After putting up the audio and then the video for our cover recording of That Thing You Do, which are in the post Cover of “That Thing You Do” – Record a Rock Song on Your Computer, I have been asked numerous times about how I recorded the guitar parts. Did I use amps? If so, what amps did I use, and how did I mic them? The answer to whether or not I used an amp is “nope.” At least I didn’t use a physical guitar amplifier. It was all virtual amps from s software program called Pod Farm by Line 6. I used the hardware/software combination called the POD Studio GX.
All you do is hook up the little interface box like the one on the box to the left, to your computer via USB. Then you install the POD Farm software that comes with it, and you have access to a large variety of different guitar and bass amplifier models. See the picture on the right for an example. When you select an amplifier model, POD Farm loads a picture of that amplifier, along with the controls for it and a stomp box effects chain into the screen. Line 6 describes the selection as containing and arsenal of vintage and modern amps, cabs, studio-standard effects, classic stompboxes and preamps.
So the way I used POD Farm to record the cover of That Thing You Do was to plug my guitar (a Carvin DC200) into the POD Studio interface box, and then launch POD Farm. In order to get that jangly beatle-esque sound, I selected the 1967 Class A-30 Top Boost as my amplifier, and a 2×12 1967 Class A-30 as the cab model.
So how did I know to choose that amp and cab combination? The most common way to do it is to just experiment with all the different choices of guitar sounds you have available to you in POD Farm. But beware this method. If you’re anything like me you’ll spend all kinds of time playing with all the different sounds, and before you know it, you’ve blown 2 hours with a silly grin on your face. At least that is how my wife described my experience.
But ultimately I found the right tone by going to another Line 6 site called GuitarPort On-line, or GPO for short. This site, www.guitarport.com is pretty awesome. Not only do they have hundreds of lessons and guitar tabs for tons of popular songs, they also have performances for these songs using POD Farm tones, and links to download the exact tones used in their recordings right onto your computer where you can load them up in POD Farm. One little caveat here is that in order to listen to the performances and download the tones, you’ll need a version of POD Farm’s predecessor, called GearBox, which is free for download here: http://line6.com/software/. Just select “Gearbox” from the “all software” drop-down menu. NOTE: The link to download Gearbox directly from the GuitarPort site is not working as of Feb 6th, 2012. You definitely have to get it from the Line 6 link above.
Anyway, on the GuitarPort site, I found that they had a lesson/recording of All My Lovin’ by the Beatles. So I downloaded the tone for that with GearBox and then loaded up in POD Farm. Presto! Instant jangly 60s guitar sound. Very cool indeed.
Since I was recording in Reaper software, I set the audio device to the POD Studio interface, loaded up my All My Lovin’ tone pushed the “record” button, and simply played the guitar. I did that for tree guitar tracks in Reaper, one for the guitar on the left, one for the guitar on the right (the one that plays the little run-riff on the first parts of the verses), and one for the lead guitar.
Next I did the same basic (no pun intended) thing with the bass guitar. I plugged my Samick bass into the POD Studio interface, dialed up the Brit Pop 101 bass sound in POD Farm and did the same thing as with the guitars to create a bass track.
So that is how the guitars and bass were recorded for the That Thing You Do cover. I guarantee that if you are a guitar player, you will truly dig the Line 6 POD Farm, which now allows you to use any ASIO interface. That means you don’t have to have a Line 6 interface anymore to use the software, though they still recommend that you do. Plus, the interface boxes all come with POD Farm already bundled for you convenience.
So get yourself some POD Farm, but be warned that it can be habit-forming.