57 some good bite and should allow it to sit well in almost any mix. Roll 'em all off to keep them out of drum and bass teritory. NO COMPRESSION pls. While some might opt for a Distressor on the way in, which I happen to love the sound of, I would instead opt to add that in later, rather than commit to "tape."

 

Keep those close mics from being hard panned. Back 'em off hard pan just a little bit, and use the room mic to fill the edges ever so slightly. Close your eyes, create the space.

 

Amp modellers are all horrible to me. Sorry, old school snob here. If you want that modern over-saturated tone, then sure- grab any one of them and go to town. The only one I have found that I even like for scratch tracks while composing is...believe it or not...the Behringer V-Amp Pro. Go figure. Take time to work with that puppy, and you can fool most people. Musicians and engineers with good ears will hear that tell-tale upper freq tearing/splintering, and the scrambled low-mids, but in a real pinch, Id ALMOST be tempted to keep some of those takes. And I have tried so many of the modellers out there. There is a reason I will eat ramen for a week instead of sellling one of my amps or cabs...

 

Once recorded, try to use EQ to subtract first. Less distortion/gain in the sound being recorded almost always equals more articulation getting thru. If articulation is lacking, you then blend in a clean track, gated and EQ'd, to allow the attack part to get through. If I anticipate this being a problem when going to record, I will split the signal, one going to the amp for mic'ing, and the other going DI...like you might do with an electric bass.

 

With distorted guitars, less is more. Tailoring with EQ is vital to allow it to sit properly, allowing other instruments to be heard cleanly. Listen to early Van Halen. AC-DC. And then Smashing Pumpkins (Siamese Dream is a good example). Each provides an example of different approaches. Van Halen is nice and articulate, with less=more, big time. AC-DC is the middle, but close to being a nice two guitar version of the Van Halen type, but the sound "surrounds and hugs" you a bit more. Smashing is...well...(over) saturation at it's finest. Dozens upon dozens of tracks of guitars in some places. Multiple overdrive pedals inline. But, through excellent engineering, it works. And if you listen closely, you will hear how they used clean(er) guitars amidst those over-saturated tracks that lack articulation and clarity, and that is what makes it work. EQ, placement, blending, etc. For an exercise in extremes, check out the song "Christine" by Devin Townsend. Listen to a full album of that, and you are just plain tired. Your ears will need a week to recover. But, once again, you can hear everything, despite how fatiguing it is due to oversaturation and overcompression (darn RMS is close to the peaks!)

 

Now, if you are solely, 100% only interested in how to plug in direct (100%clean) and then add something in Logic later...well...I would seriously suggest trying out the V-Amp Pro, and the Vox line. I feel both are in a different league than any software modeller. (sorry- POD just never cut it...any version...like a chainsaw on a blackboard to me...)

 

Good Luck!

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Nikki gives good advice, although I would suggest NI's Guitar Rig as a first choice for a modelling plug, as others here have...

 

Recently did a session with a producer who was an absolute nazi about tuning...

 

And I realized partway thru that he was making total sense. Guitars that are in tune (especially if you're blending multiple takes) gain size, work 'together' better, work better with other instruments...

 

Have a good tech set up the instrument so that it plays in tune all the way up the neck (intonation), use a good tuner (Korg rackmount or Peterson strobe), tune between takes, and make the player aware of how they are playing (unintentional bending or pulling, especially on chords). Your guitars will just sound... Better.

 

Best, Marcel

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Get guitars outfitted with the buzz feiten tuning system and you will never go back ever again.

 

I second that, all my guitars now sit in the studio getting dusty with the exception outfitted with the buzz feiten tuning system. It's nothing short of incredible.

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I think we are getting a little off topic with regards to the original question which was

 

This has been discussed before but I am still unclear as how to achieve a "full" guitar sound in logic. People have discussed doing multiple takes and duplicating audio tracks to "beef up the sound". For the part I want to play, doing multiple takes and piecing them together never sounds that great. Is it really pointless to just duplicate the audio track and play with panning and adding effects to achieve a better sound? Some of the experiments I have had with this sound promising. Some have pointed out that this only boosts the volume of the track, is this really true? To my ears it's more than just volume, the track does sound stronger and fuller. Please advise.

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I don't think we're getting off topic at all. Good sound begins with, well, good sound. It seems like you're having a hard time accepting that. I am very happy with my guitar sounds, and don't duplicate/offset/effect multiple tracks to get it. Good instruments, good amps (or modelers if you must), good mics and pres, and most importantly good arrangements, tuning, and precise playing will achieve a "good guitar sound".

 

I think contributors to this topic have given good suggestions, and we don't need you to scold us for it.

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I think we are getting a little off topic with regards to the original question which was

 

This has been discussed before but I am still unclear as how to achieve a "full" guitar sound in logic. People have discussed doing multiple takes and duplicating audio tracks to "beef up the sound". For the part I want to play, doing multiple takes and piecing them together never sounds that great. Is it really pointless to just duplicate the audio track and play with panning and adding effects to achieve a better sound? Some of the experiments I have had with this sound promising. Some have pointed out that this only boosts the volume of the track, is this really true? To my ears it's more than just volume, the track does sound stronger and fuller. Please advise.

 

If you think having in tune guitars are off topic for good guitar sound I can see why your having issues. It is by far the MOST important thing for getting a good sound. I would not take time out of my busy day to help you if it were not, I certainly wont next time.

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I think we are getting a little off topic with regards to the original question which was

 

This has been discussed before but I am still unclear as how to achieve a "full" guitar sound in logic. People have discussed doing multiple takes and duplicating audio tracks to "beef up the sound". For the part I want to play, doing multiple takes and piecing them together never sounds that great. Is it really pointless to just duplicate the audio track and play with panning and adding effects to achieve a better sound? Some of the experiments I have had with this sound promising. Some have pointed out that this only boosts the volume of the track, is this really true? To my ears it's more than just volume, the track does sound stronger and fuller. Please advise.

 

If you think having in tune guitars are off topic for good guitar sound I can see why your having issues. It is by far the MOST important thing for getting a good sound. I would not take time out of my busy day to help you if it were not, I certainly wont next time.

 

AJ,

 

I agree this has strayed off the topic of acheiving a 'full' guitar sound in Logic. The discussion has focused on how important an 'In Tune guitar' is. I agree 100% that a guitar should be in tune and this goes for all instruments as well. Unless the intent is to have an 'Out of tune' instrument, then 'In Tune' is absolute.

 

Now, if we all were to tune our guitars properly, this would NOT result in a 'Full' Sound in Logic and I hope everyone can see the difference. Enough with the tuning and on to the question of a 'Fuller' sound in Logic.

 

Everyone has a specific preference of what a full sound is and how guitars should be recorded. A solo Acoustic track sound could vary from the the extreme heavy metal Napalm burning riffs that melt your face into a puddle of goo.

 

The question I have is how do YOU want your guitar to sound.

Is there a particular artist or guitar sound you want to have?

You can spend thousands of dollars to buy the best quality Amps and Microphones and then you would need a high quality mixer to either get the sound in or out of your high quality recorder. If all you have is an Epiphone guitar and a fuzz pedal, Logic will be limited to how close you are going to get to perfection. The plug-ins can only do so much to get a desired effect.

 

What good is it for me to tell you to turn your marshall amp to '11' and use Buzz Feiten tuning systems if you don't have a Marshall amp or the money to invest in a tuning system. That advice is like telling a midget to grow another few inches if he wants to be taller. (No offense to any midgets, I apologize for that comparison).

 

If you are going to stay within the confines of Logic, then experiment with all the available preset plug-ins and experiment with recording techniques. What works for me may not work for you.

 

Having an In tune instrument and the cleanest possible sound is important even before you hit that record button. What you do inside logic is up to you.

 

When you are finished recording, mixing, effecting, and printing you will find that it is all an Audio Illusion, tricks and techniques used to fool your ears into thinking you have a full sound.

 

That's my 2 cents. :?

Mark

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Thank you Mark. To others, my intention was not to scold, only to get an answer to my original question which was with regards to a "full" guitar sound. All advice is certainly most appreciated. In response to Mark the quality and depth of sound I would most like to emulate would be that of Al Di Meola in tracks such as "Ballad".
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Personally I'm a big fan of double tracking but only on certain arrangements. For example, a heavily distorted arpeggiation doesn't sound good double tracked, but a riff-oriented part does.

 

I usually find that a little 'slop' between the two parts gives it more character as long as it doesn't drift to far.

 

A perfect example is the song "Free Ride" by Edgar Winter. Listen to that wonderful little opening riff, which is doubled almost perfectly (I think Rick Derringer is actually playing it) and it sounds great. Then there is the little riff that happens on the backbeat right after the chorus, and that is obviously doubled with a fair amount of slop in it, in fact after the second chorus one guitar part messes up the timing a bit (might have been intentional..who knows) but it sounds great.

 

During the lead the part is doubled up until the chorus section, where they start playing harmonies. This is a great trick that is used (or was anyway) a lot in the '70's and really works well.

 

As far as recording goes, personally I've found that while amp modelers are fantastic (I use a PodPro xt) there is just no substitution for a good amp and an sm57 running through a decent mic pre and a trusty dbx 160. The trick is finding the right tone on the amp first that matches the song and going from there. Some amps, like my Mesa duo recto can emulate just about any other amp, but still when I want that chorus-ey clean sound (like Andy Summers) I use my Roland JC120 doubled with the Mesa and mix the two together at the console for an incredible tone.

 

For physical reasons amps are able to produce more harmonics that modelers, and nothing can even come close to my Goodsell Super17 when it comes to sparkling harmonics. I use this amp religiously because it is so versitile and sounds good regardless of the setting.

 

I have found though the the PodPro xt is great for leads if you tweak it a bit, and use it all of the time for that purpose as well. Of course it is great for laying down scratch tracks and coming up with sounds quickly in a pinch.

 

There is also mic technique, which could take hours to go into but there are hundreds of books and threads discussing that, and it is very important in getting a good tone. I almost always use a sm57 off axis about 2/3" away from the center of the cone, but you can get wildly different sounds by just moving the mic an inch or two, or even placing it across the room in some instances.

 

For example, for a semi-clean blues tone I mic the Mesa with the sm57 2/3" from the cone in the front, and then use my U-67 set to a figure 8 pattern about 3 feet behind the amp at the same level as the speakers. I just pan those at about 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock and get a great fat rich tone. Usually I have to roll the bass off on the U-67 track a bit because it gets a little boomy, but other than that it sounds great with nothing but a little verb added.

 

Another great trick is to use two sm57's on the same amp, one off-axis close to the cone and one on-axis on the edge of the cone (use different speakers if you have a multi-speaker amp, if not throw one mic out of phase) and pan those L-R and you'll get a great sound (if your amp sounds good).

 

Bottom line is that if you can get a good sound coming out of the amp, with a little practice you can easily get it into your DAW and get great tones. There are some really good players out there who use nothing but amp modelers now and get fantastic tones (Lindsay Buckingham did a whole album using nothing but an Alesis Q-verb GT and it sounds incredible!)

 

Good luck!

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Hi all,

 

I am new to the forum and thought this subject heading looked very interesting. That was until I read down the list of replies and saw how quickly the subject DID get away from the original topic. I was further surprised by some of the infantile comments that were subsequently made when the original poster tried (quite reasonably) to steer the discussion back to the initial topic. Is this going to happen if I post a question. I have to confess to feeling more than a little inhibited to be involved in the discussions at all.

 

That said, I would like to hear more comments on doubling not only guitar but built in instruments as well.

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hey Zeb,

don't be afraid to jump in, but remember you might not always get the answer you're hoping for.

I just read that when recording Al DiMeola (not sure if it's the song mentioned), Al played a 1930's Martin and the engineers used Scheopps cardiod mics in and X/Y config with two Earthworks Omnis set back a few feet. They also used great preamps in a great room with a great engineer. Add all that up and you get a big guitar sound. Al doing the playing probably didn't hurt either.

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I think if you read between the lines a bit here, you can tell that there are many things involved in getting a 'full' guitar sound. The process of going from the player's brain (or soul, or whatever) to your ears in the control room involves a lot of different elements, all of which have to be working together to produce a great recording. For me sometimes the process of recording is about eliminating potential problems or variables so that the few that I have left get the attention they deserve. I do this partly by experimenting when the pressure's not on, and bringing the results with me when I work, so I'm not saying don't try anything new. But when you get something you like, don't be afraid to use it again.

 

All that said, I would offer a few things that may be helpful:

 

-Don't expect magic from your DAW. Try to get stuff 'right' before it gets there, at least when it comes to recorded audio. Focus your attention on what comes before the computer.

 

-Don't hit your converters too hard. Those are not VU meters you see on the screen. Peaks of around -6 to -9dBfs work well for recording. There are a few threads on this forum about sensible use of levels in Logic.

 

-Be aware of what you are doing and the impact it has on the results you are getting. That way, if you want to you can do it again.

 

Best, Marcel

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