Originally Posted by: JeffS65In a way, a lot more does go in to recording but the same can be said for guitar playing. There is way more to know about guitar playing that I would ever have the time to learn. I would not let yourself get discouraged about learning to record.
There is a lot to recording but in some respects, it is ver simple; you have an instrument, a mic and a way to record. Keep it simple and clean. The real key is to get it right coming in. I've directed a few people to the Recording Revolution and if you want to learn how to 'start', check out this series on Beginner's Mixing.
The reality, and especially in the digital DAW world, get a good signal coming in and the rest is just fiddling around...which I've often done.
Cleaner is better. Guitarist have the idea that their home practice and stage 'tone' makes for an ideal recording tone. My opinion is > not usually. Particularly if you are more of a home practicing guitar player than a performing player. When you have your 'this is awesome' practice tone, you are trying to fill up as much audio space as you can to fill your ears and particularly with heavy metal guitar tones.
When you record, your tone does not have to be as 'monster' as it is practicing. You're going to have more instruments to introduce.
Which leads me to one of the most important things to know about a good recorded mix: the bass guitar is your best friend. Period.
Unless you are doing a simple, intimate acoustic track, the bass is very important. Guitarists don't realize that in recording, a huge chunk of their awesome tone comes from the support of the bass guitar. Which leads me back to my 'monster' tone deal. A slightly cleaner tone meshes well with the bass. It doesn't have to be 'clean' tone. But you may want to consider removing some of the chunk.
A few other things to know:
-If you're home recording by yourself but it is to be a 'band' sounding song (bass, drums, guitar), recording two separate guitar tracks of the same thing. Why? Ever hear a great stereo guitar recording? This is the trick. When you mix each of these two guitar tracks, pan one hard left and the other hard right. Because you are physically not capable of recording exactly the same exactly the the same way twice, that little 'out of phaseness' is actually desired by your ear. What you can't do is copy-n-paste the same exact track and hard pan them...your ear will just hear it as one track in the middle.
-Less is more but more can be less....more or less. Ok, this is the opposite of keeping it simple but for consideration. Like a chef with spices, you always need salt and/or pepper but you have other tools at your disposal to give the recipe more flavor. You may listen to your mix and think. "Hmmm...just a little something missing", add a little spice. Maybe just a little upstroke on the riff, maybe add some acoustic guitar under a hard rock riff.
This was a short thing I worked up for a video project. If you ignore the unfinished guitar ride-up at the beginning, listen to the main guitar riff. It's actually 5 parts: (1) Main riff (2) main riff re-recorded (3) A more 'ringing' chords version of the main riff (4) A little upstroke of the high E and high B throughout (5) A cleaner, twangier open riding on the open A string throughout. When I recorded the two versions of the main riff, it just wasn't quite there...so ,no harm in experimenting and the other three tracks seemed to do the trick in filling in the riff...Yet, I don't think it really sounds like 5 tracks.
-It's all about frequencies. Instruments like to step all over each other because they often hit notes/sounds in the same frequencies. A good post-recording mix is really like being a traffic cop; you are directing the audio traffic to your ear. Your guitar tone may lose some of its precious 'beef' in order to make room for the bass guitar but the end effect is a cleaner and bigger sound. This is where EQing is a very important skill. That and learning how to effectively use High Pass and Low Pass filters...but now you're getting in to intermediate level stuff...so let's not get in to crazytown...
...so I've overcomplicated a simple thing but the point is, keep it simple and clean coming in, don't be afraid to experiment with adding tracks and twiddling stuff. The awesome part with digital DAWs is that you can monkey around as much as you want and if you don't like it, don't keep it.
Great response Jeff! Thanks for your input!
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