Tracking Guitars: Mono or Stereo?

When tracking guitars, is there a particular decision process governing whether you track a mono or stereo signal? I get that ‘what sounds good IS good’ but was just curious about the general common practice, especially for those of us who work mostly in the DAW. I don’t mic up amps or cabs and my main external effect unit is my little PODxt. It’s not great but it was affordable at the time. :slight_smile: So when do you track stereo and when do you track mono?

Do you mean acoustic or electric? Or both?

Some amp sims seem to make you record in stereo. It may be for good reason, since if you’re using some effects in the chain you’d need stereo for chorus/reverb/delay etc.

It can be nice to track acoustic guitar in stereo, using M/S or another technique.

Oh, sorry, should have been more specific. I’m generally asking about electric guitars, but insight related to acoustics is also welcome. :smiley: Most of my music leanings tend towards hard-rock and metal. If, for example, you are tracking a pair (or more) of rhythm tracks… is it better to track them mono to try to keep things tight? Or is it common to track them stereo as well?

Ah yeah, you said you use your PODxt. I’m not exactly sure what that is, but I’m guessing some amp sim / fx unit. I have an Eleven Rack which could be similar. I record that in stereo most of the time, because certain effects are stereo, like reverbs. Otherwise it may as well be mono.

I’m actually curious what others think of this–if you take a stereo track and pan it off to one side, does it do anything funny? I’ve never really thought about it before, but I tend to record electric guitar tracks (with fx) in stereo, then pan them wherever without thinking much of it. If you have a stereo track, can you convert it into mono no problem, or do you get phase issues or something?

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Unless you are using a stereo effect like a delay or chorus or something and recording it that way there’s no point to recording electric guitar in stereo. If you are adding a stereo effect later in the DAW there is still no point to recording it in stereo. For any kind of rock I like to double track all my rhythm guitars and pan them hard left and right and get my “stereo” sound that way.

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Exactly… that’s what I have been doing, but started to wonder if that was ‘the right way’ or not? :slight_smile: The Line 6 PODxt is a desktop effects unit with amp models and a USB recording interface. it seemed natural to record the stereo output but I was considering what happens when you mic up a cabinet with one SM57. You record mono… record multiple tracks and pan them as you see fit. I was starting to wonder if that was the ‘proper’ path to obtaining better tones.

I print a stereo fold.

Mono everytime for me (electric+acoustic), only because I religiously double-track my l/r rhythm guitars.

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