… are very tricky instruments to record correctly, as you have a lot of small issues to overcome to achieve competitive results in the world of modern music production. - We've all rushed to record a guitar track only to find out that it does not sound nearly as good as expected.
Here are a few tips that should help you:
1.) NOT SETTING UP THE INSTRUMENT PROPERLY!!
This is a classic problem that many engineers encounter on a regular basis: a musician shows up with a guitar that's not adjusted correctly and still has strings on from that gig - 6 months ago!
There is no way that this instrument will sound good when recorded!! (Unless you’re going for that “unprofessional and I don’t care” sound.)
Musicians may try to convince everyone that their instruments are fine when they really are not, to save money on strings and maintenance.
[ED: With most musician’s budgets, this is totally understandable. BUT - when going in to a recording studio - and paying your hard-earned money for a quality recording - wouldn’t it make sense to put your best foot forward, and get new strings??]
Make sure that you check the instruments before recording them:
Intonation, neck straightness, pickup height, string action and the overall condition of the frets are crucial to achieving a great guitar tone.
Be sure to use the appropriate string gauge for the guitar and the tuning.
Strings that are too thin will be loose and won't stay in tune when played with more attack. Strings that are too heavy may impact the player's performance and will generally sound a little less bright.
One more thing – if the instrument has active pickups, change the batteries before recording!!
A dead battery will make the signal distorted and lo-fi sounding which can only be fixed by re-tracking the takes.
2.) FORGETTING TO ELIMINATE MECHANICAL “GREMLINS”
Guitars are very mechanical instruments – there's plastic or vinyl hitting metal and more metal grinding against metal which creates a lot of unnecessary vibrations and buzzing.
Even if these small nuisances are sometimes not easily heard unplugged, once you plug the instrument in, add saturation, distortion and compression, they will poke out like a sore thumb.
One of the first things you can do is to mute any unnecessary strings that are subject to sympathetic vibrations, such as the string ends behind the nut on the headstock – these tiny open strings can and will vibrate when you play and create a dissonant droning noise that can be heard very well when playing staccato parts.
These strings can be muted by slipping tiny piece of foam under them.
The same applies to the other end of the strings behind the bridge, if the guitar has a tune-o-matic style bridge, or to the strings of a tremolo system.
Sometimes, when recording rhythm guitars, it's a good idea to tape off the unnecessary strings to eliminate a possibility of them ringing in the background and ruining what could possibly be the ultimate take.
As you know, recording electric guitars might be a bit tricky, but these tips will help you to make this process much pleasant.
Article Courtesy of Andris at JZ MICROPHONES: https://usashop.jzmic.com/