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Mixing Master Class

Lesson 23 of 27

Production Mixing - Guitars

Joey Sturgis

Mixing Master Class

Joey Sturgis

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Lesson Info

23. Production Mixing - Guitars

Lesson Info

Production Mixing - Guitars

Okay so with guitars, starting with the rhythms it looks like we have a guitar left, stem left, guitar left, stem right, I have no idea what that means, so I'm just going to listen to each track and try and see if I can figure out what's going on here. (guitar strumming) Okay it sounds like four different amps. It was two different amps marked twice each. Okay so two different... Stereo field and pan (mumbles) Gotcha, so that's another thing, if you mix a lot of songs, especially ones that aren't yours, you can come across all kinds of weird things like that, all kinds of different setups, you just have to get good at either communicating or just vibing stuff out. What's interesting about this is there's no preconceived notion of what the tracks need to be panned or everything so I am free to interpret it my own way. And really good mixing engineers are great at being able to take something like this and make it happen without being told what needs to be done. So I'm just going...

to start with this first guitar left and since it says it's on the left I'm going to put it on the left and see what happens. I hear some tiny little frequencies that I want to remove right off the bat. This is a mono track so let me load the mono version of plugin. Cool I like that so far, next one. (guitar strumming) I'm going to do something kind of weird and just keep this guitar in the center. (guitar strumming) So now I have to figure out from the other guitar which one I want to put on the right side. (guitar strumming) Okay I like this one, so that's the one I'm going to put on the right and this one's going to be in the center. (guitar strumming) I'm going to copy and paste the same EQ for each one. (guitar strumming) Okay, now I'm going to play around with trying to pan these other two tracks in different directions just to see what happens. (guitar strumming) So you definitely get some different results as you change the phase in the different tracks and pan them in different directions, try these back in the center again. (guitar strumming) Okay so I like this balance so far. (guitar strumming) I'm going to put these in a group to make it easier to change them overall, so take all the tracks, send those to a group and call this guitar rhythm. And then in there I will put an EQ plugin. (guitar strumming) Okay so now I need to get rid of all the frequencies above 12k, so I'm going to use this ozone equalizer because it has a really sweet way of doing that. Let's do low pass brick wall. (guitar strumming) We just pretty much kill all those high-end frequencies and then I'm going to go straight into a limiter. (guitar strumming) I'm going to set my out ceiling to zero and then use my fader to control the volume. So now putting that with my drums, but first I need to put my drums to a group so I'm going to create a couple of different groups, I'm going to have a kick and snare so that'll be two groups in mono. Kick, snare. And then another group stereo for the toms. And another group in stereo for the cymbals. And then another group in stereo for all of the drums. I'll call that drums and then we have to route the two kick tracks to the kick group. All three snare tracks including the key, I think actually I'm not going to send the key, just the snare to top and bottom. And the high hat's not being used, remove it from the song. And overhead's in drum room going to the cymbals and then the toms go into the tom group. And real quick just going to check those toms. Actually I'll do the same thing I did last song which was just EQ the tom group. (drums playing) Stick with that for now and then I'm going to take my drum room out, I'm not going to have that go to the cymbals, that's just going to go straight to the drum. The drum room is going to go straight to the drum group. So let's make sure this is all good, sweet. So now I have my drums grouped up and I have my guitar in a group. I can slow these and just get a relative level for the guitars. (upbeat music) And I know right away that I'm going to need to automate that part of the song. Why's it doing that? Oh there we go. (upbeat music) Cool, so now I feel like my drums need reverb. So I'm just go ahead add effects track. Go with R verb and just take my drum group and send it to the reverb prefader and then for this I'm going to go with something more like a room type reverb. (upbeat music) Cool. (upbeat music) So toms need a little work, I'm going to see if I can get those a little louder right here in the tom group. (upbeat music) Maybe even more EQ. (drums playing) I'm going to go to this section where there's more tom hits to hear. (drums playing) I don't like where I was going with EQ so I'm getting rid of that, I'm going to go with C4 multiband compressor. And just narrow down the bands so that I have this low end that I'm going to leave on bypass and then I have two mid-range bands, I'll clip the high end on bypass as well. I'm going to use these two middle bands to compress the mid-range out. (drums playing) Hey Joey. Yeah. Did you by chance send the guitars to the drum bus on accident? I might've, yes I did. I think folks are hearing some reverb that was unintended. (drums playing) Oh on the, okay yeah, I see. Kicks near tom cymbals all going to the drums, drums going to the master out, that's good. Guitar rhythm going to the master out, sweet. Double check my sims okay cool, fix that. Yeah that happens because when you hold Control and you select tracks, for example let's say I'm down here in my session and I have this track selected and then I scroll up, well bad example, let's say this is selected, scroll up, have no idea that that's selected right now, looks like nothing is selected, hold Control start selecting tracks, that's still selected and so you can accidentally bus everything you have selected to a different track and that's what I did, I accidentally bused the guitar rhythm to the reverb when I was trying to only bus the drums to it. So don't make that mistake. (upbeat music) Still trying to get volume out of my toms. I need to pan them as well, let's take the left and pan that in this way, right this way. (drums playing) The gate was a little bit, it's not set perfectly on that floor tom. (upbeat music) Some head's getting cut off. That's okay we'll make due. (upbeat music) Alright now, I need to go backwards a little bit and set a compressor for my drum mix, so I'm going to mute everything else out. (upbeat music) When I use (mumbles) I usually like to set my input calibration to negative 18 so that the threshold actually operates properly. (drums playing) And then you can just go plus 18 out and you end up with the same signal. (drums playing) Cool and then, do a little bit of clipping on that little guy. (drums playing) Okay now we got to find our guitar level again. (upbeat music) Let's check our reference again. (upbeat music) And we need some bass.

Class Description

Joey Sturgis is the producer behind some of the biggest names in metalcore, including Asking Alexandria, Of Mice & Men, and I See Stars. His sound is one of the most sought after sounds of the last decade and in this class, he’ll show you the unique mixing techniques that are key to getting it.

This class picks up where Joey’s Studio Pass class left off: you’ve got your session tracked and edited, now how do you turn it into a polished, world-class mix? 

He’ll show you how to get his signature sound, including: 

  • EQ and compression strategies for drums, guitar, bass, vocals, and synths/effects 
  • How to use automation to fix problem areas and bring out the song’s dynamics 
  • Tons of little tips and tricks to take your mix from good to great 

If you want to elevate the quality of your mix, don’t miss Mixing Master Class with Joey Sturgis.



I don't work exclusively in the same genre as Joey but I always make sure to clear my schedule when he's on CreativeLive. This class definitely didn't disappoint and it was awesome getting to see Joey work on a track from start to finish and what his approaches and thought processes are. And not only that, but I appreciate that he briefly touches on client communication in regards to production, mixing, etc, and the business side to the mixing process as this is an area I'm just now dipping my toes in. Even though I often find myself on the rock, indie or post-rock side of things, a lot of these ideas can apply to anything you're working on and I definitely picked up some ideas to try and work on myself. Joey gives you enough to inspire you and make that light bulb click and does it with an admirable humility that I respect. He gives you more than enough on how and why he does what he does, but I never feel like he reveals all his secrets or magic; I honestly prefer it that way as it leaves a fun challenge of taking the ideas you've learned and figuring out how, when and where you're going to use them in your own mixes. Especially if you're not doing predominantly metal, like I am. The ideas are inspiring. This class isn't about those perfect settings to that phenomenal mix or tone; it's about why you do this and how you do that. It's cool to be able to watch his process and pick his brain, start to finish and all in the box. Joey definitely doesn't need to do these classes for us, but the more I see him getting active on social media the more I get this vibe that he genuinely wants to help make the creative and mixing processes easier and help us expand our knowledge and skills. I get that it's smart business, but I respect and appreciate the hell out of him for taking time to do these classes and answer our questions... Even if there are shameless plugs here and there. I love when these great engineers take time to show us you don't need school, you don't need thousands of dollars of outboard gear, etc. It's your ear, not your gear. We live in an amazing day and age with the Internet and awesome resources like CreativeLive. I love it and these are great classes to watch and get in their heads. It set gets the hamster wheel in my head spinning and I always keep CreativeLive classes on my calendar. They're motivating and inspiring. Looking forward to the next one!


I’ll start off by saying this a amazing class not just for those looking for or interested in “The Sturg” production, but for anyone interested in mixing or mastering. You get everything from the must have fundamentals and basics of mixing and production, to the more advance technical aspects, and of course Joey’s personal approach and method to mixing. Everything from EQ, to compressors, multiband compressors, automation and chain signals. If you ever wondered whether you should place delay in front of your reverb, or reverb in front of delay, or other common chain effects, chances are they get answered in this class. The class is organized in several lessons following a logical order, each covering different topics. All the techniques are shown with examples and Joey does a great job of making it easy to understand and follow as well as explain the reasoning behind the techniques. And it’s not just mixing or production that is covered, but the importance of good songwriting, good communication with artists and good workflow. I highly recommend this for anyone looking to take their mixing or production to the next level. Regardless of skillset, if you’re a noob, intermediate or advanced mixer or producer, you’ll find very helpful and informative lessons, regardless of what style or genre you do.

a Creativelive Student

I own both of Joey`s courses. While both are full of useful information to get you started in the audio production world with lots of good technical explanation and awesome concepts for a fast and individual workflow, Joey actually comes up with average or "mediocre" mixes and tones. If you want some really detailed information about how Joey works, this class is for you. If you want to know what plugins Joey likes to use and wanna see him promote his own plugins, this class is for you! If you expect to learn how to create or come up with outstanding guitar and bass tones (which Joey is famous for) you won`t learn much and won`t hear anything in this particular regard, unfortunately. However, I`d still recomment them, especially the first course he did but again, if you expect to hear a typical Joey Sturgis mix quality, you won`t find what you`re looking for.