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Part II: How to Capture Professional Amp Tones from Your Studio: PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 14 October 2008 23:21
By Benjamin Fargen - GJD Contributor
Part 2

Click here for Part 1

6: Diversity of tone
In my experience I have found that it is a waste of time to double track any parts with the same exact or similar tonality. Wide and fat professional sounding guitar tracks come from creating parts and textures that cover a wide frequency realm rather than parts that sonically compete in the stereo field. This type of frequency competition will leave both parts lost or crowded in the mix. Rather than tracking two rhythm parts with your favorite Les Paul and British amp, pull out your Tele or Strat and run them thorough a completely different tweed or blackface amp to open up the space of your second track, you will be amazed at the difference in the overall sound. This type of sound can also be accomplished by panning and blending the multiple tracks created by the different mic/DI combinations mentioned earlier.

7: Mixing Guitars. Spread it out!
Now that you have your guitar parts tracked and sounding thick and rich within your song, it’s time to explore some techniques that give your tracks some sonic landscape to better fit in the mix. Remember how I just suggested using two separate microphones when tracking? Now it’s time to utilize those extra tonal options. Pan your two separate tracks out left and right and blend the level to taste. Notice how the two different mic tonalities create a huge sound that spreads across the stereo field. This tone is superior in comparison to just having one or the other in the mix which can sounding one dimensional and small. For an even bigger sound, add a slight delay to the ribbon/condenser mic track, which will make the guitar sound like its being played in a much larger room. Another nice technique is to keep one guitar track relatively dry and apply any FX you want to use only to the second track. This will create added space between the two guitar parts.

8. EQ in the mix
If you do find you need to massage your tracks a little to compliment the mix, here are some generic starting points for guitar EQ sweetening. Remember, these are meant to sweeten the tone, not fix it.

Close mic EQ:
For low end chunk or warmth boost 100hz
for body boost 500hz-600hz
for edge boost 3-4k
for string boost 5-8k
for clarity boost 10k

Distant Mic EQ:
boost 10k
cut 200hz
Direct Input (DI)
boost 10k, 3-6k, 1-3k, and 500hz Direct Input Combined with Amplifier
Direct: (EQ for clarity) boost 10k and 6k
Amp: Cut 6k

9. Experimentation
Remember there is no single best way to record great guitar tracks. The methods I have laid out will get you some great results and are a good general starting point, but never be afraid to turn some dials, use unorthodox methods, or try some random crazy idea that might not work. That type of experimentation will not only help you become a better recording engineer, it may just deliver you a set of tones you never thought were possible.

Benjamin Fargen


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