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Recording Metal with Eyal Levi: A Bootcamp

Lesson 72 of 74

Mixing Clean and Lead Guitars


Recording Metal with Eyal Levi: A Bootcamp

Lesson 72 of 74

Mixing Clean and Lead Guitars


Lesson Info

Mixing Clean and Lead Guitars

Welcome back everybody. This is day 18 of my CreativeLive Metal Recording Bootcamp. My name is Eyal Levi, and today we're gonna be talking about clean and lead guitar mixing and a little bit of synth. If you're just tuning in now and you have no idea what I'm talking about, like I said, this is day 18. There's 17 days of stuff before this that involve pre-production, drum recording, everything that goes into that, everything that goes into tracking guitars, and bass, and vocals with the band monuments, by the way. We've gone through all that, editing, et cetera, onto mixing, and have already done drums, bass, rhythm guitar, and some vocals too. Moving on to cleans and leads and some synth. We'll try to make it sound like a song. I went ahead and cleaned up the session a little bit. I got rid of all the Amp tracks. I mean, I deactivated them and hid them. Nothing's deleted, in case I realize that I hate this Amp Sim, or whatever. I got rid of a pair of rooms that we're not using, and ju...

st went through and cleaned house on stuff that isn't getting used. The session started ridiculously large, but it's slowly but surely coming back down to size. I got rid of the POD rhythms as well, but there's something here that I think I need to keep. I think this is a POD lead. We'll have to listen in context. (electric guitar music) Sounds like it, so, we'll deal with that later. So, cleans and leads. We've got three options here. One, is we can just use what was on the album. I have those tracks, and they sound great. Sometimes there's no need to reinvent the wheel. Two, we can use the Amped tracks that I got in California when I recorded John Brown. By Amped I mean the POD XD patches that he made. Or, use the DI and try to make my own. Now, that's kind of the last thing I'm gonna try, because he's got such a unique thing going on with his cleans. I think this is more about just getting his stuff right. Let's check this out. I'm going to unmute them from these buses. Let's hear what we got. (heavy metal music) All right, first thing I'm gonna do is jack these up in volume. Okay, so see that I've got some fade ups right here. They are just one of these tracks reversed, okay. I'm gonna make a group, so that it can affect all this stuff the same way. Clean plug-ins. Now, I don't want volume on it, because I had to set an internal mix for these. I don't know what's supposed to be louder or softer yet, so, we'll leave volume out of the equation for now. We're gonna mute these effects. (heavy metal music) He gave me stereo tracks that I believe already have the tracks panned the way that he would have wanted, but maybe not. They look like they're actually even, so I can pan them now. That's just what I'm gonna do. (electric guitar music) Okay, what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna have the lowest one be the narrowest. Almost mono. This is just an experiment. Then I'm gonna have the, one octave up, be a little wider. And then the highest one, even wider. I'm not going full, because they have to play at the same time as the heavy guitars. So I wanna kind of give them their own spot, but we'll see. (electric guitar music) Weird, oh. That would make sense. (electric guitar music) You can hear that he is playing this really, really hard. And it'll sound fine when its blended in, but I'm gonna have to hide some of that when he really digs in. First of all, I'm gonna cut off lows, 'cause don't need them at all on these tracks. (electric guitar music) (heavy metal music) Okay, I think I wanna smooth those out just a little bit. They sound pokey and weird. I don't like 'em. (electric guitar music) (heavy metal music) I kinda wanna glue these together a little bit. I'm gonna try a Virtual Tape Machine. See what it does. (heavy metal music) (electric guitar music) (heavy metal music) (electric guitar music) Whoa. Guess that's the new version of Crystalizer. They said that some of the parameters are 10 times as powerful as the last version. I guess I just found that out. (electric guitar music) Jesus, wow. (electric guitar music) Well I like that on it's own. But that can't be the song. (electric guitar music) (heavy metal music) I'm going to solo safe that. So that I can hear them. (electric guitar music) And it's funny, sometimes you just throw a Multiband on there and it does the work for you. I just kind of wanted it to clamp down on John Brown when he starts going crazy with the picking hand, and making the guitar sound insane. Like I said, sometimes you just put a Multiband on there and it kinda just reacts and does what it needs to. (electric guitar music) I think the Virtual Tape machine might want them up a little, but, as a matter of fact, I'm gonna just put the Virtual Channel on there. That might be all it really needs. It just sounds a little, I hate to use this word, but a little cold and digital. I hate that word because everything's digital. (electric guitar music) (heavy metal music) See what happens. (heavy metal music) Still wanna round this stuff off just a little bit. See if this helps. Back to the original idea. (heavy metal music) (electric guitar music) (heavy metal music) Okay, I'm gonna try one more thing. (heavy metal music) Right, that's good for now. (heavy metal music) That's good for now. I'm not gonna really know until I start balancing it with the vocals. We're gonna go ahead and do the rest of these cleans and leads and get them situated. (electric guitar music) Okay, I now that I've wrote in fades, but, this is a job for automation beyond the fade. It'll still follow the fade up. I just need it to be a little bit more extreme. (electric guitar music) Maybe not that extreme, but that's the idea. (electric guitar music) And, I guess I'm going to automate a filter to get rid of some high end as that ramps up. I like the volume build, but, I don't like the ridiculous amount of high end. What's a good filter? Boom. All right. I just went to the right Automation thing. Adding Frequency. I'm not sure if it'll do it for both even if they're grouped. Nope. Frequency. Okay. I want to not make things messy, so, turning off the cleans and clean group, and I'm making a new one called Clean Auto. It's so that they follow automation. I'm gonna tick off, just in case, all the plug-ins, except for the fifth insert, 'cause that's really all I want affected. Volume. Cool. Interesting. All right, well at least that's working just fine. (electric guitar music) I'm going to automate the sound level right here as well, for the guitar effects. Hear what that does. So that they peak up. (electric guitar music) (heavy metal music) (electric guitar music) All right. Just making a little bit of room for things that are coming next. Fade that out. Even though it fades out already, this will help get out of the way of this a little quicker. I'm gonna bump this up 1.5 db, however, it'll gently go back down to normal by the end. (heavy metal music) Cool. I like the little noise that it does at the end. I think it's tasty. I like how it gets noisy at the end. Lemme just check these final cleans. (heavy metal music) Okay. Same thing as before. I'll deal with them in more detail with vocals. Let's check these leads. I already cut some of the bottom off of them. As is to be expected. (heavy metal music) Call it Lead Tweak. (electric guitar music) I'm wondering if that's the only thing that happens. (electric guitar music) Nope. (electric guitar music) Just wondering what this would do. Please don't die. I implore you not to crash on me. Thank you. Thank you. (electric guitar music) What I'm doing is I have one of them without the delay, and then the other one I'm delaying really, really hard. We'll see what happens. (electric guitar music) (heavy metal music) Here's that POD part I was talking about. Let's check what that's all about. (heavy metal music) Sounds cool. (heavy metal music) Guess I gotta make a group. (heavy metal music) It's getting pretty cool. Basically, I cut out frequencies because I'm almost making it sound like these POD tracks have a bit of a wah on them, like a wah that's engaged, but that pumps up a lot of nasty high mids. Then I put the S1 Imager which I usually don't do but I just wanted it wider than the cleans. And then I'm tucking it under. I think it adds a cool layer. (heavy metal music) All right, synth time. See what we got. Just need to remember that there's two different kinds of synth. First of all, this needs to be a different color. Not too close. There we go. If I remember correctly there was that. (gentle synth music) Two different synths. Just checking if I already did anything to them. (heavy metal music) (gentle synth music) (heavy metal music) Something about Decapitator and synth, they're just good friends. You should know that. (heavy metal music) Lots of stuff to automate there. Do that in the automation section. Let's hear this other synth. (synth music) That just sounds cool already. (heavy metal music) Queue it a little so that it gets out of the way of the guitars some. (heavy metal music) All right, this is a big job for automation when I get to it. Mainly, I just wanted to add harmonics, 'cause harmonics are the friend, and then get rid of some clashing frequencies and then accentuate some of the frequencies that make this drowning synth sound like itself, and then turn it down. It's gonna be going up and down in volume, depending on what's going on. This is quite a dense mix already. (heavy metal music) Okay. Let's check something. Oh, I know what's missing. G Intro Guitar. Making this green, just like my other guitars. We're adding this to guitar rhythms, well Guitar Rhythm Box. (electric guitar rhythm) Yeah. (electric guitar rhythm) Cool. (electric guitar rhythm) (heavy metal music) Sounded pretty cool actually. (electric guitar rhythm) (heavy metal music) Nice. (heavy metal music) Cool, so that's it with cleans and leads and synth until we get to automating. That's when I'm gonna really fine-tune everything. Probably automate EQs and automate tons of levels, and really get in there. But, this is not something that can stay static, and will require lots of automation. Thanks for tuning in, and I hope you're enjoying yourself.

Class Description

Recording Metal with Eyal Levi: A Bootcamp will give you access to one of metal’s most in-demand producers and educators. You’ll also get to watch the talented and seasoned performers of Monuments show you how to record flawless takes and how to prepare to enter the studio.

Recording Metal with Eyal Levi: A Bootcamp is the definitive guide to recording and producing metal. From soup to nuts, start to finish, A to Z, you will learn everything you need to know about recording and producing a metal song.

Eyal Levi will take you inside the studio with Monuments as they record a song from scratch at Clear Lake Recording in Los Angeles. In this bootcamp, you will learn how to:

  • Prepare for a session in preproduction by choosing tempos and organizing the session
  • Record flawless drums from selection and reheading/tuning to mic choice and placement to editing
  • Record rhythm guitars
  • Record clean and lead guitars
  • Record bass guitar
  • Record, edit and tune lead vocals, harmonies, and screams
  • Mix and master from session setup to final bounce


  1. Intro to Bootcamp
  2. Purpose of Pre-Production
  3. Technical Side of Preproduction
  4. Pre-Production: Setting Up the Tempo Map
  5. Pre-Production: Importing Stems
  6. Pre-Production: Click Track
  7. Creating Tracking Templates
  8. Intro and the Tone Pie
  9. Drums - Lay of the Land
  10. Bearing Edges
  11. Wood Types
  12. Depths and Sizes
  13. Hoops
  14. Sticks and Beaters
  15. Drum Heads
  16. Drum Tuning
  17. Drum Mic Placement Intro
  18. Basic Drum Mic Setup
  19. Cymbal Mic Setup
  20. Touch Up Tuning
  21. Microphone Choice and Placement
  22. Drum Tracking Intro
  23. Getting Tones and Final Placement
  24. Primary Tracking
  25. Punching In and Comping Takes
  26. Guitar Setup and Rhythm Tone Tracking
  27. Amplifiers - Lay of the Land
  28. Amplifiers & Cab Shoot Out
  29. Guitar Cab Mic Choice and Placement
  30. Guitar Tracking and Signal Chain
  31. Finalizing Amplifier Tone
  32. Guitar Mic Shootout Round Robin
  33. Intro to Rhythm Tracking
  34. Setting Up Guitars
  35. Working with a Guitarist
  36. Final Guitar Tone and Recap
  37. Guitar Tracking with John
  38. Guitar Tracking with Ollie
  39. Final Tracking
  40. Tracking Quads
  41. Intro to Bass Tone
  42. Bass Tone Setup
  43. Bass Tone Mic Placement
  44. Bass Tracking
  45. Intro to Clean and Lead Tones
  46. Clean Guitar Tones
  47. Lead Tones
  48. Vocal Setup for Tracking
  49. Vocal Mic Selection and Setup
  50. Vocal Mic Shootout
  51. Lead Vocal Tracking
  52. Writing Harmonies
  53. Harmony Vocal Tracking
  54. Vocal Warm Ups
  55. Scream Vocal Tracking
  56. Vocal Tuning and Editing Introduction
  57. Vocal Tuning and Editing
  58. Routing and Bussing
  59. Color Coding, Labeling and Arranging Channels
  60. Setting Up Parallel Compression
  61. Setting Up Drum Triggers
  62. Gain Staging and Trim
  63. Drum Mixing - Subtractive EQ
  64. Drum Mixing - Snare
  65. Drum Mixing - Kick
  66. Drum Mixing - Toms
  67. Drum Mixing - Cymbals and Rooms
  68. Drum Mixing Recap
  69. Mixing Bass Guitar
  70. Mixing Rhythm Guitars
  71. Basic Vocal Mix
  72. Mixing Clean and Lead Guitars
  73. Mixing - Automation
  74. Mastering - Interview with Joel Wanasek



I'm on lesson 19! Already worth every dollar!!! Priceless insight! I have already incorporated some of the ideas (preproduction common sense stuff that I never thought of, but damn). VERY HAPPY with this course! ALWAYS LEARNING and looking forward to the next 50 (or whatever) lessons!!! Excellent course! GREAT PRODUCER/ENGINEER, GREAT DRUM TECH, and GREAT BAND!!!! THANK YOU!!!!!!!!


I'm just part way though and I'm blown away by the quality approach Eyal takes to getting the best out of the sessions. I love how well everything is explained and Eyals calm manner is just awesome it really makes you want to listen to the gems of wisdom he offers.


Wow is all I can say. This bootcamp goes in so much depth from tuning drums, setting up guitars, to recording and mixing. I have learned so much by participating in this bootcamp. It has taught me some new recording techniques and signal routing for my mixes. I just want to thank Eyal, Monuments, and Creative Live for taking the time to do this. It has been amazing and I will keep going back to these videos.