recording guitar

need some suggestions for a beginner

Hey, purchased N a ways back but haven’t messed around with it in a while. Just getting back into recording again and I was looking for some suggestions for a basic setup for recording guitar. Typically I use fruity loops to create drum and bass tracks, render them into respective wav files and import them into N. Then I do the following to record the guitar tracks: guitar->effects processor->direct connect to laptop mic input. I know this isn’t the best way to record and I’m not expecting any great results here b/c I do this mainly as a hobby. I was just looking for some suggestions or maybe some advice of some inexpensive equipment ($150 or less) I could pick up that would make the sound quality of the guitar a little better. I just picked up a direct input box for $30 but I haven’t really noticed much of a difference in guitar sound quality when using it. For all the people out there in my situation, what methods do you use to get a decent guitar recording? Thanks.

Well, I don’t know about a “decent” guitar recording, but what you’ve got can produce a “good enuff” recording.

I don’t know what the level and impedance of your mic i/p is, but a guitar fx unit should provide impedance matching, so you can use the line i/p instead, (always a better option). But, I’d suggest have your fx box set to clean.

Same goes for a DI box, it’s designed to provide line level o/p, so again, plug it into your line i/p.

After much trial and error, I now record clean, and then add fx afterwards using NI Guitar Rig.

But, if you want to duplicate your “sound”, then it’s perhaps best to mike up your amplifier, go through a good pre-amp, then into your soundcard line-in.

The Shure SM57 is popular for jobs like this, and the thing I like about the SM57/58, is their versitility.

They’re relatively inexpensive, robust (great for on-stage because of that, plus the good gain before feedback) and the sound ain’t bad either.

But many on here can advise you on their favourite mics. (Look back through old topics on this subject).


I’ve had some good results using the “pre out” on my guitar amp -> line in on computer. Distortion tends to sound kind of “bad”, but then it also sounds different than typical distortion, so that’s cool. The guitar was also meatier sounding this way than when I used my SM-57, I don’t know why.

At any rate, it’s cool to try every input and output you’ve got lying around (except don’t plug speaker outputs into anything besides speakers!). You never know what you might find.

Mbox. :D

GuitarPort - $99

For the simplest, most convenient, and most flexible setup, get an inexpensive guitar amp/cabinet sim, like Line6 POD, Johnson J-Station, Guitar Port, Digitech Genesis3, etc. Lots of different models to choose from, and you can find many of them cheap, used, on ebay – and this is the kind of gear that’s very likely to be just fine to buy unseen.

I use a Genesis3, which I like because it has a Warp knob to blend between two different setups. I set the left side to a clean blues tube amp sound and the right side to a heavily distorted blues tube amp sound at about the same volume, and use the Warp knob to quickly blend in the amount of “juice” I want at the moment, without having to also fiddle with the volume knob. But I don’t think it sounds as good overall as the J-Station or POD. (I haven’t heard the GuitarPort.) Of those I’ve heard, the POD is the most realistic sounding but also the most expensive (except for Native Instruments Guitar Rig software, but that’s $500.)

This is an item where it can be a good idea to go to your local music store and try them out through headphones and see which you like best. Bring your own headphones, if you have a pair you’re used to.

On the other hand, none of these is quite the same as the real thing, especially for the sensitive player. Miking an amp is an art, and can be fun too – trying lots of different positions, moving the amp in the center of the room, pointing it straight up, putting it in a closet or bathroom (door open, door closed), different mikes and mike positions, etc. But even the simplest method of just sticking an SM57 in front can sound good as long as the room is reasonably dead or else is a good sounding room. (Most fledgeling converted bedroom studios don’t sound very good at all for this unless they’ve been treated for reflections somehow.)

But the sims are great for flexibility, not to mention the ability to record while others are sleeping.

Dittos on the POD by Line 6 – you will find much happiness with that little box. I’ve had the 2.0 version for a few years now. You can probably find one on eBay pretty cheap.