Tip: Re-amping a guitar

  • picothinker
Posted: Thu, 02/14/2008 - 04:09
This is an old trick from the tape days, that lends itself very well to DAW work. Disclaimer: You will have to adjust for your hardware, your mileage may vary, all models are over 18. Since guitars can have so many different tones based on differing preamps/amps/mic setups, a good trick is to simply record your guitar hot and dry DIRECTLY INTO THE DAW. This will sound terrible. Play the track's output into a guitar amp, mic it up, and then record the results onto another track. Change the mics, change the amp, and do it again. You can build up that monster guitar track, without needing three amps, and a huge mic locker to record it all at once. There are times when this is _not_ good. That soaring, searing solo won't come out the same. If it depends on bits of feedback, or the amp otherwise interacting with the strings/pickups, it won't happen while reamping, because the guitar is out of the loop. You also have to watch your levels closely. Typically the output of your DAW will be line level, and the input of your guitar amp will not be happy with that. Be sure to trim/attenuate the DAW output down to approximately instrument level before plugging it into the amp. Record your original guitar track without compression, you want the dynamics of the recorded track present to be able to work the preamp section of the amp. A highly compressed track usually will not work as good. A variation on this could be to use a DI box, and play through an amp, and record the dry guitar (as well as the amp) on separate tracks for later reamping. This can give you more sustain if needed, and the dry track can better make use of it. Sometimes the atmosphere of a song changes as other parts are laid down. Not being locked into "the final guitar sound" can be a big help. The ability to lay down the basic track, then later beg/borrow/steal that Twin, or that Marshall stack will give you a lot of room for different possibilities. Effects are another good reason to do this. If you follow the time-honored method of a dynamic stuck in the cone, a condensor out front a ways (and possibly something in back for an open-backed cab), you may find that after other tracks are laid down, perhaps the guitar only needs reverb on that room mic, and the dynamic in the cone works with a little delay. Or vice versa.

Something similar

  • Dominique
  • 10/11/08
  • Sun, 10/12/2008 - 16:47
I was doing something similar it was a log time ago. I was using an old vacuum tubes akai tape recorder as distortion between the guitar and the amp. Like this tape was having a few output and input, I also try to plug the output into the input. At my great surprise, it was very easy to avoid infinite feedback and the distorted sound was really terrific with a lot of distortion and dynamic, as well as some kind of very fast reverb. I try to redone this sound with solid states equipment but without success. At the end, I made my own guitar amp with vacuum tubes and a lot of gain in every stage and enough power in the driver stage in order to be able to drive the output even at extreme condition. It was not cheaper as to buy a new amp, but the result is simply better.

Go Figure!

  • Quentin Harley
  • 05/24/07
  • Thu, 02/14/2008 - 09:22
I have done this a few times, but kept it secret because of its "evil" nature. As a sound engineer at my church, I get to connect the cables, and have often hotplugged the guitars through DI boxes straight into my mixer, and then back to the Amp. Some of these guys wants to play "exclusively" through the amp, so I had to make a plan... As you say, the straight recording sounds very bad, but opens so many doors for post processing. I can now use the track like you would a MIDI track, and do whatever you want with it (keeping the recorded Amp track as reference - and backup!) Thanks for the extra ideas...