Amplifiers - Lay of the Land
Most bands aren't as skilled as you guys, not to kiss your ass or anything. But, this is a fortunate situation that we got two really really good guitar players in this band. You, and Ollie. Who are both here, and we're gonna get to hear the difference between what guitar players sound like. We're gonna go through head selection, cap selection, mic selection, guitar selection, and then guitarist selection. And we really wanna emphasize that one thing you really learn from this whole thing is just how important a guitar player's hands are. Now, before we do anything with gear, kinda like with drums, I think the 50% of the tone's the drummer, and 80% of the tone is the guitar player. One thing that we'll definitely cover is that even if you have two really good guitar players in a band, like in this band, you always want to go with the guy whose got the right tone and the right feel for the part you're recording. Now I just want to get that out of the way before we go any further, becaus...
e a lot of people think that you pick one guitar player because the other guy sucks. And that might be true in some situations.
Some situations you don't talk about.
But it's not always true.
No, it's not always true, just depends on how it feels at the time.
Mainly, it's normally the guy that wrote the riff.
Yeah, absolutely. I've recorded some bands that people would know of that are really really good, where there's two really good guitar players in the band. Both excel at their own way. And they just record the songs that they wrote. No one's gonna have a better feel for your music than you.
Exactly. I find that the guitarist gets the feel of the song that they've created. And even if you got two guitar players, the slight variations in their playing can make a huge difference to how tight it sounds.
Yeah. Well, everything from micro bands to arrhythmic inflections to how you grip the foot board, all those little things make a huge difference in how hard you're actually picking it. Every body's completely different. Also I wanted to say this because one thing I get asked a lot is, mainly from experienced bands, is should one guitar player play on one side and the other guy on the other side, like we do live? And no. I mean, unless, this is gonna sound old, but the first Guns N' Roses Record, I have to tell you, for instruction, each guitar player played on their own side. But the thing is they never ever played the same thing. There are situations where it makes sense to have each guy play on their own side, but it usually it when they don't play the same thing.
Yeah. If you're going for that modern sound, modern heavy sound, where you want a consistent low end, and one consistent wall of awesome, you pretty much have to have one guy do it. Because one guy is gonna... Every feel is gonna be unique to the person. And that can even extend to base.
Extend to everything, yep.
That why a lot of guitar players of metal play the base parts too, there's nothing to do with the fact that the base player is good or not. It has more to do with the fact that only the guitar player can play exactly in his own feel.
So, sometimes the base player will sit it out, even if they're perfectly skilled. Just because you're going for one homogenous, perfect, cohesive, glob of good. (both laugh)
Gob of good.
Yeah. So um, Thad, maybe we should talk about what tools we're working with this time around.
Before we go further though, and talk about these amps, if you wanna dispel the myth of opinions about amps versus sims. It always comes up, I feel like it's one of those topics that no matter how many awesome things come out, no matter how many records come out, made with digital amps, this is just something that people will always be fighting about. Like Mac versus PC, Cubase versus Pro Tools, Amps versus sims. And they're completely idiotic debates, they're nothing.
It's about what sounds good at the time.
Absolutely. And if the guitar player is 80% of the tone anyways, I feel like that's what's gonna make all the difference in the world. I mean, you've used sims a lot of your career.
Yup, we've use a lot of sims products to be part of it, all the albums we've recorded.
They sound great.
Yeah, some people think so, some people don't.
Well, but they're gonna think that anyways.
You've re-amped some stuff for me for records I've done with real amps as well.
Yeah, and um. On my records and records that I've worked on, there's no... You never go in with a preconceived notion of "we're gonna use the Cameron this time or Power for this time or we're gonna use the 5150 this time, or the Diesel one. It's always specific to the situation.
And so, yeah, so we have all these amps here, and that's fun, we're gonna have a good time, we're gonna show how to mic them and all that. But we've also got the Line 6 Helix.
Yeah we do, just like my products use power, actually have a temper.
Yeah, so we don't know which one gonna be the tone. We're open to seeing which one is gonna sound best. It doesn't matter how nice these amps are or the mics are or the room is or the cabs are, we're just gonna go with what sounds best. I think that's how everyone should approach guitar tone. With that well, what do you got. That is come via your request.
Yep, I have four Mesa beauty headset. And I have Mark V. I got an old school, 2-channel Dual Rectifier Blackface, I've got a triple Rectifier 2-channel, an old one again, and then a Mulit-watt jewel, which is a 3-channel. And the reason being is that the 2-channel and the 3-channel had fundamental differences between the tones. A lot of people associate the 3-channel one with the bottom, its got a slightly more abrasive sound. Whereas the 2-channel tool is associated with more of a rounded kind of, a more full sound. But then again, that's just opinions, isn't that certain. Its just going down with which sounds the best, really.
In my opinion, I don't like triples.
Yeah, you have to crank them really loud to get into sounds at their best, so yeah I'm pretty sure we'll end up going with the jewel of the muck, V, initial take. But yeah, we're gonna try the triple and it might sound good, we don't know.
Yeah. If it sounds good, it'll be the first time. (both laugh) In my experience. But we'll see.
Yeah, we'll see. Yeah, I'm gonna give the port a try, and Mattie has a lot of different amps in there to try them out for you as well.
So these were provided as sims, assuming that they were biased and tubed recently.
Yeah, I believe so, yeah.
Okay. Yeah that's something that if you're gonna do it with amps, you should make sure, I would always put new tubes on at the beginning of every album and get it re-biased so that you get a guitar set up which we'll go into, once we actually pick up a guitar.
Also another thing I'd like to go into as well, even if you got two of the same amps, they can sound completely different from each other. Some people prefer like a Lug Nut 5150, to a signature 5150, and they can sound completely different even though its practically the same amp, so. You also got to keep them in check as well if you've got two of the same amp.
Even 6505 sounds completely different.
That's, I feel like that's one of the benefits of the digital amp, is that once you dial that tone, you've got that tone forever. Especially in a touring situation, you don't have to worry about bad mikeing or a bad room or anything. At least you know that you have your tone. With these, even the same amp might sound different from day to day depending on all kinds of factors. The air, the electricity ...
That's what sort of factor if you put an amp through a cab, because every room sounds different, it's gonna sound different in the room as well. There's so many different factors that go into guitar tone.
Well, we'll attempt to cover as many of them as possible. So, lets talk about first steps in actually getting a tone, with an amp, so. How do you do it? Tell me you like to go into the actual live room?
Check the heads.
If it doesn't sound good in the room then its not gonna sound good to your mic. So you should go into the room, and send the amps individually through the cabs we have, and choose which ones we like the best or the best two that are the best. And mark them up from there. And come back into here and see which one sounds the best.
Yeah, let's do it.