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Thread: Getting thick/wet/fuzzy/dreamy distortion without losing the guitar melody

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    valacirca is offline Junior Member
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    Getting thick/wet/fuzzy/dreamy distortion without losing the guitar melody

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    Hi guys. I'm having this problem right now where I'm trying to record a section of music that I want to have thick, dreamy distortion like what you hear on shoegaze records (e.g. - My Bloody Valentine - Loveless)... but I only have a basic setup: a distortion pedal + amp, and I work using Reaper.

    What happens is either I can maintain the melody (meaning the melody is audible/chord changes are recognizable and distinct) but the sound is too thin; OR, the sound is thick, wet and dreamy enough but I lose the melody under all the fuzz and distortion.

    What do you think is the best way I can handle this considering what I'm working with?

    I've split my guitar signal with my DI box with one output going directly to the mixer and another output as an input to my amp, which I mic into the mixer as well. For the rest of my setup, you can check out this thread: LINK

    Thanks!

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    tom18222 is offline yes
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    you don't need alot of overdrive when you record. you want to be able to hear all of the notes in the chords, and all that extra gain just makes the mix muddy. you want to EQ your amp so it sounds good recorder, not so it sounds good in the room.

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    Quote Originally Posted by valacirca View Post
    Hi guys. I'm having this problem right now where I'm trying to record a section of music that I want to have thick, dreamy distortion like what you hear on shoegaze records (e.g. - My Bloody Valentine - Loveless)... but I only have a basic setup: a distortion pedal + amp, and I work using Reaper.

    What happens is either I can maintain the melody (meaning the melody is audible/chord changes are recognizable and distinct) but the sound is too thin; OR, the sound is thick, wet and dreamy enough but I lose the melody under all the fuzz and distortion.

    Thanks!
    Something I learned a while back is at it's heart, distortion is compression. So, with that in mind the more distortion you use the more compressed your guitar tone will be. And if you don't know what compression is or you can't hear what it does try studying up on it. But, basically what is happening is it is squashing the dynamics of your tone which makes individual notes sound more like just one note.
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    DrewPeterson7's Avatar
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    While all posts so far have been on point, let me add another thought - you're recording, not playing live; this isn't an "either or" situation, as you can easily have both. Record a couple "thick, wet, and dreamy" tracks with the levels of saturation you want (maybe try a hair less gain than you're using, though) to give the "sound" of guitars so distorted they're washing out, and then over that overdub another pair of tracks that are cleaner. Use the cleaner tracks for definition and note clarity, and the heavily distorted tracks to give it that super-saturated, washed out sense. It'll take a bit of juggling, getting the relative levels between the two right (and you might need to add a fair amount of compression to the cleaner tracks), and more likely than not you'll want to differentiate them further with EQ, the cleaner one being pretty bright and the gainier one being dark and middier, would be my starting point, but since you're recording, you really CAN have it both ways.
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    NCdan's Avatar
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    Hi guys. I'm having this problem right now where I'm trying to record a section of music that I want to have thick, dreamy distortion like what you hear on shoegaze records (e.g. - My Bloody Valentine - Loveless)... but I only have a basic setup: a distortion pedal + amp, and I work using Reaper.
    To get awesome-sounding distortion you need: great guitar -> great tube amp -> great speaker cabinet w/ great speakers. There are no shortcuts in getting great distortion, especially when it comes to high gain. I've been there and done that with far too many budget solutions: they never really work out.
    Friends don't let friends buy cheap tube gear.

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    Drew is right on the money. Layering is going to be your friend for that type of tone.

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    valacirca is offline Junior Member
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    Hey thanks, the layering thing seemed to improve what I was trying to do! And it's also more flexible in the sense that I can just adjust the levels of either of the two tracks if I want the resulting effect to be more fuzzy or not.

    Although I'm thinking that maybe getting a fuzz pedal might improve things dramatically? delay + fuzz + reverb = win?

    what do you guys think and what might you suggest?

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    Greg_L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by valacirca View Post
    delay + fuzz + reverb = win?
    For rhythm tracks? That sounds like FAIL to me
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg_L View Post
    For rhythm tracks? That sounds like FAIL to me
    Fuzz sounds like fail to me, period, but that's just my personal opinion so I won't voice it.

    ...whoops....

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    Greg_L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by legionserial View Post
    Fuzz sounds like fail to me, period, but that's just my personal opinion so I won't voice it.

    ...whoops....
    Just imagine delay, into fuzz, into reverb into a high gain amp. That's gonna sound like a bowl of mashed shit.
    New Gregor The Terror album! Download - El Bastardo Azul Or Buy the CD!
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