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One Guitar, One Mic, One Amp - how do I vary things?

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One Guitar, One Mic, One Amp - how do I vary things?

Postby Imran500 » Tue Jan 10, 2012 9:57 pm

People on here have recommended using different mics/ amps/ guitars to get a good layered guitar sound but for those who can't afford that much gear what are the alternatives.

I assume one easy way is to have a two or three distinct pedals - are there any other tips?
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Re: One Guitar, One Mic, One Amp - how do I vary things?

Postby Hewesy » Wed Jan 11, 2012 3:31 pm

Pickup choice, EQ settings. Perhaps a cheap EQ pedal to get more control, a cheap Dano Fish n Chips or a used GE7/MXR/Boss 10 band from eBay.

String gauges can help too, 8-10's for varying tones and drive.

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Re: One Guitar, One Mic, One Amp - how do I vary things?

Postby Frisonic » Wed Jan 11, 2012 7:01 pm

I guess two other things worth a try might be a) to record in different rooms, if that was at all an option. And b) aim for less layers. We are always being reminded to make the most of what we have and with your set up you might well be getting the best results by aiming for a less convoluted sound. Nothing wrong with that. I suspect I am as guilty as anyone of sometimes adding far more layers to tracks than really add anything, just because I can. Not necessarily smart...
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Re: One Guitar, One Mic, One Amp - how do I vary things?

Postby dubbmann » Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:06 pm

hi,

i'll leave to others more experienced to delve into the mike positioning tricks, etc that you can use. what i'd suggest is something that's not talked about nearly enough in most gtr forums and that's the enormous sound variability that you can get from your right hand (assuming you're right handed) first of all, there is the question of plectrum - weight, shape, composition. i finger pick almost exclusively so this doesn't help me too much, but when i do play around with picks i'm amazed at the difference it makes on tonality (or simply tone, if you like fewer syllables ;-). the angle of the plectrum to the string also makes a huge difference. in fact, i've found that the secret of getting "wolf" notes (odd harmonics, squealy-type sounds that, say, billy gibbons of zz top is a master of) is a clean "glancing" blow to the string, oblique enough in the angle of attack that it almost damps the string as soon as you hit it, leaving the harmonics to but not the principal note. hope that makes sense.

a second "degree of freedom" that i don't think a lot of guitarists use enough is varying where on the string they hit it with the plectrm/fingernail. pluck near the bridge and you kill the midrange and bass = great for blues a/o distorted rock. i think this is why so many gtrists use their bridge p/u almost exclusively. it produces a very "filtered" sound that can go through a screaming tube amp or OD box w/o generating so much harmonic noise as to wash out chords, etc. personally, i'm just the opposite: i fingerpick almost always somewhere between the 12th fret and the 20th fret because i love the full spectrum sound it gives me; i also don't use a lot of distortion and so it works for me. this is why i almost never use an equalizer on my setup because i'm pretty happy with the tone control i can get from where i pluck the string. YMMV.

there are other tricks and techniques that slip my mind at the moment. one thing i'd add, though, is that whenever i check out a multi-pickup gtr, after i check the intonation of the neck and the resonance of the gtr in general, the next most important thing for me is that the pups have different sounds. i've played hundreds of gtrs (thousands?) at music stores where the two or three pups produce identical sounds. why bother? each extra pup adds a dampening load to the strings, so if i'm not getting something unique from each i'd rather have just a single pup gtr (played some great les paul jnrs that were single pup).

anyway, just my two cents...

cheers,

d

btw, i'd check out an old SoS leader from April 2005(?) where Paul White wrote about the advantages of guitarist control versus keyboardists. many keyboardists took offense but i think he was spot on.
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Re: One Guitar, One Mic, One Amp - how do I vary things?

Postby 4TrackMadman » Thu Jan 12, 2012 12:46 am

I think most of it has been covered.

You can do quite a bit of things with one guitar, one mic, one amp.

For the guitar:
- different strumming/picking patterns
- slightly detuning one side: for a dual effect, just get one side out of tune by a hair
- changing finger/fretboard positioning: say you play an A chord on 5th position, do it as open A on the second track
- changing picks: different type of material probably make the biggest difference here
- different gauge strings: that one is a hassle, because it also includes a full setup
- changing pickups

Amp
- tweaking amp settings
- pedals
- changing channels

Mic
Basically positioning at different spots on the speaker/s. Closer to the cone will have more treble and further away it'll be more bass emphasis. Also depends on the mic, you might be able to pick out various amounts of room ambience.

There are also tons of post production techniques to change tone - I particularly like creating a bit of different "air" around two guitar sounds, with different eq/room/reverb settings.

Also using DI recorded guitar and reamping via vst's might be a viable option.
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Re: One Guitar, One Mic, One Amp - how do I vary things?

Postby matt keen » Thu Jan 12, 2012 11:16 am

Good points made by Dubbman

I am in a similar position and have started to experiment with reamping
So I record an untreated DI signal and when I reamp I try small amounts of different amp sims within Logic and send that out to my Blackstar set up for micing up
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Re: One Guitar, One Mic, One Amp - how do I vary things?

Postby Dave B » Thu Jan 12, 2012 12:29 pm

Borrow another guitar. Combined with tricks above, it should be ok.

And vary the amount of dist/od to suite the guitar - no point in two guitars doing the full monty - a couple of mildly distorted guitars can sound 'bigger' than one with oodles of distortion.
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Re: One Guitar, One Mic, One Amp - how do I vary things?

Postby caveman82 » Thu Jan 12, 2012 1:21 pm

Imran500 wrote:People on here have recommended using different mics/ amps/ guitars to get a good layered guitar sound but for those who can't afford that much gear what are the alternatives.

There are some very simple ways to vary one's guitar tone without effects or anything.

1. Changing pickup sounds, eg using a trebly sound with the bridge pickup and a warmer bassier sound with the neck pickup
2. Using the EQ of your amp.
3. Close mic'ing the amp and mic'ing from further back.

Do you have a digital means of recording? In a DAW there are a multitude of different effects and other things which allow a almost infinite number of sounds, a lot of the programmes and things are free.
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Re: One Guitar, One Mic, One Amp - how do I vary things?

Postby Imran500 » Sun Jan 15, 2012 2:02 pm

Thanks for all of that it shouldn't be anywhere near as problematic as it seemed initially.

I've already managed to get two distinct sound by using either the amp overdrive or the distortion pedal into the clean channel which blend very nicely.
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Re: One Guitar, One Mic, One Amp - how do I vary things?

Postby permanent_daylight » Mon Jan 16, 2012 12:14 am

one last one is pickup height... especially if its a humbucker that can go as close or far as you like-beats swapping out electronics. i always think having more than one guitar is overated, the actual guitar is just one link in a long chain and you can vary a lot on the actual guitar itself. even string height can vary things a lot, and not fearing the tone and volume knobs like a lot of gutiarists seem to.

and eq is well placed in the effects loop perhaps. i've found before that you can use it like an amp simulator.

if you're using a distortion pedal or very wet effects sometimes the pedal choice is the number one factor of the signal, so use more pedals perhaps?-drives are pretty cheap!
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