Advice on sound: Creative noises

10 Nov

Make some creative guitar noise!

The typical scenario at a pop/rock recording session is trying to come up with some interesting guitar parts that fit the song, but fulfill your creative side as well. The three parts you are usually asked to record are riffs/chords, solos and what I call ‘noises’. These are usually based on a sound or color, to make a track more interesting, or just fill gaps that seem to sound a bit empty. I am paid to record noise after all the time I have spent practicing those scales!  Well…it is not always that simple to come up with a good idea for a great ‘noise’ sound so I will give you some tips to make it easier on yourself…

In general it’s all about being creative with the pedals/gear you have in your arsenal. I try to emulate a synth pad most of the times if you have to create a warm background (think: strings). A good way is to feed your guitar signal into a volume pedal, a chorus and a delay with a decently long delay time (800ms?), with not too much feedback and 50% mix. Play some clusters of notes while you work that volume pedal for a nice and slow volume swell. If you listen to Mike Landau or Allan Holdsworth  I am sure you know what I am talking about…if not, go and check them out immediately if not sooner!!!

Another idea is going vintage: get out your Leslie simulator pedal of choice and go for it! Usually very distorted short arpeggios with quite a bit of feedback from the amp work well, I find cheap fuzz pedals great for this task…

Basically everything that takes the attack off your guitar will work well: think reverse delay, swell, natural feedback from the amp. Another way to approach it is to water it all down. A good example of this is to run your signal into a short delay (under 100ms, with a lot of feedback and mix up to 100%) then into a nice and large reverb. Move the Delay Time up and down while you play for a very wacky effect!

There is only one mega rule: don’t be afraid to break the rules…put distortion after reverb, delay or whatever you have never tried before…you might have some nice surprises!

If you are playing through an amp with a spring reverb and running short of ideas…just kick the amp! That’s what I call a noise!

Good luck with your experiments…ciao for now.

Other Related Lessons and Articles:

Have you downloaded 'The Guitar Kit'? it's Free!


Gianni Chiarello has gained a reputation as an extremely versatile musician, having professional credits as a guitarist, bassist, arranger and producer. His music is a preconception-free mix of Jazz, Funk, Blues, R&B and contemporary elements, influenced by .

Born in Italy, in his forming years he performed with some of his country’s finest musicians working towards developing different styles, from rock to pop, funk and jazz. In 1999 he moved to Boston to attend Berklee College of Music, on a scholarship program, where he graduated with a Degree “Magna cum laude” in Professional Music, studying under the direction of Mick Goodrick, Hal Crook, Brett Willmott and Dave Samuels, also playing in the Boston area and along the States’ east coast as a freelance musician.

Alongside studio work, he has been performing with, and leading as Musical Director, numerous bands and orchestras, comping for celebrities from the sixties like The Platters, The Coasters, Bobby Arvon, The Diamonds, Vegas – Broadway entertainers like Tony Tillman, Kenny James, Hal Fraiser, Lorna Luft, Ben Vereen, Susan Anton and Roy Walker. Furthermore his work entailed musical theatre style production reviews, encompassing shows such as “Smokey Joe’s Café”, “We Will Rock You”, “Starlight Express”, “Grease” and “Rent”.

After relocating to the UK in 2005, has performed, amongst others with Robbie McIntosh (John Mayer, Paul Mccartney) Jeremy Stacey (Tom Jones, Sheryl Crow), Jason Rebello (Sting, Jeff Beck), Iain Ballamy and many others. His latest instructional eBooks can now be purchased online: “Contemporary solo guitar” (2008) and “Contemporary blues soloing” (2009) “Contemporary Blues Chords and Comping” (2011)

Leave a Reply