Are You Recording Your Guitars the Wrong Way? Glenn Fricker Shows How to Get it Done

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Spectre Sound Studios’ recording engineer Glenn Fricker isn’t a big fan of amp simulators. The point isn’t that they sound band- it’s that they are homogenizing our guitar tones. Yes, I can hear your retort already forming, that a 5150 into a Mesa cabinet, mic’d by an SM57 and sent through an API 512c… well, isn’t that the most ubiquitous signal chain in metal? What’s unique about that? Well the answer is that your choices, your ownership, is what makes all the difference. Those are your speakers and your SM57s, and each of them has a distinctive sound. In the video below he shows how he meticulously, scientifically, puts every option in the signal chain through its paces until he’s found the tone he’s searching for. Because that’s what makes a good recording: a series of small choices that ultimately add up to a more majestic whole.


Oh, and by the way, the video implies that the API preamp is the one that Glenn recorded with, but that other black and yellow one under the amp? That’s a Great River MP-2NV, and it absolutely rules. I just ordered the 500-series one for myself this week. So let’s get a conversation going, while we’re here. What are your favorite heavy guitar recording tricks, your favorite preamps and mics. What do you think of how Glenn tests each speaker and mic? Do you have another method you prefer?

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Chris Alfano has written about music and toured in bands since print magazines and were popular. Once in high-school he hacked a friend's QBasic stick figure fighting game to add a chiptune metal soundtrack. Random attractive people still give him high-fives about that.

Latest comments
  • FWIW, it was tracked with the API 512c. The Great River is pretty excellent as well, but the API is my fave. If I’m looking to really “Lard it up” I’ve also got a Vintech Dual 72 that has loads of character.

  • A little on the pricey side, but I really dig the sound of the Neve Portico 517. Really warm smooth sound. Not only useful for guitar but really nice on vocals.

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