A new song.
Inspired by the drum loop and bass.
It is a fusion-like song, but it’s up to you.
A new song.
Inspired by the drum loop and bass.
It is a fusion-like song, but it’s up to you.
I made a cover of “Air” version of Ekseption. In case you don’t know, originally it is a number of Bach (BWV 1068).
However, the famous Dutch rockband made a transition of this classical song into a pop/rock number. Rick van der Linden is a well noticed keyboard player who made 99% of the arrangement. You’ll hear drums, bass, piano, clavecymbal, organ etc.
I made my own arrangement and uses the following instruments of plugins:
So you decided to play electric guitar. Once you get a guitar and an amp, the next step is to explore effects. Effects pedals can be separated into groups based on their functions. Understanding the different pedal groups is the key to getting the best sound when chaining them together. The largest pedal group is probably overdrives and distortions, and BOSS currently makes 16 different pedals in this category. For our example pedal board, we’ll pick the ST-2 Power Stack. Another category with many choices ismodulation.These are effects like flanger, phaser, chorus, tremolo, and others. Let’s use the most versatile of these—the BF-3 Flanger. Another group is ambience effects, such as delays and reverbs. We’ll use one of each: a DD-7 Digital Delay and the FRV-1 ’63 Fender Reverb.
There are some pedal effects that can add notes or alter the pitch of what you’re playing. For want of a more esoteric name, we’ll call these “pitch-altering” pedals. From this category, let’s throw in a BOSS OC-3 Octave. BOSS also has a few
pedals that make your instrument sound like some other instrument. The AC-3 Acoustic Simulator will do the job. Some effects change your sound with filtering. This effect type can be used in different places in the signal path, so we’ll use the GE-7 Graphic EQ. A few BOSS effects defy categorization, but are nevertheless very useful in any signal path. The most common of these is the CS-3 Compression/Sustainer. Loopers fall into this category also, so let’s add an RC-3 Loop Station to the mix. And you might want the NS-2 Noise Suppressor to kill the noise in your rig, so let’s add that in, too. What about a tuner? The TU-3 is the most popular pedal tuner in the world.
So, where does each pedal go in the signal path? Here are some tips to keep in mind before you start plugging pedals together:
Rule 1—There are no rules. The sound you’re after might not be made by what we could call the appropriate or logical signal path, but that’s not always the issue. The issue is this: what does it sound like? If it makes the sound you’re after, then it’s right…although, you may have to do something about the noise. Traditional pedal board arrangements were designed for certain reasons, and keeping the noise down is one biggie. Following the principles of how sound is made in physical space is another (see Rule 4 coming up). But the final choice is yours. As a very wise man said: if it works, don’t fix it.
Rule 2—Some pedal types work better in certain parts of the signal path than in others. Octave pedals or tuners, for example, don’t work as well with a distorted signal as with an undistorted signal, so they should be placed before the distortion.
Rule 3—Noise can be a problem, particularly with high-gain distortion sounds. Pedals that can add volume—such as compressors, wahs, EQs, and overdrive/distortions—will also amplify any noise created by the effects placed before them.
Rule 4—Taking sound-making devices like stompbox pedals out of the equation, there’s an order to the way sounds naturally occur in physical space. For example, guitar amp distortion is made in physical space by turning an amp up enough to cause its circuits to overload, and any echo you might hear happens after the distorted sound hits walls or ceilings and bounces back to your ears. Therefore, logic says that your reverb and/or delay pedals should be last in the signal path, since that is how the sounds they produce actually occur in three-dimensional space.
In keeping with these rules—okay, they aren’t really rules, so let’s compromise and call them “guidelines”—here are some essential concepts for lining your pedals up:
We will continue this conversation soon. In the meantime, click on the image below to experience BOSS effects connected to each other.
Hallo guitar fans. This month I am presenting JamUp XT Pro iOS app developed by Positive Grid. This is not only one of the best guitar amp simulators out there in my own opinion, it is much more than that.
JamUp XT review by Daddo Oreskovich
Some time ago, with the appearance of the first iOS apps for guitarists, iPad, iPod, or iPhone were merely a tool for great practice, warm-up or hotel room jam. Android is still not even close to iOS because of its latency issue.
I remember almost two years ago when I bought my iRig audio interface. I downloaded free AmpliTube app and I was amazed with an opportunity to practice virtually anywhere without harassing my neighbors with Progressive Metal and Rock music by turning my amp and the full gear on 🙂 The sounds were decent and the app served its purpose -> to be used as a practice tool.
After I found out about JamUp, honestly, I thought this is just one of the many variations of the same thing. I was so wrong 🙂 It is not only the perfect practice tool, it is truly every guitarist’s “Swiss army knife” app. All magazines like: MacWorld, Guitar World, Guitar Player, Guitarist and Premier Guitar were reviewing the app with high appraisals, introducing the best seen symbiosis of Apple iOS and actual musical instrument.
What is JamUp? It is guitar amp and FX simulator, multi track recording device, loop/phrase sampler, guitar tuner and professional backing track player with tempo and pitch tweak possibility. What makes possible using this app live is ability of pairing with a third party MIDI controller pedals.
Virtually almost every amp is emulated here; Fender, Marshall, Messa Boogie, Orange, Peavy, Laney are just to name a few. Regardless of what version of JamUp you downloaded (free or pro version), all additional amps and stomp boxes can be obtained through the “in app purchase”. There are 3 categories of amps: acoustic, electric and bass guitar amps.
There are 6 stomp box groups in JamUp:
All effects and amps can be moved in the signal chain order. For example, you can drag the Tube Screamer stomp to be the first in the signal chain, Noise Gate on the last spot, etc… like the “real-world” pedalboard. All parameters are very easy and straightforward. Just use your imagination and tailor to your taste. All settings can be configured as a “patch”. There are 4×16 patch slots including factory presets. Each slot and patch name can be renamed of course.
Jam player is professional grade audio file player. You can import your favorite guitar backing tracks and regulate their tempo and speed. This comes very handy if you have string lock on your guitar and the backing track is half step down for instance. Just raise the pitch parameter half step up to “1 o’clock” and you can jam without retuning your instrument. Very cool. This is also great aid for singers. Not every male singer has a vocal range of David Coverdale or Bruce Dickinson, so backing track pitch comes very handy -> great karaoke player as well 🙂
If you are “one-man-band “, it is great to control both your guitar sound and backing track in the same app, without a need for a separate CD/Karaoke player. Both volumes (guitar and backing track) are controlled separately.
Let’s say you are on a guitar clinic or you have your guitar solo section on the gig. You can record and loop a phrase, and then play over it. You can also load a drum loop from your iPod library and jam with it and also save it for later exploit. Loop and instrument levels are controlled separately.
One of the best tools in JamUp. I use it frequently when filming lessons for Live4guitar. I record video on the HD camcorder, I play backing track on iPad and record live guitar track on iPad. This eliminates dragging the computer to the best spot in my apartment for video recording.
Lets say you have your ProTools or any DAW session. You can export each track and the drums stem, and import into 8-track recorder for better control. You can also copy audio file from another app such as Garage Band as well. You can also record your guitar or bass in another app on the same iDevice using “Audio Bus” app. I briefly explain it how in the review video.
Many, many possibilities and options. This is why I claim JamUp to be the “Swiss Army Knife” music app.
This is one of the unique features in JamUp. You can share your patches on-line with JamUp community. People can like or comment your patch.
I am truly honored to be chosen by Positive Grid as their featured artist. You can download and jam with my signature “Preset Pack“. More about my Preset Pack in this video:
There are vast possibilities of connecting your guitar to JamUp and your iDevice to your pedal board. I am using Griffin pedal controller with JamUp. You can configure 4 different stomp switches from the app. This controller also has an expression pedal input, so you can control volume and Cry Baby wah. At the time of this writing, Positive Grid is developing emulation of Digitech Whammy so stay tuned for that one 🙂 There are many different third party external MIDI pedals that can be used with JamUp. For complete list visit www.positivegrid.com
In the next video, I’m showing my Griffin controller and talking about my hybrid pedalboard in details.
I am giving JamUp 10/10 points. This is universal “guitar Swiss army knife app” for every guitarist and bassist. It can very astoundingly emulate all vintage amps and stomp effects. It can be used for making music, recording and sharing the ideas and patches. It can be used as a source of recording in other apps via “Audio Bus” app, so you can use JamUp sounds in Apple Garage Band for instance. With third party MIDI controllers, it can be used live on stage.
What else one needs? It’s all in there, in iOS app called JamUp XT.
Download free version and see it for yourself. Here is direct iTunes link:
As the artist Farlake I’ve made a video of a jam with the Ibanez JEM 777DY.
To get some more visits I use the famous name of my grant grant grant (etc.) father; Johannes Vermeer. A famous Dutch painter (1632 – 1675)
I’m using the following parts:
Nowadays all of us guitarists get to have a laptop or desktop computer with an interface and make tracks, demos, lessons and other production or educational work using a DAW. Most of us unfortunately aren’t in a position to record a real amplifier in our bedrooms or crank it up as much as needed aiming for the right guitar tone or be able to have a budget in order to have different microphones and try to mix them down and get the most out of our rig. That’s where the hardware and software comes in. This article introduces you the 10 high-end profiled guitar amp simulation plug-ins that you should know about.
IK Multimedia is one of the leading companies in guitar emulation software since 2002 with the release of Amplitube. One of the most famous guitar software around in the market. Amplitube started as small guitar emulation software and through the years developed to being one of the most prestigious and accomplished emulation software. Versions include Amplitube 2, Ampitube 2 live, Amplitube Jimi Hendrix, Amplitube Metal, Amplitube Fender and the recent release Amplitube 3. Including a vast amount of amps, cabinets, microphones, stompboxes and racks it is easy to use and comes very handy as you can import libraries from any other version of it with the X-Gear plug-in.
Learn more: www.ikmultimedia.com
One of the most competitive companies in VST instruments and plug-in business is Native Instruments. Founded in 1996 in Berlin, the German company invaded the guitar world by releasing Guitar Rig in mid 2004. The software was very competent and was the first ever software that introduced the Kontrol – rig, which was a pedal board controlling the software for real time preset changing as a real pedal board / MIDI controller. In 2009 they released their latest Guitar Rig version 4, which is undeniably one of the most used plug-ins.
For more information visit: http://www.native-instruments.com/#/en/products/guitar/guitar-rig-4-pro
Digidesign is mostly known because of its industry standard recording software Pro Tools and its powerful hardware interfaces and DSP cards. In Pro Tools 7 we were introduced to their step into the guitar amplifier emulating world with the Plug-in “Eleven”. It featured high quality amp and stompboxing emulation and making it easy to work in Pro Tools as an RTAS plugin. After a bit they released its rack version as a studio or live performing hardware.
For more info go to: http://www.avid.com/us/products/eleven
Famously plug-in renowned company “Waves” got in to the guitar world with the release of GTR plug-in in collaboration with PRS Guitars. The latest version of GTR 3 features great sounding, feel and response guitar amp emulation and stompboxes sounds that they can be used in studio and live situations with the addition of the external hardware.
For more information visit: http://www.wavesgtr.com/html/product_gtr3.html
Line6 is exclusively committed to guitar sound since 1996. The leading industry company has in their list Ampifiers, guitars, portable effect and modeling units and pedalboards. After their successful Rack units they released the “Platinum & Golden pugins and Pod Farm” All plugins are working in every DAW and are delivering the “nominated” Line6 sound to your recording studio.
For more info go to: http://uk.line6.com/podfarm/index.html
Italian based company “Overloud Audio Tools” released TH1 in 2008. It has 10 amps modeled but you have 18 different microphones that you can place in a 3D environment in order to approach a live studio positioning which makes it flexible and great for experimenting with mixing your guitars on the DAW. The sound is great quality and can meet your expectations.
For more information go to: http://www.overloud.com/th1.php?idarg=51
Studio Devil is founded by Marc Gallo who is been dealing with audio signals since 1989. Today the release of Studio Devil Amp Modeler gives him the dedication to guitar FX sound and guitar amp emulation. Newly featured software comes at an affordable and money for value price.
For more information check: http://www.studiodevil.com/products
Leading and massive corporation, Apple, has its own way getting around the guitar world. After the successful release of their DAW “Logic” we have some guitar amp emulations in Logic 8 and Garage Band. In the latest version of Logic 9 we have the competitive Amp Designer which comes free with the DAW as an AU plugin.Let down is that it doesn’t work as standalone but after working with APOGEE they got some supporting hardware in order to be used live as part of MainStage 2.
For more info see: http://www.apple.com/uk/logicstudio/logicpro
Steinberg is a company that is been around for some time now in the music industry. Creating DAW’s and post – pre production software, they are one of the most acclaimed companies around in the business. In their latest release of Cubase 5 we got the Amp Simulator, which is a VST Plug-in that allows you to record your guitar in the DAW with effects and distortion even if you don’t have any 3rd-party plugin. The plug-in is very convenient as it comes with channel presets ready to go based on different styles of music.
For more info read here: http://www.steinberg.net/en/products/cubase/cubase5_vst.html
Peavey electronics is one of the oldest companies in the industry supplying musicians with the necessary tools in order to play and perform music. Famous from back in the early Van Halen days wih the creation of the mighty 5150 and later on with Triple XXX, JSX Series, Valveking and many more, Peavey goes digital as well. Revalver MKIII is the only guitar emulation software that between modeling other amps features all of Peavey amplifiers. A great sounding plugin in a value for money price.
For more info check: http://www.peavey.com/products/revalver/index.cfm
Hopefully this article will help you find which of the sound modeling plugins suits you the most and will help you get one of them.
Toen de Boss Micro-BR Digital Recorder in 2007 werd gepresenteerd kon ik niet geloven dat in zo’n klein apparaat een hele “opname studio zat”. Niet veel groter dan een iPod was deze kleine maar krachtige Micro-BR de droom van elke tourende muzikant. Ook ik heb in mogen ervaren wat het is om alleen met een gitaar en deze Boss Micro BR op reis te gaan.
Wat wilde ik eigenlijk nu nog meer? Nou, ……
De Boss Micro-BR BR-80 (2011).
Ook deze past makkelijk in je zak en het is een 8 sporen multitrack recorder, een Roland eBand en een recorder in één!
De Boss Micro BR BR-80 is de ultieme opname en jam “buddy” voor gitaristen en andere muzikanten. Met zoals met zijn voorganger kan je de BR-80 ook muziek componeren, muziek opnemen en bovendien kan je de BR-80. Je zou hem zelf kunnen gebruiken tijdens je optreden, maar daar ben ik zelf nog altijd terughoudend in.
Het heeft zeer uitgebreide mogelijkheden die makkelijk te besturen zijn als je eenmaal de gedachte erachter door hebt. Het beschikt over natuurlijk ook over een 6.3 mm jack aansluiten waarmee bass of gitaar opgenomen kunnen worden. Alles wat je opneemt komt terecht op een SD/SDHC memory card (max 32GB). Het apparaat beschikt ook over een ingebouwde stereo condensator microfoon om een opname mee te maken al dan niet begeleid door de geavanceerde ritme- en begeleidings patronen.
Hij bevat drie modes voor het componeren, opnemen en afspelen van je muziek: “MTR” (8-sporen multitrack), “eBand” voor het gebruik van de phrase trainer en backingtracks en “Live Rec” voor de opname van nieuwe ideeën in stereo. Bovendien is de Micro-BR BR-80 ook als volwaardige MP3-speler te gebruiken. Deze opnamen kan je importeren naar de MTR-modus om in een eigen productie te verwerken. En op een later tijdstip zet je via de USB-poort het eindresultaat eenvoudig over naar de computer.
Er zit een stem apparaat in en beschikt de Micro BR over een acht sporen studio met acht simultane weergavesporen en twee simultane opname- en inputsporen. Elk weergavespoor beschikt ook over acht V-Tracks zodat er stuk na stuk kan worden
opgenomen en achteraf het beste eruit pikt voor uw eindmix. En alsof dat nog niet genoeg is heeft de Micro-BR een ingebouwde multi-effecten processor en ingebouwde ritmepatronen.
Effecten en versterkermodellen
De Boss Micro BR BR-80 heeft meer dan 40 CSOM-versterkermodellen en een uitgebreide verzameling effecten aan boord. Je kiest uit een ruim aanbod van voorinstellingen voor diverse genres. En via talrijke programmeerbare parameters bepaal je zelf exact het juiste geluid. Ook wat de energievoorziening betreft heeft je alle vrijheid. Je kiest voor twee AA-batterijen of een los verkrijgbare netstroomadapter.
Met de supercompacte Boss Micro BR BR-80 digitale recorder gaat geen moment van inspiratie verloren. Ben je daarnaar op zoek, dan is de Boss Micro-BR digitale recorder een goede keuze. Je krijgt er ook nog de light versie van Sonar bij; alleen is deze niet geschikt voor OSX.
– zeer compacte digitale recorder
– intuïtieve bedieningsstructuur
– helder display met achtergrondverlichting
– 3 opnamemodi: “MTR” (multitrackrecorder), “eBand” en “Live Rec”
– ingebouwde stereo-condensatormicrofoon voor snelle opnamen
– opname op SD/SDHC-geheugenkaart (tot 32 GB)
– hoogwaardige interne stereo-condensatormicrofoon
– 64 “V”-sporen, weergave van 8 sporen tegelijk
– “eBand”-functie voor instuderen van nieuwe partijen en als begeleiding bij solo’s
– groot aantal begeleidings- en ritmepatronen
– COSM-versterkermodellen en -effecten
– kan ook als USB-audio-interface (al dan niet met effecten) worden gebruikt
– stroomvoorziening via 2 AA-batterijen of los verkrijgbare netstroomadapter
– geleverd met SONAR X1 LE productiesoftware
– aansluitingen: gitaar/microfooningang, lijningang, lijnuitgang, USB-poort,
– accessories: USB-kabel, 2 AA-batterijen, SD-geheugenkaart
– afmetingen: 138 x 86 x 22 mm (BxDxH)
– gewicht: 140 gr
Dit artikel bestrijken effectief twee gebieden – de basis-methoden voor het opnemen van de elektrische gitaar en een aantal technieken voor het opnemen en verwerken die specifiek zijn voor Logic. Dus, als je geen Logic gebruiker bent, zal het meeste in dit artikel nuttig zijn. Een groot deel kan ook op andere software platformen toegepast worden. In het verleden konden we neit anders dan een microfoon voor een versterken hangen of zetten en deze aansluiten aan een opname unit. Tegenwoordig hebben (vooo)versterkers, zowel analoog als digitaal, die voorzien zijn van een uitgang die direct aangesloten kan worden op een opname unit. We zien steeds meer actieve en passieve speaker simulators, software voor het moduleren van gitaar voorversterker, die als plug-in gebruikt kunnen worden. Er zijn ook mogelijkheden tot aankoop van een speaker kast in een geluiddichte behuizing, die u kunt verbinden met je eigen versterker en dan via een microfoon kunt opnemen. ortom, er zijn genoeg mogelijkheden om tegenwoordig de gitaar op te nemen. Maar inmiddels zie je door de bomen het bos niet meer.
Photo: Richard Ecclestone
If you are going to mike up an amplifier, it obviously needs to be a nice-sounding amp, and for most discerning players that means a well-maintained tube amplifier of some kind. Unless you have a very large recording space, a smaller amplifier is easier to mike up than a large one and the 6W Cornford amp that Dave Lockwood played through at the guitar show proved to be so loud that we still needed to use a power soak with it to cut down the level reaching the speakers. If you have a larger amplifier than this, and most people have, then a power soak between the amp and speaker is a good way to keep the level down while still allowing your amplifier to work hard.
While it’s easy to suggest mic types for vocals or specific acoustic instruments, you can try just about anything you have on a guitar amplifier and get an interesting tonality. The old standby is a Shure SM57 or Sennheiser MD421 dynamic cardioid, but you can try literally any dynamic or capacitor mic you have in your locker, from the cheapest to the most esoteric. Often where you place the mic makes more difference than what the mic is, and sometimes a mic that sounds dreadful on vocals can sound very musical on guitar.
You’ll notice that the sound becomes more focused as you move the mic closer to the speakers, and it also gets more mellow as you move away from the centre of the speaker towards the edge of the cone. You can also turn cardioid mics slightly so the sound is hitting the mic off axis if you need less top end. In most studio situations, cardioid mics are used to reduce the amount of spill or room interaction, but as guitar amps are relatively loud and the mics generally set up pretty close, you can also try omnis or figure-of-eights if you have them and the spill shouldn’t get much worse.
Placing your guitar’s amp on a chair or stand to raise it off the floor will change the recording, because of the different way the sonic reflections combine with the direct sound.
Although the traditional rock approach is to put a dynamic mic right up against the grille, you can often get a better sound by backing off from the speaker slightly, just by a few centimetres. I’ve also had good results miking the back of an open-backed cabinet or, in a decent-sounding room, putting the mic up to a metre away from the front grille. In this latter case, placing a reflective board on the floor between the amp and mic can liven up the sound in a very useful way. You’ll also find that the sound changes depending on whether the amp is on the floor or on a stand (or chair), as the floor reflections will interact in a different way. Open-backed cabinets tend to have a ‘bigger’ sound than closed ones, as the speaker doesn’t have a cushion of air to damp it, so low-frequency sounds seem more pronounced. Where you have the facilities, you could also try combining the outputs from two mics, one close, and the other further away, or one in front of the amplifier and one behind.
Of course, using two mics on any source raises the issue of phase. If your mixer has a phase switch, listen to see what difference reversing the phase of the distant mic makes, as this will affect the way the sounds combine — you can also vary the mic distance to adjust the relative phase of the two mic signals. If you want to be purist about it, you can use Logic‘s Sample Delay plug-in to delay the close mic so that it is in phase with the distant mic. Sound travels at roughly one metre every three milliseconds, so to add three milliseconds of delay at a 44.1kHz sampling frequency you’d need to add a delay of about 132 samples. You can fine-tune the result by ear to see what value gives the most solid sound.
Where the sound of a cranked guitar amplifier would cause problems with spill (or neighbours!), a good combined power soak and speaker simulator will allow you to DI your guitar amp without the speaker connected and still capture something very close to its natural tone. However the results vary drastically from model to model.
A typical speaker simulator comprises a reactive dummy load, allowing the amplifier to work normally, followed by circuitry that approximates the filtering effect of a guitar loudspeaker. Apart from the dummy load, which is, of necessity, passive, the filter circuitry that replicates the speaker’s frequency response may either be passive or active. The output appears as either a mic- or a line-level signal, which can be plugged directly into a mixing console. Most power soaks can handle between 50W and 100W of input power, which means that the majority of guitar amps can be run flat out to get the best overdrive sound.
Isolation cabs can work exceptionally well and also allow you to experiment with different microphones, though the tonality of the speaker in the cabinet may not exactly match the one in your amplifier. Nevertheless, this is a very practical way to work where you wish to retain the essential character of your amplifier, even though a little EQ may be needed to get closer to the sound of your own speakers. Using power soaks or speakers inside isolation cabinets falls somewhere between true amp miking and the ‘short cut’ world of digital amp emulations.
Although there are still some excellent analogue recording preamps made for guitar, digital models are currently the most popular and arguably the most versatile. Both are used in essentially the same way, by DI’ing their outputs at line level, though with an analogue model you’ll probably have to add your own delay, chorus, and reverb effects afterwards if you need them.
Some of the digital emulations are incredibly good, and very versatile tonally. If anything, they miss out on capturing the real low-end thump of a close-miked tube amplifier, but they can get pretty close to the sound of a range of real amplifiers, and the better ones also respond well to playing dynamics, such as picking intensity or backing off the guitar’s volume control. Logic Pro now includes a very simple but useful guitar preamp plug-in, and an even simpler version (lifted from Garage Band) is included with Logic Express.
If you aren’t able to record with a real guitar amp for whatever reason, there are at least two other options available: you can use one of the large range of modelling guitar preamps on the market (such as the Vox Tone Lab or Line 6 PodXT shown on the left), feeding the output into your audio interface’s line inputs; or you can use a DI to feed the clean electric guitar signal into your audio interface’s mic input (right), relying on the amp and speaker simulation built into Logic.
The only technicality to consider when recording a guitar for processing via a software plug-in is that guitars need to be fed into a high-impedance instrument input, not a mic or line input, so if your audio interface doesn’t have one of these you’ll need to buy an active DI box with a high-impedance input, and then connect this to the mic input of your audio interface (or the mic preamp connected to your audio interface). Most active DI boxes can be run from a phantom-powered mic input to save on batteries. You’ll also need to set your system latency (buffer size) to its lowest stable value if the player is going to monitor the sound with Logic‘s effects and amp modelling added.
The only realistic way to evaluate a modelling guitar processor or plug-in is to listen to the sound over the studio monitors and see how it stacks up against the guitar sound you hear on records in a similar style. You can’t expect to get the same listening experience sitting in front of studio monitors that you get standing in front of a 100W stack, because the volume level when you play back a record is very different to what the guitarist hears at a live gig. This may sound obvious, but it’s surprising how many guitarists comment that the sound isn’t as big or powerful as it is when they’re actually playing.
Electric guitars don’t have great signal-to-noise ratios, especially those fitted with single-coil pickups which are prone to receiving hum from surrounding wiring and equipment. In particular, CRT-type computer displays and TV monitors affect guitar pickups very badly, so a flat-screen computer display is strongly recommended. Logic doesn’t have a specific de-humming plug-in, but by using two EQs in series you can set up a whole series of very narrow notch filters starting at the fundamental frequency of your mains supply. In the US this is 60Hz, but in Europe we like to do things a little more slowly, so we have a 50Hz supply. In Europe, the filters can be set for 50Hz, 100Hz, 150Hz, 200Hz, 250Hz, and so on. If the hum doesn’t have too many buzzy harmonics, four or five filters should be enough. Because of the precision available with digital filtering, even quite severe buzzes can be removed with little subjective effect on the wanted part of the guitar sound. However, don’t make the filter notches any deeper than you need to, as you may then hear too much tonal difference.
Broad-band noise can be removed with de-noising software, but sadly Logic‘s Denoiser plug-in is next to useless (aside from emulating live news reports from war zones!), which is odd when you think how good the other plug-ins are. If you have really serious noise problems, then the TC Powercore or Waves sound-restoration plug-ins will do a good job on steady background hiss, as will Bias Sound Soap and Sound Soap Pro.
Here you can see how to set up a chained pair of Channel EQ plug-ins to reduce levels of hum and noise in a guitar recording.
Logic‘s Noise Gate or Expander may be used to clean up the pauses between notes or phrases, but as electric guitars can sustain for a long time, there may be few periods of true silence where the gate can be effective. In any event, the gate release time needs to be set long enough to allow the guitar to decay naturally without being cut short. Any such noise-removal processing should be applied before any delay or reverb effects are added. This way the reverb or delay will still decay naturally and help cover up any audible artefacts caused by the gate or filter action. Where you’re using a lot of overdrive, cleaning up the sound with a gate or expander is a good idea.
Logic‘s High Cut EQ and Low Cut EQ can also be effective in cleaning up the sound of the electric guitar, because, as a rule, the guitar sound has quite a limited frequency response, while the noise may continue right to the extremes of the audio spectrum. By setting the upper cutoff frequency to between 2.5kHz and 4kHz, it is often possible to significantly improve the signal-to-noise ratio of a typical electric guitar sound without dulling it excessively — use a filter slope of between 12dB/octave and 24dB/octave. Rolling off all frequencies below 80Hz or so may also help clean up the low end.
Finally, some of the best clean electric guitar sounds are obtained simply by connecting the guitar to the computer’s audio interface via a DI box — just add a little compression, gentle EQ, and perhaps a hint of reverb. This style of recording can suit funk music, though rumour has it that the guitar on Pink Floyd’s ‘Another Brick In The Wall’ was also DI’d clean and then compressed.
Recording engineers tend to like leaving as much processing as possible to the mixing stage so as to keep their options open for as long as possible, whereas guitar players like to hear something approaching the final sound as they record — what they hear affects the way they play. For that reason, stomp-box effects are often recorded rather than added later, though effects such as delay or reverb might be safest left until mixdown. If the player needs to hear these to feel comfortable, they can be mocked up in Logic for monitoring using any of the available reverb or delay plug-ins. Ultimately, the performance is what really counts, so whatever keeps the player most happy tends to be best in the long run!
Rotor Cabinet, designed for use with Logic‘s internal tone-wheel organ instrument, is great for giving a little modulation to guitar sounds.
Some engineers have been known to re-amp a guitar track by feeding it out through a guitar amplifier, which is then miked up and re-recorded onto a spare track. This can sound very effective, but can also be a bit tedious to set up. However, if you have the facilities to do it, then give it a try. It’s also a great way to take the nasty edge off a guitar track that has been recorded with some inadvertent clipping!
A lazy equivalent is to take a basic guitar track and then further process it through a modelling preamp plug-in such as Logic‘s Guitar Amp Pro, and I’ve done this very successfully with both guitar and bass-guitar parts. If only the tonality needs changing, you can pick a clean, benign amp model (or even bypass the amp model altogether) and then try out different speaker types, whereas if you want more overdrive you can add that by picking an amp model designed to produce overdriven tones. The electric guitar sound is not, and never was, natural, so there are no real rules as to how it should sound.
You can also use Logic‘s Channel EQ to shape the sound. Some of the frequency ranges described below may be of help:
Cut applied at between 120Hz and 280Hz can help reduce lower mid-range muddiness or boxiness. Boost in the same range can fatten a thin sound, often in combination with some upper mid-range cut.
Cabinet thump can be accentuated by boosting at around 75-90Hz, though how successful this is depends on what is present in the original signal. If all else fails, you can use a little of Logic‘s SubBass plug-in to bring in those deeper frequencies that may be missing from your recording. Just don’t overdo it!
Bite or definition can be added to the sound anywhere between 2kHz and 4kHz. There’s little point in boosting higher than this, as guitar speakers tend to roll off sharply above 4kHz, so there may not be anything left there to boost other than hiss.
A fizzy high end can be tamed by using a high-cut filter with a steep roll-off, adjusting the frequency as low as possible such that the essential bite of the sound isn’t adversely affected. This will attenuate all frequencies above the filter cutoff point and produce a more focused sound as a result.
Aside from optimising the EQ, what else can you do to a guitar sound? The answer depends on whether you want to enhance the sound in some way or change it into something radically different. Logic offers tools for both as well as ones that fall somewhere between these two extremes. The obvious effects to explore for traditional guitar sounds are reverb, delay, chorus, phasing, flanging, vibrato, and so on, but I find simple compression very useful, on both clean and distorted electric guitar. You’ll often find that using as much distortion on a recording as you do live results in a very messy sound that spreads right across the frequency spectrum, so a useful trick is to use less overdrive on the guitar and then add compression to get the sustain back.
A compressor setting such as the one shown allows you to back off your guitar overdrive without sacrificing too much in the way of sustain.
Using a faster release time in combination with a high degree of compression can cause audible level pumping, but this may be used creatively to enhance the sense of power and loudness. Medium to high compression ratios (between 4:1 and 10:1) work well for this, with the threshold set to give between 8dB and 15dB of gain reduction on the loudest peaks. In Logic‘s Compressor, try the Peak and RMS side-chain settings and see which one suits the sound best. Of course you have to bear in mind that every decibel of compression you add reduces your signal-to-noise ratio by a decibel, so it is advisable to clean up the signal first using a gate or expander.
If you’re after a conventional rock guitar sound, then the basic overdrive sound often only requires a little EQ and reverb to make it sound right. In this respect, a short reverb with a fairly bright character is ideal for rhythmic parts or staccato playing, as it adds a sense of space and impact without making the mix sound cluttered or messy. Longer reverbs, or combinations of delay and reverb, can be used for more languid guitar parts. Further movement can be added by feeding the effects send through a chorus or flange unit before it gets to the reverb unit. This is easy to do using Logic by inserting the modulation effect directly before the reverb plug-in in the Buss Audio object being used as a return.
Slightly less common treatments include feeding the guitar through the rotary-speaker simulation from the Logic tone-wheel organ plug-in or (one of my favourites) feeding it through the stereo vibrato plug-in adjusted to give square wave chopping at eight or 16 pulses to the bar, sync’ed to the Song tempo. I’ve used this trick to turn simple chordal guitar parts into integral parts of the rhythm track in all styles of music, from dance to mainstream pop. If you also filter out some low end, what you end up with is almost like a melodic hi-hat part, especially if the source is a bright, clean guitar sound.
Another trick I’ve experimented with is playing solo guitar lines that include string bending through Logic‘s Pitch Correction plug-in. Set normally, this ensures all notes are bent to the nearest correct semitone, but you can also speed up the correction rate to produce a mild ‘yodelling’ effect that gives the sound a slightly Eastern flavour. This may be even more effective if you set up your own custom scale based on an Arabic note sequence.