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Dorothy and the Tin-Man’s Terrible Guitar Tone

[Quick update: I spoke too soon on Monday when I said Joe Gilder’s Recording Electric Guitar class only had 50 spots. He’s actually accommodating for 100 people, not 50. My apologies.]

A reader chimed in with a question a while ago:

How can I re-amp a “wet” distorted guitar track? I know that the answer is “you can’t!” but I’m wondering if there’s some advice you can give me to reach a more aggressive sound from a track recorded from a Behringer V-AMPIRE LX1200H Head recording directly from the D.I. output with distortion and an internal cab simulation. You know, it’s like having a full stack but I really don’t like it…

The reason it’s “like” having a full stack and “why” he doesn’t like it is the same.

Because it’s not a full stack!

There is NO way you can make a Behringer amp modeler sound like an amp if you don’t have the actual cabinet.

I don’t give a #”$ what anybody else says.

Amp modeling only works for clean guitar tones. Distortion always sounds terrible through a simulator.

The time distortion sounds real is when you’re playing through an actual cabinet that has actual speaker cones that’s moving actual air.

Not the fancy speaker simulator you see in Guitar Rig or whatever. Those can(can!) be handy in a pinch, and work much better if you’re dealing with clean guitar tones.

But distorted rock sounds?

Forget it.

You might get away with using the “crunch” setting, or even a light “overdrive” for a solo or whatever. But raunchy distorted power chords?

“There ain’t no way. There ain’t no how.”

You’re chasing your guitar tone down the wrong yellow brick road my friend.

Just get yourself a real amp, and record a real guitar sound.


There are still spots left on Joe Gilder’s Recording Electric Guitar Masterclass. This 4 week crash course in everything you need about recording guitar starts tomorrow so sign up quick before somebody else takes your spot.

Image by: Thomas Hawk

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About me

About Björgvin Benediktsson

I’m Björgvin Benediktsson. I’m a musician, audio engineer and best-selling author. I help musicians and producers make a greater impact with their music by teaching them how to produce and engineer themselves. I’ve taught thousands of up and coming home studio producers such as yourself how to make an impact with their music through Audio Issues since 2011.

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  • Hi Björgvin,

    it’s true… there is nothin’ like a real amp. But it’s not true, that you can’t get a amp simulator rock. I’ve been working as a professional guitarist for years and I’m using both simulated and real amps live and in the studio. I get really good results with my Eleven Rack so that I sometimes can’t tell the difference to my Bogner and Vox Amps.

    You can also get very interesting new sounds you cannot get with real amps.

    But I think you really need to know, how real amps are sounding. So when I use one of my AC-30 presets and tweak them, I know how the real amp would change in tone. I think that’s the real difference. But it’s unfair to say, that these distorted sounds are terrible.

    But in the end … I like this kind of discussion 🙂

    Greatz Moritz

    • Björgvin Benediktsson

      Glad to hear an opposite point. You’re probably right, I just haven’t heard it in such a long time. Thanks for the insights Moritz.