How to dial in thicker lead guitar sound for recording?

Discussion in 'Beginners/FAQ' started by Flappydoodle, Oct 25, 2018.

  1. Flappydoodle

    Flappydoodle SS.org Regular

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    I'm finding that leads on the bridge pickup above the 12th fret start to get pretty pokey and thin sounding.

    Neck pickup doesn't sound right for the part. Neither does middle position.

    So how do you folks do it? It's difficult to simply cut presence/treble because the guitar needs that to cut through. Boosting mids is ok to a point. Bass is a double-edged sword, where it does thicken the sound but also clutters it up and makes the volume louder.

    So, any tips/tricks?
     
  2. prlgmnr

    prlgmnr ...that kind of idea

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    What are you playing into?

    As a rough guide I would say if you want "thicker" leads you want less preamp gain and more power amp volume, but this might have no relevance depending on what you're using.
     
  3. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Have you tried adding a little bit of delay?
     
  4. USMarine75

    USMarine75 Doc McStuffins (*Block version, not sig) Contributor

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    General rules...
    MORE MIDS
    LESS GAIN than you think (i.e. don't increase). Certain types of gain are better for single note lead stuff, like Muffs.
    More master volume
    Less bass
    Rounded leads with medium amount of treble (50%), searing leads you need more like 60-80% depending on rig. (e.g. treble boosters)

    Neck pickup for more smoother rounded leads and less pick noise, harmonics, etc.
    Middle pickup is great for articulated pick attack like Yngwie type sound.
    Bridge pickup for searing leads and more treble.
    A general rule to start with for trebly amps is bridge pickup below 12th fret and neck above.
    But... darker amps or certain amps lose something as you move up the fretboard... so the leads will start to fall off as you move up the fretboard, so you need to switch to the bridge pickup to get fuller sound.
     
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  5. cwhitey2

    cwhitey2 BlackendCrust Metalâ„¢

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    I agree with everything that has been said already, but wanted to add something if tried the above without any luck.

    You can try adjusting your pup height as a last resort. Also, play with your tone pot.
     
  6. AkiraSpectrum

    AkiraSpectrum SS.org Regular

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    I'm going to add to the list and say other than what has been communicated above (effects, changes in EQ, gain, etc.) sometimes guitar action can play a part. Lower action after the 12th fret can cut off the resonance of the higher frets. Obviously this is probably something you don't want to mess with since I assume you have it setup as you like, but just some fyi.

    Additionally, pickups can play a part here as well. Some pickups can get thin and harsh on higher frets.

    My suggestion is to try what others have said regarding adding effects (delay especially) and playing with preamp gain and EQ.
     
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  7. Sogradde

    Sogradde SS.org Regular

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    That's what Jesus gave you the neck PU for.
    But yeah, knowing your setup would be neato.
     
  8. USMarine75

    USMarine75 Doc McStuffins (*Block version, not sig) Contributor

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    Literally just came back in to say this! Thanks.

    Also string height. Too low (I like mine low but I have a light picking motion) and the notes won't sustain and they lose some of their fullness, especially the wound strings. That's why a lot of blues players that love singing sustaing leads with tons of mids and highs, have higher than average string height.
     
  9. AkiraSpectrum

    AkiraSpectrum SS.org Regular

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    Forgot to mention, sometimes adding some reverb (not too much) can also help carve a space for leads. I really like using some Plate Reverb myself.
     
  10. soldierkahn

    soldierkahn BAD MAMMA-JAMMA Contributor

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    I know that Ill probably catch shit for this, but when I get to leads above 12 and im still using the bridge pup, ill use my wah as a filter for the shrill notes, to kind of take the edge of the tone.....

    just my 2c worth tho
     
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  11. Strobe

    Strobe SS.org Regular

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    Great advice in here. If just for recording once, consider a guitar change for the record. I usually used a different guitar for leads as compared to rhythm when recording. A friend's guitar with a tone zone might solve your thickness issue.
     
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  12. budda

    budda Guiterrorizer Contributor

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    Eq pedal, reverb, delay, a les paul.
     
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  13. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    I had been using my delay after my distortion, which is what I think most people do? But just the other day I put it before my distortion and it's super duper thicker now
     
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  14. Synllip

    Synllip Cyan

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    You can also add a chorus after the delay, it helps to thicken it.
    Don't forget to Hi-pass it, 50-120hz should be enough, bass = mud and don't be afraid to turn up the mids.
     
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  15. kindsage

    kindsage SS.org Regular

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    I would just add a compressor and roll back the tone knob a tiny bit.
     
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  16. budda

    budda Guiterrorizer Contributor

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    All my effects are before the amps. Good times for the post-x crew.
     
  17. Marshal_Zadeh

    Marshal_Zadeh SS.org Regular

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    Whats your recording Input / output ?

    Multieffect? mic cab? Plugin ?
     
  18. USMarine75

    USMarine75 Doc McStuffins (*Block version, not sig) Contributor

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    Here's a good starting point to understanding what does whats and how to put it all together.
     
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  19. Flappydoodle

    Flappydoodle SS.org Regular

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    Thanks everybody for all the suggestions. I actually got around it by swapping guitar, using a Les Paul instead. The shorter scale length seems to make things inherently less pokey.

    Slight delay (in the bus) also worked great. Chorus didn't really suit the part, but it definitely sounds thicker.

    For those who asked, for this song I was using plugins - Thermionik, Ownhammer cab impulse.
     
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  20. Lionsden

    Lionsden SS.org Regular

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    If you don't have that guitar for shows or want to be able to make changes on the fly live an eq pedal in the loop can work some serious magic. you can pump mids, kill some highs and also get some added volume in order to still cut through but glad you found something that worked for ya
     
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