Getting Tones and Choosing a Head


Studio Pass with Steve Evetts and Ben Weinman


Lesson Info

Getting Tones and Choosing a Head

We left off about just selecting the guitar on dh kind of getting the going back to the idea you heard your idea you have in your head and re shooting for and then obviously again going back to serving the song, which is very important, and we want to start thinking about different tones for different parts if there are overcoming it like lead versus rhythm, if you're overcoming leads on top of that, if not if you're not playing the rhythm almost like in a van halen thing where you're doing the rhythm and then you go right into the lead off of that, taking it like, you know, thinking of it almost separate, you know, you just start thinking about different tones and really, you know, once, uh, we're dialing in the heads and adjusting to how he's playing then will be not this segment so much the next thing we will be playing in the song in the session and adjusting the sound in the session and adjusting accordingly, but the next step from the player, obviously it goes from the player to ...

the guitar and it flows down and where does it go next? He goes to the amp so its hands guitar and and I always talk about committing, and I'm still sticking to it, uh, the tones we get here the tones you shoot you shooting for at the amp if that's if you like, wow, this is a great guitar sound like that's. What we want to get that's what we're trying to capture, we're not trying to it's not going to sound one way on the amp and then another way once we get it inside, you know, on toe taper pro tools, so you tone the talent we get here is going to be tones that hopefully in a perfect world in a bubble, this those of the tones that they're going to be in the final mix, it doesn't always work out that way, but it's always best to shoot for that. And then obviously, you know, we have the tools available to to adjust if it's not exactly, you know, because like I said, what happens is, once you start, you know, you have a really bright guitar sound, or really or really on the opposite end really basically are sound, and, you know, once you start stacking a bunch of stuff and layering extra guitars and putting the vocals on top of it, uh, if the base hasn't already been recorded, I actually like to record base after guitars a lot of times for various reasons, I can get into that in a whole different thing, but so once you lay everything on top of it if you're if you're doing a no overdubbing multitrack kind of situation you know when things start piling up sometimes elements of the sound that you initially captured couldn't get covered up and you know so it will be dealing on the last segment of dealing with the mix and how to adjust that but ultimately you want to try and get his close to the to the sound that you're looking for at the source and you know the last thing is goes back to committing try not to fall into the fixing in the mix trap you know I've had to do it plenty of times especially in the early days where you know we had no time like oh that's good enough that sounds good to take his good whatever and then it's like but then you're left to pull your hair out of your head trying to figure out and trying to make it work in the mix and trying all sorts of different things and e q and compression just um it's it's a rabbit hole it's not good and it creates a lot of stress um and plenty of times I've had to mix records that I didn't record the guitar and I've had to fix a lot and it's like uh why didn't they just get it right to begin with you know so I mean that's my philosophy is just always trying uh, get it, um get it right to begin with and getting tones. Like I said, my recurring theme again commit spend time dialing in your tone, you know, sometimes it comes really quickly sometimes you pull up thing, you plug in and you turn to knobs and said, wow, that sounds great and it's like, ok, do I need to mess with it if it really feels right? Trust your gut, commit and say that's, great that's awesome! Sometimes it doesn't present itself right away and you really need toe two dialect, so, you know, you want to take the right time and just really spending time tweaking the knobs and you know what? What about the rhythm pick up? What about really pick up? What does it sound like? Maybe maybe we needed to change it there? Um, you know, because if you don't commit why you'll never be done, if you don't make a stand somewhere, you'll just cycle through endless options and that's never a good thing. So, um oh, the next the last point on here or says treated like an experiment you need to control and I'll explain that a little further as we're going out there, but again goes to serving playing the song, so I'll have him play a certain part like played the song we're about to dio you know hope play this part and if it's like a say it's upon meeting partners like tendon and dennis didn't don't it's like ok so now we have the guitar that we think is going to be right now let's plug into the mesa boogie head and through the marshal cabinet play the same thing go to the next head play the same thing so there's a control is basically you know in any kind of scientific thing is it's a constant so the control is the part you're playing so he needs to you know I get a player is like well let's try this to talk they played in the one am on the way change agenda judges unit and then I plug in the next time you feel like doing dealing dealing and I'm like that's not going to do me any good you have to play this right you have play it's a totally different thing you have to you know so play the same part play the same part just so weaken you know donald ahead in the control then goes from the part to the head and then okay that heads good filter through the next head find the head that's right and it's all with one guitar cabinet so that's a control there so now you're just selecting the head so that part of the same the cabinet the same just ahead, change and hear the differences between the heads now find the head that's best like oh, that one's really good now what's left two cabinets take the same head and it sounds good in this cabinet but what is it selling in this cabinet? And what is this selling in this kind of you have options like that? So then you're getting the best possible guitar the best with the same part, the best possible head with the best possible cabinet. So you're trying to just create the best matches for everything essentially, um choosing ahead uh start with the player set up that's again my my philosophy doesn't necessarily always have to be but that's what I usually do and then you know it's it helps to know it helps to know on the tech side of things it does help to know the characteristics of like that. What type of power tubes they had the prion tube for the most part on almost everything is a twelve x seven pre amp it's this kind of standard pre empt side of things. There are other ones but it's usually the twelve eight seven the types of power tubes there's usually three main ones and they all have different characters it is and I'll explain on a couple of them uh what the differences but the the three main power tubes are deal thirty four, sixty six or sixty five. Fifty, which is actually the same thing. It's just different designation. And then the eighty four. Um, and like I said once I should get over there. We can show a little bit more of the differences between them, but, you know, one has a different, has a tighter low in response. One has a has a more mid range response and more attack and the lady for which the only the only one out of these heads we don't have a head of the u eighty four. But the classic example of a head with an eel eighty four is a box, a c thirty and that power. Uh, the big thing with those is there. Ah, they saturate easier it's a lower wattage, lower output power tube so they saturate more that's the characters to sound of a box, a c thirty when you crank it up, you're getting it's not just pre and distortion. You're getting power and distortion and that's like a big part of what sound, how the sound jumps out at you, how it makes the speaker's push out and pushed the air and the saturation that, like the lady for lower wattage, does that that's a big part of the sound and it's it's just knowing what they all sound like like I said, I don't have an example of the eulogy for us what I'm describing that a little more and then lower wires versus higher wattage it's the same kind of thing on lower wattage like say, marshall the marshal jason eight hundred over there I think that one's one hundred watt remember that my friend cody from the blood brothers he'd let me that so kind of let me that head uh the lower wattage marshals they they usually came in fifty eight hundred what styles of that and like the lower wattage has a little bit of a sweeter tone has more harmonics and again the same thing and it'll it'll the power ramp over on the lower wives one you're getting more power and distortion there's less headroom in the power and so when you crank the master volume up that's going to saturate more and that's going to give you a little bit more the grind he kind of full distortion as opposed to one hundred one one hundred watt is going to be more of a bark and more of it jumps a little more because there's more headroom it's a cleaner power am section you have more hundred watt cia more head room so it's not going to clip is easily it's going to be really loud you know and sometimes the break up is more from the speaker if using like lower white speakers one hundred one hand using a cabinet with twenty five what selections? And so four times twenty five, one hundred and you're cranking that up and so your speakers are actually clipping a little bit and that's part of the sound of the story you know that sits is a different total characteristic of distortion is all different kind of distortion is prion distortion and power of distortion and even speaker distortion um and they all in part different characteristics in the in the tone um yeah and the higher wives punch here more headroom um and then you've got, like, very low what combos the guy griffin who was here earlier talks about like using a little combo amps and stuff like that and ah perfect you know example is on jimmy page led zeppelin and you know, so many people think like a lot of those early records they think it's you know, you know, you seem like you see all the marshall stacks behind them and everything like that like heartbreaker and all that that that was like a five water ten what gibson combo that's the guitar sound on that record and a lot of the zeppelin records a lot of those guitar sounds are actually ten fifteen twenty one combos five watt combos you know but then you're making out and it sounds huge and part of that is also it's the same kind of thing because it's a lot of you're getting a lot of power and and speaker distortion because you're just pushing the crap out of the amp and you're not moving a lot of air necessarily but it's almost like the same thing is if you have a higher one example you're pushing it to his limit but it's going to be excruciatingly loud sometimes it's too loud and it's hard to rein that in but the lower wattage combos you can get that kind of pushing that saturation at a much lower volume and even though the mesa buddy mark five that we have here that mason people were so nice to lend us um they have settings for ninety watts forty five watson ten watts and you can put them kick it down to a super low wattage and get that kind of you know that kind of over driving that kind of thing and it's really nice feature is really versatile and again there's all different things you know that they all have their place and they're all total characteristics and they're just more pallet just more colors and you're on your pallet to paint with um all right so I guess I can stand up we're not going to plug into everything yet but I'm just going to go through everything we have here and so we have here this is the this is a martial jason two thousand this is a more modern take on the j c m eight hundred um this's the dual super leader think this is ah sixty watts of from that mistake and this is one hundred this is the one hundred um and then the cousin the ancestor of that is next one is the marshal a hundred? This is, you know, an all time classic um this is the scent, the sound of a lot of rock records and even a lot of metal records especially earlier mental records but um ah, fantastic head and you know, you really can't go wrong with a marshal. You know, a c you go anywhere from a cdc to even slayer they were used martial hundreds guns and roses all you know, lots of different things lots of different artists underneath we've gotta mesa this is actually a single rectifier with a reverb and, uh really good for metal um that's really more of a standard that you know a lot of people go to is the rectifier is either the dual single duel or a lot of people use the triple use a triple used to use a triple. That triple was on a lot of the earlier dillinger records and this is mason's like newest flagship they have their mark siri's most notably, early mesa stuff is like carlos santana and stuff in the seventies but then what really came to be was metallica and the mark too with march you see, which was ah, I believe ah, mind of ah mark too. But is the march to c plus, which is that's the classic, I think that's the black album from that mistaken that's, the sound of that. But this thing is an incredibly versatile head. Uh, three channels. It's got an amazing clean sound. It's got a an old time spring reverb tank, which sounds amazing. I loves bring river bs on amps whenever you can. Individual channel it's ended, right? So just well, each channel um, you know, the classic the mark siri's the one, the thing that always separated the mark siri's was the graphic. You they have him on all of them and that's the constant runs throughout. But this thing is, I can't say enough great things about this. This thing is it's really versatile in the studio, and you can get a sum of a huge variety of tones on it. And then this is another one of the become a little more of a standard in metal, and even like harker, unlike the worlds that I work in a lot is that peavy, sixty five o five, used to be called the fifty one fifty but then even helen took his trademark off of it but so now they called the sixty five o five but it's essentially the same am and really good it's it's kind of almost ah marshall like tone but little morgaine and said some kind of a really good thick kind of mid rangy guitar sam it could be good for a lot of rock, but it's also a lot of people using a metal and then we have three different types of cabinets we've got a marshal classic marshall for twelve cabinet um should have the ventures thirties and I believe um and then we've got a black star who is another company. This makes them great amps but they have a this is just a cabin and we can't really show the camera in the back but this is an open back cabinet so it's like like a similar to like what they like on a box a c thirty combo amp the back is not sealed, so a lot of the sound escapes out of the back and so you could mike the back of the cabinet and that's another thing for that's, another technique a lot of people use for a total variation then we have an orange to twelve and these should have been two stories in them as well but instead of a four twelve just ah to twelve, you know, obviously it's, a smaller, less space inside the box so it's ah, a little bit tighter of a low in response. So we've got these three and plus the orange uses am a big thing. And another thing. The influences that the believe it or not is the grill cloth on the cabinet itself. The orange is the original old school basket, really thick basket grow cloth, which was also similar on the original marshall cabinets and it's. You can't even like if you shine a light that you can barely even see through it. It's pretty opaque, so it's, it's, really thick and what that actually does, believe it or not, is it. It'll tend to especially unlike, say, like a mesa cabinet or mesa head that the top end made could could get a little shrill. Um, the grill cloth well, actually mellow out the really extreme, like the chirpy kind of top end, and it will smooth out the response a little bit. So it's a great thing to have another for another total variation.

Class Description

Learn how to get perfect guitar tones in the studio during this 10-hour class on tracking guitars. In this course, Steve Evetts (Saves The Day, Suicide Silence) and special guest Ben Weinman (Dillinger Escape Plan) dive deep on everything you need to know about creating and capturing perfect guitar tones.

Getting great guitar tones is all about the details. Steve and Ben cover how to select the right guitar, strings and picks, how to choose the right head and cabinet combo, and how to get a great tone. From there, they go through the process of selecting and placing mics. Finally, they show you how to track guitars the professional way (no cutting corners— ever!) and edit the tracks so you’ve got everything you need for a flawless mix.


Joshua Rathbun

Good basic knowledge, which delves into more detailed stuff later on in the course.