Trying to get decent heavy guitar direct sound... gear help

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phait
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Trying to get decent heavy guitar direct sound... gear help

Post by phait » Thu Oct 23, 2008 6:39 am

I'm trying to approximate a better direct guitar sound, heavy. Inspiring tones have been:

Sevendust - Denial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vurBKy3h4c
Coal Chamber - El Cu Cuy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiA5zK2T6i8
Winers Thrall - Ride http://www.myspace.com/wintersthrall

Here's a recording of my Strat into a 15W Crate amp with OD/distortion on direct into my Tascam FireOne: http://www.supload.com/listen?s=J9BOQMKN9AVI

I know these guys mic their stuff and have a better chain going on, but as I said approximate - not necessarily a 1:1 sound. I cannot mic as I don't live alone (though I do have an AT2020).

I've been experimenting prior to the amp (just Strat into Fireone) with some VST amp sims/etc nothing really helps.

Should I be looking into a DI box, multi-effects pedal, preamp (tube?)? If I'm going to buy multieffects or tube preamp I'm willing to spend up to $200 - if it's a DI box probably under $50 (then I can swing buying a new DAW which I need).

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casey campbell
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Post by casey campbell » Thu Oct 23, 2008 7:05 am

ok, instead of buying a new daw, just get reaper. it's free, and if you like it then you can pay like 40 bucks or something.

as far as a direct tone....in my humble opinion, trying to match up what those guys are doing is next to impossible if you dont have a serious guitar amp.

but, fwiw - perhaps you could:

a. make an isolation box
b. buy something like a line 6 pod, or behringer makes one that doesnt sound half bad
c. borrow someone's amp and record it at a different location.

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Post by losthighway » Thu Oct 23, 2008 7:18 am

I would guess if you want that kind of tone you might need a Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier and a good selection of mics. A practice amp can sound awesome but in a tinny/boxy kind of way, not real huge. THe pod idea is a good half-measure that would be very attainable for the time being.

On the bright side you don't need a huge guitar sound to keep writing huge guitar riffs for awesome songs. They will all pay off when you have the dough for a nice rig.

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Post by vorian » Thu Oct 23, 2008 7:36 am

The word "Strat" throws a little red flag for me. Do you at least have a humbucker in the bridge? Single coils are almost impossible to get a decent heavy rhythm sound out of (forgive me if this is not news to you, just trying to cover the bases), and even the stock American Fender humbuckers are sort of bland to my ears. The amp, lack of a speaker/mic setup are going to make it difficult regardless.

+1 on reaper. Maybe try taking a direct signal before the amp also and find yourself a demo of Guitar Rig or Amp Farm or something similar.

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Post by T-rex » Thu Oct 23, 2008 7:39 am

If you are going to definitely go direct and you are going into the computer anyway, I think you should give Guitar Rig a try. It rules, there is a new $99 version out now and I beleive the mesa boogie dual rectifier is one of the included amps. The vox also rules and I think that verison may have a Orange amp too. I don't konw if you can demo it, but it is definitely worth trying. If I use it, it is usually mixed with a real guitar track too, but I have used it by itself to great affect.
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phait
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Post by phait » Thu Oct 23, 2008 7:39 am

I was also thinking of getting a humbucker-like mod to the strat, read it in an article years ago in Guitar World or something, costs about $13 and with the flick of a toggle switch you get a fuller sound.

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Post by RefD » Thu Oct 23, 2008 8:30 am

pairing the bridge pickup with a reverse wound+reverse polarity middle pickup will remove the hum...but it will NOT make your Strat sound like a Les Paul or an Ibanez IceMan or whatever.
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phait
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Post by phait » Thu Oct 23, 2008 8:44 am

T-rex wrote:If you are going to definitely go direct and you are going into the computer anyway, I think you should give Guitar Rig a try. It rules, there is a new $99 version out now and I beleive the mesa boogie dual rectifier is one of the included amps. The vox also rules and I think that verison may have a Orange amp too. I don't konw if you can demo it, but it is definitely worth trying. If I use it, it is usually mixed with a real guitar track too, but I have used it by itself to great affect.
Oh yeah I downloaded that (actually accidentally deleted it), so redownloading now. I haven't tried it yet. I'll let ya know.

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Post by kayagum » Thu Oct 23, 2008 9:04 am

You can replace your bridge pickup with a single space stacked humbucking pickup, run it through a POD, and stack tracks.

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Post by DJ_LBP » Thu Oct 23, 2008 9:13 am

i seem to remember that the guitarist in coal chamber was using a guitar that was basically the low 6 of a seven string, which would mean a low b (more likely even down to A) instead of the typical low E. I think sevendust stuff was more in drop tunings, maybe a full step down. Standard tuning can sound heavy too, but not the same as when you're at least down a half step or so.

I'd look at trying out a few good distortion pedals, maybe a keeley modded rat or metal zone, and maybe a decent compressor built specifically for guitar. Barber Tone Press is a good one, and the Keeley one is great too.

But yeah, the Recto is kind of the way to go for those late 90's-early 00's sounds.
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minorkeylee
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Post by minorkeylee » Thu Oct 23, 2008 9:38 am

+1 for single space humbucker. I have a Seymour Duncan HB single space in my Strats bridge position. Combine with with either a POD or Line 6 amp with direct A.I.R outs.....or a Countryman DI with modeling ware - Nomad Rock Amp Legends or Waves GTR both work well for me.

Also, sometimes its better to lay off the overdrive a bit and stack parts to achieve desired effect. Stacking super-driven stuff will eat your mix up.

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Post by DrummerMan » Thu Oct 23, 2008 9:47 am

This might not be the right answer for you but what about getting one of those lil' smokey amps. I don't know if you can run it's output directly to your DAW, but I'd bet you could stick your mic on it for some interesting sounds. I feel like I heard some tune once where all the guitars were recorded through mic'd up lil smokies but it sounded totally HUGE in the mix. I can't remember what that was, though.

and they're only $35.
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Post by GooberNumber9 » Thu Oct 23, 2008 10:02 am

vorian wrote:The word "Strat" throws a little red flag for me.
I'm 99% sure this is your biggest problem.

Putting in a stacked humbucker will probably get you closer, but it won't get you close, IMHO. If you look at the guitars these guys are playing, you're not going to find any Strats, single coil or humbucking. I don't think the sound of a guitar is more than 50% in the pickups. The woods play a big part, as does the construction (e.g. bridge plate on a tele).

Looks like Sevendust is about PRS and Les Pauls, the Coal Chamber dude has something strange and Les Paul-like.

You need a different guitar. Frankly, if that's the kind of music you are into, you should think about selling your Strat. You'll never really use it well for that stuff. Take all the money/budget you have and see if you can scrape together enough for a PRS SE, or maybe an Ibanez or Schecter.

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/TremontiSEB/
http://www.guitarcenter.com/Schecter-Da ... 1147995.gc
http://www.guitarcenter.com/Ibanez-ART1 ... 1173386.gc

Ideally you would get an ash or mahagony body, maple top, and nice humbuckers. Mahagony will sound a little thicker and woody, good for rhythms, ash will sound tighter and more focused but a little thinner, which I like for leads.

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Post by ashcat_lt » Thu Oct 23, 2008 10:24 am

I'd second a proper speaker simulator of some sort. Anything from a SansAmp, Pod, Guitar Rig, whatever. I use the Behringer V-Amp mostly. I don't generally go for the "heavy" sounds like what you want, but the point is the same.

The main problem I'm hearing from your sample is far too much of the nasty high frequency harmonics which are produced in the distortion circuit. The speaker in a guitar amplifier does a fine job of failing to reproduce these, making for a much smoother, more natural sound. There's pretty much nothing you can do before the amp to make this go away, since it's being produced in the amp.

While a speaker simulation algorithm would be ideal (assuming you don't want to mess with mics), you could probably get much better results than what you've got currently with a simple parametric eq. Lo-pass that thing way down. Like, start at 4K and sweep around till it sounds right. Then you can use the mid bands to simulate to a point the resonances of the cabinet and/or to scoop some of the mids if that's what you're after.

I've actually had surprising speaker-like performance running any old distortion pedal through one of those cheap line transformers from Radio Shaft. They seem to suck in much the same way a speaker does, I guess.

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Post by wren » Thu Oct 23, 2008 10:44 am

Those bands tune way down. Start there, and use heavy strings. Without a relatively high-output humbucker in the bridge, you're not gonna get very far either.

And mic'ing an amp will sound better. That's just unfortunately how it is. I live in a little duplex, so I understand your pain, but there's no way to really get that sound without moving some air with a hi-gain amp.

That said, there are a couple things I personally use to get a decent heavy distortion direct: a Tech 21 Tri-AC, an AMT DistStation, or a Zoom G2 with a speaker sim on or the Tri-AC on a clean setting and a distortion pedal (usually the AMT, a Big Muff Pi, or a Pro Tone Body Rot) before it. The AMT is more articulate, but it sounds thinner. The Tech 21 is much thicker and meatier, but it sounds a little "generic", for lack of a better word, and fast picking can get a little lost sometimes due to the "spongier" response. The clean preamp with a distortion before it sounds like the distortion pedal, basically, but with a speaker sim.

These aren't the be-all, end-all by any means, but personally I recommend you choose something like the Tech 21 or AMT (an analog amp modeler that only imitates a few things) rather than a POD, just like I'd recommend a 5150 over a Spider (the comparison isn't perfect, but you get what I mean). Whatever you use, I'd recommend something that is meant to go direct: both the Tech 21 and the AMT have speaker simulators as part of their circuitry; without those, direct guitar distorted sounds quite...different, shall we say. Also, it might help to get a boost or an overdrive and use it lightly to tighten up the distortion a little. (That's definitely the last step, though, and at best it'll only improve an already good sound.)

Finally, keep 2 things in mind: 1) use less distortion than you think you should. It'll clear things up immensely; and 2) don't feel like you need to get a huuuuge low-end out of your guitar tone. That's what the bass is for. If you have a massive low end, either you or the bass is going to completely disappear.

Good luck!
Last edited by wren on Thu Oct 23, 2008 10:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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