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Guitar Recording Basics


Nowadays, it is easier than ever to get into home recording. You can truly make everything from simple demos to full-blown professional-level recordings from the comfort of your home. Now, this is not to discount the benefit of recording in a professional recording studio. Recording an album at a professional recording studio has a wide variety of benefits, and it is truly an experience like none other. In this blog, we are going to go over some basics to tracking guitars at home. This blog is aimed squarely at the beginner.

Double tracking

One thing that beginners may not realize is that most guitar tracks you hear on your favorite albums have been double tracked and panned. Recording a single take and panning it up the middle will sound very thin and weak. The key to a powerful rhythm guitar sound is multitracking each part. The easiest way to do this, especially as you start out, is to simply double the part, and pan one take hard left, and the other hard right. It is essential to actually perform the part two times; copying a single take to a second track will not give you the desired effect here. You really have to nail the second take as well. If the two parts aren’t tight, it will sound sloppy. On the other hand, two takes that are perfectly locked in will sound massive!

This same concept can be used for lead guitar as well. Double tracking leads and solos isn’t as essential as double tracking rhythm guitars, but it can make for a great sound. Experiment with this on a part by part basis. Learning to properly double track leads will definitely help you lock in your chops though!

The most important thing to remember when you are double tracking guitars is that you have to nail the performances to achieve the greatest effect. Take the time to get it right and you’ll be glad you did. Which leads us right into our next topic…

Capturing the best source

As you start learning more about recording, you’ll quickly find that there are many tools, tips, and tricks that will help you “fix” a sloppy take, or a tone you aren’t happy with, or anything else that wasn’t captured the way you want it to sound. This is both a blessing and a curse. The truth is, utilizing these things to make minor adjustments here and there is extremely commonplace. But no matter hard you try, you can’t spin straw into gold. Trying to take a sub-par performance or guitar tone and turn it into something you are happy with is going to be much more time consuming and frustrating than just getting it right from the start. Take the time to truly learn your parts and your time recording will go much smoother. A little practice goes a long way. On that same note, take the time to really dial in your electric guitar amplifier to get the tone you want before you get too deep into your project. Some tone tweaking is inevitable as you start adding in additional instruments, but you should get a sound you are happy with as close to the beginning of the process as possible.

There you have it: our beginners tips for recording guitar at home. Have fun, and keep an eye out for our Valvulator GP/DI, which is coming out soon and will be an excellent tool for the home recording studio.