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ExSpeedF1
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« on: July 10, 2004, 10:49:15 PM »

I have a Squier Strat affinity series and a squier champ 15 watt amp that I am using. My computer for recording is good. I am interested in getting a new amp and guitar. Ive had my eye on a Jackson Dxmg and a Crate amp (preferably a Crate GLX1200H 100W Half-Stack setup). I want something that sounds beefy and provides great power with great sound. EF suggested that crate half because of the 16 built in effects, and I would like to have effects also so I get a wide varity of sound and quality with a heavy sound. Feel free what you suggest.

If you care to see my current equipment here is a site with pictures:
Pictures


Thanks

--Ex
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Mac
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« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2004, 11:34:38 PM »

The 100 watts would come in handy if you are anticipating some live gigs in your future.  

However, if your goals are for recording, one can save a bit of money by getting whatever has the same basic effects in it at much less power.  

A 5 to 25W amp can sound like two Marshall stacks in an arena if you mic it right.  

One of my favorite cheap tricks is to place two 2X2s across the top of the bathtub and then lay a small amp face down with the speaker looking through the boards at the bottom of the bathtub.  Hang a mic above the tub with a rope, and adjust the height of the mic while listening.  This can make a pignose sound like a huge tube amp if done properly.  For the 'brit' sound, place a second mike pointing towards a ceiling corner.  Be sure to listen for phase cancellations and move one of the mics a tad if you hear that nasally sound when both are played back.  

Equipment does not make the musician.  Up to a certain point, one can get quite a few things out of what they've already got if they work at it a little each day, but that's no fun.  We like gear.  Gear Acquisition Syndrome, or G.A.S. has done in many a bank account around here.  

Enjoy,

--Mac
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cvrjasonguitar
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« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2004, 11:41:36 PM »

Another investment that is decent for recording purposes is a J-Station. You can taylor the sound pretty well, using the midi software. And it really is good if you have issues with being too loud for the neighbors. Plenty of effects built in. A nice fairly cheap flexible unit.

Amps and guitars are very indivualistic. Try alot of stuff out. More money does not equal better equipment.

I have a nice Fender Pro-Reverb Amp and A Jap Strat neiter of which I spent too much dough on but they both sound good.


 
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ExSpeedF1
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« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2004, 11:42:45 PM »

Thanks Mac, for the advice/helpful suggestions. When I get home ill try the bathtub idea, since I have a 15 watt it should work. The 15 is surprisingly small so it should work. Though I live in a Manufactured home, and the bathtub is plastice and my bathroom has crappy walls. With such enviroment are there any changes or extra steps I should consider while attempting this act?

Thanks

--Ex
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ExSpeedF1
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« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2004, 11:46:49 PM »

Thanks cvjason. Also is there anything else that I can jimmy out or download to give some great sound to either recordings or presentations to family and friends?

--Ex
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Mac
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« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2004, 12:00:19 AM »

AS with ANY environment, one should be on the lookout for things that buzz or otherwise resonate when soundwaves hit them and either remove them or damp them with towels, rugs, what have you.  

A word to the wise, womenfolk, whether Moms, Wives, Daughters or Sisters are not too impressed with recording in the bathroom.  

Especially if it's a one bathroom house.  

The point is to experiment with the rooms and spaces available to you.  

A good long low impedence mic cord plus a long guitar patchcord is a good thing to have.  One can get two or three 20' mic cords and patch 'em together when needed and also have several mic cords for other times.  

I've also used the wife's car and the family SUV at night when parked in the garage as a cheap soundproof booth for recording guitar amps.  Amp on the backseat facing forward, SM57 on the speaker and sometimes another mic hanging from the rearview mirror to catch the reflections off the windshield.  Roll all windows up and close the door carefully on the cords where the rubber insulation is on the door.  This only works if you have a garage, though, the dead airspace between the outside of the car and the garage walls are important to the sound deadening.  And it isn't perfectly soundproofed, but it works fairly well, and the inside of an SUV has just the right amount of soft and hard reflective surfaces.  Just don't use a 100W TWin Reverb or the like in there.  

Long ago I knew a cat who got great results with his Tascam 8-track deck by placing the guitar speaker cab outdoors sometimes.  He lived on a farm, though and the neighbors were far from him.  And one of them still complained that his Marshall cab was scaring their cows.  I still maintain it was his playing...  

Be creative,

--Mac
« Last Edit: July 11, 2004, 12:01:23 AM by Mac » Logged
ExSpeedF1
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« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2004, 12:08:01 AM »

I just had a creative thought. Since I live in Geneva (BFE) we dont really have a car garage, but I do have a garage that I could use, it has a loft thing if you will, a 12' by 24' work area where my dad works on everything you can think of, and a 10' by 12' room, filled with "collectibles" or "antiques". If I was to close up the shop, and turn my 15 up pretty loud and had a mic hanging 12' in the air, do you think i could get a good reverb or acoustical kinda sound out of it? Mind you that it is filled with wood and metal things, the roofing is steal, and the siding is steal also.

--Ex
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ExSpeedF1
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« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2004, 12:13:25 AM »

Also, I forgot to mention in my previous post, this might be interesting for you. If you have a effects pedal or some type of pedal for a guitar, you could take that out into your SUV with your guitar and a patch chord to go from your guitar to pedal, you could have a 1/4" plug adapter plug in the out hole, and run from the adapter a tape that you put in your tape player enabling you to play through the car speakers. Doing this you will get an acoustical kinda sound and depending on the SUV it might sound good, but with the pedal off you will get alot of bass that might not sound good unless the guitar is turned down. With the pedal on you get the effects you want coming out of the speakers and you can adjust the volume of the output by the car tape player, guitar, or pedal and you could possibly try recording something like that.

--Ex
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Mac
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« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2004, 12:39:08 AM »

You're starting to think, and that's the beginning of creativity.  

Be careful with the car speakers, overdrive them to the point where voice coils get damaged could get you into some trouble with the folks.  Those speakers were not really designed to be used as guitar instrument speakers, which are typically much less in the frequency range department and much more stout where it counts for the purpose of amplifying a guitar.  Of couse, with the pedal in between you could do this if you are careful how loud you push it.  

Try different rooms with the guitar amp, but be careful about areas where there is a lot of junk that can rattle and resonate.  Things that don't sound so bad or are often even unnoticed when just listening to the thing have a habit of coming back out of the speakers real noticeable after being recorded.  

Start LISTENING to spaces.  Go in there and clap your hands sharply and listen for the return.  Rooms that poing or otherwise reflect hard are not going to make good recording rooms.  The typical home living room can make a good recording area for vocals or instruments because of all the soft stuff in there -- couches, draperies, rugs.  A good time to lay down a vocal is when the rest of the family is out somewhere like a movie.  Clean it all up before they get back and you can do it again some other time.  

Turn on the thinking, the first thing in any project is a sentence.  Everything starts in words.  Then VISUALIZE in your head and see if you can picture it working and see if you can picture what may not work with the idea and change things around and look at it in your mind's eye again.  

Equipment and Gear are certainly good things to have, and if you stick with the love of music and recording they will surely start to add up as you go.  

Creativity and hard work are equally important, sometimes even more important than the equipment.  

I'm reminded of an old story I read where Frank Zappa took an old beater electric guitar of some kind and put on a set of new strings that he had first hung in the garage and spray painted green.  

I think it was Steve Vai, but it may have been another studio stud, but anyway, on the day of the recording session the guy set up his rig and tuned his axe and listened to the target bed tracks and just as they were ready to give it a go, Frank grabbed his personal guitar away from him and put the weird guitar with the green strings in his hands and said, "Play!".  And hit the big red button.  That take went on the album.  And Frank got what he wanted, something completely different from the guy.  

You keep on thinkin' about it,

--Mac
« Last Edit: July 11, 2004, 12:42:36 AM by Mac » Logged
ExSpeedF1
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« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2004, 12:49:06 AM »

Thank you. There is a slight problem with recording in places other then my room. The mobility of my computer is nill with all the junk I have plugged in and running on that thing. Although if I got my hands on a laptop (legally of course), a kindof cheap one, one that doenst matter if it gets ruined, would it be all right to use that in for mobile recordings. The reason I ask this is because of the laptop sound cards. Would the recording line it not be as good or great as a desktop computer would be?

--Ex

Oh snap, I just got a great mixing idea. Anyway, laptop idea, what you think?
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Cyprian
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« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2004, 01:17:31 AM »

First with guitars, don't overlook being in tune and a good setup. Intonation (the guitar playing in tune) is the first important part of any good guitar sound being recorded. Unless, you are going experimental and want bad intonation.

I am not the best person to explain intonation and how to setup a guitar. To me when I do it, it is some bizarre act. Mac in the past has given good step by steps for setting intonation and good tuning advice. I defer to him.

Some wise sage suggested one could master the art of recording by mastering the use of a stick mic and a sound card. Don't worry about making that "professional" sound yet. Worry about learning how things work. Experiment, maybe you will make bad sounds, but you knowing how to manipulate the process will lead to a greater knowledge and the development of your prime recording/musical instrument, the EAR.

Saying that, I would start with trying to record sounds finding ones you like and understanding why. Try to see if you can emulate sounds you hear on your favorite record. Then once you get past that point, experiment with one effect. Learn that one. Break it, beat it, make it yours. Go from there.

Also, my opinion, when you first start to record and make mixes for people to hear, I found it easier to start with microphone captured tracks and no effects.

And always ask questions of yourself. Write down these questions and give yourself a lot of time to experiment.

Good speed,

Cyprian
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EminenceFades
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« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2004, 01:19:56 AM »

I use my Crate GFX65 because you get a nicer sound then micing a halfstack. In my opinion
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ExSpeedF1
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« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2004, 01:24:12 AM »

Haha, I had a friend of mine show my how to setup intonation. Doing such thing is interesting. Im not sure if I'm looking for professional sound yet, but I am deffinately looking for something different. I want to be unique, well not me personnally, but my music, I want that to be unique, and different. I like Rammstein and other german bands that arent as popular as Metallica or Led Zepplin because they are different and have a different perspective on music, and I like that.

--Ex
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Mac
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« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2004, 01:53:10 AM »

One of the very best pieces of equipment for the novice guitar player doesn't cost all that much, and if you take care of it, it will last a long time for you.  

And that would be one of the inexpensive electronic guitar tuners.  

Barring that, google up a free software one and use it to tune your guitar every time you play.  

Also use it to tune the open strings and then check how far in or out of tune it may be at the 12th fret, one octave above each open string.  

If the open string is dead in tune and the 12th fret of it is sharp, use the tiny screwdriver to move the bridge bit back in a direction away from the tuning pegs and the nut, retune the open string to the tuner and check the 12th fret again.  Be careful not to BEND the string when doing this, it must be driven directly down to the fret.  

Of course, if the 12th fret note is flat as compared with the open string note, then you would move the bridge bit TOWARDS the tuning pegs and nut.  

Repeat for each string until the reading on the open string is the same on the 12th fret.  Which should be a dead centered tuning needle.  

As for using a laptop, many people do and many people have, the internal soundcards in laptops are noisy, sure, and a lot of laptops may not allow a lot of track count do to the single hard drive which up until recently had been slower, most were at 5400rpm rather than 7200, but like I say, there have been some folks do some pretty good work with one.  

There was a guy from England who used to post songs on the old forum, he was very inventive and creative with "only a laptop".  His forum name was "popdad" if I remember it right, I may not remember his name, but I sure do remember some of his good creations.  

He is the guy who thought up using his stratocaster to do bass lines that sounded identical to an early Precision Bass played with a pick.  

All he did was play the guitar direct in and play the bass part he wanted, only it was of course an octave higher while playing it.  

Then he used the n-Track pitch shift without changing speed thing to drop the whole track down one octave.  

A dab of compression, a spot of EQ, and nobody could tell it from the "real thing".  

For the kind of music you are into, you might use a distortion plugin a bit, too.  And a speaker emulator.  

--Mac
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ExSpeedF1
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« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2004, 02:03:24 AM »

Hmm, thanks. I listen to more then just Rammstein but, they are my main band and they have the coolest effects and stuff, well for what I like anyways. But I might get another laptop to use for recording in werid places. The one I have now I dont want to mess up so I'll keep it the way it is. I am currently trying to get ahold of a musical keyboard so I can mess around with drum beats and all kinds of things on that.

--Ex
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JasonSpatola
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« Reply #15 on: July 11, 2004, 02:38:30 AM »

Quote
Also, I forgot to mention in my previous post, this might be interesting for you. If you have a effects pedal or some type of pedal for a guitar, you could take that out into your SUV with your guitar and a patch chord to go from your guitar to pedal, you could have a 1/4" plug adapter plug in the out hole, and run from the adapter a tape that you put in your tape player enabling you to play through the car speakers.
Haha, I've done that before just for fun.  Might be an interesting recording idea, though.  I'll have to do it again sometime, as soon as I can think of a use for it... Definitely something to ponder.  (I mean, how cool would it be to say, "we recorded the guitars on our last album in a Dodge Stratus!"  Tongue )

Oh yeah...

Just don't play guitar and drive - you'll wreck and die.  (Man, you don't get good advice like that at any other website!)
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« Reply #16 on: July 11, 2004, 05:54:30 AM »

This thread started asking about guitar/amps. Well, I'm not going to comment on the guitar - too personal, but here is a comment about amps: - my 2p

MY Son's band has just got a gig booking, so we went down to have a look at the place. Tiny stage, 250 + 250W powered mixer into a couple of Yammy bins for FOH, and that's it. The place is aimed at young bands, and they run 2-3 bands a night. The night we went down, the "main" spot were actually pretty good technically. They were running drum kit, vocals into FOH, Bass into an ashdown 180W bass amp and 2x guitars into their own combos. One was VOX the other I didn't note, but they were a fair size and must have been at least 80-100W. They were *not* mic'd - not really any chance of making the set-up in the time/space available. The point of this is that *the guitars were totally lost under the volume of sound coming from drums/vocals/bass*. The room, BTW was packed with people, and they sure make good sound absorbers, and the combos were on the floor and of course, the bins were up high.

Got me thinking about how we are going to do the sound when Rob and his mates get their spot, and I have come to the conclusion we are going to DI into the FOH desk. Simple and easy to set-up. Any loss of "quality" will surely be made up by ease of getting a reasonable mix out to the audience.

I don't pretend to be a live sound guru, but I've played a few pub gigs and I know how the sound gets sucked up between the sound check in an empty room, and when you play to a full house.

The point of this is to consider *why* you want what you want. A 100W rig is way too loud for a domestic setting. IMHO, the way to go is with effects pedals/simulators/Pods/Vamps etc. They're relatively cheap, but best of all for a beginner, they give you access to a wide variety of sounds to help you discover "your" sound. And, when you get your first booking, at least you know you can just plug in and get something resembling the sound you have been rehearsing with.

Now, I would welcome some comments on these thoughts from the more worldly wise than me, so don't take this advice as a given, just food for thought.

Maaszy
« Last Edit: July 11, 2004, 07:49:01 AM by maaszy » Logged
Mac
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« Reply #17 on: July 11, 2004, 09:20:09 AM »

Even if mic'd or DI'd, combo amps are often better, much better, when placed up higher off the ground.  Even folding chairs or stools will help a lot.  

And when a combo amp is a bit higher it is easier for the players to hear them from a standing position especially.  

Some of the older combo amps featured tiltback legs and that was a nice feature for such, but I prefer still to get the amp a couple or so feet off the ground.  At that height they cut through much better.  

For guitar cabs and combo amps I greatly prefer to mic them versus DI whenever it's possible.  SM57s will do the job in anything from the setup Maaszy describes right on up to arena sized events.  Clones of '57s will also work here on the cheap.  

Some of the newer combo amps reflect the increased home recording going on, like the newer Marshall Valvestates have speaker-simulated outputs on the back for going straight to a Line Input via the headphone jack, which means one doesn't necessarily have to deal with around a hundred watts of power in the studio while tracking, yet will still have the 100E available for gigging.  The Line 6 modeling amps do the same thing for you, and I assume the Berry modelers will, too.  Modeling amps can work well with Direct Injection IMO.  

Bass players are easiest to do running DI through a direct box splitter on the live gigs.  I've seen mics on bass boxes onstage shoved right up against the grills:  Somebody should try to explain to those guys the wavelengths going on there, and why that doesn't work so very well.    

--Mac
 
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ExSpeedF1
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« Reply #18 on: July 11, 2004, 11:52:19 AM »

Mac, you said combos are good. Are pretty much any combos good or is there a certain brand that are better then others or some that have their own kind of greatness. Most of the amps I look at gettin are Crate or Marshall. Crate is cheaper and supposed to give the deeper or "beefy" sound I am looking for. I like the cheaper portion because The cash flow is starting to lean out incredibly.

--Ex
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« Reply #19 on: July 11, 2004, 01:05:30 PM »

FWIW ,  I'm not sure what price range you're looking at , but in my experience with guitar players , the ones with the best sounds were playing through an all tube rig.  If you want a deep beefy sound it's hard to beat tubes , and another personal opinion is STAY AWAY FROM CRATE AMPS !!  ( again , thats a personal opinion , but I've never heard a good sounding Crate amp ) . The guitarist in my band plays through a Peavey 5150-2  with a Vox 2x12 cab . Extremely sweet sounding amp , and very versatile. My brother plays through a 50 year old Orpheum 12 watt combo with a single 8" speaker , it sounds extremely nice !  Like others have said , the equipment doesn't make the player , find what you like & make it work for you.
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