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Nailing a Great Guitar Recording Before You Even Plug In

Getting a great guitar tone starts long before you fiddle with your amp settings. A bad guitar recording can seriously damage the sound of a record, and it’s generally a good idea to not screw it up even before you give the engineers a chance to get a great a sound.

Like they say in [___insert industry or profession here____]:

Garbage In. Garbage Out.

Guitar sound changes with the tides, like fashion. In the eighties, huge rock guitar sounds with appropriately huge reverbs was the sound of the era. In the fifties, clean and jangly chords strums was what was going on.

I’ve touched on many of always been a underlying character in all these professional guitar recordings.

Well Tuned, Well Set-up Guitars

Before you even decide on what type of amplifier or weird effect you want on your song, you must take care of your guitar. Take care of your guitar and he will take care of sounding good on your record.

Well tuned, newly strung guitars sound way better than old and battered guitars. A guitar that constantly goes out of tune, with dull strings and fret noise is a nightmare to deal with. Not to mention impossible to mix.

Restring Frequently

I string my acoustic every 3 months. I play my acoustic fairly often and some would say that I wouldn’t need sound. As soon as my strings start to dull I can hear the brilliance and depth of my guitar fade away.

Even different string gauges matter a great deal. Once I accidentally bought lower gauge strings and my guitar sounded weak and thin instead of the full and brilliant instrument it normally is.


Please remember to tune your instrument before recording, and preferably change strings on if they are old and worn. There is nothing worse than needing to re-record a guitar track because you forgot to tune your guitar and it sounds a quarter tone flat to all of the rest of the instruments on the track

Keep this in mind the next time you’re going to the studio you paid good money for. Good guitar recording is valuable. Tune and restring your instrument, it will make all the difference.


For practical and easy-to-use recording tips for any instrument, check out Recording Strategies.

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About Audio Issues and Björgvin Benediktsson

At Audio Issues you’ll learn simple and practical audio production tips you can use right away to improve your music from your home recording studio.  Björgvin is the best-selling author of Step By Step Mixing and the founder of Audio Issues. He helps musicians and producers turn amateur demos into professionally produced records they can be proud to release.

We help home studio musicians and project studio producers make a greater musical impact in their lives by teaching them the skills needed to grow their hobbies and careers. We do this by offering simple and practical music production and success skills they can use right away to level themselves up – while rejecting negativity and gear-shaming from the industry. A rising tide floats all boats and the ocean is big enough for all of us to surf the sound waves.

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