Unable to get a satisfactory guitar tone. I could really use some help.


New Metal Member
Mar 30, 2017
I've watched countless hours of videos and read everything I can get my hands on, but despite my efforts I can't seem to get a guitar tone that sounds half as good as anything i hear on youtube despite using the same plugins. I'm just really looking for some help here.

My guitar is an Ibanez RG Prestige RG652AHMFX and i'm going directly into my focusrite scarlett 2i4 (2nd generation). I have two guitar tracks panned left and right and bussed to a stereo channel for processing. Guitar chain is as follows- https://imgur.com/a/b20o9xC

The impulses are rosen digital / lancaster audio mesa rectifier. There's also another eq to try to remove unwanted frequencies and a multiband compressor for palm mutes. I feel like regardless which amp sim i use or what impulse I use I can't seem to get a decent tone. For example I tried to emulate this video Great Metal Guitar Tones with Free Software (LePoulin) by Adam Bentley or The best free amp sim for Metal by SpectreSoundStudios, but what i ended up with always seems to be way off. That seems to be the case any time i try to follow a video or just try to make something by ear. I've been trying to learn to mix for years and getting a somewhat decent guitar tone has been my biggest hurdle. The most specific thing I can think of is that I can never seem to tame the high end fizz. There's no clipping on the DI. Peaks are at about -6db and the gain is turned down on the amp sim.

I'm just very frustrated and looking for help. I've included a link to dropbox with 3 files. A full mix, just processed guitars, and the guitar DIs. No master processing other than limited applied to the guitar and DI files. https://www.dropbox.com/sh/o3rxjjx156b17lr/AADKcAdLu-9lhPPT9q8em2RGa?dl=0
i would say the guitar tone is fine its the other elements that need tweaking. bass is a huge part of modern metal guitar tone so make sure your bass has a consistent low end. adding some distortion to the base can help glue the guitars and base together. the full mix sounds cool but it needs more bass and your drums need more punch once you get the other elements sounding great you guitars will come to life :)
Yah like the others said, that guitar tone aint too bad at all. I think you just need to add a lot more grit and anger to your bass. Look into a bit of distorted bass and bring up that low end growl.

The drums too - I can hear that superior drummer NY avatar kit a mile away and it's just old and boring at this point. Try something new (if you can afford it of course) and make your drums huger. Parallel compression is always a good trick if you haven't tried already.

Also, maybe share your multis so we can all have a crack at seeing what kind of potential sound we can achieve from your recordings.

Don't give up man \m/
80% of a players tone is in their hands and we are always too close to our own playing to realize we have a good sound.
For sure, you will always be the biggest critic of any of your own work. I can't listen to your guitar right now cause i'm at work, however people seem to say you have a good guitar tone going on. After trying and recording with MANY guitar amp sims, I've found overloud th3 to just be amazing. But work on your bass tone as others have suggested at the moment before diving too deep into playing around more with the guitar tone!
Thanks for the feedback! I did some tweaks and released another mix https://www.dropbox.com/s/74upgkjeyu3i4re/chainsaw_remix5.mp3?dl=0

i spent a lot more time working on the bass and drums. I tried the limiting bass trick to bring up the bass and give it a consistent level. I switched up the drums and tried to make them a lot more punchy. on the guitars I bought the ownhammer v70 mesa recto impulses and used them. I still feel like i have a lot of noise in the 2k-5k region and i can't seem to tame that as well as i'd like.

would love more feedback!
Hi man

What i am doing at least is trying to find the sound i like before any processing like EQ. Then record and make very small EQ changes to the guitars. I agree with the rest that the sound is not so bad but it is not the best as well :).
I usually find the sound from a band i like and try to capture as close as possible that sound with the plug in and then do the processing.
i hope it helps if you haven't done this already :).
80% of a players tone is in their hands and we are always too close to our own playing to realize we have a good sound.

Wow, that should be a quote somewhere! Unless it isn't already? Brilliantly put! However Scarlett interface sucks monkey dick i know from experience. Did you try recording thru a di-box like a countryman instead? If that doesnt help you. Then it's the overall mix. Don't have time to listen to your examples, but the guys are most likely right.
Hey man, i've checked out your DI's now. There's no problem with them. You hear my tone, then i jump back to yours which ironically sounds like you added the radio effect/hihpass filter on it. The problem is in the tone creation. You are probably like i used to be. You don't "know" what to look for in a good tone. It comes with practice and a little bit of luck. I've made a tone in podfarm 2.0 if you have it? Probably can be done in other software too, but line6's podfarm is solid for metal tones. Amplitube 4 probably is the best software vst. There's a lot of "trickery" involved in getting thick tones with Podfarm. It's basic tone doesn't sound "so good". I can explain why i did the stuff i did in the patch. There is a little added saturation and equing in my mixer channel aswell in the daw, since like i've said podfarm alone won't get you there fully. As you know you have to cut out stuff with EQ and compress the lowend (i didn't so much in this example), and that's best done in the context of a mix, to hear which resonance frequences pop out the most, etc. But since i don't have your drums/bass, etc. I can only go on to make the tone thick as by itself for now.

Here's the example: https://www.dropbox.com/s/m56glh1uyf76k86/guitars.mp3?dl=0

and here's the preset for podfarm 2.0: https://www.dropbox.com/s/qgkelnq9r7hiup9/Metal Tone.l6t?dl=0

What is going on is basically insane EQing, i raise the whole lowend/lowmids with the maximum boost 12db shelf filter, important. It sorta reminds me of the Mesa Boogie Graphic EQ in a sense, if you take it away, your sound is instantly thin and whimpy. Then i've added the preamp american classic it adds thickness to the tone. Some drive on it and 5k eq on it. Then i cut eq in the daw for fine tuning the tone and add more saturation using the freeware plugin Saturation Knob. It has three choices. You can try all. But for this example i engaged the keep low setting cause i wanted some more action in the highs, and boosted to 1.1. I think i just gave away all my secrets to thick tones in the daw. Hehe.. Edit: For most thickness you need quad tracking, at least in my book. But i did what i could with your di's they are definately good enough. All you need is practice and more skill in sounddesign. Learning to "hear" when it's thick enough etc.

Edit Again: I still don't understand why the Metal community keeps boosting Lepou as great, it's not. Legion sounds ok, but other then for perhaps a leadsound, they sound like shit. Thin, brittle, and whimpy. I'd suggest you'd try Tsex30 sovjet instead. I could do a thicker tone with that, just tried. You need to use the right impulse aswell for thickness. Guitar hacks "Final!" is a good bigger impulse forexample. That in combination with ignite amps sub screamer freeware (it keeps the lowend somewhat intact, if you flick the fat switch, great!). When ts808 just makes the tone thinner, unfortunaly. Maybe good for leads, but not if you want to thicken your tone.) Hope you find a good tone now.
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