Reamping Guitar Tracks in the Capital City


This post is probably on the verge of heresy for guitar tone purists, but I thought I would share this reamping experience anyway.

Last week I spent a half-day at The Jam Room in Columbia, SC reamping guitar and bass tracks for a new upcoming single release, Radio Silence. I wanted to be able to take my time when working through guitar tones, so I captured the direct signal of all electric guitar parts as well as the “tone of the day” on separate tracks. I used the Little Labs Redeye 3D for tracking. You can get details about my standard setup by clicking here. I was really looking forward to the reamping part of the project for obvious reason (this comment needs no explanation if you are a guitar player). It should be noted that I normally use the Line 6 Pod Farm 2 with various custom patches for recording all guitars.

I had a plan and Jay (engineer/owner) and I worked through the 9 direct tracks quickly. We were done in about 5 hours including a lunch break. During the session, I was really pleased with the tones we were getting from the amps….nice, full and thick. When I got back home I imported the tracks into the Cubase 6 project and did a rough mix. The results were surprising. The distorted guitar tracks didn’t hold a candle to the Line 6 distortion sounds that I already had. The top end crunch and power in the reamped tracks just wasn’t there for me (even after spending some “EQ and compression” time with them). The clean sounds however were better…..better meaning the clean tracks using the Fender Deluxe Reverb had a certain “tooth” to them….a realness that the corresponding clean Line 6 tracks didn’t have.

Reamping the Bass Track made the BIGGEST difference

We also reamped the direct bass line and this was biggest improvement by far. The setup was a Music Man 65 head, Ampeg 2×10 (with the horn disconnected), Neumann TLM102 and LaChapelle 992 pre, no compression. Awesome tone! Probably my “go to” first choice for bass going forward. The new bass track made the original guitar tracks (Line 6 patches) sound even better. They were much more full and powerful. There was suddenly more body (without low end muddiness) to the mix that I didn’t know I didn’t have before adding the new bass track.

I think the problem lies with the amps that I selected for the session. I’m looking for more of a modern guitar tone and I used mostly vintage gear. I’ll give reamping distorted guitars another go, but quite frankly….I’m not sure I can top what Line 6 is doing in the modern guitar tone arena. Although, I really expected to be using ALL reamped tracks for the recording, it looks like I’ll be using a mixture of “real” amps and virtual tones.

Gear used for the reamping session

Marshall JCM 800 w/ gain mod
Traynor YBA1
Soldano Hot Rod 50 (handwritten serial number 000010!)
Fender Deluxe Reverb
Groove Tubes Soul-O-Single Combo

Marshall 4×12 w/ Greenbacks
Marshall 4×12 w/ Vintage 30’s

Shure SM7B
Shure SM57
Neumann TLM102

A Designs Pacifica
Great River ME-NV1
LaChapelle 992

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