New Guitar Recording Column!

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May I take this opportunity to pimp my new monthly recording column in Premier Guitar? The first installment covers basic electric guitar miking technique. It’s ground that’s been covered often enough before, though I hope the article’s many audio files (recorded via ReAmp, moving the mic between “takes”) shed some new light on the topic.

Meanwhile, I’m breathlessly stoked about my new “Partsmaster.” It’s a Korina “Split Jazzmaster” body from Warmoth with Fralin P-92s and some new tricks I’ve been wanting to try with wiring and onboard overdrive, plus several other ill-considered, stab-in-the-dark adventurous experiments. It’s like some wacky Firebird/Jazzmaster hybrid (“Birdmaster?”) I hope to post some video later this week, but right now, the guitar is awaiting the plek treatment at Gary Brawer’s shop. Gary is also prettying up some of my clever but sloppy wiring, and remedying the fact that, when I brought the beast in, the strings were about a half-inch from the fretboard.

Can’t wait — this is an interesting one! :)

19 comments to New Guitar Recording Column!

  • So Plek versus just a fret job–is it really above and beyond? I’ve not played a Plek’ed guitar that I’m aware of, so no idea.

  • I had the same question- please let us know if the Plek is bees knees or emperors’ clothes!

  • joe

    Wow — that’s a tougher question than it should be! I’ve only had plek jobs done at Gary Brawer’s shop, and my points of comparison are the great-playing guitars that Gary set up for me without the plek! This time, though, I was around while the job was done, and Gary showed me the visual display, indicating the many spots on the neck that prompted small corrections. The guitar plays astonishingly well, but it’s a fine neck, and Gary’s work in top-notch. But to be honest, if Gary didn’t have the machine, it’s not as if I’d ship off my guitars for a plek job.

  • Matt

    Here’s a suggestion for the recording column. How about throwing a blanket over the amp to record a take, then a second take after literally taking a blanket off of your amp? Maybe you’ll start a trend of recording amps under blankets and new pedals will be hyped to “throw a blanket over your tone.” You could turn the guitar forums upside down!

    • joe

      Hee hee. In the second installment of the column, which I’m writing now, I talk about the ad hoc tunnels of tarp that Bob Rock put over and around amps while recording Metallica. ;)

  • Oinkus

    I put my bass amp in the little closet in my room it really changes the uhm “attitude?” ??? :stupid:

  • James

    I have a stairwell in my house that I mic from the ceiling at the top. I also mic the amp close. When the song dynamics build I blend in the stairwell mic. The distance creates a great delay. And then that delay is covered in reverb. Controlling the blend makes for some great sounds.
    I enjoyed your article. Very timely.

    • joe

      Hi James! Awesome that you have that space. Now the next move is to make impulse responses of it, so you can “put” other instruments in the space — either virtual instruments, or things you’ve recorded elsewhere. :)

      • el reclusa

        I’m about to do just that at my house! I’m fortunate to have a fairly large place with lots of useable ambiences. Once I figure out making IRs, I’m gonna have a field day dorking on capturing spaces, weird junk, resonances through objects…this is gonna be fun!

  • James

    I want to find a way to control it in realtime, like an expression pedal.

  • joe

    You probably can. What parameters would you want to address?

  • James

    I tried running the stairwell mike through a volume pedal on the way back to the computer. But the signal “muddies up”. The definition disappears in the volume pedal somehow. It just sounds bad, but not that good bad.
    I want to slowly build the effect until the end of the bridge. So as it builds it gives the feeling of leaning against a wall and then the wall is removed. Causing you to fall over (sonically).
    So a volume pedal doesn’t work. Or at least MY volume pedal doesn’t work I don’t know where to go from there except to do it while mixing the track. Which is fine for the song. I’d just like to be able to pull it off live. But as I can’t bring my stairwell with me I guess it becomes a moot point.

  • James

    the volume pedal is between the mic and input on computer.

  • Oinkus

    Might be part of the issue , you have a full signal that you are manipulating with the pedal. I always put a volume pedal at the front of chain before the amp, just alters the original signal. Give it a shot.

    • James

      I found a solution. I have an A/B pedal. I run A on all the time FROM the mic to the box. The B side gets the signal thru the volume pedal to the B side of pedal. All is then sent to the mix. Somehow the A/B box allows the signal to pass clean, no muddiness. Thanks for the help and insight Oinkus.
      As always, Rock On!

  • Thanks for the piece on mic’ing amps.

    We had been using a 57 set at an angle toward to the middle of the cone. I was happy with it. UNTIL I borrowed a nice ribbon mic to try on acoustic guitar. On a whim I put it in front of the old BF Deluxe. It recorded so much better I went back and redid nine guitar tracks.

    (There was a condenser set back in the room for ambiance…barely used in the mix. And a 57 just because…not used at all.)

    Thanks for the great columns especially on GarageBand and Logic. The last album, Americana Motel, was recorded in GB and mixed in Logic, (except for Little Blue House…don’t know why it wouldn’t transfer.)

  • I sent my guitar to Brawer in the beginning of July of 2013. I had asked him to repair a Sustainiac and Ghost Floyd Rose install that some idiot here in Buffalo, NY named Dino completely botched up. I knew it wasn't a simple fix, but this is the great Gary Brawer, repairman to the stars. I thought, if anyone can get this right, it's Brawer.

    Well, he didn't return the guitar to me until the end of January 2014. He held onto my Jackson Dinky for 7 FREAKING MONTHS. His first excuse was that he had family problems over the Summer. Okay, whatever, I tried giving him the benefit of the doubt. After that, he told me a couple of times that he had to go out of town, but after that, he didn't even offer me an excuse as to why he was taking so long repairing my guitar.

    I was extremely close to calling law enforcement on this guy, as I was beginning to suspect that he had just decided to keep my guitar for himself. One bloody week longer and I would've called law enforcement. He offered me no explanation as to why it took 7 months. To add insult to injury, the Sustainiac still squealed like a dying rabbit when I got it back from his shop, which was the primary reason I sent the guitar to him in the first place (and I had to buy a new Sustainiac to boot, as the previous guy had fried the original one).

    Also, he had wires going around the tremolo that, if I were to pull up on the tremolo, the wires would've been crimped. He also miswired the Sustainiac mode switch so that the Mix mode (my favorite mode) didn't work.

    I don't know what else to say. I recently found a guy in Buffalo who did his best with the guitar. It still wasn't working and I decided just last week to count my losses and have the new repair guy remove the Sustainiac (which I will put in another guitar) and just leave the Ghost bridge. I think the Ghost circuitry and Sustainiac circuitry are simply not compatible, and that my dream guitar was not doable. Fair enough.

    However, why the hell did this guy hang on to my guitar for 7 months and not even get it right? If he knew he couldn't get it right he should've told me so and not charged me $350. He did offer to try to fix it again after I got it back the end of January and had complained to him by email that I was very pissed about it all. Oh yeah, sure, after this charlatan hung on to my guitar for 7 months I was going to pay shipping to and from San Franciso, AGAIN, and have him hang on to it for another 7 months? All I can say is, if you're not Joe Satriani, you're taking a gamble with this guy.

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