I have a very vague question

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by MikeyST, Jan 10, 2008.

  1. MikeyST

    MikeyST Member

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    I have a question to ask you guys...and maybe with some answers...I can narrow it down and try to get more specific.

    I'm new to the forum, and especially to the world of better pedals.
    I am really a rookie to the world of really better sound.

    I read a post in the last couple days that was really good. It refers to the different type players here. I know some of you guys do studio work...some do gigs...and some do both. I am at the bottom of the food chain. Older guy who mostly plays in the basement at lower levels. But I do go to blues jams, and will also be hosting a blues jam soon.

    Yes there is a question here somewhere......
    In the spring I want to go down to Sun studio and record. I have some friends making me backing tracks because I currently have no band.
    No vocal ( white bread voice) You can still go and record in the same room as elvis.
    Its always been something I wanted to do.

    So the questions are...how would you go about achieving a good studio sound? I know thats too general, but do you guys test and do practice recordings when you get to a studio till you get the sound your'e happy with? Do you use your pedals in the studio?
    I dont even know if people play cranked and loud in the studio..or is it quieter?

    When I crank my amp at home...it has awesome tone...but its completely different than the low volume tone searching. I assume they will help me to a point when I get down there...but I want to have my own idea when I show up.

    Sorry if this is so general...but when I get back on the froum tomorrow...maybe with a few answers from you guys...i can be more specific.

    I also wanted to keep this in the effects forum because Ive been experimenting with a couple better pedals on the advice Ive gotten here and Id really like the feedback now from this forum.

    Mike
     
  2. plan-x

    plan-x Supporting Member

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    I've found with a good pedal that you don't need to record with your amp loud for the recording to sound good.
     
  3. thisfire

    thisfire Supporting Member

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    Compression sustainers are great for recording too, along with your choice of OD. I was happy with my Analogman King of Tone/Keeley Compressor for quite awhile, 'til I realized that the compressor really doesn't do much for me live (at which point I sold it :) ).
     
  4. Shiny McShine

    Shiny McShine Member

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  5. Dandy13

    Dandy13 Member

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    In the studio I've never used overdrives, just cranked amps. the whole purpose (generalizing of course) of an overdrive is to simulate the sound of a cranked amp at lower volumes. maybe a fuzz or a boost here and there for leads.
    The studio will have much higher quality compressors then you can put on your pedalboard.
     
  6. funkycam

    funkycam Member

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    It depends on the tone you want.
    most folks agree the tone of a cranked amp is best recorded by ... cranking an amp (!)
    The nice thing about the studio is you don't have to compromise on tone like you would live (singers/sound guys complaining about volume, flexibility etc).
    You also don't have to be in the same room as the amp so you can blast & not be deafened.
    Don't assume the engineers will direct you the way you want directed!
    A good place to start would be tones you like on your favourite records & then research both what was used to create them & also what is the consensus on gear that can be used to get in that ball park.
    Above all I'd say have fun, get your guitar intonated before the recording & tune your guitar a lot on the recording day(s)!
    Tying a bandana around the neck @ the 1st fret to keep open string noise down can be helpful if your damping techinque is not all it should be.
    If you have very little recording experience I would absolutely recommend trying some dummy runs at home. even recording to a $25 tape recorder with a backing track & critically listening back will be very helpful.
    Little things like clean execution of simple parts, proper intonation of bends/ chords or playing without extraneous noise can end up being a bear if you are not used to it.
    If you are using single coils remember that you can reduce buzzing by changing the angle of you & the guitar to amps etc
    Hope it goes great!
     
  7. aaland_brian

    aaland_brian Member

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    I agree completely, to get the best overdriven tone you need both power tube and speaker distorion. When you are playing at that volume the type of cabinet, size,wood and speakers make a big difference on tone. And as far as compressors go, they will be put on at the board so if you're used to using one to even out your playing, you might want to work on your chops before you go in there. I hope you have a lot of fun Mikey!
     
  8. ed84246

    ed84246 Member

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    I think the great advantage to any studio worth its salt is that you can play loud and cranked or quieter.

    Since you're after a blues sound, you're at an advantage as you can use a lower wattage amp (usually less expensive and crank it).

    But for blues, you just can't go wrong with a tubescreamer type pedal (the reissue Tubescreamer from Ibanez is excellent, as are the MJM blues devil and the G2D cream tone). To get a tweed Fender sound, I found the new Boss Bassman pedal is fantastic.

    I would contact the studio and ask what kind of amps they available there. That will give you an idea of what you might want to bring if they don't have it.

    Same goes for guitars - a strat is a no-brainer for blues tones and Fender's Squier series is incredibly affordable and sound great.

    The people at the studio will also be very helpful if you tell them what kind of sound you're looking for.

    You're correct - it would help if you could get more specific as to what you're after tone wise. Identify a few guitar players and recordings you really like and use these as reference points - what kinds of gear do these players use? And then check the Gear Page to see how people might be achieving those sounds in an affordable way and ask the studio people what they think the best way to get those tones might be with what the equipment they have available.

    A Fender Blues Junior might be all you need.
     
  9. popsongsmith

    popsongsmith Senior Member

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    here's an absolute must for getting your best PERFORMANCE, because the performance is the key to the whole thing. Do whatever it takes to get the most inspiring tone you can. Whatever guitar/amp/effect combination works is fine, as long as it inspires you to play your absolute best. then, record that tone to one track, and make sure to split your signal, and send a DRY, CLEAN guitar tone to another track. this will allow you to do something called re-amping, which gives you the ability to get the PERFECT tone when it's time to mix. you may end up keeping your original track and mixing it with the re-amped track, or you might scrap the original track altogether. either way, this gives you the ability to use any amp/POD/effect combination that sounds best in the context of the tune in the final mix.

    and the previous post about intonation is right on. tune, re-tune, and tune again after EVERY take. bring several guitars, and make sure they are set up properly with minimal buzzing, and fresh--but not new--strings. finally, practice the **** out of whatever it is you're going to record. practice, practice, and practice some more. this will allow you to cut loose and play with abandon--rather than stiff and cautious--which is also crucial to getting the best performance.

    good luck.
     
  10. Lolaviola

    Lolaviola Member

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    It's okay to be loud, but be well-rehearsed, don't use a pedal, and just do what ever the engineer thinks is best; unless he's a real retard, it will sound great!
     
  11. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    do whatever it takes to get some home recording done first, and do it a lot and listen to it a lot. otherwise, you're going to get there and do some minor stupid thing that will drive you nuts every time you listen to it afterwards.
     
  12. MikeyST

    MikeyST Member

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    Thanks ...you cant believe how much this stuff helps to us less-experienced.
    I've never been in a studio in my life.
    I dont know how to walk into a new room and instantly dial in good tone.

    I think the idea of making some scratch recordings at home is one of the best. More for content and technique than anything. I have an older tascam cassette 8-track that Im starting to learn. It gets painfully clean .

    One thing i wanted ask you guys also...Im planning on doing maybe a longer track of a slow minor blues. Albert King is my favorite and I love the way Stevie does Albert also. Stinging OD tone cranked.
    If you guys were to go into a studio to do something like that...how much would you work out your leads? Im talking about maybe a 4-5 minute track of only guitar. I tend to just put on a backing track...crank the amp and jam and let it flow. Sometimes it can be bad..and sometimes I surprise myself....
    I also am doing a slow cleaner-guitar version of texas flood. Again ...no vocals. I never really pre-think the parts...I just put the track on and go .
    Is it better to come up with set parts in set places and then stick with that and go in and record it that way?

    I appreciate the feedback on all this. Sometimes I dont think you experienced guys realize how much you help out us bottom feeders.

    Mike

    By the way...the sun thing is really cool. Its basically the same way as it was back then , only digital. And not really that expensive. One of the coolest parts is...they do the tours during the day, so you get to go in and record through the night. Just like the old days. Imagine being in the same room as all those great sun records...middle of the night..just laying down tracks
     
  13. funkycam

    funkycam Member

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    What ever works for you!
    Sometimes just rolling the tape might be the way to go. My exeprience on this is it's easier to be in the zone & just flow if you hav other people to play off of.

    A "fuzzy road map" can be a good way to go on a solo like that; an idea of sections or ideas that you will move through to tell your story, perhaps only a couple of specific "landmarks" you will direct the solo towards or use to link sections.

    The landmark could be as simple as a kind of idea that you will use at a certain time (eg "when the drummer goes to the ride, I'll do something with double stops") or a part of the neck you will play at ("once I have gone as high & as intense as I can, I'll play some kind of low register repeating rhythmic lick, then work that part somehow, maybe moving up to some higher register soloing, maybe staying low & accenting with the wah") (the speech marks being your thoughts!)

    The problem with writing a solo is you get locked into it. For me writing a solo is best for pop songs with 8 bar solos.
    On a longer solo, If you write specific licks to play exactly, but leave spaces, it can mess your flow & hamper your creativity in the spaces (imagine having a conversation & knowing you have to say a certain exact memorised sentance in the middle on the conversation, your whole flow will be focused on fitting that sentance in).
    But with a vague roadmap, you have a structure but you have options & that can free you up to be creative with a bit of a safety net.
    You also have the option to stray from, or totally abandon your original thread, which is easier if you are thinking about kinds of ideas & the role they play (ie flavor they have) that if you have totally written parts.

    Developing motifs & expanding on melodies is a great way to create a thread in a solo.
    eg start with a line, then modify one part of it (pitch, embellishment, phrasing) then play a 3rd line that is new but is related to the 2nd (this sounds cerebral, but you do it in practise enough & you will start to flow & link ideas)

    Another thing I like to do is practise something I am to solo over in a different key & at a different tempo, that way when you come to the new piece it is both fresh & familiar.

    Hope you have a great time!
     
  14. SFW

    SFW Member

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    Here are my tidbits... take them for what they're worth...

    1. Go prepared! Know exactly what and how you are going to play. This will allow you to make the most of your time in the studio. There's nothing like the frustration of knowing that you're wasting money because you didn't take the time to plan it out before you got there. It's okay to "wing" some things, but you want a rough map at the very least.

    2. The studio works for you. Don't be afraid to tell them that you don't like something. You are spending your money to record there... so they are your employees- so to speak. Don't be a prick, but don't let them slack on you either.

    3. Tune, Tune, Tune. If you don't have one, get a good tuner. Once again, it's a sick feeling to have to trow away a great take because you weren't in tune with the song.

    4. Have fun. Once your nerves settle down, you will find that the studio can be a very fun place to be.

    I crank the hell out of my amps in the studio. Granted, I play hard rock... but you need to do what ever it takes to get the tone that YOU want. Don't let the engineer talk you into settling for something that you're not happy with. I've seen this happen way too many times. I love being in the studio. However, I start preparing a few months ahead of time. Working on tightening my playing and arranging the parts that I want to record. Riffs, textures and the icing that makes songs interesting for the listener. If I get there and have to go more than three takes... I move on to something else. Most of the time I am able to knock tracking out on the first take. It's not because I'm a phenomenal guitar player. It's because I knew exactly what I was going to play before I got there. I often give my band mates a hard time when I feel that they didn't come prepared- because they are wasting money... and studio time isn't cheap in Houston, TX.

    Good luck with the recording. There has been a lot of good advise in the posts above mine. Follow them and you'll be fine.
     
  15. MikeyST

    MikeyST Member

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    This such a great forum.
    I know some of the more basic type question might clog it up for the experience guys...but it helps us out a lot.

    Couple more questions for now, then I'll go back to just practicing.

    Do you guys ever feel un-prepared or un-practiced before going into the studio? What I mean is...I keep putting it off, thinking if I just practiced hard for a few more months I'll be better...so basically because of being nervous about it...I'll probably chicken out and never go. Going into a real studio with no experience...can really intimidate. Im worried they're going to be laughing under their breath.
    And the main point of me going to sun is just to have the experience, feel the vibe and to say I actually did it. But I aslo want it to sound good.

    Also...what if I wanted to do an Albert king thing ...But switch the solos.
    Maybe 24 bars with a strat and the 24 with my 335. Could you do that in a studio?
    By the way ...they provide the engineer included in the price.
    Mike
     
  16. rob2001

    rob2001 Member

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    Unfortunately, you'll never know how a given setup will sound recorded will sound until it gets recorded. Too many variables, from mic choice, to rooms to equipment... it's mindboggling how many things can affect a recorded tone.
    I've done alot of home recording and a fair amount in some very nice pro studio's. I'm finding the simple setups often end up sounding better with less fuss. It's a general rule to use less gain than you normally would when recording and I've found that to be very true. Compressors are fine if you are going for a comp as an effect like the nashville chicken-pickin thing but if thats not a goal, it's been better for me to leave the comp'ing to the enginneer in mixing.

    Lastly i'd have to agree that wingin it isn't a good way to approach it, especially if your on a clock and paying. Having your parts nailed down and knowing exactly what you are gonna play improves confidence and sure-noted playing. And there is an added benifit. I used to approach leadwork in general as a "moment in time" thing too. Sometimes I got incredible stuff and sometimes not. But writing and rehearsing parts has improved my playing in many ways. It's a confidence builder and it makes it possible to get into "the zone" at any given moment regardless of outside influences.

    As for your rig, find your sweet spots and keep in mind that you may have to tweek things some when you get there. It's very dependant on the engineer as to how they work. Some guys will record exactly what you give them and others may try to completly change you tones. I think it's a great idea to get a simple recording setup for yourself and experiment with your rig. Given it won't be the same as a full blown studio but it should help you to understand what's in the realm and whats way out of line as far as expectations.


    And yes, you can switch guitars and tones any time you want. I'd have the arrangement nailed down as well as your playing.
     
  17. popsongsmith

    popsongsmith Senior Member

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    In this case you should just let 'er rip. Do several take, making sure to TUNE between each take and make sure to leave some pauses. Any competent engineer can "comp" or compile your best sections during mixdown. And don't forget the clean/dry track. you can always trash it, but it's a great tool for thickening, doubling, enhancing, etc.
     
  18. MikeyST

    MikeyST Member

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    Man thanks...this is a great start.
    Since sun gives a discount for more nights. ( and Ive been saving for a year. )

    I was thinking because of my lack of experience...it might make better sense to have the engineer also do the mix down there on the last night.
    Because he woudl be familiar with what I did.

    Im also going to try to time it with a blues jam down in clarksdale.
    Morgan Freeman owns a bar not far from the crossroads and I think they have a thursday night jam. How cool is jamming the blues down there in Clarksdale. I'll be in Mojo-Vibe heaven!

    Mike
     
  19. enditol

    enditol Member

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    If you are really nervous just get a cheap 4 track or something and record to some backing tracks at home. It's good practice regardless of anything.
     

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