Electric guitar mixing and EQ

Probably a newb question
But when recording electric guitar, why do a lot of people put an EQ in the signal chain? I always thought the bass, middle and treble on the amp (or amp sim) itself is enough. I never know if it's necessary to throw one on especially for distorted guitar. I know the advice will be to use my ears but due to the distorted unclean tone I usually can't tell if my sound is good enough or needs more work.

Ps: I use amplitude 5 through ableton lite 10. I also have guitar rig 6 with my native instruments but limited in the way of amps and plugins
 

TalismanRich

Well-known member
I would guess the reason is to approximate the sound that the person has in their head. If you're using Amplitude, then you probably are recording a clean tone, then feeding it through the amp sim and adjusting to taste.

One issue I see with using software plugins is the possibility of "paralysis by analysis". You keep trying stuff, different amps styles, speakers IRs, mic sims, maybe to the point where you don't know what you want. If you have 100 amps in your rig, do you try them all? For some people that might work.

If you track a live guitar though an amp, or even a simulator like a Line6, Strymon, AxeFX, then you have what you have for the most part. Compress, EQ, reverb, maybe an effect or two, but the basic sound is there. Don't like it, you can always lay down another track.

In the end, you tweak items like EQ and compression to try to make things blend together.
 

LazerBeakShiek

Active member
why do a lot of people put an EQ in the signal chain? I always thought the bass, middle and treble on the amp (or amp sim) itself is enough.
Live? Change the amp sound at time of recording the least. Apply LPF and HPF filters after. The filters will help take care of the microphone proximity effect. Adjust them till it sounds a little further away. Try to use as little EQ post as possible.

Thats what I think anyways.

Those Line 6 models sound fantastic in the box. The guitar feels totally dead playing it. The sound is there, not the playing enjoyment. Record the VST in the DAW. Render or RE render to .wav, that locks it into the gain stage. Drag that file in and mix it.
 

Gtoboy

Active member
If you aren't micing an actual amp it isn't really necessary but there is a good reason for using an eq first: the electric guitar generates a huge amount of overtones along with the base tones and due to the differences in guitars and pickups it is pretty much a given that some frequencies will be reinforced while others get cut. People talk about phase problems with multiple guitar parts and multi mic setups but playing on three or more strings at the same time is bound to have comb filtering.

So basically, there tend to be frequency build ups that may need to be cut and/or frequencies that should be pushed up to generate harmonics in a specific area for the best tone. Here's a video from a guy who is a pro session player who has played on a ridiculous amount of great CD's you have undoubtedly heard:
 
One issue I see with using software plugins is the possibility of "paralysis by analysis". You keep trying stuff, different amps styles, speakers IRs, mic sims, maybe to the point where you don't know what you want. If you have 100 amps in your rig, do you try them all? For some people that might work.
Yeah I think you're right, I've tried a lot of different combinations and it gets to the point 'Is this what i really want? maybe there's a better sound out there" - I'm gunning for something like Slash or Gary Moore - that kind of general raunchy sound with a 'wah' effect. Amplitube has a lot of presets there, for some reason a lot of them don't have a noise gate in the signal chain so I always end up dragging One in anyway.
 
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LazerBeakShiek

Active member
Yeah I think you're right, I've tried a lot of different combinations and it gets to the point 'Is this what i really want? maybe there's a better sound out there"
There is always a better sound..cause your tastes change.

Because the way preamp circuits function, one box cannot do it all. It is sensitive to the order of components that make the sound. Cathode follower . Tone stack value and position in EQ, relative to gain stack. Tube usage. etc.

A Marshall isn't going to sound like Slash off the shelf.
Gary Moore I'm sure used hotrodded equipment.

Don't be fooled by MTV or whatever there is now..
They use hotrodded equipment that is not sold at Guitar center.

The stuff Guitar Center sold will get you close. It will be familiar. But always leave you looking for something closer. What a marketing stratagem.
 

LazerBeakShiek

Active member
So basically, there tend to be frequency build ups that may need to be cut and/or frequencies that should be pushed up to generate harmonics in a specific area for the best tone. Here's a video from a guy who is a pro session player who has played on a ridiculous amount of great CD's you have undoubtedly heard:

The Boss EQ is garbage. It is a Constant Q design. It will have nodes and peaks at each bands center on an analyzer. it is also a buffered circuit using bandpass filters. All bad.

Better is the analog MXR/DOD analog 31 band with no caps, and is direct coupled. Probably less than $50 on ebay. Smooth EQ curves with no artifact.
 

mjbphotos

What?!?
Not mentioned yet - you EQ electric guitar (and other instruments) to 'carve' a space for them in your mix. Too much low-mid (200-500Hz) and you can get a muddy mix, or the vocals get buried.
 

LazerBeakShiek

Active member
for something like Slash or Gary Moore
Not sure about modelers. Never really use them. I'm a purist. However, my line 6 UX sounds cool through headphones. Are you outputing to a real celestion cabinet, or desktop speakers?

If I want to grind squeal like Zakk Wilde or shred like Paul Gilbert..Try real equipment. Use celestion cabinet. EL-34 or EL-84 tube guitar power amplifier. Decent pickups in your axe. Go with preamps, ADA MP-1 for Gilbert. Lee Jackson GP-1000 for Zakk Wilde squeals and Slash like chunks. The GP-1000 is the most hotrodded Marshall sound there ever was. The ADA is awesome, a new modern legend.



Either preamp should be found on ebay or the like, for under $1000. Don't buy anything after 1989. It's junk.
 
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Gtoboy

Active member
The Boss EQ is garbage. It is a Constant Q design. It will have nodes and peaks at each bands center on an analyzer. it is also a buffered circuit using bandpass filters. All bad.

Better is the analog MXR/DOD analog 31 band with no caps, and is direct coupled. Probably less than $50 on ebay. Smooth EQ curves with no artifact.
You may be right, however that garbage eq is on hundreds of records and plenty of hits. The MXR has very different frequency centers. I don't advocate either one as it's a case of what sounds right to you IMHO. Sometimes constant q is exactly what is required, sometimes it isn't
 

LazerBeakShiek

Active member
People do things wrong all the time. Doesn't make it right. Advocate is a strong word. Only trying to direct readers to a superior product.

My point-
Buy the Zakk Wilde preamp that he uses if you want to squeal like that. Some MXR or Dunlop Wyld distortion pedal is not going to do beans for your sound. Oh it will distort it..sure...That is not how he is doing it.

You want a Todd Langner creation or Lee Jackson box. Something from the time period beloved recordings were done.

Anybody even remember the GP-1000? That's the one, if he wants to sound like Slash. Hot Roddded Marshall. Check out a video demo.. The 3 tube circuit is changed so 2 tubes boost the 1. Not like a 9001 Marshall 3 tube preamp that uses a SRPP circiut. 1 tube , half feeding the channel1 tube and the other half feeding channel2's tube. Big difference x2 vs. x0.5. NO OTHER PREAMP USES THIS! the sound becomes THICC. Less than 100 87's and a few thousand 88's were made.

My bad Boris, It was Slash not Zakk...Still it was the heavy LesPaul sound everyone is looking for ..
 
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LazerBeakShiek

Active member
Anything after like 1990-92 is junk..It just gets worse and worse.

Look, This is what you want. 1988' GP-1000.
gp1000.jpg

A late 90's JMP-1 preamp from Marshall...THIS IS AS MUSICAL AS A FAX MACHINE!
JMP-1.JPG
1 tube for channel / 1 tube for emulator outs section. No tube is feeding the other.
 
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Interesting stuff guys, the things you learn on these forums gotta love it.
I was just Playing around with some of Darrell Dimebag presets on amplitube and it's closer to the sound I'm going for. It seems to be going through 2 amps with some delay and some trickery with the signal chain - I don't know much about the technicality to say exactly what's going on but his setup gives me a much cleaner tone than the Slash one gives out. Still some muddiness even with EQ but I think it's just my guitar at the end of the day. It's a cheap end, so i'll probably look into getting a decent one down the line.
 
Not mentioned yet - you EQ electric guitar (and other instruments) to 'carve' a space for them in your mix. Too much low-mid (200-500Hz) and you can get a muddy mix, or the vocals get buried.

Yeah but what confused me was - why do they add an EQ after the amp or amp sim if you can just turn down the bass and middle knobs unless the EQ plugin works differently.
 

LazerBeakShiek

Active member
1-If tone controls are in the first stages they pre-shape the tone before the distortion, like early Fenders do. The problem is that once the preamp is set into saturation those tone controls do less and less. Changing the position of the tone control circuit would change the tone. That EQ stage could be passive or parametric. Before or after. And a mix of those. There is even POST gain systems.

2-Tone stack capacitor values, the Marshall's have a .1uF midrange capacitor and a .2uF bass capacitor as part of the tone stack. The Fender spec .047 and .1 bass....


EQ in a Modeler? Bah, that's all nonsense.
 
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mjbphotos

What?!?
Yeah but what confused me was - why do they add an EQ after the amp or amp sim if you can just turn down the bass and middle knobs unless the EQ plugin works differently.
You use the amp/sim's EQ to get the tone you want. You use EQ in the DAW to get the tracks to blend.
 

Farview

www.farviewrecording.com
Yeah but what confused me was - why do they add an EQ after the amp or amp sim if you can just turn down the bass and middle knobs unless the EQ plugin works differently.
Changing the tone controls on the amp will also change the distortion sound. Also, adding treble or presence will not add "air" like a high shelf at 8k would.

As was said, use the amp tone controls to get the guitar sound you want, use the mix eq to get the guitars to sit in the mix properly.
 

LazerBeakShiek

Active member
When are they going to have a modeler that simulates the individual circuits and components? Assemble them in any order and chose the values? Would people be into that? Could it even work?

Here is that 9001 I was referencing. This has some serious street cred. AC /DC used these on tour back when. It has some great features. The SRPP tube feed. A hole in the top cover has access to a hidden clean gain trim pot. Look at that. They kept the transformer from spraying RF everywhere by keeping it in a Faraday Cage. Cathode follower with solid state rectifier, that is Marshall.
marshall-9001-vintage-valve-tube-9000_360_d1533931e361ffa8d0fc9072d99e3518.jpg

Not all of the ideas of the GP-1000 were lost to the sands of time. Look at what Rocktron did herein the mid 90's with the Piranha by Egnater himself..They brought back the Toroidal transformer from the Lee Jackson box. The toroids natural shape controls the RF bleed. Rocktron has no idea how to use tubes so that's a bust. I think Classic tube has 1 tube / Modern tube has 1 tube. They are each on a single starved plate like a pedal. But hey, it has a parametric sweeping mid! Kinda fizzy if you ask me. But it shreds.
Rocktron_Piranha_guitar_preamp_-_inside_(2007-03-08_23.13.52_by_germanium).jpg
 
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