How To Improve Your Songwriting With Amp Sims
Songwriting is becoming one of the biggest ways to make money in the music industry today. While it seems like labels are signing fewer and fewer artists, the demand for good songs continues to grow. Songs with good production (which translates to good guitar tone) quickly jump to the top of the label’s list, here’s why:
Amp Sims Add Polish to Your Sound
By using an amp sim when writing, you’re skipping over the barrier that many songwriters face – limited recording experience/resources. While there might be something nostalgic about that basement demo recorded on a cassette tape with a built-in microphone, it’s not going to stand out to anyone.
As much as “rare demo” recordings try to make you believe, a shitty demo is an easy way to get overlooked. You’re going to get skipped for the plethora of demos that sound like a finished record.
Do you think the record exec is going to willingly submit themselves to the mercy of a clipping RadioShack microphone for 10 minutes? No. Not when he has something quality that has an electric guitar & bass running through (surprise!) an amp sim emulating thousands of dollars worth of equipment!
Tone Inspires Creativity
Just like hearing a song or even a unique guitar solo for the first time, loading up a sound and messing with the settings on pedals and amps can lead to massive inspiration. Your brain instinctively switches into problem solving and experimentation mode when you open a decent amp sim. It’s a great way to detach from reality and get creative.
From an artistic standpoint, the pedals and amps are your colors. You might start out with a blank canvas and a basic image in mind, but by the time you try a few of the colors (or in our case, effects) you start to get a fuller idea of what the end result could be – and you’re going to work that much harder to nail it down.
Presets, Presets, Presets
Looking for the sound Ben Bruce used on Asking Alexandria’s last album? There’s a whole plugin for that. Maybe you just found the perfect hard rock rhythm tone while tweaking the amp’s controls? Save it as a preset for easy recall later.
Presets for amp sims are as widely available as the plugins themselves! For a songwriter that finds their inspiration in others’ songs, amp sims are a life saver.
There are two common approaches we see songwriters and guitarists take to achieve sounds this way. The first is to search for someone else’s preset, load it, and they’re done.
The second way (which I prefer) takes a bit more of a time commitment to pull off. I like to research guitar rigs from guitarists using tools like GuitarGeek.com, UberProAudio.com, and Premier Guitar’s Rig Rundown series to see what a pro is using and how they’ve got it all chained together.
Even though some of those videos run 40+ minutes, you get a deeper understanding of why these artists have their rigs set up a certain way. If that’s not inspirational, I don’t know what is!
Experiment with Your Own Sound
The great thing about amp sims is that it’s easy to commit to “your sound” and recall it instantly. If you become known for a specific style, it’s ready to go when you are. But amp sims are also flexible that you can also start clean and build a new tone from scratch without the headache of losing your old settings. Consider your amp sim the swiss army knife of the new songwriting generation.
Check out our awesome amp simulators right here.