how to get an electric guitar distortion sound

completely nooby but… Sigh how do i make the muisc distorted braces for flaming

maybe there is a distortion plug in out there somewhere on the web?
but if you amplify your recording past the zero level and click allow clipping you will cause distortion. Play with how much over you need to go to get it to sound distorted enough for you. you could also apply some heavy compression afterwards to get some more. 10-1 on the entire signals should do the job.

Before you try to find a distortion plug-in try one or two applications of “Leveller” effect on the “Heaviest” setting.
(“Leveller” is in the effects menu). Essentially same as heavy compression but leveller controls are simpler than for the compressor,
(you did say “nooby”).

Leveler is my favorite for this sometimes applied at heaviest setting two or three times.

For more in-your-face distortion, Effect > Amplify > Allow Clipping, pick an amplification higher than the one that’s there. Then apply amplification again with a -3 to bring the music back down to normal with the distortion in place.


Personal opinion - clipped audio just sounds bad - nothing at all like “an electric guitar distortian sound” - yes, very much “in your face” but bad.

Secondly, this method will not work on Audacity 1.3.12 if the track format is set to 32 bit. In this case it will simply amplify the sound up, then amplify it back down again.

Using the built in effects in Audacity I’d also go for the Leveller.
If that’s not “realistic” enough then it’s down to looking for a VST effect that will work in Audacity, or better still, record through a distortion pedal or amp simulator, or even better, recording the guitar through a real guitar amp.

beauty is in the eye of the tiger
i think that guitar distorted sound is terrible

clipping is more drastic than some but not all guitar processors
heavy compression and some clipping may be closer to what you want

or maybe you can find a guitar amp simulator plug in on the web

“Clipping” is essentially the effect that you get from a “Fuzz Box”
but unlike a transistor Fuzz Box, digital clipping is even more severe and produces very large amounts of very high frequency harmonics than can fry the tweeters in your speakers if you turn the volume up to much (not to mention what they can do to your hearing).

If you plan to use digital clipping as an effect it would probably be wise (safer and probably sound less bad) to limit the amount of high frequencies by using a low-pass filter on the effect. You could make a duplicate copy of the track, perhaps add a bit of short reverb to the duplicate before clipping, then apply a 6dB per octave low-pass filter set at say 1200Hz. Then mix the distorted and clean tracks to suit your taste.

Here’s an example of the technique - the clean guitar sound is courtesy of Freesound
followed by the same sample after distortion.

The first “after” has …Compression (Blockfish-freebie), Leveller (Audacity) 1 application @ “heaviest”, reverb (Anwida-freebie).
The second is same as 1st but flanged using David Sky’s Linear Flanger Audacity plug-in, (copy attached: NY file in ZIP).
David Sky’s (2.28 KB)

<<<braces for flaming>>>

Maybe on other forums.


Hey, I found a very good way to get any guitar effect you want - simple, too. You take your guitar and plug it in through your equipment that you want, pedals and all. Then you take a cord that goes from your recording jack on your CPU to the headphone jack on your amp (may need a Headphone Jack that changes the size from 3.5mm to amp size) and you plug 'er in! Start recording baby.

(NOTE: only works while recording. i.e. instead of recording your guitar clean and adding distortion later, you record with distortion already there.)

That would require you to have a current divider that will only allow current to pass into your mother board that is a safe level current for your mother board from 5 Amps or whatever to 5 milli Amps or whatever the safe current level is and you will need a transformer that will lower the voltage from 40 volts to 1.5 volts to a level of voltage that is safe for your mother board.

Not to mention that you would have to buy a distortion pedal, and Audacity is about doing things for free and buying a distortion pedal is not free.

Also not to mention that this isn’t your hand wound square bar magnet transformer that you built in physics class. Those transformers that were used in the 1890s-1920s for AC power transmission step ups and step downs, all they do is increase or decrease the amplitude of the sine wave. Thus if you have an amplitude modulated signal, increasing or decreasing the amplitude of the sine wave destroys the signal. AC power transmission is not a signal, it is merely the presence of a sine wave of amplitude.

I am guessing that audio recording interfaces that use transformers to allow you to connect your guitar amp to your PC, use radio frequency modulators to modulate the analog sinusoidal audio waveform into a carrier wave. So that if you use either FM or any digital modulation, the signal does not degrade when the amplitude is stepped up and stepped down.

So this leads me to think that audio recording interfaces come in two types: (1) FM super het or (2) digital

Before you ask why you can’t buy an attenuator to do this function, attenuator not = transformer and amplifier not = transformer. An triode vacuum tube amp uses the Edison effect. The Edison effect is that when a voltage (DC) is applied to an anode inside a vacuum with an air gap between the cathode incased in an electro magnetic insulating grid, an electric arc will be formed between the anode and cathode, and some of the electrons will jump to the grid and when the electrons jump to the grid, something intersting happens: the amplitude of the signal is increased without a loss to the original amplitude modulated sinusoidal waveform (not as lossy as transformer, but instead is lossy with wave clipping as the gain percentage is increased–we don’t care about voltage gain we only care about power gain bc voltage gain does not make a speaker louder) and the power is increased. A transformer decreases power as voltage is increased according to the equation P=IV, which can also be rewritten as P/V=I, which shows that power is inversely proportional to voltage. If you decrease the power of a waveform but increase the amplitude, it will not drive a speaker to play louder, it will make the speaker sound quieter. So you can use a transformer to decrease the voltage while increasing the power so that the audio will not sound quieter and the audio can be lowered to a safe voltage level for your motherboard, which is 1.5 volts. An attenuator works differently than an amplifier and uses a current divider resistor network to decrease the current in order to decrease the power bc current and power are directly proportional. An attenuator does not lower the voltage. Decreasing current increases voltage. A transformer increases voltage and decreases current or a transformer decreases voltage and increases voltage. A current divider is a “passive device” that does nothing to the waveform, all it does is allow current to pass more in one direction and not in another direction as much using resistors. So in order to record from you guitar amp to your PC, what you would need is in this order:

guitar amp 1/4 inch jack---->adapter for super het FM radio transmiter to convert from 1/4 inch jack–> super het FM radio transmiter–>transformer----->current divider---->super het FM radio reciever–>adapter for super het FM radio reciever to convert to 1/8 inch jack–>1/8 inch jack line in to PC

This is following direct current. You will be using alternating current, so you will need to strategically place resistors to make sure that the signal passes first from the transformer to the current divider, bc order matters there but now where else in the above circuit schematic. Every radio in the world built after the 1950s that has a slider or knob tuner instead of an intergrated circuit LCD screen tuner is an FM super het. You can use an old clock alarm radio that may be purchased at the second hand store for $0.50 You will tune the radio to an unused FM frequency for the modulation and demodulation. You will house your entire setup inside a shoe box that you put several layers of aluminum foil around to electromagnetically shield the signal from radio interference.

If you don’t want to build it yourself, audio recording interfaces start at $199 on the market for the low end to much more for the industry standard audio recording interfaces.

A low end audio recording interface for $199 is the Line 6 POD Studio UX2 available at Sam Ash. AUDIOFLY AF33 In-Ear Headphone HiRise Purple | Musician's Friend

Edit: I searched all over the internet and I could not find a transformer that meets my specifications for under $150, and the Line 6 Pod is $199 for USB interface.

I have a new idea: if your guitar amp has an “emulated line out”, then that already lowers the voltage and current to a safe level for headphones, so you don’t even need a transformer or a current divider to connect your guitar amp to your PC bc the emulated line out already has a transformer and a current divider.

All you need is a 1/4 inch to 1/8 inch adapter and that’s it no interface needed, no transformer needed, and no current divider needed.

EDIT 2: I tried this technique right now and it works, but since my laptop only has a mic input jack not a line in input jack, I have to trick my laptop into treating my guitar amp as a microphone by connecting to the “emulated headphones” 1/4 inch jack of my guitar amp and it has incredible audio quality it sounds exactly the same audio that I hear from my speakers without capturing “what you hear”, which a microphone captures “what you hear” which tends to distort the signal.

EDIT 3: This post is so useful, I think an admin should sticky this post for everyone looking how to record from guitar amp to PC as cheaply as possible.