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    How to record two guitarist to sound big?

    Im planning to record cover with someone and not sure how to record us to sound big.

    If I’m doing on my own, I usually triple track myself and pan hard R,C,hard L, how shall I go about recording other guitarist?

    It will be done online as we live in different countries.

    I was thinking to put triple hard R me and triple L him, but if you listen on the device which has one speaker it will only pick up right side one. (I think)

    What do you guys think, shall I do it like that or is there better method?

    thanks in advance


    #2
    There is no correct answer to this. I used to like 95% 80% 80% 95% panning when double tracking each side but I kind of moved away from that and started just using a single guitar on each side. Especially for fast stuff. Tight playing is far more important to achieve a big sound than just layering it imo.

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      #3
      We will try our best to be as tight as possible, I did similar to what I want to do now once with someone else and it turned ok-ish, I want to do better than that.

      I usually work alone, and everything is learn as you go kind of thing.

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        #4
        I've never had good luck with the center pan no matter how tight my playing is. Hard L/R with two tracks always sounds best to me, anything else gets muddy in a hurry.

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          #5
          Put a touch of reverb on one of the two tracks per side?

          ​​​​Im willing to bet theres some good articles or vids about it.

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            #6
            I would say not to think about it too hard until you’ve got the tracks together because you can think of 1,000 ways to mix it now and not a single preconceived notion will be put to use. Really, I’d just be sending DI tracks back and forth and then using those to build up whatever you need to for the song. If you plan on triple tracking that stuff, I really hope you guys can play tighter than a gnat’s ass together or get ready for some editing because getting 6 guitar tracks to be THAT tight is going to be fun!

            With that tune I posted in the SAW thread last night, the main rhythm guitars are double tracked, the harmony parts are quad tracked, the chorus is quad tracked and the whole end is quad tracked. I only quad track stuff when I want to build in ‘weight’, not volume, and will usually a different tone than the main rhythm tone.
            If I do anything in the center, it’s to bring out a tiny bit of definition in what’s coming out of the left and right sides.

            As for people not hearing things in a mono situation; fuck them. Mix it so it sounds how you want it to sound, not for what it might sound if someone has a blown speaker. Most of those small Bluetooth speakers just throw everything out in mono and it’s a sum of the stereo track, you just won’t have the separation you’d normally get with two speakers. FWIW, Van Halen 1 is mixed with the guitar coming out the right side only with just reverb coming out of the left (I might have those reversed) this pissed Eddie off because if someone’s speakers blew on the right side, they’d only be hearing the reverb track. Regardless, it’s VH1 and even with an odd mixing decision, it changed the world of guitar.

            Hetfield triple tracked the Black Album guitars, l/c/r, Cantrell triple tracked most of Dirt, but mixing tones in l/c/r, Killswitch quad tracked The End of Heartache with each guy doubling his own parts on each side, then they never did it again because it was such a pain in the ass. Lamb Of God just has each guy lay down their track and call it a day unless it’s an overdub. All have killer sounding albums and were all tracked in every way imaginable, so just gets the tracks in front of you and see what happens.

            Originally posted by Chris View Post
            I've never had good luck with the center pan no matter how tight my playing is. Hard L/R with two tracks always sounds best to me, anything else gets muddy in a hurry.
            It’s never been ‘worth’ it unless I turn the gain way down, like non-boosted JCM800 territory and keep it more low/mid based than the highs. And the only reason I tried doing it that way was because Cantrell tracked a lot of dirty doing one high gain amp hard panned, less gain panned the opposite and a lighter gain down the middle. If you listen to the isolated tracks you can hear how they blend it in and out. I do it on a lot of choruses lately but it’s purely a supportive role, where the two hard panned guitars are doing 90% of the heavy lifting.
            The Karmic Law is not kismet. It is not fate but cause and effect. It is a taskmaster to the unwise; a servant to the wise.

            Comment


              #7
              I asked Glen Fliker on YT about it but doubt that he will answer, probably he wont see my question.

              I keep playing around, I recorded my parts and I asked him to record his as triple. So, plan is, once I have his files I have to play around with sound double vs triple to see what works best.

              When I recorded my parts, thats the best I can play at this level I cant do any better than that. There is a section that I cant get sounding good, it always sounds notes are missig…. Ah well fuck it, Im not a pro I tried my best.

              Once its done, I’ll post it here and you can rip me apart for my mistakes

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                #8
                my rec would be to just do one track each, and pan L/R. i'm with Chris; i've never gotten a center tracked guitar to sit right. sextuple-tracking guitars for the whole song like youre suggesting just seems like overkill. i've only ever gotten to that many tracks in a big chorus, and even then i'm not totally convinced i didn't go overboard lol.

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                  #9
                  Yeah I feel like that many guitar tracks are just going to make you have to EQ them into oblivion anyway to avoid completely squashing the bass.

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                    #10
                    Thanks for the tips guys, I will try all this suggestions and I’ll see what happens.

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                      #11
                      Mattayus will probably have some good advice for you here too. Everything he records sounds fucking badass. Even if he's a cunt.

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                        #12
                        Yeah, trying to make everyone sound huge is like an arms race. It just keeps getting worse and worse. Ideally, the 2nd part will add something different texturally and will sit in a different place of the spectrum. If not, you may as well have 2 tracks of yourself and call it a day.

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                          #13
                          Originally posted by Ken View Post
                          Ideally, the 2nd part will add something different texturally and will sit in a different place of the spectrum.
                          This is super true, but also super hard to do well. Toss on an early Sevendust tune with headphones on sometime - they are the masters of it. Such super clever complimentary riffing.

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                            #14
                            1. Hard pan the guitars L/R.
                            2. Record a really, really tight bass track, and turn it up.
                            3. Don't let the guitar tones overpower the drums.

                            Gonna toot my own horn, but I think this is a pretty big sound...

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                              #15
                              Is this the cover you were telling me you were doing? If that’s the case, less is more. That song is raw as fuck; one track per side. But definitely listen to it with all 6 tracks just to see what we’re talking about. The only way you’re going to figure out what you’re going for is by trying everything and seeing what doesn’t work. When I write, I throw so much crap in there that ends up getting stripped away over time, I just like having the options available.

                              Originally posted by Chris View Post

                              This is super true, but also super hard to do well. Toss on an early Sevendust tune with headphones on sometime - they are the masters of it. Such super clever complimentary riffing.
                              And they’re precisely why almost every chorus I write has an alternate melody played with octaves, usually with a bunch of delay, chorus and/or whammy pedal over the top of the main rhythm.
                              The Karmic Law is not kismet. It is not fate but cause and effect. It is a taskmaster to the unwise; a servant to the wise.

                              Comment


                                #16
                                Originally posted by Leon View Post
                                1. Hard pan the guitars L/R.
                                2. Record a really, really tight bass track, and turn it up.
                                3. Don't let the guitar tones overpower the drums.

                                Gonna toot my own horn, but I think this is a pretty big sound...



                                That is indeed bad as fuck.

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by Chris View Post
                                  I've never had good luck with the center pan no matter how tight my playing is. Hard L/R with two tracks always sounds best to me, anything else gets muddy in a hurry.
                                  Yep. I have never done double tracking or whatever you call the 1 left, 1 right, 1 center style. It doesn't really sound "big" and just sounds, as you've said, "muddy." I've always been hard left and right with two guitar tracks. One other thing to keep in mind is how the bass (and bass drum) can help make the guitars sound a lot bigger too.

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                                    #18
                                    Agreed with 2 rhythm tracks panned L/R. Also agreed with letting the bass carry some tonal weight.

                                    I used to quad track everything but have stopped since it was just too hard to manage 4 guitar tracks crushing everything.

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                                      #19
                                      I 2nd (3rd, 4th, 5th...) the hard L/R panning. And, I do two tracks per side, with two different amps. I leave the center for the bass, and pan the drums slightly off center. And the real key is to make sure these are all unique tracks, not the same track copy & pasted to the other side. For some reason, when you have the same track left and right, it just sounds like it's in the center but louder...
                                      Don't expect much, it's not like I'm a Rocket Surgeon...

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by Chris View Post
                                        Mattayus will probably have some good advice for you here too. Everything he records sounds fucking badass. Even if he's a cunt.
                                        I'll do my best. But I'd like to give advice via dispelling some myths.

                                        Panning
                                        Don't pan anything other than 100% L/R. I don't understand, nor will I ever understand, where anything other than hard panning began, and why it became common knowledge on the internet to suggest it.

                                        If you think back to analogue, you just had little trim-pots on each channel to control panning. The minuscule movement that it would take to get a track to be 85% or so is ridiculous. Hard pan it all, even if you're quad-tracking. Not only does it get the guitars right out of the way of everything else, it just gives a better representation of the stereo spectrum. Wider/bigger sound, etc.

                                        Don't put a guitar track down the center. It sounds unnatural, and treads on everything else that's meant to be central (bass, snare, kick, vocals).

                                        Number of tracks
                                        On that note, under no circumstances will more tracks = a bigger sound. A different sound, yes. But not bigger. I stopped doing anything other than 2 tracks hard left/right years ago. I like really up-front tones, that are absolutely in your face (Dimebag, Nuno, Black Album Hetfield etc). Once you start layering you merely get more "depth" to the tone, which is great in some regards, but isn't personally what I'm after, and doesn't do anything to make it sound big. It blurs the lines with the subtle chorusing you get, so it's better at hiding mistakes and the subtle little noises you make with your fretting hand. But if you're tight enough, I will always prefer just two tracks.

                                        Gain
                                        Using lower gain settings is another myth. Just use common sense. Use the amount of gain you always use. And if that's "too much", then yeah, sure, it'll sound like shit, but it'll sound like shit regardless of whether it's being recorded or not. Again, it depends what you're going for. If you want tight, percussive metal, then too much gain just fuzzes up the tone and you won't be happy with it. Too little gain and your tone will sound dry and underpowered. Harmonics won't sustain, and you have to work unnecessarily hard to get the level of saturation you want, which will alter the way you pick, which can change the tone.

                                        Mixing Tones
                                        Here's where things can get interesting, and also land you in a complete mess. Always think of this like a live performance. If you're the only guitarist in the band would you really have 6 tracks, all with different amps? No. I mean live you'd only have one rig most of the time. But what you can do is make slight adjustments to that rig per side, and this will give a much bigger sound. Identical tones either side will sound fine, but they don't give as much "width", and can sound a little sterile.

                                        How far you want to push this is up to you. My general rule of thumb is keep the same cab/speaker, just change something else. The head, the mic, the mic position, the boost pedal you're using, the guitar/pickup combination. Just something to differentiate it enough to widen that stereo field, but not so much that it sounds like a different person.

                                        Two different guitarists? Go nuts. I still firmly believe in keeping the same cab/speaker. This is the hardest part of the signal chain to select, and it's the one that gives the largest impact on the overall tone. So select a good one that fits the mix, and don't change it. Just change everything else.

                                        But if you've got two guitarists, then even if you do have the same tone either side, the slight differences in your playing will do the job just fine.

                                        SCOOP YOUR FUCKING MIDS
                                        Lastly, don't be a fucking pussy, scoop your fucking mids. There's a reason we all did this back in the day. Modern guitar tones sound weak as piss. It's because they're all tuned down to drop H on a multiscale djent-stick, and sound like muddy shit unless they honk their mids to death.

                                        If you think of your guitar amp as a full spectrum EQ, but you only have 3 bands to deal with (that's literally what it is) then boosting your mids subdues highs and lows. You then compensate by boosting your highs and lows. Congratulations, it now sounds like shit and you're having to trim loads of nasties with an EQ in post to make it sit in a mix.

                                        Scoop the mids, your highs and lows will breathe more, without being boomy or harsh. You can even dial in a fairly dark tone that won't tread on cymbal wash or vocal clarity, and it still sound heavy as fuck, and more importantly, clear/defined.

                                        (Disclaimer: When I say "scoop", use common sense. It's amp-dependent. But generally anything above noon on the mid-dial is a huge no-no for me).

                                        Bass
                                        Get a good bass tone. This is another subject for another time

                                        Comment


                                          #21
                                          And thanks to Matt, I gotta check my presets to see whats stereo and whats mono

                                          Comment


                                            #22
                                            Originally posted by Mattayus View Post
                                            SCOOP YOUR FUCKING MIDS
                                            Lastly, don't be a fucking pussy, scoop your fucking mids. There's a reason we all did this back in the day. Modern guitar tones sound weak as piss. It's because they're all tuned down to drop H on a multiscale djent-stick, and sound like muddy shit unless they honk their mids to death.

                                            If you think of your guitar amp as a full spectrum EQ, but you only have 3 bands to deal with (that's literally what it is) then boosting your mids subdues highs and lows. You then compensate by boosting your highs and lows. Congratulations, it now sounds like shit and you're having to trim loads of nasties with an EQ in post to make it sit in a mix.

                                            Scoop the mids, your highs and lows will breathe more, without being boomy or harsh. You can even dial in a fairly dark tone that won't tread on cymbal wash or vocal clarity, and it still sound heavy as fuck, and more importantly, clear/defined.

                                            (Disclaimer: When I say "scoop", use common sense. It's amp-dependent. But generally anything above noon on the mid-dial is a huge no-no for me).

                                            Bass
                                            Get a good bass tone. This is another subject for another time


                                            Comment


                                              #23
                                              Originally posted by Mattayus View Post
                                              Gain
                                              Using lower gain settings is another myth. Just use common sense. Use the amount of gain you always use. And if that's "too much", then yeah, sure, it'll sound like shit, but it'll sound like shit regardless of whether it's being recorded or not. Again, it depends what you're going for. If you want tight, percussive metal, then too much gain just fuzzes up the tone and you won't be happy with it. Too little gain and your tone will sound dry and underpowered. Harmonics won't sustain, and you have to work unnecessarily hard to get the level of saturation you want, which will alter the way you pick, which can change the tone.
                                              I've thought a LOT about this over the years, and I think it's less that it's wrong, more than it's just outdated.

                                              Back in 2000 when I first started recording, I don't think I'd ever heard a solo'd single take guitar track before. Like most people, I only really had experience getting a (small, shitty) amp to sound "cool" in the room, which meant a lot of gain, and heavily scooped mids. This was mostly to compensate for 1) not having two tracks to add thickness, and 2) nopt having a bass guitar holding down the low end, and was a way to make a guitar sound "big" in isolation outside of a mix.

                                              These days, with people sharing patches and stems and tons of youtube videos detailing mixing and what a solo'd guitar that sounds massive in a mix sounds like on its own and how it's not actually that big, I think there's just a better understanding of how a single track of guitar SHOULDN'T sound that big alone, if it's going to crush in a mix.

                                              I definitely started getting better results when I turned down the gain and didn't cut the midrange as heavily... but that's more of a byproduct of me, circa 2000, jamming in my dorm room, just not having a good handle on how an amp SHOULD sound in the room, if it's in turn going to sound great mic'd up. It's a learning curve, and if you've already learned that lesson, then advice like "turn down the gain" and "don't scoop the mids" can be counterproductive.

                                              Comment


                                                #24
                                                Originally posted by Megametal7 View Post
                                                Im planning to record cover with someone and not sure how to record us to sound big.

                                                If I’m doing on my own, I usually triple track myself and pan hard R,C,hard L, how shall I go about recording other guitarist?

                                                It will be done online as we live in different countries.

                                                I was thinking to put triple hard R me and triple L him, but if you listen on the device which has one speaker it will only pick up right side one. (I think)

                                                What do you guys think, shall I do it like that or is there better method?

                                                thanks in advance

                                                To add on to Mattayus's excellent post...

                                                I almost never do a center track - only exception I can think of is in an instrumental song that has pronounced section where the lead guitar drops out, sometimes I'll use the same tone and setup for the lead sound, dry with no added delay or reverb, to double the rhythm guitars, and then mix it WAY back in the mix, to the point where it's more audible when you mute it and it drops out, than something you really "hear" while listening when it's unmuted. I find this helps having the lead gutiar drop out not create such a big hole int he mix otherwise.

                                                In your case... I think I'd look at this from the perspective of keeping options open, but also trying to be minimal in the mix.

                                                You two are playing the same part, right? If so, I'd have you each record two tracks each, for a total of four available to mix. Then, I'd audition them all, just to see what you have. Take the tightest of yours and the tightest of the other player's, and start with them hard L-R, and see how that sounds. If it's awesome, great, no reason you can't stop here. If the tones are too dissimilar even if the performances are tight, then pull in the second pair, and put them opposite in the stereo spectrum so each of you has a L-R pair. I'd start off with the second added pair turned all the way down, and slowly turn them up until you get to a point where everything sounds pretty full - I wouldn't be shocked if you end up preferring havbing the second pair 3-6db below the first, just to balance the tone a little across the stereo field without really going full in on four tracks of guitars.

                                                But, I'd record four total tracks, two doubletracked performances, and hope to be able to use two, one from each of you.

                                                Worst case, if the performances aren't lock-tight across player (people accent different things differently, it's possible even one track from each of you is going to sound sloppy due to differences in vibrato, hit-on/pull-offs in riffs, etc), you at least have the option of only using one player's rhythm performance on any given song, and just trade off from song to song on who's playing.

                                                Comment


                                                  #25
                                                  I tried quad tracking (double left and right) and found that it just creates a mess. One track of the OP and one track of your collaborator should be sufficient; just make sure you have good bass and drum tones to work with. The drum sounds, in particular, really make or break a recording.

                                                  As for lots of gain vs. less gain, the only thing I can say is that using less gain will allow the drums and bass to shine more and also allow for more stacked guitar harmonies etc. The nuances in the playing will also come through better. But it's probably best to just record what feels good to you.

                                                  Personally, I'd probably just solicit a DI track from your collaborator and then reamp on your end with their guidance.

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