Zone Recording: Killer Lead Sounds

So we all want it, we all need it, we all love it!

A killer lead sound is what I am talking about. In this installment of Zone Recording I will give you some tips to help out in obtaining the ultimate lead tone.

First off there are many variables that I will not get into - some very important and some not - like the amp, the guitar, the cable, the pedals, or lack thereof.

However, I am going to be focusing on miking techniques and some stereo effects tricks.

First off we need an amp and a cab.

I am using my Vanous head with a 4 x 12 cab loaded with EV's and celestions speakers.

I choose to use a Shure SM 57 mike for my close miking purpose.



I choose to use the EV speaker, since it is a little more focused that the Celestion for this track. Notice it is jammed right up to the grill and about a 1/2" to the right of the center of the cone.

Let's listen to just this sound...

MP3 - Mono Lead

Pretty cool. By the way, a Fender Strat is the guitar of choice here.

Next up comes the secret weapon - a pair of room small diaphragm condenser microphones. I decided to use the Beyer Dynamic MC 930 model.


I decided to try and capture the sound of the room instead of using effects to get the guitar sound to open up.

Check out the pictures and see how small the room actually is; it is basically a long closet where I put two of these 930s about five feet back from the amp, about three feet apart.

picLeft Channel

picRight Channel

picPicture of both Left and Right MC930s

Lets listen to just this stereo room sound.

MP3 - Stereo Room Lead

Interesting sound right? Thinner, but has a nice spread if you listen on headphones.

Now, let's listen to the mono lead combined with the stereo room mikes.

MP3 - Mono Lead with Stereo Room

Now we are getting somewhere. Notice we have the focus of the close mike, but the ambient sound also of the room.

Now, let's think a little bit. Say we wanted to add some stereo FX to this. Some people might slap the goop on this whole signal. I say hold the hell on mates!

Let's just try adding a stereo delay to just the mono lead sound first. Check this out.

MP3 - Mono Lead with Stereo Delay

Not bad right. Here is the delay I used with the settings being just this.


The tempo of the track is 92 bpm. Notice the right delay time of 652.2 while the right is 326.1 Also the repeat on the left is a whole note while the right is a half note! This adds a nice stereo spread to the sound.

Now for the grand finale!

Let's listen to the combination of the mono lead with stereo FX, also combining the stereo room which is unaffected.

MP3 - Mono Lead with Stereo Room and FX

Wicked! Of course you can mix and match these to your liking. I have boosted the room sound in the mix so it is more obvious.

May the tone be with you!

David Martone is a guitarist from Vancouver, Canada who has released seven solo CDs which showcase his musical diversity and brilliant guitarmanship.

His 2007 CD is entitled "When The Aliens Come", which features a progressive sound incorporating jazz, rock, fusion and metal influences.

David Martone