From 70's Session Player
PS: This technique is a guitar and amp miking tip that so many session players and bands in the studio can use to their advantage.
I was reading an article in the December 2013 issue of Guitar Player about Steve Hunter who was a well known sideman and session player with both Lou Reed, Dick Wagner and Alice Cooper.
Steve Hunter worked hard and developed his own tone and feel that so many producers and band leaders were looking for, and made him a wanted man in the studio session world in the 70's.
Mr. Hunter said that Dave Gilmour helped teach him because he was one of the best players who had a great sense more than most rock players on how to have more of a natural blues feel, and a rock player who played his way and lent his tone more to harmony and feeling based more on emotional playing that too few players have today.
If you get a chance take a look online at Gilmour's work with Pink Floyd. Not just the well known material.
I'll be honest with you, Steve Hunter is not the session guy I know a lot about, but his miking tip is an incredible golden nugget so many of you guys could use!
Okay, here's the the guitar miking technique you should use next time you're in the studio.
I can't guarantee it will work for you—but I know that if you don't use this miking tip you'll lose out on a great way to develop your own tone and find new ways to record your material.
To me this tip is like having an extra distortion or effects pedal without having to use one if you tweak your amp,guitar and miking just so.
Okay here it goes...
The 70's guitar miking recipe for session cats.
Okay, the type of mics Steve used and the position and distance were very important. He used Shure SM 57's which are a staple in the studio. Not so much your higher end but a solid mic none the less.
He kept that SM 57 close to the grill of the amp then another mic—a Sennheiser 421 about 4 or 5 feet back from the Shure, and then more of a condensor even further back. In using that condensor far back it gave more of a tone that lent it's self to a jazz type melodic tone without a pedal.
If you don't have 3 mics you can use just two and test,test,test the hell out of them. That is the combination of mic distances and positioning.
As well, if you're a creative player who is schooled in designing and creating your own tone but only have one mic to work with—its important to know how to combine 3 things. Those are your guitar and amp tone along with your miking technique.
So depending on the tune you're recording---you'll have to tweak your tone for either higher gains,cleaner tones or just a down and dirty,nasty feel.
And a mid-range feel without the need for an effects pedal.
I always say to players if you want to become better at playing and be in demand, learn how to get a good tone and natural feel in your playing,without pedals or effects. Then when you do need an OD or Fuzz, you'll be able to do it well without having to over ride your tone in a negative way that takes away from your playing and natural tone.
If you have any other questions on this, just email me. Believe me I'm no expert but I talk to the experts who have been instrumental in helping me understand how to get great tone and recording like a pro.
By the way, Steve Hunter has a new album called:The Manhattan Blues Project. I don't have a link to it at the moment.
Some of the best players are on this album. You want to learn how to be a real guitar player, go back to the 70's.