The Guitar Signal Chain: The Player



Before You Hit Record...

You’re ready to go and hit record but before we dive into all the exciting gear and techniques that make up the guitar recording signal chain, let's focus on something often overlooked, yet hugely important: the player.

Yes, the player! It might seem painfully obvious, but as acclaimed producer Mark Roberts explains in this video, this is the element that lays the very foundation of a successful recording session. Often, we are so engrossed in the technical aspects of recording – the perfect amp, the ideal guitar, the exact tone – that we forget about the person actually playing the instrument.


Being Prepared for the Studio

Preparation is key. Whether you're self-producing, demoing, or hitting a professional studio, your preparation as the player can make or break the recording experience. It's not just about practicing your parts; it's about knowing them inside out and understanding how they fit within the song's arrangement.

Rehearse Well: Rehearsing doesn't have to be rigid, but having your core parts well practiced gives you confidence and a solid foundation. It allows room for creativity without being bogged down by uncertainty.

Leave Room for Creativity: While it's essential to have a strong base, don't be afraid to leave some room for improvisation. Being too fixed can stifle creativity; being flexible can foster it.

The Importance of Prep: It's not just about playing well; it's about playing right. Record yourself playing parts, practice with a click, and know the song's tempo. Simple prep like this helps you see what needs tightening up and ensures that you're not caught off guard when you hit record.


Getting the Best From Yourself

The player is the catalyst for the best tones, and your mental state plays a huge role in your ability to deliver. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Watch and Learn: Filming yourself on your phone while playing through parts can reveal areas for improvement.

Practice Regime: Obvious yet crucial – a consistent practice routine ensures you are ready for the real thing.

Mental Preparation: Being relaxed and confident is as important as being technically prepared. A relaxed mind fosters creativity and makes the recording process more enjoyable.



At the end of the day, no matter the guitar, the amp, or the sea of studio gadgets, the best tones come from the best player. And the best player is the one who's well-prepared, open to creativity, and in the right mental space.

So the next time you find yourself in the studio, remember: the technicalities are important, but they don't make the music - you do. Your playing is the heart and soul of the recording process. Embrace it, and don't be afraid to put in the work before hitting that record button.


Stay tuned for the next stage in the signal chain, where we'll delve into the world of guitars and how they impact your sound. If you're ready to master the recording process, this journey is just getting started!