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Author Topic: Q: "THAT" modern guitar sound  (Read 15654 times)

daxliniere

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Q: "THAT" modern guitar sound
« on: May 21, 2008, 10:56:04 pm »

Hey guys,

There is a particular guitar sound that's been very popular for quite a while now.
It's typical with pop-punk/emo/hard rock bands.
One example is the track "The Window" - http://www.purevolume.com/themissioninmotion or http://www.myspace.com/themissioninmotion

In all the recordings I've done, I've never gotten that exact sound which makes me wonder, "Am I doing something 'wrong' or is it just the musician's choice of guitar amp?"

Any suggestions greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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Dax Liniere

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jimmyjazz

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Re: Q: "THAT" modern guitar sound
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2008, 11:21:25 pm »

You're from Sydney, they're from Sydney.  Why don't you ask them, or their engineer?  

(I have a sneaking suspicion you ARE their engineer.)
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rankus

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Re: Q: "THAT" modern guitar sound
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2008, 02:54:55 pm »


I would suspect that they are using Mesa amps and Re-Amping several layers for that rhythm gtr. sound... Perhaps re-amping through a few different amps for tonal variety as well.

The style of playing is a lot to do with it as well as the "one finger chords" and "octave chords" the kids are fond of these days.

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daxliniere

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Re: Q: "THAT" modern guitar sound
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2008, 12:02:29 am »

Hey Jimmy, good inference, but no, I'm not their engineer.

As for asking, I figured, as a competing business, their engineer is unlikely to give me any tips.

But hey, who knows, I guess I should ask! Smile


Rankus, thanks for your suggestions too. I had Mesa on my mind too, but couldn't seem to find any photos of them playing live, etc.
Not to say that they necessarily owned the amps they used on the recording.
As for musical style/chord choice, good suggestion!
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Dax Liniere

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j.hall

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Re: Q: "THAT" modern guitar sound
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2008, 04:17:00 pm »

i avoid the mesa rectifier series in the studio.  i prefer old marshalls, fenders, matchless, vox.

then again, i don't work on "modern rock" sounding records.....
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ALLCAPS

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Re: Q: "THAT" modern guitar sound
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2008, 04:38:24 pm »

what's your general M.O.?

try quad-tracking the rhythm tracks with less gain than you think you need(I am assuming you don't). Make sure you can still hear the pick hitting the strings.

I like 5150's, triple xxx's and marshalls (usually a combo of those), through a mesa oversized for "that sound". I hate the flab on the low end of the recto's, though you can reduce the "woof" with a multiband compressor at mixdown.
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Firefly

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Re: Q: "THAT" modern guitar sound
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2008, 04:45:33 pm »

I would be over happy if someone could give a definitive answer to this question!

This is kinda one of my personal holy grails. Anyway, my best approximation so far is a humbucker GTR into MESA or MESA/Marshall (or amp sims as the case might be) with a scooped eq setting (Moderate bass depending on rhythm or lead, hardly any mids and lots of tops. Also bucketloads of gain if not using a high gain amp like a mesa) and lots of layering/doubling. I feel like i'm getting close but never really get the cigar. I don't know if its down to my equipment - using pretty decent sims and modelling amplifiers but well they're still sims - or if i don't have the layering right or something.
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daxliniere

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Re: Q: "THAT" modern guitar sound
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2008, 08:38:20 pm »

Hi Firefly,
I posted my question here too and got some good responses.
You might like to check that out:
http://www.3daudioinc.com/3db/showthread.php?t=13915

@Damage,
"If quad-tracking, lower the gain" - I love it! Great idea, I will DEFINITELY be trying that on my next session of "THAT" ilk. Smile
*hi-5!*
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Dax Liniere

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j.hall

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Re: Q: "THAT" modern guitar sound
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2008, 09:32:10 pm »

lower gain in the studio is a must.  don't mistake that for hardly any gain.  i just find myself turning the gain knob down till the tone cleans up, then going halfway back (as a rule of thumb, it differs all the time)


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ALLCAPS

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Re: Q: "THAT" modern guitar sound
« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2008, 10:18:17 pm »

I'd never run a rectos gain past noon unless it was for solos.
Also I forgot, get that cab pumping. You want it LOUD
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grantis

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Re: Q: "THAT" modern guitar sound
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2008, 12:21:52 pm »

I think a big part of achieving super "modern" or "gainy-sounding" guitars is getting the most gain possible while maintaining attack and pick noise.  

If you gain up the amp with a bunch of preamp gain, the result is completely choked-off attack and really ratty high end.  I know this was already posted, but I'll reiterate it...you want it LOUD.  This is specifically to gain up the power section of the amp, (not the preamp section), and to make the cab work like it was designed to.

I wouldn't limit yourself to a specific brand-name.  I've used Mesa's for really cool clean and semi-gritty "non-modern" sounding guitars and Vox's for really cool gainy "modern" sounds.  If the shoe fits.........
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scottoliphant

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Re: Q: "THAT" modern guitar sound
« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2008, 05:25:33 pm »

surely, the guitar may play a role in the tone as well. maybe not if it's all amp sim'd or whatever the folks recording this stuff are doing these days.

ALLCAPS

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Re: Q: "THAT" modern guitar sound
« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2008, 05:56:48 pm »

scottoliphant wrote on Mon, 26 May 2008 16:25

surely, the guitar may play a role in the tone as well. maybe not if it's all amp sim'd or whatever the folks recording this stuff are doing these days.


absolutely, Les Pauls or a good LP copy (PRS)

everybody here has to play my old goldtop or go home, unless they have something meatier,which rarely happens.
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ALLCAPS

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Re: Q: "THAT" modern guitar sound
« Reply #13 on: May 26, 2008, 06:02:02 pm »

Just like that sweet one in the middle, nice place Scott.
http://www.ohmrecordingfacility.com/wp-content/gallery/guitars/small-042.jpg
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Chris Ilett

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Re: Q: "THAT" modern guitar sound
« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2008, 06:36:10 pm »

I've yet to find a guitar meatier than my custom, but course it could happen.

No, actually it couldn't!  Although put that through a fender cybertwin (ugh) and it sounds the same as an encore.

daxliniere

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Re: Q: "THAT" modern guitar sound
« Reply #15 on: May 26, 2008, 08:44:56 pm »

Quote:

Also I forgot, get that cab pumping. You want it LOUD


I wasn't going to say anything, but since it's been raised twice now, I have to say my bit.

I have had this experience with many guitarists now. They all insist that their amp "has to be turned up to sound right."

I disagree and I have proven it on many occasions.
Record the amp at blistering volume, then turn it down to a reasonable level. I'm not talking quiet, but definetely under 50% and record that.

Then match the gain of the 2 recordings and A/B them. To this day, there has never been a difference.

To put some perspective on it, I monitor through RME->Cranesong HEDD192->ATC T16s in an acoustically treated mix room.

The ear distorts and compresses at high volumes, so this explains why "it sounds better".
I also believe there is a degree of ego (I am so loud!) contributing to this faulty reasoning.
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Dax Liniere

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Re: Q: "THAT" modern guitar sound
« Reply #16 on: May 26, 2008, 09:23:54 pm »

well I am not talking 130db, just enough to see the woofer move on palm mutes and stuff. Your saying "less than half" leads me to belive my definition of "LOUD" and your definition of "reasonable" might be the same volume. Right now I am recording a 5150 with the master on 3, It's pushing maybe 110db in the room, the speaker is excursing nicely and I have no reason to turn it louder than that. I'm getting what I want from it.
There's certainly was a time when it really mattered (old non-master volume marshalls)

My focus is mostly on metal/hard rock/heavy music and I can certainly hear the difference between preamp tube distortion and power amp/speaker saturation. Either way I'm monitoring at 83db, so it isn't my eardrums compressing.
My comment that it needs to be loud means, you can't get that tone at bedroom levels, it wont work.

YMMV, but I much prefer to hear the cabinet getting involved.
For clarity, I AM a guitar player and have a HUGE ego (ha!)


I'd be interested to hear your A/B samples and post some of my own.
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Firefly

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Re: Q: "THAT" modern guitar sound
« Reply #17 on: May 28, 2008, 07:00:26 am »

Thanks for the advice all!  Very Happy  

I've been playing around a bit and found that a muff disto into a 5150 (amp sim  Rolling Eyes ) gives seriously kick ass chugg! case of some distortion from the pedal together with a bit 'o distortion on the amp making something better than the sum of the parts.

I can vouch for the guitar bit, it if ain't a good humbucker (aka les paul) then you might as well not bother.

Something thats been left out of the equation is choice of microphone. The standard mantra is usually a 57, but in my experience (albeit limited when it comes to actually micing up amps) i'll get a nice cutting sound from the amp, but the sound from the mic feels like its gonna scratch my head off! So how much allowance do you guys make for the tonal character of the mic? Okay, that sounds like a retarded question, if its not working obviously you should try another mic or play with the amp settings more - but do you guys find the contrast between what you hear in the room and through the monitors as drastic as i'm describing?

Also how much eq will you use after the fact? Usually i stick to "get it right at source", but i saw a video where a guy was trashing eq on the GTR (esp the highs) and it sounded good, and well, an eq in a sequencer is a lot more versatile than the fixed band eq on an amp...
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grantis

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Re: Q: "THAT" modern guitar sound
« Reply #18 on: May 28, 2008, 10:24:09 am »

I can tell you right now that the 57 is not the best mic for guitars.  Sometimes it works, and it's fine, but there are plenty of other options that could work better.  e906 comes to mind (or 409 if you can get one).  121 rings a bell too.

The room is deceiving.  Trust your monitors.

Obviously, make the tracks as awesome as possible, but IMO, there's no real way to tell EXACTLY how to EQ something before the mix.  Just make it sound really really good in tracking, then don't shy from the EQ in the mix phase.
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Grant Craig
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j.hall

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Re: Q: "THAT" modern guitar sound
« Reply #19 on: May 28, 2008, 11:48:37 am »

Firefly wrote on Wed, 28 May 2008 06:00



I can vouch for the guitar bit, it if ain't a good humbucker (aka les paul) then you might as well not bother.



that's crap.

P-90's are GLORIOUS!!!

single coil fenders can do some really cool things too.

listen to Thrice - Fire, and then tell me a single coil is worthless..........

you also should have one of these in your studio:

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/ElectroHarmonix-Hum-D ebugger-Hum-Eliminator-Pedal?sku=150136

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J-Texas

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Re: Q: "THAT" modern guitar sound
« Reply #20 on: May 28, 2008, 06:03:07 pm »

Man I think a 57 sounds fine on a cab. People have been doing it for years. No, it would not be the perfect choice in all situations.

As far as the room goes... it shouldn't matter that much because the speaker is hitting that mic at 1-12 inches away! I like to go about 3 inches out where the dust cap meets the cone.

That's another thing... if the amp sounds good in front of you, it should sound good to tape. If not, move the mic around. If that doesn't do it... then, yes, by all means try another mic.

If you want to use the 57. Go ahead. But, try to move it around before you start twisting a bunch of knobs.

Also, if you use more than that one mic, the room would absolutely matter... as well as MANY other factors (including Grant  Smile ) the room and the phase relationship between the two mics.


ps. I love my Single Rec combo with my Am. Strat. Sounds great many ways.
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Firefly

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Re: Q: "THAT" modern guitar sound
« Reply #21 on: May 28, 2008, 06:23:41 pm »

j.hall wrote on Wed, 28 May 2008 17:48

Firefly wrote on Wed, 28 May 2008 06:00



I can vouch for the guitar bit, it if ain't a good humbucker (aka les paul) then you might as well not bother.



that's crap.

P-90's are GLORIOUS!!!

single coil fenders can do some really cool things too.




Well i stand corrected then!

But in my experience with fenders trying get a high gain modern sound out of them is like trying to get a cat to wear a tutu...the cats get's angry and your hands are going to bleed! Haven't listened to fire yet but i'll believe theres some cool stuff going on there;).
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J-Texas

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Re: Q: "THAT" modern guitar sound
« Reply #22 on: May 28, 2008, 06:31:51 pm »

Firefly wrote on Wed, 28 May 2008 17:23


But in my experience with fenders trying get a high gain modern sound out of them is like trying to get a cat to wear a tutu...


http://www.robinwood.com/Catalog/Prints/PrintGraphics/CatDancing.jpg
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j.hall

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Re: Q: "THAT" modern guitar sound
« Reply #23 on: May 28, 2008, 09:22:30 pm »

Firefly wrote on Wed, 28 May 2008 17:23



Well i stand corrected then!

But in my experience with fenders trying get a high gain modern sound out of them is like trying to get a cat to wear a tutu...the cats get's angry and your hands are going to bleed! Haven't listened to fire yet but i'll believe theres some cool stuff going on there;).



http://www.myspace.com/thrice

go listen to the song "firebreather" and tell me if single coils can't do the high gain thing.

did you mix the last IMP?  that's my band.  those are P-90's on that song (the whole record actually)

i'd take a good P-90 over a humbucker any day.


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Firefly

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Re: Q: "THAT" modern guitar sound
« Reply #24 on: May 29, 2008, 02:30:49 pm »

 Shocked a cat wearing a tutu!

well guess i'll just keep quiet now...
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pg666

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Re: Q: "THAT" modern guitar sound
« Reply #25 on: May 29, 2008, 03:38:52 pm »

i think you have a point; getting modern single coil Fenders to rock is difficult, but that's because stock Fender pickups kinda suck. good single coil pickups can be pretty ballsy though, unless you go with vintage 1950's sounding pups or something. check out Young Widows to hear how much a Telecaster can rock.

p90s are great too. then again, so are good humbuckers.

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rankus

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Re: Q: "THAT" modern guitar sound
« Reply #26 on: May 29, 2008, 04:52:47 pm »



Um...  Jimi Hendrix

Case closed

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NelsonL

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Re: Q: "THAT" modern guitar sound
« Reply #27 on: May 29, 2008, 05:21:55 pm »

rankus wrote on Thu, 29 May 2008 13:52



Um...  Jimi Hendrix

Case closed




Go see Earthless for a contemporary example!
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Electric Warrior

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Re: Q: "THAT" modern guitar sound
« Reply #28 on: May 31, 2008, 08:03:58 am »

pg666 wrote on Thu, 29 May 2008 21:38

i think you have a point; getting modern single coil Fenders to rock is difficult, but that's because stock Fender pickups kinda suck. good single coil pickups can be pretty ballsy though, unless you go with vintage 1950's sounding pups or something. check out Young Widows to hear how much a Telecaster can rock.

p90s are great too. then again, so are good humbuckers.





p90s ARE vintage 1950's sounding pickups  Laughing
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pg666

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Re: Q: "THAT" modern guitar sound
« Reply #29 on: June 01, 2008, 01:07:55 pm »

well, so are humbuckers, if you're gonna be like that..

i just meant the really early Tele pickups and the like; very bright and wire-y, low output.. not so good for high gain rock.
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daxliniere

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Re: Q: "THAT" modern guitar sound
« Reply #30 on: June 03, 2008, 09:43:48 am »

Hey J,
I just looked up the EH Hum Debugger and found lots of reviews where people have said it altered their guitar tone too much.
Can you comment on that?

On a side note, I can't remember where I read it, but someone was raving about Thrice's last 2 albums, so I went to have a listen. Fkn hell!! They're fantastic! They sound nothing like Thrice! (ha!)
Seriously, I'm really loving all 4 parts of their double concept album. awesome.

Cheers,
Dax.
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Dax Liniere

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j.hall

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Re: Q: "THAT" modern guitar sound
« Reply #31 on: June 03, 2008, 09:49:05 am »

daxliniere wrote on Tue, 03 June 2008 08:43

Hey J,
I just looked up the EH Hum Debugger and found lots of reviews where people have said it altered their guitar tone too much.
Can you comment on that?




for high gain tones, i haven't noticed any loss of tone.

the pedal has two modes, "normal" and "strong"  in the strong mode you lose some top end.  in the normal setting it sounds fine to me.

and ditching the ever annoying BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ  when nothing is being played is totally worth it.
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TheViking

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Re: Q: "THAT" modern guitar sound
« Reply #32 on: June 07, 2008, 08:51:11 pm »

grant richard wrote on Wed, 28 May 2008 10:24

I can tell you right now that the 57 is not the best mic for guitars.  Sometimes it works, and it's fine, but there are plenty of other options that could work better.  e906 comes to mind (or 409 if you can get one).  121 rings a bell too.

The room is deceiving.  Trust your monitors.

Obviously, make the tracks as awesome as possible, but IMO, there's no real way to tell EXACTLY how to EQ something before the mix.  Just make it sound really really good in tracking, then don't shy from the EQ in the mix phase.


The SM57 may not be 'the best' mic, but for the price and what it does, it's awesome!   It is definitely in my top 3 desert island mic list.   If you can't get a good guitar sound working from a 57 then your problem is not the microphone.
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wwittman

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Re: Q: "THAT" modern guitar sound
« Reply #33 on: June 15, 2008, 11:03:50 pm »

that, is, forgive me, a load of crap


if you can't get a decent sound with a 57, try a REAL microphone instead


I can't remember the last time I heard a decent sound from a 57, on anything.


sorry.

I don;t use $100 mics on anything I CARE about.

they're great as a talkback mic though...


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Andy Peters

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Re: Q: "THAT" modern guitar sound
« Reply #34 on: June 16, 2008, 12:43:07 am »

TheViking wrote on Sat, 07 June 2008 17:51

The SM57 may not be 'the best' mic, but for the price and what it does, it's awesome!   It is definitely in my top 3 desert island mic list.   If you can't get a good guitar sound working from a 57 then your problem is not the microphone.


If you're after a "good" tone, then fine, stick with the SM57 and its severe LF rolloff and its nasal presence peak.

If you're after a great guitar tone, then look elsewhere.

-a
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Re: Q: "THAT" modern guitar sound
« Reply #35 on: June 16, 2008, 07:53:38 am »

I dunno...

Hook up a Les Paul to a Marshall stack, crank it all the way up, put an SM57 up front and tell me that's not a classic sound heard on endless albums.

So if you want to mimic those albums, it's the sound.

I've done my share of using SM57's a long time ago. I haven't used one for years.

But I still think this is a valid sound, for some music.
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Re: Q: "THAT" modern guitar sound
« Reply #36 on: June 21, 2008, 01:51:01 am »

A key part of getting the guitar tone on those MP3's is high gain pickups like EMG's. If the guitar has old school humbuckers like PAF's the effect can be approximated by using a distortion pedal. Both is even better. It tightens up the low end and makes the upper mids more focussed. No need for distortion on the pedal, it's working as a tone shaper, mostly as a hpf. If you do some searching you'll find what pedals work best. You may even have one of them already;

I love PAF's and P90's myself, but for that kind of music they won't cut it by themselves. The tone is too bulky.

Another thing is, like some have mentioned, it's better to track with less gain than most kids think is necessary. But they need to play pretty aggressively with their picking hand to get the amp to growl. The kids who're accustomed to using high gain settings usually have trouble making this adjustment. I find that the tone is best when the strings are hit just below the threshold where they start to warble out of tune for aggressive sections of the song. For the really aggressive parts, sometimes it sounds cool in a chaotic way if the strings do warble a bit. Obviously, light gauge strings and low action won't work for this kind of playing.

JCM800's, Dual Rectifiers, Boogie MkIV's, XXX's, 5150's can all work for this kind of music. I can usually capture it all with one 57 or M160, sometimes a Royer 121 mixed with another mic. Neve-style mic preamps always work, but they can sound laid back compared to say, a Trident S80-style preamp which makes the upper midrange focussed and forward in a way that sounds more "modern rock." Plugin limiters can make the midrange more forward on gtr's at mix.

I agree that it's not necessary to have the amp at blinding levels for this style. This isn't Pete Townsend stuff. Pushing the output stage of the amplifier sounds too honky in the midrange for this kind of music. The tone on those MP3's can be had with a moderate volume level from the amp and a high gain setting on the mic preamp.

Needless to say, it's not a true pop punk production until the vocals are completely tuned and every 1/16th note of the drums, bass, gtr's and vocals is quantized to the grid or to a groove and the drums are reinforced with samples.
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Re: Q: "THAT" modern guitar sound
« Reply #37 on: June 24, 2008, 11:13:24 pm »

i just did guitar overdubs with a producer in memphis playing an old gold top with humbuckers, to a koch amp, out to a marshall 4x12 with vintage 30's that had a 57 on it, to an api mic pre.  those tones tore my head off.


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daxliniere

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Re: Q: "THAT" modern guitar sound
« Reply #38 on: September 21, 2008, 08:54:49 am »

Okay guys, thought it would be nice if I wrote back and let you know how I went. (I hate unclosed threads! Smile )

Quad tracking was the trick I was after!

Here's another tip I worked out. If you can, DI the guitar too, then mix that in slightly. It gives a nice bit of definition to the distorted tones, producing a great overall sound.

As always, remember that when tracking distorted guitars, less gain & less bass are your friends!

You can check out a couple samples of my newly found techniques: Anything At All by Crucial Times (and the not yet uploaded to my website) When You Were Mine by Brand New Fashion. (But you can hear it here: http://www.myspace.com/brandnewfashionband )

Cheers to all who helped!

All the best,
Dax.
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Dax Liniere

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rankus

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Re: Q: "THAT" modern guitar sound
« Reply #39 on: September 22, 2008, 11:27:03 pm »

daxliniere wrote on Sun, 21 September 2008 05:54


Quad tracking was the trick I was after!




More details please... amps, mics, etc, etc.


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RSettee

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Re: Q: "THAT" modern guitar sound
« Reply #40 on: September 23, 2008, 12:35:18 am »

wwittman wrote on Sun, 15 June 2008 22:03

that, is, forgive me, a load of crap


if you can't get a decent sound with a 57, try a REAL microphone instead


I can't remember the last time I heard a decent sound from a 57, on anything.


sorry.


+1. Too much mid, not enough sparkly highs for me. They can handle loud sounds, though.
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redwood`

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Re: Q: "THAT" modern guitar sound
« Reply #41 on: October 23, 2009, 03:56:19 am »

I find that every time I feel like I nailed 'that' modern sound I learn/try something completely new and changes everything. Recently pulled two tubes from my hughes and kettner duotone an changed the sound and methods completely. Also been using an 87 about 5 feet out in the room for some added growl to heavy tracks. Just thoughts to try...
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