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synkrotron

I need some advice and tips from fellow crap guitar players

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Beyond "getting good," what do you do to get your crap guitar stuff sounding half or even fully decent?

I know about doubling.

Timing is a big issue for me so I have to spend time dragging those transients around.

Sounds wise I stick with Guitar Rig. I have a cheap Blackstar amp which I have probably turned on a dozen times in the last five years. Mic'ing that up just isn't practical... Too noisy.

I suppose I could sell all my guitars but as crap as I am I do enjoy playing.

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Oi! Strummy!

I didn't expect a response from you as you are not a "crap guitarist." 

I suppose A minor could work, though not for my current "experiment" as I already have the parts down and I don't want to scrap it just yet.

That said, my guitar is currently tuned to C G C G C E and I'm playing a lot of two string open chord stuff so, technically, all I have to do it introduce a strong A into the mix to con the listener into thinking that is the key. I ain't got any bass down yet so I could probably take a leaf out of Bapu's book and play a single note Am chord on my cheapo bass guitar.

I'll let you know how that goes.

 

Any advice on technique, though? Either playing or once you have a part recorded?

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I have guitar issues from time to time... not so much soloing, but I have a nasty habit (due to lack of practise) of bending strings out of tune when playing chords, or getting mutes/buzzes from not barring properly.

When this happens, I record each chord shape / phrase separately, either in different takes or different tracks.... then merge them back in to the one track afterwards.

Any odd tuning / intonation / timing  issues can easily be sorted with melodyne.

 

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3 minutes ago, msmcleod said:

melodyne

OMG mate! You've mentioned the melodyne word again!

But, seriously, thanks for you're input.

And as you have responded to this topic you have now been noted as a crap guitarist :D

I have done what you suggested a few times and it does work, except it kinda detracts from "playing in the moment" if you know what I mean. But, at the end of the day, I may have to bite the bullet and do exactly that.

Thanks, Mark :)

cheers

andy

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Performance: Obviously AudioSnap to get the timing closer to on-grid, and Melodyne on occasion to fix bends that miss their mark more than I'd like.

Sound: double, and double some more. If I'm doing some heavy rock sort of thing, I'll double the rhythm guitar part, and have each track going through a dual-amp virutal rig. I pretty much use dual-amp configs on every distorted guitar part, so as to get a more complex/interesting tone.

Also, there's the "hey, that's not a guitar, that's a bass playing up an octave!" trick - grab a bass and play the root of the rhythm on the 'D' string so that it's up in the same octave as the low string on the guitars, and then really crunch the heck out of it and blend in to desired effect. Because the D string on the bass is both fatter and much longer than the E string on the guitars it'll have a very nice 'heavy' tonality to it, without interfering with whatever the real bass part is doing.

 

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I'm a crap guitarist. I prefer to simply collab with better guitarists. Simples.

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Hi @John Bradley :)

Thanks for the tips.

I'm a REAPER user (shock horror). I was a fully paid up member of SONAR until, well, you know...

So I'm not so sure about AudioSnap.

What I do instead is add transient markers manually and drag errant notes back into line, if the need is there. Sometimes I don't bother if I think I'm close enough. A time consuming task, I know, but I have the time at the moment.

When you say, "dual-amp virtual rig," what do you mean exactly? Literally two amps within something like Guitar Rig? Or two different instances of virtual amps?

I'm not very good with tone... I generally accept what ever comes out of the box. I usually use a EQ plugin at both sides of Guitar Rig even though Guitar Rig has it's own EQ tools. I prefer to use Pro-Q3 so that I can "see" what is going on. My ears are well f*!£%"^!!

Interesting trick with the bass guitar. I wouldn't have thought of that one. As it happens, I do have one and I'm trying to write a bass part today. So I may give that a try.

 

cheers, and thanks

andy

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3 minutes ago, Bapu said:

I'm a crap guitarist. I prefer to simply collab with better guitarists. Simples.

Yeah, but, I ain't got your charisma or same circle of friends, and you are the Bapu after all.

Plus I have let too many people down on the collaboration front in the past so I tend not to go down that route any more.

 

While you're here... Aren't Bass Guitars heavy? And loooong... I'm gonna have to work out :D

 

 

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19 minutes ago, synkrotron said:

While you're here... Aren't Bass Guitars heavy? And loooong... I'm gonna have to work out :D

Try a Hofner Beatle Bass. Light as a feather.

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Sometimes, we are our worst critics. I've recorded stuff I thought was no good and then left it and moved on to another project. Then some weeks or months (or years!) later, i'll notice it sitting in the project list and think I'll have a listen and it sounds great. On one occasion, when I listened to a song after a long break, I thought it was a recording of someone else who was a much better player than me and using a guitar much better than mine.

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I am my own worse critic, for sure @Tezza, but for good reason haha :D

If you happen to hear any of my guitar stuff and think it sounds okay then I should tell you that I have to put a lot of work into post production to get it to sound worthy of release :)

 

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Andy, Andy, Andy...

Sometimes crap guitar creates a whole new genre that people love!  (I'm looking at you Grunge! 😆 )  Not everyone is into over-the-top, unbelievable tweedling you know!

My recommendations are as follows:

  • Always hit your input with the best signal you can!  (In other words, get a decent mic-pre.)
  • Chords that have a "5" at the end are your friend (just practice hitting them cleanly).
  • If timing is not your forte, then embrace the sloppiness and make them your signature!
  • Find a "stunt guitarist" (as Zappa calls 'em) to collaborate on the solos (there's a few here).
  • Send TWO inputs into your DAW, one that's processed (perhaps a mic'ed amp or from a modeler/profiler) and the other raw.
  • Reamp the raw version to try different sounds, then blend them in (I find combining a heavy, crunchy tone with one that's cleaner helps define things).
  • Take lessons!  *Pfft!*  Ain't nobody got time for that! 😁😜
  • Often, simple IS better!  This gets missed a lot because people love to show off how good they are.

Music-UnfairLifeOfTheGuitarist.jpg

 

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This isn't a production type answer but I think the thing most guitar players struggle with (after tone and technique) is timing.   For that reason, whenever I record guitar I mute everything except drums and bass so I can hear clearly that I am in the pocket and gelling with the other ("players")   Players in my case are generally MIDI parts.     I find all the other parts distracting and many times a loud backing track is masking poor timing during performance on guitar, or other instruments, during the recording process.    That said, you will hear the problems on playback:)     Timing certainly contributes to a full sound which I think was part of your question.

I certain am a fan of flashy guitar playing but will take a good player, with good timing, playing in the pocket over flashy any day.  Hope this is useful.

 

Regards

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9 minutes ago, craigb said:

In other words, get a decent mic-pre

Hiya Craig :D

What is a "mic-pre?"

Joking, I have one, two, in fact if you include the pre's which come with my audio device. Both are Roland, so not entirely sure if they class as "decent."

10 minutes ago, craigb said:

Chords that have a "5" at the end are your friend (just practice hitting them cleanly).

Not sure what you mean.

Are we talking Music Theory here?

11 minutes ago, craigb said:

If timing is not your forte, then embrace the sloppiness and make them your signature!

Sounds like a plan...

11 minutes ago, craigb said:

Find a "stunt guitarist" (as Zappa calls 'em) to collaborate on the solos (there's a few here).

Yes, that is a possibility. My youngest lad's mate is also a Stunt Guitarist.

I'm gonna see how it goes... may be that I don't need one if I go down the Simple Is Better route.

13 minutes ago, craigb said:

Send TWO inputs into your DAW, one that's processed (perhaps a mic'ed amp or from a modeler/profiler) and the other raw.

I understand the principles of that but, as I mentioned above, mic'ing isn't really an option due to noise. So it's DI all the way for me and faff "in the box."

15 minutes ago, craigb said:

Reamp the raw version to try different sounds, then blend them in (I find combining a heavy, crunchy tone with one that's cleaner helps define things).

Food for thought...

I could send a pre-effects signal to another buss for different processing.

17 minutes ago, craigb said:

Ain't nobody got time for that! 

EXACTLY!

 

If I upload anything I'll send you a PM :D

 

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3 minutes ago, markno999 said:

Hope this is useful.

Yes, indeed it is Mark :)

3 minutes ago, markno999 said:

Timing certainly contributes to a full sound which I think was part of your question.

Yep, that is my opinion too. I pretty much always stretch everything around once recorded.

 

cheers, and thanks,

andy

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IMHO

Know what you want play way before you go into your DAW

If playing what you want to play is not up to par take some time and practice just what you want to play. If it takes a few days, so what, have fun getting it under your fingers

my point is know what you want to play before you try recording anything  and spend some time playing it a lot first

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Chords like A5 or E5 are the simplest there are.  They are simply the root note and a fifth (which could be of alcohol for all I know! 😁).  They're common name is the "Power Chord!" (you should read that loudly and with reverb).

As I mentioned, your input CAN come from a modeler (think Line 6 or AxeFX, if you're super rich) or a profiler (think Kemper).  It doesn't have to be a mic'ed amp.  My point is to save the raw signal as well!

Here's two more of my little secrets:

  • Layers!  If you have ZERO intention of ever playing live and just want to make songs that sound good, then feel free to liberally apply layers over layers as needed.  If you want that perfect pick-slide, then perform it separately (see next tip) and add it in the mix later.  If you want some extra feedback, well, same thing!  ETC.!!!
  • Tired of recording a crappy take, deleting, rewinding and trying again?  Here's what I do:  Set a playback loop for a section of the song.  Set this wider than the the area you want to record in.  Then do loop recordings inside this playback loop, but (here's the trick), keep ALL the takes!  Go ahead and record 10 or 30 times.  It's amazing how you'll really get into the groove after a few tries and, not only can you use the best result, but sometimes combining two of them sounds awesome!

One final note:  HAVE FUN!  This isn't your job, is it? 🙂

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6 minutes ago, craigb said:

They're common name is the "Power Chord!"

Thanks for confirming.

I know enough about chord structures, including the Power Chord. If fact five of my six strings are tuned to root and fifth, Devin Townsend style (it was him I got the idea from).

8 minutes ago, craigb said:

If you have ZERO intention of ever playing live

Yeah, that's me. I'd love to be able to, and I have done in the past, but not any more.

I need to get my head around REAPER's take system...

 

thanks again, Craig :D

 

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3 hours ago, synkrotron said:

So I'm not so sure about AudioSnap.

What I do instead is add transient markers manually and drag errant notes back into line, if the need is there. Sometimes I don't bother if I think I'm close enough. A time consuming task, I know, but I have the time at the moment.

AudioSnap is what Cakewalk calls that same process, more-or-less. CW generates the marker automatically, and will let you quantize them automatically... which often ends in disaster. I always do the quantization by hand. It's punishment for not playing better. How else will I ever learn? (Been playing for 45 years; ain't happening!)

 

3 hours ago, synkrotron said:

When you say, "dual-amp virtual rig," what do you mean exactly? Literally two amps within something like Guitar Rig? Or two different instances of virtual amps?

Yeah, I'm talking splitting the signal path into two amp+speaker combos within a single instance of your guitar processing vst of choice. I assume Guitar Rig can do that. If not you can always do it afterwards by duping the track and using a different amp in the copy.

 

That bass guitar thing is something I saw on Youtube. It's apparently a standard trick that certain big-name producer/engineers have been using forever on Metallica and other artists.

 

Oh, and what markno999 said about muting the other crap in the mix during recording!

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