Benefits of Guitar Hero

Not Just a Game … but Exercise

Most people think that Guitar Hero is just another game for kids to play indoors that takes away from their daily activity. In reality, it is a great way to get your kids active. In addition to getting your kids a bit more active; it works out their forearm muscles, sometimes gets them up and jumping or dancing to the music, and it significantly helps improve hand-eye coordination. If you have never tried the game, you should. After the first day I played, my arm was actually twitching. It took me a while to figure out why this was happening. I knew it meant my muscles were fatigued, but I didn’t think guitar hero could cause it. Well, it was definitely the cause. Once again I spent a few hours in front of my TV with a guitar controller attached to me via a strap around my shoulder, and once again my arm was fatigued. I give all these kids who can sit there and play the game without stopping for hours on end credit.

I have always been one for active games and sports, and I still am. However, if you are going to be playing video games, it should be one that benefits you in some way. The main benefit of course is exercise for the 20 muscles in your forearm and exercise for your mind. You have to hit the correct colored button and strum at the exact time that the colored button appears at the right spot on the bottom of the screen. Sounds difficult, well it can be, especially as the levels increase and the songs get longer and more difficult. Imagine the exercise your hands and your mind are getting. It is almost like Dance Dance Revolution (although that is a bit more active because your jumping around). It requires you to do something at the moment you see it, which is exactly how your hand-eye coordination improves. There is another benefit that I almost forgot about, musical beats. Not everyone can keep a beat, and this game truly teaches you how to strum with the beat (when the color gets to the bottom of the screen). For kids, this is especially important because we try to teach kids about music at a young age because it is an important skill mentally. Of course, the more you play, the more you benefit physically and mentally. Overall though, it is quite a physical activity that benefits everyone who participates. I highly recommend that you give it a try, because guitar hero has a lot more benefits than you may think.

Tuning Your Guitar by Ear

Keeping Your Guitar in Tune

What do you do when you don’t have a tuner available ,and being able to play in tune is necessary? What are the ways you can tune without having a tuner? Basically, tune by ear! The easiest way to tune by ear you must first have a basic understanding of the strings. Standard tuning is eadgbE. Low to high. E being your thickest string and also known as the 6th string. You will also need to have a relatively good ear to differentiate the pitch. When playing your guitar in tune you will have a good understanding of how it should sound. So chances are if your guitar is sounding different at any point you should be able to recognize this difference immediately.

If you are a beginning guitar player this may seem a little awkward, but using this method is very simple. We are going to use the top E string or the 6th string as a basis of tuning the rest of our guitar. Using this method of tuning we are assuming that you have already managed to tune your top Estring with a pitch pipe or some other means. To use this method we will begin by holding down the E string being the very top string (6th string), on the fifth fret. Hit it, now pluck your A string or 5th string open. The two strings should relatively have the same tone. If not adjust the A string until they both reach the same. Once that is achieved, we are going to repeat the process.

Now place your finger on the A string same fret. We now are going to tune the Dstring to the A string. using the same technique by holding down your A string, hit it, then by hitting your d string. It too should also have the same tone. If it varies adjust your D string accordingly until it reaches the same level as your A. Now we are going to tune our our G string (no pun intended there) we will tune our G to the D string. Same process, we will place our finger onto the D string and hit it , and desire the same tone. Now once that is accomplished and you have reached the same tone as your D string we are going to tune our B string to the G string. Same process with a slight variation. In order to tune the B string to our G we will have to move our finger down to the 4th fret. Once accomplished, we now are going to tune our e string to our b string by moving back up to the 5th fret repeating the same process.Once this has been achieved, your guitar should now be in tune and ready to play!

What’s in a Guitar Lesson?

It’s a familiar story, kid wants to learn to play the guitar and parents say no they don’t have the money for lessons. At least that’s the way it was for me when I was growing up.

Hi, my name is Ken. I am the youngest of four and when my oldest sister wanted to play the guitar my parents bought her an electric guitar and amp. Well that lasted about two weeks, at that time I was too young to know much about playing music much less playing the guitar. I do remember the noise though. That guitar amp had several synthesizing buttons and a cool lever on it that did some kind of reverberation thing with the sound. My parents ended up having to sell it for a loss.

Next my other sister wanted to play in the school band and my parents bought her a clarinet. Boy was that some head knocking sound she was playing but I she persevered and did make the school band. And through Junior High School and High School she played in the band. I even think I saw a picture of her at my parent’s house in her uniform. Heady days to be sure.

Next my older brother wanted to join the school band and play the tuba. My memories of him with that tuba were any kid brothers dream. That thing seemed to rap itself all around him and made him look like some kind of space alien. I couldn’t help it but I had to make fun of him. After all what are little brothers for anyway? Needless to say His tuba playing lasted about two weeks and again my parents had to sell the thing for a loss.

Now it was my turn. I wanted to play the guitar. But I wanted to play the acoustic guitar not the electric guitar. Know what my parents said? You got it. “We aren’t going to pay for another musical instrument and lessons just so we can sell it later at a loss. So I was shot down. My dream of being another singing star was crushed unceremoniously. But I didn’t give up. I got a summer job and bought myself a classical guitar and a chord sheet and started to learn each chord one at a time.

My fingers just didn’t want to go in those positions on the guitar frets like I wanted them to. I thought I would never get that chord change down. I also found that my rhythm wasn’t what it should be. But that didn’t stop me. I eventually learned to play a few songs that were popular at that time. A few friends thought that was cool which made me cool. But you know I never really mastered playing guitar the way I had envisioned it.

Now I believe that if I had been given those guitar lessons I may very well have been a classical Guitar playing great. OK maybe just a very, very good Guitar player. I really only wanted to play the Guitar to impress my friends. If I would of had a good Guitar course when I bought my first Guitar I would have gone a whole different place with my playing.

You know what? I don’t think I’ll leave this childhood dream left unfulfilled. I’m going to go and string up my old classical and start strumming again.

 

How to Make a Guitar Pickup

I play bass and I used to play electric guitar and I’ve always wondered if I could make my own set of pickups. Well, now I can and you will to with this how-to guide for homemade guitar pickups.

Basically you’ll need some durable plastic, you will cut it in the shape of a pickup, and for that you can just look in a music instrument catalog and find out what regular pickups look like. Glue the two cut out pieces of plastic to a wooden core, and make sure they’re glued on with hot glue, not wood glue because wood glue peals over time.

Secondly you have to wind the pickup with wire. The wire will feed to the output jack in your guitar and that will create the sound and the tone. If you have a Piezo pickup microphone, don’t worry about winding because the pickup microphone will carry the sound. After you wind the pickup leave a lag of wire and solder that to the output and input jacks running inside the body of your guitar. Hollow bodies are easier to wire and rewire because of course the bodies have been hollowed out for a more sustained tone and the sound carries better with hollow body guitars and bass guitars.

After wiring and soldering the lag to the output and input jacks inside your guitar, run a sound check to test the tone and overall sound. If there is no sound, consult a professional and let then wind the pickup. Winding the pickup is the most difficult part because you have to make sure you have enough wire.

Drill four small holes in the pickup and connect the wire to each hole. Check for sound and keep testing it until your indicator let’s you know you have a sound hookup. Take one small screw and screw it into the coil of your pickup, check for sound but don’t use anymore screws.

Lastly, dip the pickup in a small bowl of hot wax from any old candle around the house. Just melt the candle down, all you need is one so don’t overdue it, and dip the pickup in the wax for 1 minute to 1 minute 1/2 for an even coating. The wax will protect the pickup from damage over time.

When you’re all done screw the pickup into its proper place on your guitar. Sound check the guitar one more time to make sure the pickup is responsive.

Learning Guitar

I found an interest in music when I was around 13. I wanted to play the acoustic guitar, so my parents bought me a cheap one off the internet, thinking it wouldn’t last. I ended up finding a Hal Leonard guitar lessons book and began reading that. After a few months I realized how much I enjoyed music and playing guitar. I began using youtube as well as a few other websites to watch how other people played so I could follow them . I started learning some basic chords and began to put those together to forms songs. It took almost 5-6 months before I could even think about playing a full song. but after that time passed, I was able to transition between chords easily and found myself playing much more advanced songs. I still teach myself everything I need to know on guitar and continue to practice and learn new songs on a daily basis.

Some tips:

-don’t give up! It can get extremely frustrating at times, but it takes a while for fingers to get used to that type of movement.

-practice scales. scales can strengthen your fingers to play those hard to reach chords

-start slow. don’t try to play the whole song the first time. start just playing the chord progression then speed up until you reach the speed of the song.

-play every day! if you take time off, its easy to forget how to play, and also the strings can be rough on your fingers

-watch others play. don’t try to learn just by reading. go to youtube or some other website, and watch how someone more advanced does that skill, then try it for yourself!

 

Shut Up and Play Your Guitar

Does Being a Dad Make You a Bad Teacher?

Is it wrong to start out with a quote from Frank Zappa? I would guess not, especially considering the guitar guru and founder of the Mothers of Invention can also be considered single-handedly responsible for the Valley Girl. Maybe it’s his fault I’m in the state I’m in!

Still, Zappa was the farthest from my mind in the laborious decision to let my two daughters take guitar lessons. It wasn’t like this was an easy decision. Their father, after all, plays and even recorded two CDs with his brother to moderate success, thank you very much. While the first attempt was less than stellar, our second release, The Blind Leading the Blind does enjoy a modicum of success, even if it does fit the stereotype of being “big in Europe”.

I did try, after all, though my spouse would probably relish saying it was a perfunctory attempt at best. I would dispute that, claiming frustration. I’m not sure why the attempt at teaching my six-stringed skills failed. I did teach myself.

At the ripe old age of 19 I made the decision that I was going to learn how to play the guitar like the man they called “God”. Slowhand, Cool Hand Luke, the man who created the “woman” sound, Eric Clapton. I even went so far as to buy a Fender Stratocaster, for way too much money, from the local music store. It was sunburst, meaning, the stains on the natural wood grain were light, almost yellow in the middle turning into a dark brown, almost black on the sides. I bought it because it looked exactly like the guitar on the back of the “Layla” album.

I was in college for journalism but had no job and nothing but time. I was an awkward, frustrated, angry teen from a small town relishing his newfound freedom and bored out of my skull in the process. So I eventually broke down and confessed to buying the guitar to my parents, who allowed me to keep it if I learned to play it. I had a reason now.

Over the next year I listened to every Clapton, Buddy Guy, Zeppelin, Allman Brothers, Hendrix, and Vaughan album I could find. I learned the simple riffs and screamed at the frustration of my inability to learn the complicated ones. It took me two straight days with no sleep and a cache of Old El Paso frozen Chimichangas to learn to play Stairway to Heaven, but I did it.

By the time I was 20 a guy doing his laundry in my building heard me playing “How Many More Times” through my new wah-wah pedal and knocked on my door, asking me to join his band. I immediately accepted, figuring I’d either be murdered tomorrow or playing music like I’d dreamed all my teenage life.

It took me one year to reach that first goal. One year.

It took me less than one month to fail teaching my kids to play guitar.

I thought it was the equipment. I had given my youngest daughter a 1960 Supro student electric. (I’d actually bought it because it looked cool with a tweed amplifier I had, but she loved it and I wanted her to have a cool guitar) I thought the neck too wide and the tuning machines too stiff.

Then I thought they weren’t paying enough attention. I bought a DVD with a chord book and thought I could reinforce what it said.

Nada.

Maybe it’s the material! I know they love that alternative, 3-chord, grunge meets dance techno stuff, with some Green Day mixed in for good measure. That’s not great guitar soloing and melody like “God”, that’s just a bunch of chords thrown together!

But it wasn’t the music. In fact, it was me that was the problem. I know how to read music from my days of playing trumpet in high school. I have no basis for the guitar.

I never got angry nor did I ever yell at my children, I just got frustrated. It turns out I was far more wise than I thought. I did the best thing I could ever have done and hired someone else to teach my kids.

Here is why: I did nothing right in how I learned to play the guitar. I had a finite way I wanted to do things and I did it. As a result, I am doing everything wrong. I know the chords, but have no idea what I’m doing that makes the “G” chord I’m playing a “Suspended fifth” or something like that. I just know it sounds good. Hell, I’m even holding the pick wrong. Everything I do comes from my angry, tortured, teenage years where I wrenched every note, sound and melody from the guitar. In the process, I beat the instrument into submission, tearing at the strings by holding a pick with two fingers, pulling up on the strings and plunking the notes out.

My children will do it right. They will know a suspended 5th from a major 7th. They’ll know how to delicately change the dynamic of a piece. They’ll know when to calm down and coax a note from their instrument, calmly, serenely.

Not long after I bemoaned my failure to my brother Adam, possibly one of the greatest musicians you’ve never heard of, he told me what I CAN teach them. Adam told me that sometimes you just aren’t a good teacher. But what he told me I had achieved as a musician is something my children will get from both watching me and listening to my performances: emotion.

While the girls will learn the notes, scales and dynamics, my brother said that what I considered wrong was what made my playing so right. That anger, emotion, sadness, joy, everything I thought was beating my guitar into submission was also the deeply entrenched feelings I could release. Adam reminded me of why I had bought that first guitar. I wasn’t learning to be proficient or get girls or be famous. The guitar was my way of opening up the gates and letting out all the emotions I couldn’t express.

My teenage years were difficult, almost depressing. I wasn’t happy, I couldn’t “get the girl”, and I was almost paralyzed when I was forced to talk about any of my feelings. But that guitar, it was the surrogate. I could be frustrated the girl of my dreams was dating my friend and play “Have you Ever Loved a Woman” with fierce abandon. I could miss home and play Zeppelin’s “The Rain Song”, but it always sounded like me playing it, not some note-by-note copy. That, Adam said, was what differentiated a guitarist from a “guitar player”. If you listen to their version of a song, you feel what they’re feeling.

So while my girls will learn how to read the music and play the notes, the greatest lesson they’ll get from their father and their uncle won’t involve sheet music. At home, after the amplifier is turned off, they’ll learn how to play with emotion. After all of that, one day, maybe, people will sound off the greatest players and find that with the Becks, Claptons, Santanas and Vaughans, one day, someone might just be able to say: “what about Manoucheri?”

God help me, though, if I ever start having to say “turn it down!”

How to Learn Guitar?

Learning Guitar is not easy and selecting the right method to learn it is even more challenging. If you plan to learn Guitar, you have a good number of resources available. You can choose from books, online and offline courses, video lessons or you can learn from an experienced teacher! But finding the best learning method could be as challenging as playing Guitar itself. This is especially true for new students who feel completely lost when exposed to a large number of Guitar learning resources.

Finding the best method to learn Guitar depends on several factors and there is no “One method fits all” solution. Since each individual is unique, you must select a method best suited to your needs and background.

Before you invest your time and money on a Guitar course, you must evaluate your situation based on the following criteria:

1) What is your motive to learn Guitar? If you want to play Guitar as a hobby, you can pursue any learning method but if you want to go pro and play in a band, you need exposure to as many learning resources as possible.

2) Do you have any previous exposure to music theory or playing another musical instrument? If you do, you can pursue Guitar lessons on your own as you are already familiar with music concepts. However, if you are completely new to music, it is highly recommended that you take help of a professional who can guide you till you are comfortable playing Guitar on your own.

3) Are you a fast learner? If you got a good ear, you can pick concepts easily and make good progress in short amount of time. But if you are a slow learner, you would need more time and help to master the lessons.

4) What is your best learning style? Can you grasp concepts easily just be reading/listening or do you need access to extensive audio and video training material?

5) How much money are you willing to invest on good lessons, books, courses etc? If you are a complete beginner, you need good reference books and a teacher to get started and all this costs money.

6) How much time can you devote to practice? Most teachers require you to devote few hours every week to practice the lessons that you learn. If you are hard pressed for time, you can invest in a home study course that lets you learn Guitar at your own pace instead of hiring a teacher.

7) Do you want to learn any specific style such as Blues, Classical or Jazz? Depending on your preferences, you would need specific resources to learn a particular style of guitar.

How to Do a Guitar Set Up

In this article I will explain how to set up your guitar. I have only done set ups on my ESP EC 400 which has a Tune-O-Matic bridge, so keep that in mind as you read. Different kinds of bridges will make setting up your guitar a little different. So all of this article will be about setting up a guitar with a Tune-O-Matic bridge.

First off, I’ll tell you the basic things you will need for this. You’ll need a few screwdrivers, hex keys, wire cutters, a string winder, a tuner, a polishing cloth, an old shirt or piece of cloth, guitar polish and fret board oil. I have a little case I keep all of this in, just for safe keeping and when set up time comes around it is all in one place and easy to get to.

The second part I will go over is changing strings. I do this about once a month, more frequent players will do it every two weeks or so. I buy strings usually around the first of every month, then go home and swap the strings, and do whatever parts of the set up I need to do. I buy 10 gauge strings, but that really depends on your preference of strings. First thing is to slacken the strings. I usually unwind them a few times, this makes it so there is less tension when you cut the string. After they are slackened, cut the string at about mid length then just pull the one side out of the bridge, and the other side out from around the tuning peg. I cut all of the strings off at once, not one by one. With a Tune-O-Matic bridge it won’t matter if you cut them all off. Plus, if you cut all of them off it leaves a bare fret board, which is the easiest way to clean it. Anyway, get out your new set of strings and unwrap them carefully. The last thing you want to do is bend the string, so be very careful. Put the end of the string thru the back of the bridge and then up the neck and into the tuning peg. I usually leave about 3 inches or so of string out of the tuning peg, then make a sharp bend with that 3 inches so it will wrap around the peg. I usually wrap it about with my string winder 3 times or so around the peg. You want to wind the tuners so that the string will be facing inside towards the headstock, and not away. After all the strings are on, tune it up and you are ready to go!

Well, not quite ready to go. Next you want to set the intonation. To do this, you need to play a harmonic on the 12th fret, then play a fretted 12th fret. The notes should sound the same. If the note you played while fretted is sharp, you need to turn the little screw on the part of the bridge closest to the pickups back towards the tailpiece. If it’s a little flat, then you need to turn it the other way. After every time you adjust it, retune your string and see if it matches. If it does, move on to the next string. If not then keep repeating the steps until it’s correct.

The next thing to do is check and see if the truss rod needs to be adjusted. This is a very scary thing to do the first couple times, but after a while it’s an easy fix. You’ll want to put your guitar on the floor and stand it up. Tilt it towards you and look down the neck towards the body. I always close one eye and look down it, it makes it a little easier. You will see one of three things, the neck will be either bowed away from the strings, bowed in towards the strings or perfectly straight. This is where your hex keys will come into play. If the neck is bowed downwards, you will need to twist the truss rod to the left. The truss rod can be located where the headstock meets the neck. If it is bowed towards the strings, then you want to twist it the other way. NEVER twist the truss rod to much, do it very slowly. To much could break the neck. Keep that in mind!

The next part I’ll cover is cleaning. I always do this before putting the strings on, but that’s just what I do. First I put the fret board oil on. You can get this at any guitar store. Use very little, it goes a long way. Put it on the corner of an old t-shirt or bandana or something, and rub it into the fret board. Let it sit for a little bit then wipe it down. This cleans your fret board and helps the wood. I only do this maybe every 4 months or so, then I clean the body with guitar cleaner. Get a soft cloth and spray the cleaner onto the cloth and wipe down and buff your guitar for an awesome shine!

Nothing feels better than a freshly stringed guitar that’s set up perfectly. So now that you know how to achieve that, go out and rock!

Learn to Play the Guitar

I have known the joys of guitar playing for well over forty years. During this time I have taught the instrument, both privately and in group class situations and am always more than willing to share my experience with the aspiring guitarist. I have often given thought to writing an instruction book of my own, but there are already hundreds of these “systems” available through your local music store or on-line. When asked for advice on how to go about learning the guitar, I always review the points that every beginner should know. Here are the most important ones to consider.

1.Electric or Acoustic? For the beginner, I always recommend an acoustic guitar. At first an acoustic guitar is more difficult to play. Until the new player builds up some callouses on the hand that he or she fingers the neck with, practicing for a half hour will lead to painful blisters which can in turn leads to frustration. This applies to both electric and acoustic guitars, but electric strings are often less blister causing than even the lighter gauge strings on an acoustic instrument. However, after acquiring a good solid foundation of guitar basics on an acoustic guitar, making the transition to an electric is much easier than learning on an electric and than picking up an acoustic. Another reason that I recommend starting on an acoustic is the temptation for the beginner to let the range of electronic sounds and special effects that are possible with the electric guitar and amplifier to do all the work! Chaotic noise may be fun, but it really isn’t music and requires little dedication to master.

  1. It is essential that a learner’s first guitar be playable! There is a false economy in purchasing a cheap guitar for the beginner, be it acoustic or electric. The strings on a cheap guitar often sit so far above the fingerboard that not only is the guitar nearly impossible to finger, the tones that are produced are woefully off pitch. Cheap instruments are difficult if not impossible to tune, and once “tuned” rarely stay that way for long. Difficulty of play and improper tuning will definitely lead to frustration. The beginner often thinks that it’s them and not the instrument. “I’ll never be able to play!” How to avoid this? Fortunately, there are a number of decent low-priced instruments on the market today. The best advice is to get a guitar-playing friend to accompany you when shopping for your or the beginner’s first instrument. Have him or her check over any prospective purchase for the best combination of playability and economy.
  2. Pick a “system” As I said above, there are many, many instruction books available. Today quite a few of them come with a cassette or CD recording of the material that allows even the beginner to play along. The first cut of these recordings is often an aid to tuning the instrument that plays the proper pitch of each of the six strings one at a time. Virtually all of the beginner’s books start out with a brief introduction to musical notation, how to hold the pick, an introduction to each string, and a few basic chord charts that show where to place the fingers. Some books will teach songs using “tablature” which is a system of musical notation that does not require a knowledge of traditional notes, but uses numbers to indicate the string played and its position on the neck.
  3. Pick a tune! Once the beginner can play a few chords comfortably, the next step is to pick a favorite simple song. Remember, most popular music is based on a handful of chords within a key. Most blues tunes consist of just three! Pick up the songbooks of your favorite recording artist. Strum the chords and sing along with yourself! Better yet, get that guitar-playing friend to play along with you. This is one of the most important and joyous parts of guitar playing. Playing with others builds confidence and really accelerates the learning experience.
  4. Learn more than the chords! Playing “lead” guitar in a band or taking turns playing solos around a chord structure requires practice. Find a teacher to guide you through your chosen system. Take the time to learn some basic scales in different keys and in different positions along the neck of your guitar. Then, think of a simple melody such as “Old MacDonald” or the first few notes of “Hey Jude.” Find the notes on your guitar. Then, play it. If you keep on trying, you WILL eventually get it. Later, when your confidence is expanding, try a part of a favorite solo. As with any new tune you learn, start SLOWLY. Then keep at it until you can play it without looking at your fingers. The speed will come later. I Promise.
  5. Learn some theory! Get a book. Ask your friend or teacher. Learn the basics of keys and the “Circle of Fifths.”

    Learn to read simple melodies. Study fundamentals of chord construction. Learning basic theory will improve your playing and expand your musical “ear” and your ability to play along with others.

  6. Practice, Practice, Practice! At first, devote at LEAST twenty minutes a day, but do NOT over do it. No more than an hour per session. Pushing too hard when you first start the adventure can lead to serious injury of the fingers. Even ten minutes of intentional, deliberate practice accomplishes much more than an hour of strained playing.
  7. Patience, Patience, Patience! It is NOT going to happen overnight! It may take weeks to see any progress at all.

    But, HANG IN THERE! It may not seem so at first, but you make progress every time you pick up your instrument. Any good player will tell you this. After a few months, ask yourself, “Could I play like this a month ago?” The answer more often than not will be “No.” Sometimes the beginner gets stuck on a particular tune or scale and does not feel any forward motion. If this happens, try a different tune. Work on a different chord progression. Then after a few days, go back to what was frustrating you. Often you will find that what was once difficult, now comes a little easier. And finally:

  8. Enjoy! Love your music. Get to know the joy of improvisation. Make good music and share it. Put it out there. Experience the thrill of the energy exchange that is felt when playing with other musicians. As you learn, share your new knowledge with a beginner. Teach what you know. Open your ears and heart to new sounds and concepts. But always, every time you make music, above ALL, let it come from your heart. Feel the flow. Feel the love. Know the joys of the guitar!

Guitar Recording

Recording guitar is rarely ever as easy as sloppily plopping down whatever mic’s handy at the moment in front of the speaker grille and hitting record. Majority would even argue that mic choice and placement only play bit parts in a larger production that involves pre-amps, guitar amps, cable length, A/D D/A converters, tracking through a console clean vis-a-vis applying processing going in, and of course, the choice of guitar itself! Instead of writing a fully comprehensive work (and a very, very long discussion and debate), this article aims to address some basic guitar micing technique using a dynamic cardioid microphone (such as the venerable SM57) and a condenser (such as a Neumann u87).

1 mic technique

If the situation calls for using one microphone, you can position your dynamic mic either as close to the speaker grille cloth as possible (less ambiance) or 3-6 inches away, either pointing to the center of the cone or off-axis. Listen through your monitors how the speaker sounds like, and change cones if you aren’t satisfied (as in the case of a marshall 4×12). Once you’ve decided on which cone to record, fine tune the guitar sound by angling the mic towards or away from the center of the cone as it makes a difference in the tone coming into your recording. A condenser is generally placed a bit farther because of its higher sensitivity (and in some cases, lower clipping point with regard to SPL handling).

2 mic technique

Applying the technique above, one may also add another microphone such as a condenser (or a ribbon mic, if you prefer) to get a different flavor coming from the same guitar and guitar amp. When placing the second mic, be sure to keep in mind the 3:1 phase rule, wherein the second mic should be at least 3 times as far from the source as the first mic so as to minimize phase. One doesn’t necessarily have to follow this rule, and in some situations where an out of phase guitar is called for by creative considerations, just go for whatever fits the music and gets you the sound that you’re looking for.

3 mic technique

One can use the 2 mic technique above in conjunction with one more microphone placed at a distance from the sound source, serving as the captor of the sound of the guitar amp is it is being influenced by the recording environment. An omni-directional condenser mic is usually used for this situation because of its 360-degree pickup pattern.

One constant principle to remember is that in recording guitar, the overall tone is largely influenced by the guitarist’s technique above all. An unskilled guitarist playing a rare vintage Les Paul through a great sounding Mesa Boogie will still sound unpleasantly unsatisfying.