Help with Guitar Recording

Hi guys. Brand new to recording on audacity with a guitar. I did a lot of browsing and reading today but was quite overwhelmed with the amount of information. i think the most helpful thing would be to post a short 25 second clip of my recording. If you guys could give it a listen and tell me the steps you would take to get this track sounding of higher quality.
march 5th.aup (2.32 KB)

You didn’t post a sound clip. The AUP file is a text file. It’s the Audacity Project management instructions.

Did you plug your guitar pickup into the Mic-In of your Windows laptop? That’s a common mistake and can cause all kinds of sound distortion.



Acoustic or electric guitar?

Tell us about your hardware and how you are connected.

For electric guitar, the amp & cabinet are “part of the instrument”. A Marshall amp sounds different from an Fender amp, and a guitar plugged directly into a hi-fi system or PA system just won’t sound right.

Recording studios often stick a microphone (typically a Shure SM57) in front of the guitar cabinet.

An alternative is to use a “Direct Box” or an interface with a guitar input, and then use a software “sim” (cabinet simulator) to simulate the sound of a guitar amp/cabinet.

As Koz says, the mic input on a computer is the wrong interface for an electric guitar. (It’s also the wrong interface for any good stage/studio microphone.) There are a variety of USB audio interfaces with guitar/instrument inputs. Some interfaces have cabinet simulation built-in and others depend on software sims.

Your recording level is way too high, causing harsh clipping on the peaks.
I’m guessing that you are recording via a high level signal into a low level microphone input. That’s not going to work because of the mismatch of levels.
The audio also shows a high amount of “DC offset” (the waveform is offset vertically) which is probably the result of a low quality microphone input.

Probably the most important thing to do to improve the recording quality is to get a better input device. If you are wanting to record by directly plugging in your guitar (rather than recording with a microphone) then you need an audio interface that has an “instrument input”. There are several inexpensive USB devices specially designed for recording guitars, such as the “Guitar Link UCG102” (other makes and models are available at a range of prices). I’d recommend that you avoid getting a cheap Chinese knock-off copy as we have heard quite a few reports of them not working properly. There are other ways to record electric guitar - plugging in directly to a suitable interface is probably the most cost effective way, and largely avoids annoying the neighbours :wink:

And even though the microphone pathway seems like a good thing, you get the sound of the guitar, cabinet, amp and effects, you also get the room echoes, dog barking, Metrobus starting up outside, cellphone ringing and the air conditioning rumble. That’s a very serious step.


Alright well thats what I wanted to hear seems like my solution is easier than I thought. I actually use a high grade gaming headphone microphone, but looks like im going to need to get a better recording microphone.

Most good gaming headsets have to be aimed. They only pick up sound from one direction and usually close to the boom, so no, they’re not going to work very well for music recording.


Pick up with an adapter to fit 3.5mm jack on your pc is your best bet.