What quality of electric guitar to use into audio interface.

bichon

New member
"I would guess that the sound coming into the interface depends mostly upon the guitar's pickups."

Take a great pickup and stick it in a cheap guitar, what do you get?

It's not that simple. What of the guitar itself? Why not just a 2x4 plank of wood from Home Depot?

Physics and the interaction of the body, the strings and the player interacting with the magnetic field of the pickup to induce a signal. Solid body, semi-hollow, hollow, set neck, bolt on, these all have subtle and not so subtle effects.

I took up pickup winding some years ago. I was kind of obsessed with the early Fender pickups. When you build pickups, you need something to put them in to test out what each iteration brings to the sonic pallet. I've a couple of good guitars but didn't want to use those to constantly experiment with. So I started collecting cheap guitars off of craigslist. Doesn't work.

If you go to a music store, grab a cheap electric and play it without plugging it in and listen carefully. Most are pretty dead. Grab a similar good guitar and it should just ring and vibrate in your hands. The tone is in the wood and as Keith Richards says, in your fingers. Pickup is like a microphone. It can be good, great, so so or rubbish. All the rest can't be faked except maybe by computer modeling but that was not the question.
excellent points !.. Most serious musicians , i bet, can tell you what kind of pickup is being used on a guitar while listening to a track.. Back in the 70s when i was in a band, i believe everyone loved the Humbucking (sp) pickups...
I suppose the answer lies on what exactly is going on once you plug in your guitar somewhere. The signal is passed through an amp and the output is the perception of how the guitar is sounding...
When one uses an audio interface, the output is not going thru a speaker. It is further being processed by the DAW and eventually being routed to speakers.
Does the DAW degrade the nuances of the guitar ?. To fully answer my question, i would have to record my guitar miked through an amp (Which i don't have anymore) , listen to the result on a set of speakers.. and then to compare, i would output my Cubase song with the guttering, to the same set of speakers.
So in other words, does the output of the DAW sound better with a better guitar.. or does all this processing degrade the sound to the point that a $500 guitar would sound like a $2,000 guitar.. Obviously a cheap guitar pickup will have a crappy string pluck/digital output... but i'm taking about at least a midrange quality guitar...
(gee im confusing myself, lol)
 

bichon

New member
PS - You can learn more about how different pickups sound at www.seymourduncan.com.

They design lot of their pickups to match and replace the pickups in lots of popular guitar models, old and new, so you can get an idea of the differences between, for instance, P-90s and various Strat and Tele pickups and assorted humbuckers and filtrons and mini-buckers and so on.
never knew about this resource ! THANKS !!!!
 

bichon

New member
PPS -

I didn't answer your original question, did I? In live peformance or recording via microphone, the amp matters more. Most electric players would rather have a good guitar and great amp than a great guitar and a good amp.

Recording straight into a DAW, the computer is your amp. So if your software has good amp emulation,you're in good shape. For the guitar, the most important thing is that it stays in tune.
interesting !.. so in a way, you are suggesting that using a DAW, i would be wasting my money with an expensive guitar..
I've never read any discussions on how good a DAW SOUNDS !!!!!. They all only discuss functionality.....
Kind of interesting...
I wonder if anyone has created a song in GarageBand, Cubase, Logic Pro and found the guitar sounded better in one more than the other ?
 

TalismanRich

Well-known member
You probably won't see much about the difference in sound between DAWs. The DAW program doesn't really make a difference in the sound, it should be recording just what is coming out of the plug. You may or may not be able to discern differences in bit rate or analog/digital converters. At my age, I'm lucky that I can hear 10-12k. Luckily that's just one octave lost, but its all the shimmer in instruments like cymbals.

It's the amp/computer sim that is another major contributor to the overall sound. Now, throw in Amplitude, or GuitarRig, Helix or any other amp simulator and you are in a completely different territory, just like the differences you get between something like a Princeton Reverb and a Marshall Plexi.

Likewise, if you want to do things in real time without possible computer issues, you have things like the the Line 6 devices, FractalFX, Strymon Iridium. These are hardware/software pieces that take the place of the amp, speaker and microphone. (Check out GonzoX's newest music... he used the Iridium).

I find that when playing cleanly, then you hear the guitar's characteristics more more clearly. As you move higher into distortion, the amp can start to homogenize the sound. You might be able to tell it's a humbucker, but it is harder to determine if it's a Seth Lover, SD59, Dimarzio, Mojotone or GFS pickup.

If you're doing softer ambient music, the Guild should give a nice crisp sound. I think it should be somewhere in the Gretsch Filtertron range of sound (although it's been YEARS since I've heard one). It should be great for rockabilly, Brian Setzer type of stuff. Roll the top off and you can get a nice jazz sound.
 

bichon

New member
You probably won't see much about the difference in sound between DAWs. The DAW program doesn't really make a difference in the sound, it should be recording just what is coming out of the plug. You may or may not be able to discern differences in bit rate or analog/digital converters. At my age, I'm lucky that I can hear 10-12k. Luckily that's just one octave lost, but its all the shimmer in instruments like cymbals.

It's the amp/computer sim that is another major contributor to the overall sound. Now, throw in Amplitude, or GuitarRig, Helix or any other amp simulator and you are in a completely different territory, just like the differences you get between something like a Princeton Reverb and a Marshall Plexi.

Likewise, if you want to do things in real time without possible computer issues, you have things like the the Line 6 devices, FractalFX, Strymon Iridium. These are hardware/software pieces that take the place of the amp, speaker and microphone. (Check out GonzoX's newest music... he used the Iridium).

I find that when playing cleanly, then you hear the guitar's characteristics more more clearly. As you move higher into distortion, the amp can start to homogenize the sound. You might be able to tell it's a humbucker, but it is harder to determine if it's a Seth Lover, SD59, Dimarzio, Mojotone or GFS pickup.

If you're doing softer ambient music, the Guild should give a nice crisp sound. I think it should be somewhere in the Gretsch Filtertron range of sound (although it's been YEARS since I've heard one). It should be great for rockabilly, Brian Setzer type of stuff. Roll the top off and you can get a nice jazz sound.
Thanks for the input (excuse the pun).. I will look at your hardware/software recommendations as well.. Lots of time during covid to educate myself.
Regarding your age, i am 68 and being in a rockband in my 20;s screwed up some mid frequencies (which even gets worse as you get older.
----
When my wife nags me that i haven't done such and such a chore at home, I just say " But sweetheart !!! I was in a band and i am older now !. I am not ignoring you.. I just have a problem hearing the FREQUENCIES at which YOU ARE SPEAKING TO ME"
Good think she doesn't know i'm in this forum.. It's our secret
 

bichon

New member
You probably won't see much about the difference in sound between DAWs. The DAW program doesn't really make a difference in the sound, it should be recording just what is coming out of the plug. You may or may not be able to discern differences in bit rate or analog/digital converters. At my age, I'm lucky that I can hear 10-12k. Luckily that's just one octave lost, but its all the shimmer in instruments like cymbals.

It's the amp/computer sim that is another major contributor to the overall sound. Now, throw in Amplitude, or GuitarRig, Helix or any other amp simulator and you are in a completely different territory, just like the differences you get between something like a Princeton Reverb and a Marshall Plexi.

Likewise, if you want to do things in real time without possible computer issues, you have things like the the Line 6 devices, FractalFX, Strymon Iridium. These are hardware/software pieces that take the place of the amp, speaker and microphone. (Check out GonzoX's newest music... he used the Iridium).

I find that when playing cleanly, then you hear the guitar's characteristics more more clearly. As you move higher into distortion, the amp can start to homogenize the sound. You might be able to tell it's a humbucker, but it is harder to determine if it's a Seth Lover, SD59, Dimarzio, Mojotone or GFS pickup.

If you're doing softer ambient music, the Guild should give a nice crisp sound. I think it should be somewhere in the Gretsch Filtertron range of sound (although it's been YEARS since I've heard one). It should be great for rockabilly, Brian Setzer type of stuff. Roll the top off and you can get a nice jazz sound.
PS.
Just listened to that track on Soundcloud... absolutely amazing in every respect. !
 

Folkcafe

Active member
interesting !.. so in a way, you are suggesting that using a DAW, i would be wasting my money with an expensive guitar..
I've never read any discussions on how good a DAW SOUNDS !!!!!. They all only discuss functionality.....
Kind of interesting...
I wonder if anyone has created a song in GarageBand, Cubase, Logic Pro and found the guitar sounded better in one more than the other ?
Emulation is getting really good. Also factor in that, lets say if you could go out and get X model (fill in the blank) amp. What are the chances you'll have one in pristine working and sounding order? Never mind the shear number of models and makes. I mean, are you a good tech familiar with restoration work. I used to restore tube amps and it is a bit of a specialty, especially things like re-coning and tube matching. Don't happen to have a couple of vintage JBL D120f's in a dual cab lying around? (asking for a friend) Sometimes it's the backline gear that really differentiates some studios. One thing that is becoming popular is Full Range/flat response speakers for use with emulators. One of the biggest missing things in emulation has been the interaction of sound against the strings. This dynamic was just not there in the sound. The only way you are going to get that just on the edge of feedback sound is if there is a speaker in the room. I love real hardware but no way I'm going to afford the kind of backline I could only dream about.
 

bichon

New member
Emulation is getting really good. Also factor in that, lets say if you could go out and get X model (fill in the blank) amp. What are the chances you'll have one in pristine working and sounding order? Never mind the shear number of models and makes. I mean, are you a good tech familiar with restoration work. I used to restore tube amps and it is a bit of a specialty, especially things like re-coning and tube matching. Don't happen to have a couple of vintage JBL D120f's in a dual cab lying around? (asking for a friend) Sometimes it's the backline gear that really differentiates some studios. One thing that is becoming popular is Full Range/flat response speakers for use with emulators. One of the biggest missing things in emulation has been the interaction of sound against the strings. This dynamic was just not there in the sound. The only way you are going to get that just on the edge of feedback sound is if there is a speaker in the room. I love real hardware but no way I'm going to afford the kind of backline I could only dream about.
good points.. i doubt any electronic processor can REALLY emulate tubes...
 

Folkcafe

Active member
good points.. i doubt any electronic processor can REALLY emulate tubes...
Fet's (field effect transistors) have done a good job emulating tubes for a long time except for microphonics (usually an undesirable artifact). A lot of variable to hardware sound though. Impedance of both the pickup and amp to start with. Its why some amps work better with humbuckers and others single coil. All of that is starting to get factored into the complexities of emulation. There will always be people firmly positioned in one camp or another. Look at the new legion of people discovering old analog porta studios. Use what you like. I wonder what I could get for my old Tascam 80-8?
 

bichon

New member
Fet's (field effect transistors) have done a good job emulating tubes for a long time except for microphonics (usually an undesirable artifact). A lot of variable to hardware sound though. Impedance of both the pickup and amp to start with. Its why some amps work better with humbuckers and others single coil. All of that is starting to get factored into the complexities of emulation. There will always be people firmly positioned in one camp or another. Look at the new legion of people discovering old analog porta studios. Use what you like. I wonder what I could get for my old Tascam 80-8?
i didn't know that there were relationships between amps and pickups.. so Marshall Stacks and Fender Twins would each be better suited to different coils ?
 

spantini

COO of me, inc.
... Likewise, if you want to do things in real time without possible computer issues, you have things like the the Line 6 devices, FractalFX, Strymon Iridium. These are hardware/software pieces that take the place of the amp, speaker and microphone. (Check out GonzoX's newest music... he used the Iridium)...
That Strymon Iridium is nice. IMO, one of the few pieces of gear worth the high price (not stated from experience.. from listening to this video demo) :

 

Folkcafe

Active member
i didn't know that there were relationships between amps and pickups.. so Marshall Stacks and Fender Twins would each be better suited to different coils ?
One of the oldest fundamentals in audio electronics was matching input to output impedance. It's the power transfer law. Essentially a circuit runs most efficiently and maximum power is transferred when the load and amp impedance match. Can't get around this math and Ohms law stuff. This was more of an issue in the old days (like when I was a kid) and tubes were prevalent at least with guitar amps. So what do I mean by amp? So in an electronic circuit, amps are used for 3 main functions. Voltage gain, Amperage gain or as a buffer (I'll completely ignore buffer but it is pretty simple). So there is an amp at the front end. In audio say with a mic pre (Voltage gain). Guitar amps have a front end stage too even among the simplest of tube amps.

I have a Trace Elliot Vellocette SE. It is a single ended, all tube amp that is about as simple as it gets. One class A octal tube for power and two AX series tubes as the pre to handle gain and tone circuits. The two AX tubes act as voltage gain amplifiers and the Octal tube is the current amp for the speaker. Cool thing about the amp is I can swap out the tubes without having to re-bias the amp. Change the input gain stage tube for higher gain. Use a 6L6 RCA Black Plate tube for one color, or a KT88 or EL34. I have Mullards, RCA, Telefunken and all sort of tubes I've collected over the years to use with this amp.
 

bichon

New member
That Strymon Iridium is nice. IMO, one of the few pieces of gear worth the high price (not stated from experience.. from listening to this video demo) :

You have a sixties Guild and you want to SELL it?

Here's the problem. On the one hand, they're fantastic instruments, and they're especially coveted by Guild fans. It's a true collector's item. But on the other hand, although vintage Guilds are beginning to come into their own, they're still grossly undervalued. You're not likely to get what it's worth.

And assuming it's playable, it will work just as well as any other electric for your purposes. So there's no reason to sell it just so you can record. A Fender or Gibson electric won't sound better.

So, my suggestion: Before you do anything rash with that guitar, discuss it here: www.letstalkguild.com. The folks there will give you good advice. And if you're determined to sell it, they'll tell you now much to ask for it.
I'M having second thoughts... lol
maybe i should keep it
 

bichon

New member
That Strymon Iridium is nice. IMO, one of the few pieces of gear worth the high price (not stated from experience.. from listening to this video demo) :

incredible. The ROOM processing is better than what i have in Cubase/Garage band emulators and effects. Even with mike placement around the amp... The ROOM settings are like taking Reverb and adding layers of complexity !. That would be great in my recordings..
DUMB QUESTION.
He is talking about 'scooping'.. What is this ?.
 

bichon

New member
Basically, it's the 'scooping out' of frequencies in the EQ band. One version is referred to as a 'smiley', as can be seen here:
View attachment 108151
ahh lol.. sort of what i learned how to do , because my kick drum and bass were fighting for the same frequencies... couldn't figure out why everything came out muddy.
i thought i had it all down, and later on i read about side-chain compression which i guess is automated scooping ?????
no.. maybe not.. SC compression doesn't deal with EQ.. just volume ?
 
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spantini

COO of me, inc.
ahh lol.. sort of what i learned how to do , because my kick drum and bass were fighting for the same frequencies... couldn't figure out why everything came out muddy.
i thought i had it all down, and later on i read about side-chain compression which i guess is automated scooping ?????
no.. maybe not.. SC compression doesn't deal with EQ.. just volume ?
Putting a compressor on the bass and sidechaining it to the kick drum would get the bass to "duck" out when the kick hits.

You could also pick an EQ frequency down low, somewhere in the 70Hz-100Hz area. Pick one frequency in that range and use the same frequency for both bass and kick, cutting it on the bass while boosting on the kick, or vice versa. That'll give each their own space at that frequency. Play around with various frequencies down there to see which ones work best for that particular song/mix.
 

bouldersoundguy

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I find that the different transient/sustain traits of bass and kick tend to keep them from interfering too much. It's really only a problem when the kick has a lot of sustain. I really like it when they meld into one sound, with the kick providing the thump and the bass providing the note.

As for guitars, there's one thing an amp does that going direct doesn't do, enhance sustain via borderline feedback. For example, you can't do what Jeff Beck does without volume from an amp. He isn't really driving the string motion so much as un-muting strings and letting the amp move them.
 

bichon

New member
I find that the different transient/sustain traits of bass and kick tend to keep them from interfering too much. It's really only a problem when the kick has a lot of sustain. I really like it when they meld into one sound, with the kick providing the thump and the bass providing the note.

As for guitars, there's one thing an amp does that going direct doesn't do, enhance sustain via borderline feedback. For example, you can't do what Jeff Beck does without volume from an amp. He isn't really driving the string motion so much as un-muting strings and letting the amp move them.
excellent points, both !... I am going to try picking a bass and drum patch which allows me to get this effect. The impact of kick/bass together as a single entity would add more depth (an emotion) to the note. This is the ultimate of what you would want to have on a dance floor.
and yes, all of these nuances regarding note striking and feedback control cannot be emulated.
 
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