Easy way to record electric guitars

Easy way to record electric guitars

There is an easy way to record electric guitars these days. Yes, you can record the signal from your electric guitar directly to your audio interface and you don’t necessarily need to set up an amp with a cabinet and a lot of mics to get good sounding guitar recordings. All you need is some additional processing in the box to make your recordings sound really good. In the following article we are going to dive a little deeper into this.

Recording electric guitars traditionally involves miking up amplifiers and cabinets to capture the desired tone. However, this process can be cumbersome, especially for home studios with limited space or those seeking a more streamlined workflow. Fortunately, there is an easy way to record electric guitars – using amp simulations and impulse responses.

Choosing the Right Amp Simulation and Impulse Response

Amp simulations replicate the sound of real amplifiers and can be inserted directly into your recording software. Impulse responses (IRs), on the other hand, capture the unique sonic characteristics of guitar cabinets and rooms, allowing you to add realistic ambience to your recordings. Begin by selecting an amp simulation and IRs that complement your musical style. Many software plugins offer a wide range of options, from classic tube amps to modern high-gain stacks.

Setting Up Your DAW

After installing your chosen amp simulation and IR plugins, it’s time to set up your Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). Create a new audio track and insert the amp simulation plugin. This virtual amp will serve as your primary tone-shaping tool. Then, add another track and insert the IR plugin. This track will blend the direct guitar signal with the sonic characteristics of a cabinet and room.

Direct Signal Recording

Connect your electric guitar directly to your audio interface using a high-quality instrument cable. This direct signal eliminates the need for microphones and physical amplifiers. Adjust the input gain on your interface to ensure a clean and distortion-free signal. With amp simulations, you have the freedom to experiment with various amp models, tweak settings, and find the perfect tone for your track.

Adding Realism with Impulse Responses

To enhance the realism of your recorded guitar sound, insert the IR plugin on the corresponding track. Impulse responses can emulate the acoustics of different spaces, from tight studios to vast concert halls. Blend the direct signal and the IR-processed signal to achieve a balanced and three-dimensional guitar sound. Adjust the mix until you’re satisfied with the sonic character and spatial depth.

Fine-Tuning and Mixing

Once you’ve dialed in the desired tone using the amp simulation and impulse response, it’s time to fine-tune your mix. Apply any necessary equalization, compression, and effects to shape the guitar’s place in the overall mix. Since you’re working with direct signals and virtual processing, you have the flexibility to make adjustments without being locked into a specific room or microphone placement.

Using Plugins

There is a huge amount of plugin you can choose from and especially for beginners it’s quite difficult to figure out where to start. First of all most DAW’s these days are equipped with a lot of professional sounding plugins. You can go through them first and find plugins you could work with and start to learn to to use them properly.

The next stop could be the huge library from waves.com. They have tons of really good plugins with all kind of effects even the pro’s in the audio world use a lot. Hit the following link to take a look at the waves library:

Go to waves.com

Try to develop your own sound

It helps a lot trying to copy vocal effects from established productions. This gives you a great feeling on how dial in specific effects. But as soon as you feel comfortable with vocal effects you should start to experiment with them. go beyond the borders and try stuff that is actually ‘wrong’ from a technical perspective but sound good. Trust your ears: when it sounds good – it is good. If you would like to dive deeper into creating your own signature sound our free signature sound cheat sheet could be a good help.

Download you free copy of our signature sound cheat sheet here


Recording electric guitars with just a direct signal into your interface and utilizing amp simulations and impulse responses is an easy and efficient method to achieve professional-quality results. By sidestepping the need for physical amplifiers and cabinets, you can focus on crafting the perfect tone and mix, all within the confines of your digital workspace. Embrace this modern approach, and you’ll be well on your way to creating outstanding guitar tracks that stand out in any production.

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