High Gain / Metal Rhythm without extraneous noise

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monquixotemonquixote Frets: 18048
in Technique tFB Trader
I dabble with metal / high gain, but I don't do a lot of it.

I was recently recording a high gain track where the guitar needed to be on it's own in a drop out and it was noticeable how much string squeaking from changing positions, unwanted harmonics from not fully muted strings etc there was. 

It's not the between notes sounds which I know can be addressed with a well configured gate, but rather the additional noise while playing. 

I ended just using quite a bit less gain which wasn't quite the sound I was going for although I do remember bands like Machine Head saying they never used the Lead Channel on the 5150 because it was too much gain and the guitars on Burn My Eyes sound super chuggy. 

I've heard about bands tracking high gain rhythm with 3 string guitars etc, but I don't really want to do that. 

When I see Ola Englund playing he seems to use completely insane amounts of gain, but rarely has any kind of excessive noise. 

Any tips people@digitalscream ;

@digitalscream I know you have talked about this in the past.
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Comments

  • LestratcasterLestratcaster Frets: 1142
    The right hand is important when it comes to muting the strings, and depending on what amp you're using less gain can sound bigger esp when recording multiple tracks. I too use the 5150 (the EVH 5150iii) and have 3 different levels of gain. The highest one for all out chug and my muting is pretty decent when playing stop/start riffs.

    If I have to mute and change fret positions I'll use my knuckles to clamp the string down and move my fretting hand so it doesn't squeak.
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  • digitalkettledigitalkettle Frets: 3394
    What? No-one said 'practice!' yet? ;)

    I'm not usually a high gain player but I had become lazy by using coated strings for a couple of years. When I decided to move back to a normal string, I was conscious of lots more string noise. I think I've re-adapted now: I like the idea of recognising a problem and where I want to be then letting my brain figure it out while I'm doing more interesting stuff. Of course, then I went and bought an 8-string which opens the door to more problems.

    If I'm recording, I'll probably have some form of string mute nearby...I've even taped an unused low E string out of the way before (not quite the full Keef).


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  • It's quite difficult to be specific about it because it's one of those problems you gradually find solutions to unconsciously if you spend enough time playing with high gain. I probably don't know all the things I do, but I imagine it's things like muting the strings with my picking hand, and then taking my fingers entirely off the strings for position shifts so they don't make noise. Or you can set the noise gate to be very extreme so that only deliberate, hard pick strikes will open it. I hate that personally, bur I bet some people do it.
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  • monquixotemonquixote Frets: 18048
    tFB Trader
    What? No-one said 'practice!' yet? ;)




    Yeah, I'm all about the practice, but the "What to practice" is the issue. If it's just "do it a lot and you will work it out" then that's fine, but would be good if there are any handy pointers. 

    I know a lot of people use a string mute especially when tapping etc, so I'm going to give that a try.
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  • digitalkettledigitalkettle Frets: 3394
    What? No-one said 'practice!' yet? ;)
    Yeah, I'm all about the practice, but the "What to practice" is the issue. If it's just "do it a lot and you will work it out" then that's fine, but would be good if there are any handy pointers.
    Most of the posts above are in the same ballpark...I think it's one of those things where:
    a. the answer is a combination of barely documentable nuances involving left & right hand muting, pressure
    b. once identified, a bit of critical listening will help your autopilot reduce it
    c. once identified, it can be overthought and perceived as worse than it really is*

    * when I first started learning some classical stuff, I became aware of notes ringing longer than they should (usually open strings) and notes stopping before they should...it seemed to matter a lot more with fingerstyle and it drove me mad (especially various permutations of low E/A/D strings). If that stuff gets cleaned up, you go up another division ;)

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  • monquixotemonquixote Frets: 18048
    tFB Trader
    What? No-one said 'practice!' yet? ;)
    Yeah, I'm all about the practice, but the "What to practice" is the issue. If it's just "do it a lot and you will work it out" then that's fine, but would be good if there are any handy pointers.
    Most of the posts above are in the same ballpark...I think it's one of those things where:
    a. the answer is a combination of barely documentable nuances involving left & right hand muting, pressure
    b. once identified, a bit of critical listening will help your autopilot reduce it
    c. once identified, it can be overthought and perceived as worse than it really is*

    * when I first started learning some classical stuff, I became aware of notes ringing longer than they should (usually open strings) and notes stopping before they should...it seemed to matter a lot more with fingerstyle and it drove me mad (especially various permutations of low E/A/D strings). If that stuff gets cleaned up, you go up another division ;)


    I think that's a really good point. For the cover challenge I was trying to nail the bassline of New Test Leper by REM and there is a bit where there is a slide which I did a bit stiffly and not reflecting the slight swing in the original. It drove me mental, but now if I listen back I'm not really aware of it. 

    I think the issue is when I play high gain it's almost never to record it's just dicking about with an amp so I'm not usually doing that critical listening where I listen back multiple times so I don't hone in on it. 

    Interestingly there are a few recordings from about 25 years ago when I recorded some very high gain stuff (I didn't know less is more) and it actually sounds pretty clean. At the time I was doing a lot of playing high gain with headphones so I'd probably adjusted, but lost it now.
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  • fastonebazfastonebaz Frets: 4194
    Can you use less gain but then double or triple track the recording to fatten it up.
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  • CHRISB50CHRISB50 Frets: 4425
    I know it's a technique forum, but noise gates and string dampeners are also quite popular with a lot of high gain players.

    I can't help about the shape I'm in, I can't sing I ain't pretty and my legs are thin

    But don't ask me what I think of you, I might not give the answer that you want me to

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  • sgosdensgosden Frets: 1995
    Practice is the answer. But practice without the crutches. 
    leave the noise gate off, and don't have a dampener. 
    find somewhere you can turn the amp up and have to BATTLE feedback. 

    my technique got much better from playing tiny venues with shit sound. 

    also getting "the sound" was easier when I realised how much of it is actually the bass backing it up!
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  • monquixotemonquixote Frets: 18048
    tFB Trader
    sgosden said:
    Practice is the answer. But practice without the crutches. 
    leave the noise gate off, and don't have a dampener. 
    find somewhere you can turn the amp up and have to BATTLE feedback. 

    my technique got much better from playing tiny venues with shit sound. 

    also getting "the sound" was easier when I realised how much of it is actually the bass backing it up!

    I'm not worried about live so much as I don't play out and have rarely played heavy stuff when I do. 

    I'm already finding it a bit easier just from playing a bit this week.
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  • PolarityManPolarityMan Frets: 7423
    This is all about muting technique but when you are under a microscope even really great muting won't get you all the way to the level of cleanliness you hear on modern metal records.

    Use fret wraps, if you have a bridge that strings can vibrate behind put a little bit of tape or something behind there to stop that, same deal with below the nut.

    If you are playing a riff that doesn't use all the strings put a small piece of tape on the ones that dont so they don't vibrate sympathetically. 

    Will Putney has been know to have someone sit next to the guitarist to quickly touch certain strings in order to ensure they are properly muted in certain spots although personally I think I'd find that a bit off putting from a performance perspective.
    ဈǝᴉʇsɐoʇǝsǝǝɥɔဪቌ
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  • PolarityManPolarityMan Frets: 7423
    Oh yeah with muting it really is a both hand things, one of the things I sometimes struggle with is when you really need to use your right hand as well, especially if it means I have to move from where is comfortable to get the level of muting I want on the palm mutes for that particular part. 
    ဈǝᴉʇsɐoʇǝsǝǝɥɔဪቌ
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  • PolarityManPolarityMan Frets: 7423
    Finally, editing is 100% definitely a thing. I dont really do it because its much harder than drum editing but again modern djent or metalcore guitars are likely very highly edited. 

    ဈǝᴉʇsɐoʇǝsǝǝɥɔဪቌ
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  • jasonbone75jasonbone75 Frets: 683
    @PolarityMan gets wizzes for that. All that he said applies to recorded performance if your goal is clean parts, tidy mixes and the absolute minimum of extraneous frequencies in your tracks. Performing live and tracking recorded parts are two different disciplines with overlap (at least with high gain of any kind). I would always practice and compose without any muting aids and then when it comes time for capturing final recorded performances you do whatever is needed to minimise the extra noise. That might be a 2 string guitar for the extremist OCD types. It's all good and it's all valid.
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