Actually making your amp sound good is the most overlooked aspect to guitar production, at least in the macro sense (there’s also plenty of micro points like having your guitar set up, and having multiple musicians use the same tuner, that go overlooked). Due to the muddy rehearsal rooms and concrete-walled venues, or vice versa, that guitar players hear their rigs in, the assumption is that an amp will often sound mediocre until a recording engineer casts their black voodoo spell upon the waveforms. Here’s the mark of someone who has no idea that good tone starts with a great sounding rig: they’ll refer to “effects,” in some general sense, as something you apply in mixing to make any rat turd sound as polished as a Killswitch record. What effects, specifically, are they referring to? “I don’t know man, like, a compressor… or some shit… just make it sound heavy.” These are the types of people who would put a flanger on a chunky rhythm riff if given the chance, and you should move their knobs around when they’re not looking.
And hey, speaking of which, here’s Glenn Fricker to show you how to move your knobs around. It actually may be my favorite video of his yet because, like the first “How to Record Heavy Guitar” video (also embedded below), he gets nerd-level scientific with it, and perhaps even more so this time around. I’m especially enamored by the “bring your volume up slowly until the speaker starts to move” trick and plan to try that out this week in my next recording session. Oh, and I totally agree about the green channel on a 5150 being the better of the two, even for metal. Seriously, turn on “crunch” and try it out. At around 6 or 7 you should be gifted with all the gain you’ll ever need.
And here’s the original “How to Record Heavy Guitar” video. If you’re not meticulously choosing which speaker to mic, maybe it’s time that you started?