Ever spend a lot of time really working on a guitar or bass sound, fall in love with it, and then, several hours or days later you decide you just hate it!? I mean hate it! The performance (still the most important thing) is there, because you fell in love with your sound at the time and it actually made you play better. This is a good thing, to always try and “get it right then” with your sounds, because they do make you play the-way-you-want to play……most of the time. Sometimes not. Hey, maybe you just bought a brand new Marshall stack and now you wish you’d had it then?
Sometimes it makes sense, though it seems like the farthest thing from creativity at the time, to have an “insurance policy” on your tracks, especially when it’s such an easy process.
Simple answer if you are worried about this; split your guitar or bass signal and record both your amped sound and your direct input signal-and this is important; with NO stuff on it. By stuff I mean NO addition signal processing at all. That way, you now have a safety, a perfect safety of your performance! Then, when two weeks later you say “what WAS I thinking with that pedal right there?? And why that amp? Arg!”
There is no difference in taking an uncompressed dry signal from your guitar jack and plugging it into your amp or pedals—or recording that same dry signal to your DAW on it’s own track, and sending it to that same amp later. So why do it? Because you may hate that amp later. Why else? Because you can and should if you have any doubts, or just like to tweak.
It simply means that you will have two tracks minimum on your guitar or bass to deal with when punching in. A simple task. Group them or put them together in a folder with one record button. You can always not use this safety later, but keep it in an area at the bottom of your session, muted, or in the case of Cubase (I use) put them in a folder marked “Unused stuff.”
In these days of unlimited tracks and cheap hard drives why not have an Insurance Policy in place? Now…send me my commission check! :-)