Category Archives for "Guitar & Bass"

#32: How To Make Amp Sims And Kemper Profiles Work (They Can Sound Just As Good As “Real” Amps)

#32: How To Make Amp Sims And Kemper Profiles Work (They Can Sound Just As Good As “Real” Amps)

"I've tried using amp sims but they just don't sound like the real thing." 

Is this you? Do you feel like amp sims are great for writing, but you'd always choose a "real" amp for your actual record? If only you had access to a couple of great guitar amps, cabs and mics... If only recording these real amps was as quick and convenient as recording a DI into plugin... If only amp sims would sound as good as the real thing...

Good news: They do! Not the same, but just as good.

As always, it's not about the gear you use, it's about the sound in your head, your vision, your creativity. And there are always multiple different ways and different tools to get there. 

When it comes to guitar tone, modern amp sims (virtual guitar amp plugins or Kemper profiles) can definitely get you there. That being said, we can see why you are feeling like they're lacking. There are reasons many people seem to love analog gear (and specifically analog guitar amps) more than their digital counterparts. But luckily, there are ways to make them work just as well as the classic amps we all love. 

In this episode we're discussing what it actually is that makes an amp sound great and "real", then we're talking about if, where and why amp sims might be lacking and finally, we're giving actionable advice on how to make them work on a professional, exciting record.


Don't let your lack of gear hold you back!

Read More

#22: Guitar Tuning And Intonation Deep Dive

One of the most common issues we run into, when we get tracks from self-recording bands, are tuning issues. And out of tune guitar and bass tracks are one of those things that immediately scream "AMATEUR PRODUCTION!".


The sad truth is:

When the tuning is off, even if it's subtle, the song won't connect as well and the mix won't sound as good as it could have if the intonation was spot on!


Especially in modern productions where there are multiple layers of guitars, bass, keys, vocals, etc., even the slightest tuning issues can cause the whole thing to sound weird and unprofessional. And it will definitely distract the listeners and take them out of the song.

Listen as we walk you through three main concepts and lots of simple, specific tricks and tactics that you can use to identify problems, get the guitar tuning spot on and nail the intonation every single time you record.

The action steps we're giving you in this episode to help you get the tuning right:


1. Your Guitar:

  • Use the proper string gauge (string tension calculator)
  • Set up your guitar properly and regularly (or take it to a professional to get it done)
  • Use the same tuner for every person in the band 
  • Use a strobe tuner

2. Performance:

  • Tune attack or tune sustain, depending on the part
  • Tune like you play (hard/soft, sitting/standing)
  • Tune individual chords, if necessary
  • Mute unused strings and use fret wraps, if necessary
  • Left hand tuning ("death grip", bending, etc)
  • Right hand tuning (position of your hand, intensity, etc.)

3. Production Strategy:

  • Don't tune between doubles 
  • Use the same guitarist for main take and double
  • Use the same guitar and rig for your double if you want a solid, wide, "wall of sound" type of thing
  • Use a tuning reference track (MIDI bass is great for that)
  • Consider getting an Evertune bridge if you're in the market for a new guitar

Things we use and recommend for getting the tuning right (affiliate links):

Read More

#20: How To Record Acoustic Guitar (…And Make It Sound Great On Its Own Or In A Full Band Arrangement)

How To Record Acoustic Guitar

An acoustic guitar is a complex thing to record and there's so many things that can go wrong.

The instrument, the strings, the performance, the room, the microphones and placement, noise issues and finally the question:

How do I get this to work in the context of my song? 

Most of the time the acoustic guitar serves a specific purpose. Either on its own, or in a dense, full rock band arrangement.

In this episode we'll walk you through the process of recording an acoustic guitar and cover all the details, as well as different methods and approaches, so that you can start your next session with confidence.

Read More

#18: How DI Tracks Can Save Your Guitar Recordings

How DI Tracks Can Save Your Guitar Recordings

When you record a guitar or bass, you should always record a clean DI signal in addition to your amp (or amp sim, Kemper, etc.)

There are plenty of very good reasons for recording a DI track - and just no reason not to.

In this episode we talk about the many ways your next record will possibly benefit from having DI tracks and sending those to mixing along with your amp tones:

  • It will enhance your creativity
  • It will allow you to focus on the music and the performance more, the stuff that matters the most
  • It will make you a better guitar player
  • Editing will be much easier, more effective and transparent
  • The final tone (the end result) will probably be a lot better (we explain exactly how and why)
  • There are a lot of creative, fun things you can do with a DI that can really bring your record to the next level (we talk about examples for this and how to do it)
Read More

#13: Understanding The Controls On Your Recording Gear

Confused by all the switches, buttons and knobs on your recording gear?

"What does this knob on my recording gear actually do and how does this all work? When do I need to push which button? What are "pad" and "48V" actually?"

Find out why, when and how to use all the controls on your interfaces and microphones!

Read More

#12: Bass Tone Is More Than Just Low End

Bass Tone Is More Than Just Low End (Picture of a Bass Guitar)

Bass Tone is not just about getting the low end right. 

The bass has to cut through the mix and we need a bass tone that makes it audible on small speakers, as well. Also, we perceive low end differently depending on the midrange information, for example. We can even "hear" low end information when it's not really there at all. Sounds weird? Well, it's definitely fascinating!

It's also worth thinking about the role the bass guitar and the bass tone play in an arrangement. The interaction between the bass and everything else.

So, in order to capture a great bass tone that serves the song well and works in the final mix, it's absolutely crucial to know and understand all of these things. In this episode we're talking about how this all works and what to do if you want to dial in and record a great bass tone.

Read More

How To Get Your Low End Right (BEFORE Mixing)

Getting the low end right is one of the most important and most difficult things in music production. Not because it’s technically hard to do, but because it requires a musical and tasteful approach, as well as the ability and experience to hear problems, find problem areas and attack them in a systematic way. 

Read More

3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Record Bass Before Guitar

Many people record a band in this order:

1. Drums -> 2. Bass -> 3. Guitars -> 4. Everything else -> 5. Vocals

I used to do the exact same thing for years. Because it makes sense, right? First you record the groove, which is usually drums and bass, then the rhythm guitars on top of it, then other rhythm elements and then all the lead parts and vocals can play and sing to that rhythm. 

While it’s a good idea to think of the arrangement like this, it’s NOT a good idea to do it strictly in this order every time you record. In fact, I would highly recommend to stop recording bass before rhythm guitar(s). 

Read More
>