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Building Guitar Tones with Guitar Rig 3

Published: Tue March 25, 2008  News Feed

Native Instruments (NI) has built one of the best virtual guitar amplifier modeling packages on the market today. Guitar Rig 3 includes basically everything you will need to build any guitar tone you want from blues and jazz to rock and metal.

Guitar Rig 3

[originally by Jim Dalrymple | 03.24.2008, Gibson.com]

Guitar Rig bundles quite a few presets, so right out of the box it’s a fully functional unit that’s ready to be played. However, if you’re like me, tweaking your tone is an ongoing process.

There are a couple of ways to go about building a tone preset in Guitar Rig. The first is to find a tone that comes close to what you’re looking for from the included presets. That’s actually pretty easy with the instantly recognizable names NI has given them. How about “Foo Monkeys” or “Stray Dogs” and “Zep Breaker.”

Once you have a tone that has the sound you are looking for, start experimenting to find out what it’s missing. I would first recommend looking at the effects that have been added to the preset—turn them off one at a time and see what that does to the tone. Does it get you closer or further away from where you want to be?

If the default effects all seem to be needed, then perhaps there is an effect missing that you need to add. Go into the component section and look through the various tools that are available. A word of caution here—don’t just start throwing effects into your mix or you will end up very frustrated. Trust me, I know this.

You can quickly add effects by double-clicking on them. They will automatically be added to the correct place in the effects chain. You can also drag and drop the effect to the place you want in the effects chain if you are more comfortable with that.

By building your tone like this, you will find the missing piece much faster than if you start adding unnecessary pieces to the effects chain. In no time at all, you will find that perhaps it was a chorus that was missing—that’s when the fine tuning process comes in.

Guitar Rig 3

Now you need to start adjusting the knobs to get the exact sound you are looking for. It always helps to have a song by the guitarist you are trying to sound like close by. Play the song and then strum your guitar, make adjustments, and do it all over again.

The second way may seem longer, but in a lot of cases it really isn’t.

Let’s say you want to build a Zakk Wylde tone. Start with a JCM800 amp and matching cabinet. I recommend turning all of the knobs to the 12 o’clock position and start adjusting them from there.

Strum your guitar until you feel the amp model is as far as it can go without making your tone muddy. You should do this before adding any effects or you’ll rely too much on the effects to make your tone. Each part of the software has an important part to play, so it’s important to configure each part separately.

Once your amp is setup, start looking at your effects. I know Zakk uses an Overdrive in his rig, so I’ll throw in a Screamer. Turn the knobs to 12 o’clock and start adjusting until you’re happy with the tone.

At this point don’t be concerned that a friend of yours told you that Zakk never uses a Phaser or Flanger, or whatever. Experiment and add the effects that sound good to you. If you go through the process methodically, you will come out with some very nice tones.

If you rush through, you will have to start all over again.

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