Now that I’ve had time to really work on my recording techniques, I’ve finally decided which instrument is hardest for me to record. At first, I thought it might be drums, as multiple mics are needed and getting the tone of the drums without all the excess noise in the room seemed like it would be really hard. Then, I thought, maybe vocals would be really hard to record, or piano. But no, the hardest instrument (for me) to record are guitars; specifically distorted guitars.
The struggle I always have is that the frequencies I usually want to boost with distorted guitars (300Hz – 750Hz range) muddy up the mix, but when I take them out some, the beefiness of the guitars dissipates with the surrounding instruments and vocals. It’s a fine line to walk, and I have to always tread lightly. What’s funny is that the drums are my favorite (and easiest) to record. In addition to the frequencies, actually recording guitars and the methods used changes drastically from instrument to instrument. I’ve found the best method for my studio (obviously adjustments are made during the process, but this is a general starting point) is to plug into an emulated line output (if available), have a directional mic in front of the best sounding speaker in the amp (at a slight angle to the speaker), and a room mic about 4 feet back and directly in front of the amp. That way, I can get a thick sound, and multiple tones that the guitar produces, from the microphones, while getting clarity from the emulated line output. This is usually a great starting point to recording guitars.
What is your hardest instrument to record? How did you work around it? Also, which is your favorite/best?