There are a million factors at play, and lots of things I couldn’t possibly cover in a single article, but I’ll give you three tips today to help you move closer to that goal of getting that huge guitar sound.
1. Don’t start recording too quickly.
This is an easy trap to fall into, especially when you’re really excited about recording the next big hit rock record, but slow down, take a few minutes, even 15 minutes, to really dial in the right tone for the session.
A common mistake you’ll find in studios is that the guitarist will play with the exact same tone that he uses live. Very rarely does this work as well in the studio. For example, a Marshall amp cranked to 11 in a small 8×10 room probably won’t sound as good as he thinks it does.
Spend some time trying lower volumes, different settings on the amp so that you capture the tone that he wants to hear.
This is a given for most people, but perhaps you’ve never heard of this. When recording big electric guitar sounds, one of the big keys is to make sure you double-track guitars.
This simply means recording the part multiple times and then pan them to make it sound wide. You can do this by recording the exact same part twice, or perhaps you record the same part with a different guitar or a different amp to give it a slightly different sounds that helps make things sound bigger overall.
3. Use less distortion and more tracks.
One big pitfall that a lot of recordists will fall into is recording lots and lots of tracks of heavily distorted electric guitars. While a single distorted guitar can sound great, when you start blending those together, before long, it just sounds like a wall of white noise. It sounds thin; it sounds harsh, and it just doesn’t sound very good.
One of the best things you can do is turn the overdrive down, use a slightly cleaner tone, and you’ll find that when you combine all of those together, it sounds nice and lush and warm, rather than harsh and tinny.
So, those are three steps to getting a huge guitar sound.
Tell me, what do you do to get YOUR huge guitar sounds?