The “Close Miker”

Remember that Seinfeld episode “The Close Talker”?

It’s about this guy who stands WAY too close to the people he’s talking to.

So awkward…so funny.

The thing is, just about everybody knows not to stand so close to people. We know that being a Close Talker is weird and uncool.

But when it comes to miking up a guitar amp, a lot of us are “Close Mikers.”

But is that the only option? An SM57 shoved right up next to the grill?

Should we be experimenting with different placements?

Check out today’s quick video from my studio:


And if you’re the kind of person who likes to get better at recording, sign up right now (before you forget) for my Recording Electric Guitar class. Here’s the link:

P.S. This is a live, 4-week class. Included with your “tuition” is a free critique of one of your recordings. I normally charge $50 for these, so that’s like finding a 50-dollar bill in your pocket right after signing up. Come join us. We’d love to have you.

8 Powerful Home Studio Lessons

I’ve been recording in my home studio for years.

I’ve recorded in a hallway at my parent’s house, in a dorm room at college, in a tiny (and really messy) bedroom I shared with a roommate, in church sanctuaries, in lots of apartments, in a log house, and finally in 3 different rooms in my current house.

The one common theme? NONE of those places were designed to be studios.

That’s the beauty and the frustration of working in home studios. All those imperfections make for a challenging (but immensely rewarding) environment for making music.

Over the years I’ve learned countless valuable lessons, but today I want to share with you eight of the most POWERFUL lessons I’ve learned. These are things that have made a dramatic impact on the quality of my recordings.

Here we go… (more…)

Wrong Side of the Mic, Dummy

It was several years ago.

I was working at Sweetwater, selling music equipment.

One of the perks of the job was that we got to take gear home to try it out in our studios. I had some vocal tracks to record, so I grabbed a Rode mic out of the “gear closet” and took it home.

That weekend, I set up the mic and got warmed up to track vocals for a song I was working on.

Mic check. Level check. Hit record and started sangin’.

It wasn’t until I had sung an entire take that I realized something…well…embarrassing.

I had been singing into the wrong side of the mic.


Why do I tell you this silly story? Simple. I don’t want you to be afraid to make a mistake.

You don’t have to have your act together 100% of the time. Mistakes won’t completely ruin your recordings. Clients won’t run away screaming if you make a mistake, even a dumb one.

Heck, you’ll probably learn more and improve faster if you let yourself make a bunch of mistakes.

So, that’s your homework for this weekend. Go make a few mistakes. It won’t kill ya.

If you want to learn how I learned from MY mistakes and how I go about getting vocal recordings I’m tickled pink with, check this out:

Joe Gilder

Great Acoustic Guitar Tone – Mic Placement: Stereo (Part 5 of 7)

If using one microphone is great, two must be twice as good, right? Sometimes. 🙂

Some of the best acoustic guitar tones I’ve ever gotten have been with two microphones, this is sometimes referred to as stereo mic placement (although two microphones doesn’t always mean it’s technically “stereo,” but that’s for another day).

As with most things, if there stands to be a bigger benefit (better guitar tone), there are also greater risks (phase issues). (more…)

3 Reasons to Use a Dynamic Mic on Vocals

In all the magazine ads and music videos, this one thing is a staple.

Whether it’s a documentary on your favorite band, a movie scene in a recording studio, or a full-page ad in Sweetwater‘s latest catalog, one common theme exists: vocalists use large-diaphragm condenser mics.

I’m not a big fan of the phrase “that’s how we’ve always done it.” Certainly we should learn from the experience of others, but doing something JUST because everyone else does it leads to a fairly boring experience.

Do I use a condenser mic on vocals? Sure…but not exclusively.


An Unlikely Kick Drum

I was at a party a few nights ago at the home of a drummer friend of mine. He’s a killer drummer. He’s played with Keith Urban, Gary Allen, and others.

He was showing me his basement studio, where he does some drum tracking. He had some great Heil mics, Daking and API preamps, and a few other goodies.

I’m not a drummer, so I can’t tell you what kind of kit he had, but it sounded nice.

But there was one thing that caught my attention…and was really fascinating. I think there’s a lesson for us home studio folk here.