August 9, 2016

Recording Electric Guitar at Home – A Beginner’s Guide

Hey there! If you are anything like me, you absolutely love playing electric guitar. Electric is so much more fun, exciting, and loud than the traditional acoustic. Who does not love jamming out with their friends and creating some amazing riffs? Of course, there will come a time when you will want to take your jamming to the next level. I have been there and I know precisely how you are feeling right now. Where do I go from here? How can I learn how to record electric guitar? I totally get it. Recording electric guitar and making it sound great can be a daunting task.

recording electric guitar

When I first got started, I attempted to use a microphone and the end result was a garbled mess. After a lot of research, contemplating, and plenty of trial and error, I eventually managed to record my electric guitar and make it sound amazing. As I figured out and as you soon will, it requires patience, persistence, and the right equipment to be successful at recording electric guitar. Thankfully for you, I am going to help you skip the nonsense. Below, I tell provide you with pro tips for successfully recording your electric guitar.

What Will Be Needed

Before rushing ahead, you need to prepare yourself properly. So, you are going to need a few items. Some are obvious, while others are not. Although every musician will eventually formulate their own unique way to record their music, I have discovered a great deal from professionals and will provide you with insight into their techniques. Be sure to acquire the items below, before moving forward.

  • Your guitar
  • Amplifier
  • A DI box is optional
  • A DAW or digital audio workstation
  • A microphone – Either a dynamic or condenser

 

1. Setting Up A Recording Studio

setting up a recording studioWhen I first started recording my music for the first time, I started in the middle of the room and moved to the corner. Boy was I surprised by the difference that made to the end result. The difference was astronomical, so don’t put all of your hope into your equipment. So, it is first essential to setup your own recording studio. Don’t worry, because it doesn’t need to be anything excessively lavish or expensive. Just sound proof a small closet, so you can let loose, without annoying your loved ones or neighbors. This pro tip will also provide you with improved sound quality.

2. Consider Your DAW

In order to record and alter your music, it is essential to have the right computer software. Nothing is recorded and left nowadays. Instead, record producers and such edit the music substantially, before it is released to the public. A digital audio workstation will give you the ability to manipulate your music to the fullest. Some software is free, while others cost hundreds of dollars. With this in mind, you need to find one that suits your preference needs and budget.

As a tip, I can tell you right now that more expensive software means very little. With patience, a cheap or even free alternative will prove to be just as effective as the most expensive DAW software.

3. Prepare Your Guitar

Next, you will want to grab your axe and prep it. This is undeniably one of the most important preparation tips of all. You can have all of the most expensive equipment in the world and it won’t matter a single bit, if your guitar is not tuned properly. One of the most pertinent tips you will learn from the pros is that the sliding of your fingers will make a terrible noise, when recorded. Adding a little lubricant to the fretboard can eliminate this. At the same time, it is wise to replace the strings. New strings will provide a most pleasant and bolder tone.

prepare your guitar

4a. Using The DI

di box guitar

Photo Source: https://youtu.be/dewuieQtm3Y

If you wish to record directly, you will need a DI. This direct box will allow you to record your guitar without an amplifier. When attempting to purchase one of these boxes, you will be able to select an active DI and a passive DI. For recording electric guitar, you are better suited with an active DI. I would only recommend passive DIs for active instruments, such as keyboards and electronic percussion.

Once you have selected a DI, you can simply plug it into your guitar and make a few tweaks, until you are able to acquire the sound that is desired. The prices of Dis can range greatly. One of the best tips you will learn from the pros is that you should spend a dollar for each five dollars spent on your instrument.

4b. Using A Microphone

Alternatively, it is possible to purchase a microphone and utilize it to record from your amp to your computer. Personally, I recommend this method, as it provides greater freedom and allows the musician to completely manipulate their music. Of course, there is a great debate regarding the best microphone for recording the sound produced by an electric guitar. Some suggest that condensers are better, because dynamic mics are slightly telephony and are unable to pick up those low sounds. A reliable condenser will be able to record everything and this is why I recommend it.

In order to use the microphone, you’ll also need to configure your amplifier. Make sure all of the settings are right on the money, before attempting to record.

use microphone

4c. Consider Adding A Power Soak

If you went with the microphone option, you may want to consider adding a power soak. This supplemental equipment is truly beneficial and will help lower the volume output, without hindering the quality or tone of the music. This is not a necessity, but I do recommend adding one to your arsenal, because it’ll make the final product much more pleasant.

5. Jamming Out

Now that you are completed the steps above, there is truly nothing left to do, but grab your guitar and let your fingers do the talking. Just remember that nothing will be perfect at first. Keep your ears open and listen to your music. Tweaks will be required, but with patience and persistence, you will eventually be able to acquire the perfect sound that you’ve always dreamed of. Once you have started to make money with your music, you may want to consider socking more money into your equipment, so you can acquire a more authentic sound.

Conclusion

I hope you find my recording style to your liking. I find it very easy to accomplish and the playback sounds clear and vibrant. If you are utilizing DAW computer software, you will be able to make minor tweaks, wherever needed.  Of course, it may take a bit of practice before you get it perfect, but you will definitely have fun practicing. If you enjoyed the tutorial, please share with others and let us know within the comments section below.

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