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Recording a DI electric guitar for maximum attack?


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  • Recording a DI electric guitar for maximum attack?

    I'm going to be recording with a semi-hollow bodied guitar and want to know how I can get maximum attack out of it. Ideally, I'd like to use some distortion, but not enough where it gets muddy.

    How can I get the most guitar attack and how can I obtain an extremely dynamic/percussive mix? I'm going to be using a drum machine and amp simps, if this helps.

    Is there such thing as a non-bright tone with unprecedented attack? It seems most in your face stuff is extremely sparkly and ear piercing.

    Any insight and/or tones you can bring into the discussion would help.
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  • #2
    I would recommend recording direct, and through a mic'ed amp, maybe with slight treble boost and a little extra gain. Having the direct in parallel will give you more processing options in post.

    If you split the signal in mixing, you can process one to be more heavily compressed and driven to give you the attack you want, and give the leave the other track clean, with lighter compression, and keep more of the presence without getting overly muddy.
    Capital letters were always the best way of dealing with things you didn't have a good answer to. - Douglas AdamsViolinist in a guitar worldIf you need some real live strings on your next song, send me a PM. Check out some of my demo clips here: SoundCloud


    • #3
      The word attack is a substitute word for dynamics.
      A clean direct recording gives you maximum dynamics.
      When you add drive the signal clips and you reduce dynamics and attack.

      The word you're likely looking for is presence in the mix.
      That comes from having limited masking from other instruments and
      EQing them so they dont use the same frequencies the guitar does.
      The rest comes from your bass and drums kicking tightly in sync to make it appear
      the guitar is kicking as hard as they are too.

      The problem you have recording direct is the guitar is going to have allot more bass end than it should.
      You'll want to high pass the guitar with an EQ to remove bass up to 166hz or more.
      This will leave the bass frequencies open for bass and kick to be clearly heard.
      Then maybe doing a sharp cut at 800hz and a boost at 4~5K make the guitar strings snappy.
      The rest will depend on the mix, performance and music genre.
      Snappiness and attack come from the right hand slamming the strings. You dont get it from
      twisting knobs.


      • #4
        Dynamic is the musical dynamic width of a musical performance and the recorded track of it, for example from very soft piano pianissimo (ppp) to full blasting forte fortissimo (fff), as well the dynamic changes over time in loudness.

        Attack is the first few milliseconds of a musical instrument sound, as well the first few milliseconds of the sound recording thereof. The attack is usually recorded in full sonic quality when you do not use any kind of processing during tracking which would soften the attack portion.

        Futher enhanncement on the attack portion can be done with transient processors.