One thing a beginning recordist needs to learn is how to get the sound of a guitar and amp onto a track. The right way gives you rewarding sound. The wrong way sounds awful, and can damage your equipment. Here is a FAQ on the subject:

Guitar recording FAQ:

Q: What is the best way to record an electric guitar?

A: Connect the guitar, and any of the pedals normally used, into a small practice amp. Mike the amp, and record the output of the mic onto the track.

Q: Why can't I just connect the guitar to the channel strip?

A: You can. You just won't get that "electric guitar sound" you want. The entire chain of guitar, amp, and speaker are all necessary to get that sound.

Q: What if I just overdrive the guitar into the channel strip? Won't that give me the sound I want?

A: No, it won't. The distortion caused by overloading a channel strip is a nasty, harsh, clipping distortion, quite unlike the gentle harmonic distortion produced by a guitar amp speaker.

Q: So I need the amp. Why can't I just feed the speaker output of the guitar amp into the channel strip instead? That should work!

A: NO! NO! NO! You will blow out the channel strip, and maybe the amp too!

NEVER connect a speaker output directly to a mic or line input.
It will damage equipment

You could connect the speaker output to the channel strip through a special loading attenuator, but you STILL will not have the "electric guitar sound" you are after.

Q: Why not? The same signal is there that is feeding the speaker!

A: But the speaker itself is not there. Neither is the cabinet. Both add their own characteristics to the sound. This is also why the LINE OUT jack won't give you the sound you want.

Q: I want to understand this. How does miking the speaker work better?

A: The speaker cone itself distorts its shape under power. This is what produces that nice distortion first used by Chuck Berry and his contemporaries. Since the sound is produced acoustically by the speaker cone, only a mic can capture it.

Q: I guess I need a mic then. What kind is best?

A: I like a Shure SM-57 or SM-58 myself. It's up to your taste, and what you have available. But you do want a mic that tolerates overload well.

Q: Why can't I use my stack amp instead?

A: The speaker cone produces the "nice" distortion only near the top end of its operating range. You would have to play the stack amp so loud to get the distortion that the poor little mic would distort badly, and you would have the nasty, harsh clipping distortion again. And if you move the mic away from the amp to reduce the level, you end up miking the room instead of just the guitar amp.

Q: So I gotta buy another amp????

A: There is another way to look at it. You might not ever need the stack amp again, now that you know this technique. You could trade it for the practice amp, and get some cash back.

Q: How is that possible?

A: If you have a good PA system for the vocals, you can mic the little practice amp into the PA, and get the big guitar sound without the big amp.

Q: How well does this work?

A: When I started using this technique with a live band, people were looking into the wings and behind stuff, trying to figure out where we hid "that big beautiful stack amp." I pointed to the little practice amp with the mic on it (which they had thought was a monitor), and they thought I was lying. It was a case of "The Little Amp that Could."

If you don't believe me, try it.

Q: Are there any drawbacks?

A: It doesn't look as neat up on stage.

But there is also one big benefit. You get the "big guitar sound" without having to blow out the ears of the audience to get it. It sounds just as big, no matter where the mixer fader on the PA is pulled down to.

Another benefit to that: You won't get your ears chewed off by cops enforcing local noise ordinances.

Q: How do I mike the amp? What is the proper technique?

A: You have to play around to find the "sweet spot" on a particular amp. But once you know where it is, all you have to do is find it again. The best thing to try first is to mic the speaker cone a little off center in each direction (vertical and horizontal). Often that does it with no further adjustment.

Q: One more dumb question: What if I am recording the band playing live? How do I keep the guitar amp from crosstalking into other mics, and how do I keep other sounds (such as the kick drum) from getting into the mic?

A: There are no dumb questions in audio. You learn by doing, through the experience of others who know.

Get two chairs and a blanket, and build a little tent around the amp and mic. Set the chairs so their backs face the amp, and so they do not touch either the amp or the mic. Now drape the blanket over the chairs, so it does not touch either the amp or the mic.

Note: Make sure the amp will not get too hot under there. You may have to leave the side away from the rest of the band open, especially if the amp has tubes.