Jazz guitar sound

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
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fogandrii
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2015 12:49 pm

Jazz guitar sound

Post by fogandrii » Mon Nov 09, 2015 8:03 pm

Hi everyone!

It's time for me to share my problem. Some months ago I decided to start doing my home recordings. Actually I came from live guitar and electronic music, so my knowledge in sound was limited by my pedalboard (yeah, I'm a guitarist).

So, when trying to finalize my first track I discovered that I am completely unhappy with the sound of the guitar. What I want to achieve is a clean fat juicy jazz guitar tone. I did direct recording without using any (pre-)amps, DIs, external amp/cab simulators. My guitar is not actually an archtop jazz guitar, but it is Framus Panthera with mahogany body and 2 sweet sounding humbuckers (Les Paul style). I really like how this instrument sounds thru different real amps, and I have already achieved the sound I want when been playing in bands.

I'm not very good at amplifiers, because as for a fan of a clean sound, my requirements were always like "give me a good amp with a clean sound and I will reduce some tone on guitar and add compression". And actually it worked for me in most cases. Here I tried the same approach: I found a couple of good sounding amp VST (kuassa amplifikation made the best), lowered the tone on the guitar and added some mild compression. But it seems that in home recording world it doesn't work.

After spending hours on googling, reading forums and annoying my friends I had a list of possible solutions:

- First and the most obvious way: to buy an amp+mic. Sounds cool and "natural". But the main downside is that in order to record it, one has to have profound skills in mic'ing and mixing this type of sound. Other drawback - the size of the gear becomes bigger. And one of my goals was to have similar set-up for recording and live performance;
- To use small amp (probably even a pedal) in conjunction with a cabinet speaker simulator. This is actually a grey area for me. Have never used rack/pedal/small amps. Have never used speaker simulators. This fact actually leads to the third point:
- To use virtual rigs or VST. But this way is also not clear. For example you can't come in your local store and ask to check this or that piece of software.

I heard some people record clean sound directly, as nowadays amplifiers are commonly used to produce overdriven or distorted sound. Since I don't need overdrive but only a "character" from the sound, probably I should use some devices/plugins which "colorize" the sound? This question led me to the beginning of my post.

Feel free to advice, suggest or even PM me.
Thank you.

H20nly
Posts: 15838
Joined: Sat Oct 27, 2007 9:15 pm
Location: The Wild West

Re: Jazz guitar sound

Post by H20nly » Mon Nov 09, 2015 8:10 pm

what type of interface are you using? does it have a pre-amp/have a good pre-amp?

this could be where you're losing your "sound". you could try running your guitar through your amp and then using the amp's output* to your interface. this would maintain the sound you are used to and give the interface a rich signal to convert to the cold harsh land of digital after it hits your interface input.

*or the amp's headphone out so that the speaker is bypassed.

fogandrii
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2015 12:49 pm

Re: Jazz guitar sound

Post by fogandrii » Mon Nov 09, 2015 8:16 pm

H20nly wrote:what type of interface are you using? does it have a pre-amp/have a good pre-amp?

this could be where you're losing your "sound". you could try running your guitar through your amp and then using the amp's output* to your interface. this would maintain the sound you are used to and give the interface a rich signal to convert to the cold harsh land of digital after it hits your interface input.

*or the amp's headphone out so that the speaker is bypassed.
Sorry, I forgot to mention. I play thru Focusrite Scarlett 2i2. And looks like it does have a pre-amp (or I just misinterpret the specs).
And yeah, thanx for such a quick response!

H20nly
Posts: 15838
Joined: Sat Oct 27, 2007 9:15 pm
Location: The Wild West

Re: Jazz guitar sound

Post by H20nly » Mon Nov 09, 2015 8:25 pm

no worries, just trying to help.

while the Focusrite is a great piece of gear at it's price point, i cannot see its converters doing what sounds like a SWEET guitar any justice. try the amp trick i mentioned to see if you get a noticeable difference. that will let you draw a line in the sand for troubleshooting purposes. giving your 2i2 a rich input should help. plus... it will deliver the sound you are used to when playing from your amp, i.e. a better gauge.

i'm really thinking you need a better pre-amp, BUT you kinda already have one :wink:

i struggled a lot with thin flimsy waveforms from recorded audio until i invested in better interface... and then a stellar Pre-Amp took it all to the next level:
http://www.uaudio.com/hardware/mic-prea ... inity.html <<- i love it so much. :mrgreen:
Last edited by H20nly on Mon Nov 09, 2015 8:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

mrgrim3
Posts: 118
Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2012 4:04 am

Re: Jazz guitar sound

Post by mrgrim3 » Mon Nov 09, 2015 8:26 pm

I use Steinberg ur22 and it has preamp , 48v phantom power, and "hi-z" whatever that is im not sure so much

I like to record clean into the daw with my interface on direct monitor mode and then add the processing after I just think I do better that way

I bet there is a lot of other processing going on to get the awesome tone like some eq and maybe other subtle processing to make it sound sweeter

jlgrimes
Posts: 1265
Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2007 1:55 am
Location: Atlanta, Ga

Re: Jazz guitar sound

Post by jlgrimes » Mon Nov 09, 2015 9:19 pm

fogandrii wrote:Hi everyone!

It's time for me to share my problem. Some months ago I decided to start doing my home recordings. Actually I came from live guitar and electronic music, so my knowledge in sound was limited by my pedalboard (yeah, I'm a guitarist).

So, when trying to finalize my first track I discovered that I am completely unhappy with the sound of the guitar. What I want to achieve is a clean fat juicy jazz guitar tone. I did direct recording without using any (pre-)amps, DIs, external amp/cab simulators. My guitar is not actually an archtop jazz guitar, but it is Framus Panthera with mahogany body and 2 sweet sounding humbuckers (Les Paul style). I really like how this instrument sounds thru different real amps, and I have already achieved the sound I want when been playing in bands.

I'm not very good at amplifiers, because as for a fan of a clean sound, my requirements were always like "give me a good amp with a clean sound and I will reduce some tone on guitar and add compression". And actually it worked for me in most cases. Here I tried the same approach: I found a couple of good sounding amp VST (kuassa amplifikation made the best), lowered the tone on the guitar and added some mild compression. But it seems that in home recording world it doesn't work.

After spending hours on googling, reading forums and annoying my friends I had a list of possible solutions:

- First and the most obvious way: to buy an amp+mic. Sounds cool and "natural". But the main downside is that in order to record it, one has to have profound skills in mic'ing and mixing this type of sound. Other drawback - the size of the gear becomes bigger. And one of my goals was to have similar set-up for recording and live performance;
- To use small amp (probably even a pedal) in conjunction with a cabinet speaker simulator. This is actually a grey area for me. Have never used rack/pedal/small amps. Have never used speaker simulators. This fact actually leads to the third point:
- To use virtual rigs or VST. But this way is also not clear. For example you can't come in your local store and ask to check this or that piece of software.

I heard some people record clean sound directly, as nowadays amplifiers are commonly used to produce overdriven or distorted sound. Since I don't need overdrive but only a "character" from the sound, probably I should use some devices/plugins which "colorize" the sound? This question led me to the beginning of my post.

Feel free to advice, suggest or even PM me.
Thank you.
Don't know but could it have something to do with the type of guitar?

I've always assumed alot of jazz guitarists use hollow bodys but I could be wrong.

fishmonkey
Posts: 4099
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:50 am

Re: Jazz guitar sound

Post by fishmonkey » Mon Nov 09, 2015 11:13 pm

fogandrii wrote: Sorry, I forgot to mention. I play thru Focusrite Scarlett 2i2. And looks like it does have a pre-amp (or I just misinterpret the specs).
And yeah, thanx for such a quick response!
have you switched the input to 'instrument'?
badbrainz wrote: I'm a drummer, so I'm already at an intellectual disadvantage here

Stevejaz
Posts: 39
Joined: Sat Dec 25, 2010 8:39 am

Re: Jazz guitar sound

Post by Stevejaz » Tue Nov 10, 2015 2:01 am

I have done a lot of recording in the style you are interested in. The best thing I ever bought, other than a good guitar, was a good sound card. In my case an RME Babyface. Was using an old Tascam US144 (or something) but when I bought a new Macbook I found Tascam had not updated drivers for quite some time. Bit the bullet and bought the Babyface after a lot of questions in the forums here. Honestly, it made the BIGGEST difference to the sound. I record direct, generally pretty dry to better hear any unwanted string noise, then process. One trick I use, after EQ and compression on the audio track, is to use reverb and delay as send effects, panning them left and right. After enabling all sends in the sends in the reverb/delay channels I send them to each other, using a bit of taste and discretion I find I get a very full lush sound.
I often record in 2 passes, first more chordal and the second lead. I pan the two channels slightly, using more reverb on the chords and more Delay on the lead channel. I then make sure to pan the reverb/delay in the opposite direction. IE: if chords are panned left reverb is panned right.
This is something I have experimented with for the last couple of years and I am happy with the sound I get. Hope it is all understandable and of some help
https://soundcloud.com/stevejaz-1/my-funny-valantine
This is an example of the sound I am talking about. The guitar is a PRS Hollowbody but I doubt that makes as much difference as the sound card. Once you have the sound into your PC you can alter it as you choose. The main thing is to get the best sound you can in the first place.

fishmonkey
Posts: 4099
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:50 am

Re: Jazz guitar sound

Post by fishmonkey » Tue Nov 10, 2015 3:06 am

i would think that you should be able to achieve a decent result with the Scarlett...
badbrainz wrote: I'm a drummer, so I'm already at an intellectual disadvantage here

mmorgan
Posts: 180
Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2012 6:49 pm
Location: Bellingham, WA

Re: Jazz guitar sound

Post by mmorgan » Tue Nov 10, 2015 3:38 am

I play a lot of guitar and while I don't consider myself a jazz guitarist I am aware of tone the OP is speaking of.

I would recommend a really good pre-amp (with a Hi-Z input) my current fave that I use is a Great River MP-2NV but there are others that are a lot less pricey (check out Radials line of DI pres). Then a good sound card, your Focusrite should be fine. At that point you are ITB and it is time to consider coloration. I use a FabFilter Saturn which has some excellent emulations of tape and tube saturation, not to mention the extensive mangling (in a good way) of sound it is capable of. That gets me my basic sound (which is very light on distortion fX), I tailor the sound with some EQ (I use FabFilter ProEq but the Live's EQ8 is perfectly adequate imo), very light compression (typically NI's Solid Dynamics but Live's compressor is fine also imo). That's it for me.

The rest, I think, is in your right hand technique. Read an interview with Pat Metheny once and he mentioned finishing up a show in Poland and going somewhere for a jam...with no guitar. Someone put a cheap Polish model in his hands and he admits to be very leery of the whole situation. But then he started playing and, I'm paraphrasing, he said: "I pretty much sounded like me."
Michael Morgan | pearl hour project
.........................................................
Intel i7-2600 @3.4GHz; 16G Ram; Win 10-64; Live 9.5
RME-Fireface UFX; Machine II; APC40; MPK25;
Guitars and Amps

fogandrii
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2015 12:49 pm

Re: Jazz guitar sound

Post by fogandrii » Sat Nov 21, 2015 12:29 pm

Very big THANK YOU to all of you guys here!

After reading from you, I played a bit with my soundcard. Also I tried Guitar Rig from NI, different external compressors and stuff. What worked for me in the end was a cool VST compressor from Klanghelm - http://www.klanghelm.com/DC1A.php I think a lot of people knew it, but for me it was a remedy I was not aware of. Probably will buy it's advanced version, who knows.

H20nly
Posts: 15838
Joined: Sat Oct 27, 2007 9:15 pm
Location: The Wild West

Re: Jazz guitar sound

Post by H20nly » Sun Nov 22, 2015 7:12 am

^ that is a cool little plugin. thanks for posting.

... just don't forget; the better the source input, the higher the potential for better output.

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