Trusting Your Ears Guitar Recording

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There are a few things that people seem to forget when recording an instrument like electric guitar. To get a great guitar recording you have to start with a great guitar tone. Before you even consider setting up a microphone, take a second to listen and adjust the tone. If the amp is loud, turn it down and adjust the tone. Your hearing will quickly become cloudy if you are trying to get a good tone while the amp is set too loud. Get a good tone with the amp on low volume and then turn it up. Some engineers like to setup the guitar head inside the control room and although it works for some people, I think it is important to get the right tone in the room before you start placing mics. Micing the cab and trying to get a good tone in the control room adds another variable that will end up taking more time if the mic is not placed in the ideal position. Once you achieve a great tone, its time to mic the cab and make sure you are getting the same tone you just heard in the live room. If you’re not getting a good tone in the control room, move the mic. Don’t compensate for a poor mic placement with EQ or settle with a poor tone that you will “fix in the mix”. If you are using more than one mic, make sure you are following the 3:1 rule and that the mics are in phase. If the mic’s are out of phase you will lose a significant amount of the tone you were going for. When you finally get the tone coming through the studio monitors its time to start tracking guitar.