Being in the studio is one of my favorite things to do.  I love the environment, the process, the frustration, and the growth.  Every time I work on a album I grow as a musician and guitarist.  I tribute alot of the way I play to time spent in the studio, and sitting under a producer’s direction.  Most of the projects in the last few years I’ve worked on have been at The Sound House studio here in Redding, Ca under owner/producer Jeremy Edwardson.  Jeremy’s a killer producer and engineer (Jesus Culture albums, Bethel Live, ect ect ect) and a good friend of mine.

I wanted to take some time and share with you all some of Jeremy and I’s recording techniques for tracking electric guitar.  Recording can be done so many different ways, but in this post I’ll share some of our standard go-to models for any given project.

Almost always we’ll mic the amp with two SM57’s and some sort of warmer alternate mic, usually a ribbon.  In this photo we used a Royer ribbon mic.

You can see in the photo that the 57’s are spaced a few inches apart, and pointed straight on the speaker, one slightly off the cone, and one a inch from the edge. The center of the speaker is brightest, and the Royer ribbon mic is darker/warmer by nature, so we put the Royer pretty closest to the center of the speaker.

The goal in micing is to mic the sound that you want to record, rather than EQing the mic to get the tone you want. For instance, if we wanted a brighter sound, we might start by moving the mic more towards the center of the speaker, or brightening up the amp. You can always add some brightness at the pre amp’s EQ, but it’s better to get it from the source rather than adding it at the pre.

When recording, I turn the amp up as loud as I want. A basic rule of thumb of getting good tone for me is to make the amp do all the work. If I go straight into the amp (bypass pedals), usually I want the amp to be nice and full bodied and right on edge of breaking up. You can always get cleaner tone by just playing softer, but its good to get a good portion of your drive straight from the amp.

Tracking One Amp

If you have the option, its great to be able to pick and choose amps and guitars and mics. For this project, we chose to have our real focused electric tone tracked with my Jackson Ampworks Britain 3.0 using Tele’s, a Strat, and a Jazzmaster. This was our stanky lead tone station, where a lot of the cool rhythm and more dry lead parts were played, as well as lap steel and slide parts. The Britain 3.0 has been a sick amp to record, and goes especially well with single coil guitars. We mic’d it using two 57’s and a knucklehead ribbon mic.

TRACKING STEREO AMPS

I love using two amps at once when I play live or record. Going stereo out of my boss RV-5 and then panning out each amp in my in ear monitors (one amp left and the other right) gives a sweet widness to my tone, and actually helps me play better. For this last project, the parts I tracked in stereo were played through two AC30 Heritage Hand Wired amps. Both amps were set to the same settings, so that they broke up in the same way. Alot of people like to play in stereo with one amp set cleaner than the other to get a different blend. That actually usually ends up bothering me, as I prefer the two amps to react in the same way. Often I’ll pair a AC30 with my Britain to get a different eq/tone from each amp, but even then I’ll still try and set the gain levels close to the same on each amp so that they react similarly. It was great to play a pair of nice AC30’s for this project though. This was our station where we recorded real wide verbed out parts, or anything that we wanted to sound a bit more wet (with delay or verb). Both were mic’d using two SM57’s and a Royer ribbon.

Something new for Jeremy and I has been to record stereo amps using the Korg sdd3000 digital delay (i know.. sounds kinda like a super soaker). This is a rack delay unit for electric guitar that The Edge made famous. We put it as the second to last thing in my pedal chain (just before the RV5) before going to the amps. The pre in this unit makes playing in stereo sound way wider, and makes the amps breakup in a really cool unique way. The delay in it also sounds incredible, but this thing could just be used as just a overdrive pedal and it would rule. Too bad its so big. I tracked using the SDD for all my parts on the Jesus Culture Live From New York album. See if you can tell a difference in my tone from this album compared to Jesus Culture Awakening.

Inputs

Finally I’ll list where all these mic lines were going. All four AC30 SM57’s were all going into API pre’s, and each Royer was going into Millennia pre’s. The Millenia is a more sensitive pre amp, and does better with gaining up a ribbon like the Royer. All three of the Britain’s mics were going into the the vintage Neve 8232 console. All mics were EQ’d using the Neve as well.

Typically, Jeremy uses Digital Performer for recording software, but the Soundhouse also often uses ProTools HD.

click here The Sound House to check out Jeremy Edwardson’s website

Photos were taken while I tracked for Andrew Ehrenzeller’s upcoming album. Check out Andrew Ehrenzeller’s site

This post was written while Luca was sleeping on my chest. #p