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Tech Tips

inSync Tech Tips cover over 4,800 music and audio topics spanning 15 years of technological development. Look here to find answers to your tech questions, cool tips and tools for making music, and more.

Guitar Tech Tips

Can I Use Rubbing Alcohol to Clean my Strings?

We don't recommend it. Rubbing alcohol may dry out the wood of the fingerboard, and may damage certain plastic materials on the guitar, and in some cases, even damage the guitar's finish. We've found that it can... Read more »

How to Use Slapback Delay as Tone Thickener

Delay is a popular effect, usually used to create an effect with repeating echoes or to add a sense of space to a track or sound. But short slapback delays can also be used to "thicken up" a sound. Try adding a... Read more »

Recording Secret: Mute Unplayed Strings

Strings on stringed instruments resonate. That's what they are supposed to do. When you're strumming open chords that may be exactly what you want. But if you're recording a particularly low or downtuned part that... Read more »

Zero Fret Versus Nut

Vintage Gretsches, 2015 Gibson Les Pauls, and some other guitars feature a "zero fret" in the location where the nut is normally placed at the headstock end of the fretboard. The zero fret sets the height of the... Read more »

Do I have to Install a Special Pickup to Use Guitar Synthesizers?

Guitarists may have always envied synthesists for the amazing breadth of sounds possible from digital instruments. There have been numerous synthesizers for guitarists, but all have required special pickups or... Read more »

What are the Differences Between Preamp and Power Amp Distortion?

The simple answer is preamp distortion results when you distort/overload a guitar amp's preamp, and power amp distortion results when you distort/overload the power amp section. If you have a master volume amp, when... Read more »

What is the 4-cable Method for Connecting an Amp to a Multi-effects?

The "four-cable method" refers to a way to connect a compatible guitar multi-effects pedal to a guitar amplifier. Some digital multi-effects pedals have multiple inputs and outputs, and allow to route different... Read more »

How to Record Direct with a Guitar Amp/Software Speaker Simulator

Have you ever listened to the sound of a guitar amp direct without running it through a speaker cabinet? It sounds terrible — thin, buzzy, and trebly. This is why guitarists always want to use a speaker... Read more »

What’s the Difference Between Solid-state and Digital Guitar Amps?

All digital guitar amps are at least partially solid state, but not all solid-state amplifiers are digital. If that sounds confusing, don't worry, it's actually very simple: A solid-state amplifier has a solid-state... Read more »

4 Grab-n-Go Pedalboards

Sometimes, simpler is better. Consider these situations: a small stage, a quick set-up and tear-down, a gig that requires a plane flight, a pick-up gig, a jam or rehearsal, or if you simply don't want to deal with... Read more »

Specs Only Tell Part of the Story

It's tempting to shop by comparing specifications. After all, better gear always has better specs, right? Specs can be tremendously informative and useful when making gear decisions. But specs aren't everything... Read more »

RMS vs. Peak Power When Comparing Speakers

When you're researching the wattage of musical instrument/pro audio speaker drivers, you will often find two values for the power handling rating: RMS (root mean square), and "peak." It's important to know what each... Read more »

Small Amp, Big Tone

Think you need a monstrously huge amp to create a big guitar tone? Not necessarily. These days, there are low-wattage (15W or less) amps that sound like huge stadium beasts both in the room and when recorded. The... Read more »

7 Tips for Guitarists Using In-ears

You're finally happy with the sound coming from your guitar amp, now it's time to mic it up and send it back through your in-ear monitors so you can hear it onstage. Somehow, though, from your amp to your in-ears... Read more »

How to Create a Wall of Sound with Different Guitar Tones

It's standard practice in studios to create a wall of guitar sound using numerous overdubbed guitar tracks. When doing this, you'll get great results using the same guitar into the same amplifier for each track... Read more »

Should I Lower My Electric Guitar’s Pickups for Better Tone?

It's impossible to give you a definitive answer to this question — it depends on many factors, not least of which is the type of tone you're striving for. Having said that, it's common knowledge that the... Read more »

Will Heavier Strings Give Me Fatter Tone?

Conventional wisdom would dictate that, yes, using heavier strings on an electric guitar will result in fatter tone. More metal vibrating in a pickup's magnetic field should result in more output and bigger sound... Read more »

How Hi-Z is High Enough?

Electric guitars with passive pickups will always sound better through a "hi-Z," or high-impedance input. This is because you want to plug your guitar into an amplifier, direct box, preamp, or audio interface that... Read more »

How to Give A Two-channel amp a Third Channel

There are a ton of dirt pedals on the market these days. Many of them give you transparent overdrive and/or distortion, so that the basic tone of your amp shines through. However, some pedals are the opposite; they... Read more »

How to Get Guitar Feedback at Low Volume

It's no secret that if your guitar gets close to a loud amp, you'll get feedback — the sound from the amp causes the guitar's strings to vibrate, creating a feedback loop. But if you want to get feedback at... Read more »

What are the Differences Between Plate and Spring Reverbs?

Plate and spring reverbs are in some ways very similar devices but they are quite different in sound. A plate reverb is a thin sheet of metal, suspended via springs (or sometimes clamps) under tension inside a rigid... Read more »

What are the Differences Between Buffered and True Bypass Pedals?

"Buffered" and "true bypass" refer to how the pedal behaves when it is disengaged or bypassed. In a true bypass (sometimes called "hard bypass") pedal, when the pedal is off, your signal is routed directly from the... Read more »

How to Use Speaker Impulse Responses with Guitar Amplifiers

If you want to record a real guitar amplifier, but you don't have the right room or mics to adequately capture the tone of the speaker cabinet, one option to consider is to record your amp direct to your audio... Read more »

Line 6 Releases New Driver v7.5.7

Line 6 has updated their Mac OS X audio/MIDI driver to version 7.5.7. The new verison brings compatibility and improved performance fixes when used in conjunction with Mac OS X El Capitan 10.11.1 The new driver... Read more »