How to record guitar over backing track

How to record guitar over backing track

Guitarists who are familiar with recording and mixing techniques know that it can be difficult to record guitar over a backing track. This is because it’s difficult to get the right balance between the two instruments. If you’re not sure how to do this, don’t worry! We’ve created this guide to help you through the process. From choosing the right mic and equipment, to setting up your levels, we cover all of the essentials. This is a complete guide on how to record guitar over backing tracks.

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Recording Guitar Over Backing Tracks

Recording over backing tracks can be tricky. Distortion and amp noise tend to bleed through the microphone, which causes a muddy sound. This is where it becomes difficult to get the right balance between the two instruments. Luckily, there are some tricks that make this process easier.

Starting with a clean guitar sound is important for getting a good recording. If you’re using an electric guitar, try turning off distortion and effects when recording your part. This will make your guitar sound clearer on its own and won’t interfere with any of the other layers in your mix.

When overdubbing a rhythm guitar part, you’ll want to place it on its own track in your DAW (digital audio workstation). Doing this will allow you to see the waveform of the track as well as adjust levels independently from anything else you have going on in your mix.

The Right Equipment

In order to successfully record the guitar over a backing track, there are several things you’ll need. You’ll need a guitar, an amplifier, and a DI box. The DI box is necessary because it removes the hum caused by the electric guitar’s pickups and allows you to record without any added noise.

Next, you’ll need a microphone that is designed for recording acoustic instruments. This will allow your vocals to be recorded in clear quality while also recording the guitar beautifully. Your microphone should also have an onboard preamp so that you don’t have to use an external preamp. Additionally, if you’re using an acoustic piano as your backup instrument, make sure that it has been properly tuned before recording starts.

Choose the type of mic

Choosing the right microphone for the job is crucial. There are a variety of microphones you can use to record your guitar. One type of mic that stands out, though, is the ribbon mic. Ribbon mics tend to be more expensive but they have a very warm, full sound that will make your guitar sound richer and fuller in comparison to other microphones.

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Choose the right mic stand

The first step to recording guitar over a backing track is choosing the right mic stand. There are two main options for this:

The first option is to use a floor-mounted mic stand. This type of stand can be adjusted and can be moved up or down to get the best sound possible. The second option is using a mic stand placed on top of a speaker cabinet or amplifier.

Using either of these stands will give you better sound quality and keep the guitar out of the way.

Choose the right amp

There are a few things to consider when choosing an amplifier for recording guitar. First, you need to make sure that the amp has enough power to cut through the mix without competing with the other instruments. This means that you’ll need an amp with a clean tone, or a “non-scooped” output response. You’ll also want to make sure that you can use effects pedals when playing live with your band.

And finally, be sure not to choose an amp that’s too bright or thin sounding. Doing so will cause your guitar’s sound to lose all of its body and warmth – which will likely lead to a weak result in the final mix.

Choosing the right cables and adapters

The first thing you need to do is choose the right cables and adapters. You’re going to need a guitar cable for your instrument, an XLR patch cable for your mic, and an adapter to plug your guitar into the interface.

If you’re not sure which adapter to use, it’s important that you consult with a professional – many have years of experience with these kinds of things. If you need help choosing these items, click here for more information about what equipment you’ll need.

Setting Up Your Levels

The first thing you need to do when setting up your levels is to make sure your track is the right volume. You want it to be loud enough so you can hear it, but not too loud or soft so that the guitar overpowers it.

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Next, you’ll want to set your levels on the guitar. To do this, turn on a compressor and adjust it accordingly. You will want to use a condenser microphone in order to capture more of the depth and richness of your guitar sound.

We recommend capturing sound at 30-35 dBs (SPL). This will give you an even balance between your backing track and guitars.

If you’re recording well below 30-35 dBs, this means that your backing track level is too low and needs to be raised by turning the gain knob on your audio interface up accordingly. However, if you’re recording above 35 dBs then turn down the gain knob on your audio interface instead.

How to Compensate for Bad Levels

What if your levels are off? Should you give up and live with it, or try to fix the problem? To answer this question, you need to know that there are two types of level problems. The first is when the music is too low in volume. The second is when the music is too loud, and starts to distort.

The best way to solve a low-volume issue is by using compression. Compression is a tool that can be used for many different things; in this case, compressing will make the levels more even, so that they are closer to the same volume. You can use an external compressor plugin (many DAWs have this option), or use console-based compressors.

If your problem involves distortion, then you should turn down the guitar until it sounds good again. This can be done with a fader on your mixing board or by lowering the input signal level on your amp. It’s also possible that the guitar signal needs EQing; which means adding equalization settings onto it.

How to record guitar over backing track FAQS

What is the best mic to use for recording guitar?

The best mic to use for recording guitar is a Shure SM-57. It has a bright, full sound that captures your guitar’s true tone well.

What type of equipment do I need to record guitar over backing track?

A good quality condenser microphone (if you’re recording vocals only)
A cable that can connect your guitar to your interface (we recommend using the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 for beginners)
A condenser microphone for your vocalist (if you’re recording vocals along with the guitar)
Backing track (the more complex the backing track, the better).

What are the benefits of recording guitar over backing tracks?

Recording your guitar part over backing tracks allows you to record at higher levels than you would be able to play live. It also allows you to cut down on mistakes by playing along with a pre-recorded piece of music.

How do I properly set up my levels when recording guitar over backing tracks?

When setting up your levels, we recommend starting with the low end of your guitars volume knob, then gradually working your way up until you get the sound you want. You can also use compression and saturation effects on your signal in order for it to cut through the mix better.


Recording guitar over a backing track is a great way to play guitar without having to know how to play guitar. By following the above steps, you’ll be able to record your guitar to a backing track in no time.

Even if you’re not a great guitar player, with the right equipment and a little guidance, you’ll be rocking out in no time.

In this post, we’ve covered everything you’ll need to know to record guitar over backing tracks. You now know how to choose the right equipment, mic, and stand, as well as how to set up your levels.

But this is just the beginning. There are a ton of other factors that can affect your sound quality. You may want to invest in a compressor, or a microphone preamp. And you might want to know the difference between a DI box and a tuner.