HOW TO…RECORD ELECTRIC GUITARS (THE EASY WAY!)
The search for the perfect electric guitar sound never ends for most musicians. Unlike the piano and drums that can generate sound naturally, a guitar player is blessed AND cursed that electricity is the main ingredient to achieving any tone at all. It’s for this reason alone that the voodoo of batteries, cables, tubes, speakers, pickups, and everything else that touches your signal is so important to finding your sound. Even when you stumble upon a magic combination of knob settings, distortion pedals, and the perfect volume that makes your amp come alive, recording it becomes the next battle.
With a TonePort™ and Variax® Electric, you now have instant access to authentic sounding models of the greatest guitars, amplifiers, pre-amps, stompboxes, studio effects and so much more. Let’s take a look at just how easy it is to get a great sound and start recording. Now check out the studio notes below for some recording examples.
The first track we tried was based around a jazz drum groove. For this, go for the Semi model in a Variax Electric 600 and the “Bumpin” preset in GearBox™. In about a minute, you’ll be set up and ready to track. This combination of semi-hollow guitar and small combo amp rig yields a very organic, New York jazz club vibe that’s definitely dark and smoky.
The second track we did had a modern rock/funk blend. This called for a mix of ambient chords and a heavy, sustaining lead sound. For the rhythm track, a sitar from the Reso bank in Variax Electric 600 fit the bill nicely. For some extra wash, the preset “Bad” was used on the sitar. This preset has a nice warm, delay/reverb/chorus combination that filled the background perfectly. For the lead, I wanted a high-gain, sharp humbucker sound and the bridge pickup in the Lester model worked just perfectly with the “2 Hands, Big Hair” preset in GearBox.
The two tracks that were completed for this recording session could not have been more different. But with just a Variax Electric 600 and the TonePort UX1 with GearBox™ software, we were able to complete these demos without ever taking off the guitar or worrying that we wouldn’t have the right amp, distortion pedals or effects. And, because Variax has zero hum (unlike standard single-coil and humbucker pickups), it is possible to just sit right next to the computer and record the high-gain solos without any RF interference.
Recording gear used:
- Variax Electric 600
- TonePort UX1 audio interface/GearBox modeling software
- Apple G5 desktop running MOTU Digital Performer
- Drum track was created using Propellerhead’s Reason 3.0 with Drums Refill