Tech Tip:What Are Some Ways A Guitarist Can Use Hard-Disk Recording Software?

A guitarist can use hard-disk recording software like a word processor, to copy, cut, and paste recorded parts. The sounds themselves can be modified, from adding some signal processing to transforming them beyond recognition.


Effects processing is available in most recording software, either as a part of the program or via plug-ins. All of the traditional effects are available, as well as many that are new and unique. A recording guitarist can use software processors instead of a rack of multi-effects.


If you prefer to use an external processor, you can add one to a prerecorded guitar part. Mute all tracks except the guitar, connect the output of the audio card to the input of the processor, route the signal back into the computer, and record. This method adds relatively little signal degradation when converting from digital to analog and back to digital.


Picking up some amp hum? Noise reduction software is even more effective than hardware. In some programs, a sample of the amp hiss can be fed to the software, and the software will then remove that particular sound everywhere on the recording. Software noise gates are also available.


It's easy to make a composite track of the best takes of your guitar solo. Record as many takes as you want (or have room for on your hard disk). Pick your favorite parts and bounce them onto a single track. On-screen visual editing lets you find the beginnings and endings of phrases with precision.


Some audio editing programs can change the dynamics of your playing using amplitude envelopes. An amplitude envelope determines how quickly a note achieves its full volume, how fast it fades into silence, and what happens to the volume in-between. You can use these envelopes for swells, fades, or sharp percussive attacks, just by drawing some lines on the screen over the waveform. You can also alter the relative volumes of specific parts, or drop the volume completely to eliminate unwanted notes.


Many of these procedures are also possible on some of the stand-alone hard-disk recorders currently available.