When I was in my teenage rock band(this is a rite of passage for any guitarist I think), I was obsessed with making my guitar sound larger than life.
You know that thick and creamy sound you hear on your favorite rock records?
That’s what I was chasing.
I spent an endless amount of time researching the amps, guitars and pedals of my guitar heroes. I wanted all of their equipment: their Mesa Boogies, their ESP Explorers, and their Big Muffs. And all the other cool things they were using on those records.
I’ve talked about this quest of mine before. The fact is that most of those massive guitar sounds came from the amp, but that’s not the only piece of the puzzle.
It’s not just the equipment, it has to recorded and played right as well.
Make it Sound Right in the Room
If you want to record a great guitar sound, it’s not just about cranking up the amp in the room. Sure, a loud-as-Clapton tube amp is gonna sound pretty amazing like that but if you’re not thinking about how it sounds in the room then you might only get half of the awesomeness that’s coming out of that amp.
Bare walls, reflections and positioning of the amp is still an important factor. Move your amp around, put some baffles up and make sure that every little juicy sound is getting picked up by the microphone.
But even a perfectly placed amplifier won’t help you if you’re lacking the most crucial ingredient of all.
The Feeling in Your Fingers
Eric Clapton is pretty famously known for his Stratocaster. Many of you may know that he also used a Les Paul and an SG during his Cream years.
Sure, they sound very different but when Clapton plays them, those solos sound like Clapton.
Because his sound is in his fingers. I know what you’re thinking, “well I’ve heard other guitarists play a Clapton solo note for note and it sounded exactly the same!”
Because the sound is in the fingers. If you practice to the point where your touch and feel sounds like Clapton, congratulations. You’ve stopped relying on amps, equipment and guitars to make you a better player and actually made yourself a better player through practice.
Because ultimately, that’s what a good guitar sound comes down to. A well played performance full of touch and emotion.
And that’s how you make that guitar mix sound amazing. It’s not the equipment, it’s not the pedals, it’s the player.
Touch and emotion isn’t something that can be given or sold to you, it has to be earned.
But if you want something to make that touch and emotion sound better, go here next:
Image by: Arn@ud Ab@die