Friday, January 28, 2022

Prime Suspect


For a while now, I've wanted to experiment more with the USB port on my Boss Katana guitar amp. I've had the idea in the back of my mind to try to use it to reamp guitar parts, but I've never found a need to be able to do that. I have a handful of tried and true guitar sounds that I use for nearly everything, and then adjust a bit with EQ if I need to. So instead of being forced to reamp out of necessity, I decided to invent a reason to use the guitar amp this way.

The first thing I wanted to try was running synthesizers through my guitar amp using the USB port, and then recording the output. That's what I did for all of the synth parts in this track. I wrote a few notes in Reaper's MIDI editor, looped it while adjusting the guitar amp, and then recorded what I came up with. I mostly fed in simple sine waves and triangle waves and relied on the amp's built in effects and distortion to color the sound. I'm pretty happy with the results, and I could totally see myself doing this as part of a more complex arrangement to add variety to my synth lines.

Is it really better than using an amp simulator though? Maybe, maybe not. It's certainly less convenient, because I have to plug everything in and do all the routing instead of just adding a effect to the track. But the process of adjusting physical knobs to dial in the sound I want is pretty cool, and if the final product sounds this good it's probably totally worth it.

After I had all my synth parts in one track, I started editing them together into a song. I pulled some drums from LMMS, and programmed a hi-hat pattern in Reaper. This track probably didn't need a guitar solo, but I wanted to make sure I could actually get some practice doing a normal reamping. I recorded the solo directly from the guitar into my computer, and then played it through the guitar amp using the USB port. I was able to dial in my tone to fit in with the track, and I also reamped it an octave up and an octave down. While I was at it, I decided to record one of the synth parts on guitar as well.

Prime Suspect was a bit of an experiment. I wanted to know what would happen if I tried to make music in a completely different way than I usually do, and the results sound pretty nice. It's not my most complex arrangement or catchy song, but I still like it as a little jam.

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