Magazine article Guitar Player

Carl Verheyen on Performance: The Manipulation of Sound in the Air

Magazine article Guitar Player

Carl Verheyen on Performance: The Manipulation of Sound in the Air

Article excerpt

ALTHOUGH MUCH OF today's electric-guitar recording is done using plug-ins and virtual amp models, I am still a holdout for miking amps. The manipulation of sound in the air remains my favorite way to get a unique guitar tone.

You may argue that playing direct through a plug-in produces a more modern sound, and I would agree that sometimes a whacked-out, heavily effected guitar tone is easier to achieve using modeling technology. But when you go that route and select your sound from software presets, the risk is that you will print a generic "out of the box" tone. This is very convenient, of course, but consider this: By plugging into an amp, selecting mics, auditioning mic positions, and stringing together a handful of pedals--some hi-fi rackmount reverb effects, a low-fi filter, and a stereo chorus--I have the chance to produce a sound that nobody has heard before. That's what makes recording guitars exciting for me.

This quest for unique tones is one of the main reasons why recording artists are constantly asked, "How did you get that sound?" Tones and gear are obsessed about in our community, and everybody is on a lifelong quest to sound better. A big part of that quest has as much to do with the recording environment as it does your gear. Rooms have personalities, and a savvy guitarist should exploit the sonic signature of the space he or she is recording in--whether it's a big studio with perfect, acoustically tuned rooms, or a home studio with an interesting-sounding hallway, bathroom, kitchen, garage, or attic. Critical listening in any environment is also essential to ensure that standing bass waves or frequency bumps don't compromise the integrity of your guitar sound. …

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