Recording Electric Guitars

HI this is my first post

i have a fender mustang GT amp with a USB connection that i can plug into my laptop and have downloaded Audacity to record it

when i play it back what i have recorded through Audacity the sound quality is vert poor and quite however if i import an audio file and play it back its is much louder

can anyone please advise



hi @DerekC1 There are quite a few alterations you can make under effect in the menu bar at the top of the screen.

You can amplify the audio and change a few things that may make it sound better.

If things go awry you can undo under the edit menu item. HTH

HI Thanks for your reply

i have the microphone and speaker controls set to max on Audacity

can you please tell me what else i could do

Welcome to the community.

I don’t know the Mustangs, but on a lot of amps and other systems with USB recording, the amp itself has a control to set the recording level.

This probably isn’t exposed as a physical control. It may be hidden in the settings if you go through the menus, or it may be something you can change using the Fender app.

The aim is to increase the signal level, but to make sure it NEVER reaches the top. You may need to experiment a bit to get a decent level.

By the way, the technical name for making these changes in recording level is “gain staging”.

The alternative is (and I believe this is what @bigbird was suggesting) is to do some post-processing on the recorded signal to increase it’s level. This is NOT the same as setting the speaker and microphone levels.

What you should do is to apply some level adjustments to the recorded audio using the Effects menu. In here you should find a Built-in effect called Normalize. If you select this, it should increase the level of the recording to its maximum.



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HI Keith

thanks for your comments

i have adjusted the eq setting son the amp but it still sounds the same
would it be better to try and connect form the amp headphone socket to the laptop USB port

or just accept that i will have to mike up the amp

if i do that would i still have to but an interface to connect the mike up to the laptop even although the GT has an inbult interface



Hi Derek,

You can find the Fender Fuse app on the Internet and download it. There, on the advanced amp tab, you will find the USB gain knob which you can adjust the recording level with.

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That won’t work at all.

Can you post a recording of the sound you are getting so we can try to work out what the problem is?



Hi Keith

i have attached a snap shot of the audacity setting and wave from

i have tired to attach a recording of the sound coming back through my laptop but it wouldn’t let me attach an .AUP type file to this message

appreciate any advice you can offer

You need to apply Normalize to that track, as I described above.



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Hi Keith

got it working now using the normalised effect in Audacity

thanks for all your help



I’m just starting with recording. I’ve got myself an interface which comes with a DAW (Ableton). I’m stuck with a relatively basic question, though. Do I plug my guitar direct into the interface, or do I need to plug my amp into the interface? The amp is a Boss Katana Air, and I can’t see a socket marked “Line out”, the only output I see has a picture of headphones on it.

Assuming I do plug the guitar in direct, how do I apply effects like distortion and reverb? Does the software have these built in?

You have a few options.

Use the headphone/rec out jack on the Air and feed it to an input on your interface.
Use a USB cable to record directly from the Air into the DAW (I just had to check the manual for this, and it requires installing a driver from the Boss website)
Plug the guitar direct into the interface.

The first two options will let you record the ‘wet’ signal, which means the effects are applied.
The last option records the ‘dry’ signal, which means the raw signal direct from the guitar.

The benefit of recording the dry signal, is you can then experiment with applying effects in the DAW, but the drawback is you probably won’t be able to precisely replicate the same effects that the Air can apply.

Personally to begin with, I’d keep it simple, plug the guitar straight into the interface, and record the dry signal.
Once you’re happy doing that, then look to build on that knowledge and record via the amp.

Edit - If you’d like a quick getting started guide for Live, I posted one a few weeks ago - Which daw? Guitar, vocals, possibly keyboards - #3 by mc

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Awesome, thanks. Your suggestioon of plugging the guitar straight in sounds best to me (I’m happy to experiment with effects, and I don’t mind if they aren’t precisely the same - it’s not like I’m an expert in effects in any case!)

I’ve just ordered a Scarlett 2i2 with Ableton Lite, just like you quoted in your post. Is there a reasonable range of guitar effects/amps available? By “reasonable” I mean “covering the sort of stuff I can do on the Katana Air”. I’ve watched a couple of YouTube videos, but it’s not particularly obvious to me if they are using stuff from the more expensive versions of the software, so I’m worried I may find myself in a position where I’ve invested time in Ableton, but I need to pay for the (expensive!) full version for the effects I want.

On the other hand, it looks like Reaper comes with basically no guitar effects that I can see, so even if Ableton doesn’t have much, it’s still no worse…

I rarely use them, but Ableton has various effects as standard, and having just played with a few (some random reverbs and delays), as default some do seem quite extreme*, however with a bit virtual knob twiddling, they can be made to sound quite good.

This is the major groupings -
And each of the effect menus appears to have plenty options.
You can expand them via Ableton Packs - Packs: expand your Ableton studio with instruments & sounds | Ableton and there are other providers.
But the standard ones should be more than enough, unless you’re looking for something very specific.

/* I tried the Large Hall reverb that as default had no dry signal in the mix, so it sounds very spacey, ambient and synth like, but adding 50% dry makes it sound just how you’d expect a large hall to reverberate.

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Until that arrives, you could experiment with the Katana Air plugged directly in via USB, as @mc previously gave as an option.

You can use an audio recording application like Audacity (which is free) or a DAW. Low cost DAWs include Reaper (which you can try for free) and Ardour (which is not expensive).

You could also download Ableton Lite from their website for free without waiting for the Interface to arrive.

One thing I would say about the “lite” versions of a lot of the bundled DAWs they include with interfaces is they are designed to try to hook you and upsell you to the paid product, and will have limitations to encourage that. If you think your requirements are always going to be simple, then that’s fine. But if you think that you might expand your use of the DAW, then consider this up front, as the full versions of many of these DAWs can be quite expensive.



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In addition to what has already been shared, Paul, you will find may plug-ins that can be downloaded and used in your DAW that can simulate guitar pedals, amplifiers, and cabinets. There are many free options, some of which are limited versions of licensed products that come at a cost (a wide range of options and price points).

You didn’t mention where you are in the learning journey. I’d recommend in the early stages using clean settings to practice and record. It would give you the most clear feedback in terms of how well your are forming and changing chords, strumming. Of course, not saying for fun purposes, you can’t crank up some drive and see how it sounds.

I am recording my electric guitar with Reaper and some backing tracks.

When I hit the record button with my mouse, it takes me a few seconds to get my hands back on my guitar. Is there a way to put a countdown timer after pushing the recording button ?

Example : 5 - 4 - 3 - 2 -1 is shown on screen and then recording starts.

Yes, if I remember correctly right-click the metronome button on the toolbar to see the count-in options.

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Thank you @Socio . It works like a charm.

As a general rule on DAWs, you can just ignore the first bar or two and trim the beginning to where you want it to start: your recording doesn’t have to start at “zero”, and anything before you start playing is easily trimmed off.

The end result of your recording is the bit you export which doesn’t have to include anything recorded at the beginning or the end.

If you look at how they used to record onto tape in studios, they did the same thing: trim off the start of the tape before the song started properly. Of course it’s a lot easier to do in a DAW these days.

A lot of DAWs (not sure about Reaper) even have special “start” and “end” markers that you can use to indicate which part of the recording is the song, and will use this for export.