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Thread: Recording Acoustic and Electric Guitar with Pro Tools LE

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    tonesponge is offline Senior Member
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    Recording Acoustic and Electric Guitar with Pro Tools LE

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    I have an original M-Box running on a PC, and I want to try simply recording some fingerstyle guitar rhythms with high gain electric lead over them, and I would like some advice on recording the acoustic guitar.

    For the acoustic guitar, I'm playing a Taylor with a fishman prefix through a california blonde. Should I mic that cab or record direct?

    For the acoustic track in particular, I want some advice about applying compression to the acoustic guitar, and I want to know if I should get an external compressor unit or use the compressor plugin built into pro tools le. I haven't ever used that effect before, and I'm not sure what to do. Are the default settings good?

    Gain 0 db
    Threshold -31 db
    ratio 3:1
    attack 11ms
    release 50 ms
    knee 80

    For the electric high gain lead, I just plan to mic a cab. The high gain should provide its own compression. Will I still need to compress that mic input for the cab? I want to record at high volume for musical feedback effect, and I have had problems in the past with it seeming like the mic gets overloaded and the results are crackly. Is that just a mic placement issue?

    Thanks for all help.

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    Bisson820 is offline Dedicated Member
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    probably not the answer your looking for ... but im a big fan of recording Acoustic guitar with 2 mics ... duplicating the tracks.. panning a track of each microphone left and the other one right... and staggering the duplicated tracks a couple miliseconds back..

    try that?

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    bassbrad is offline Dedicated Member
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    As far as recording the acoustic it all depends on what you want, If you are happy with the Taylor/Blonde sound then you should mic that but remember that is a 2 way cab and you will need a nice room with some space to capture that sound. OTOH personally I would DI the pickup, mic the guitar and pan those signals.
    On the electric it does sound as though you are overloading the input signal into the Mbox, most mics can handle the signal from a guitar amp but you might also want to experiment with placement, perhaps move the mic back 6" to a foot.

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    tonesponge is offline Senior Member
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    I've actully been recording the rhythm twice, and panning them left and right. It's problematic for me because when I work up a song, I have parts that are fixed, but then I improv fills here and there. The result is not always pretty when the two different fills conflict.

    The idea of recording the tracks from one instance of playing and offsetting them by a hair did occur to me, but I'm wondering how to reliably shift one of the tracks very slightly in time. Is there a reliable way to do that in pro tools, or do you just have to zoom way in and click and drag a track over? Also, in the case where you DI one track and mic the other, do you still need to time shift one track?

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    Bisson820 is offline Dedicated Member
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    the point of the "time shift" is stricly to fatten up the sound, the same way a milisecond delay would. however im suggesting having 4 tracks from 1 take.

    2 mics recorded simultaneously, mono, duplicating each track and setting the duplicates back slightly to what sounds the best to you... the amount you have the duplicates set back will change the sound so adjust it to your liking, naturally.

    this, to me, adds a cool effect to an acoustic track that simple delay doesnt quite do.

    to even further your experimenting.. try all sorts of variations of panning all of those tracks differently... it can give you some cool effects.

    to answer your question, yes, the way i do it is zooming in a lot haha.

    edit - also you could have 1 take, duplicate it, pan them left and right and offset one back a few miliseconds. that could sound cool too.

    as you can tell, trial and error is a big thing in finding what sounds good to you.

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    tonesponge is offline Senior Member
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    Thanks.

    I'm still a little shaky though on using plugins. I read another thread that said the compression won't be evident unitl you mix down. Does that mean I won't be able to hear what the compression setting sounds like until I bounce the track?

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    Bisson820 is offline Dedicated Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by tonesponge View Post
    Thanks.

    I'm still a little shaky though on using plugins. I read another thread that said the compression won't be evident unitl you mix down. Does that mean I won't be able to hear what the compression setting sounds like until I bounce the track?
    not sure where you heard that, i've always heard the effect the compression takes on a track. and i wouldnt compress an acoustic guitar.

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    tonesponge is offline Senior Member
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    Awesome.

    I have one more question. I plan on panning to the sides to make room for a lead track in the center as it enters. And I plan on midscooping other tracks to make room for a mid boosted lead. Basically, I'm talking about choreographing the placement of the parts in the sonic space. Does that sound right? If so, I'd also like to be able to move parts up and down stage. How would I apply a presence control in the mixer? Is it just fiddling with the high end EQ?

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