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Preparing your Axe for the Studio

Brian Toye
May 15, 2011

Guitarists listen up! When your about to use your axe to record, make sure its intonation is set up for your chosen tuning and string gauge. Make sure you bring a few extra packs of strings (same gauge). Make sure you have a trusty tuner because you will be using it in between each take. Leave your girlfriend (or boyfriend) at home.

OK, those are the obvious ones, but it's also important that you do not record with a guitar that has noisy pick-ups or loose inputs. If your guitar is old, have it re wired. Maybe replace the passive pickups with some active EMG 81's and 85's. If your using a strat with single coils (noisy when you are pumping the gain) think about replacing one of them with a humbucker designed to fit in a single coil space (

Rattling and/or fret buzz? locate it, kill it. Sand down the fret (wood) where the buzz is occurring to increase the space between the fret and fretboard so the string does not buzz.

Bring spare 9V batteries if your employing pedals.

Bring a few new 1/4" cables. Shorter the better. New cables between multiple pedals is also recommended.

Studio's usually have a variety of cabs (with different types of speakers) and heads for you to choose from. If the studio you are employing does not offer these items you should rent two 1 x 12" cabs (with different speakers, one for clean, one for heavy). Also, if you don't own them, rent two heads (Orange/Marshall, or Mesa/Bogner etc.). This variety will allow the engineer to get the best sounds from your rig and choose the best microphone for your sound.

Practice your parts.

Think of anything else? do that too.

- Brian Toye -