Mixing Overview


Recording Rock Guitars


Lesson Info

Mixing Overview

You have your guitar tone, you're happy with it now, what do you do with it? You mix it, you have to know what you're doing. Whatever you're mixing, there are a lot of different tricks and tips. E q things it's, easy to go too far showyou examples of all that kind of stuff. Uh, okay, so the song that I'll be working with is by date remember called dead and buried. Um, but before we go through that, I'm going to talk about presets really quick. Um, first, since I like tio, well, let's, talk about mixing I have a few presets is miss starting points there? No, my final thing. So whenever you are mixing, whether it's, the guitar or song our drones, whatever you're mixing it for the song, you're mixing it for the riffs. You're mixing it for the vibe of the band it's important to keep all these things in mind when you're doing so let's talk about presets uh, ever going youtube and follow some tutorial or downloaded preset that promises to match your favorite vanstone never sound the same, do...

es it? Well, there are a lot of reasons tone isn't a formula uh, there are obviously a lot of factors to atone we we've been talking about that a lot, um just for instance, we were you know, talking on the break if if we all uh we're trying out you know, a single tone through the and for whatever we had keith play it versus everybody else it he would play it and it would sound absolutely different than any of us I mean, just from person to person, that tone would sound different just playing the same riff I actually have a really good example of that my friend ola england from sweden he was in town and he came by my place and we were just messing around working on a little song together we put it up on youtube and all that, but we've I would write a riff handing the guitar she would write a riff and we would just kind of go down the chain till we had this little piece of music put together and we use the same guitar, same town, same everything same pick and when it would switch from me playing a riff to him playing or if it sounded different you know, his his pick attack was different he you know, is was further up on the necks on meeting technique, eyes problem commuting technique was different, so even under the same exact circumstance you know of guitar pick tone it sounded different, you know, his had a kind of this aggressive low you know, chucky kind of thing and mine was a little bit more scratchy in trouble lee and it was just the difference between the people playing and that's the only difference but it was big enough to notice you know? So there's even if you have the exact same setup is somebody else and you're even in the same room playing in the same room playing the same dear it's not going to sound the same right exactly and that's why when you grab a tone off you know off of a website you listen to your song and then you listen to your favorite band song that you really like the way it sounded like I love this five I want to capture this tone this aggression whatever and you're not getting it you're wondering why? Well because that's its song specific so everyone thinks that there is some kind of you know, one size fits all for this uh everyone's so imagine bullet uh teo say guitar sound but there isn't one it's the combination of a million little things and I can't emphasize this enough I just keep going through this over and over because I wanna pound this into your head because it's, you have to have these on your mind at all times whenever you're recording a guitar tone and when you're trying to teo you know, find find the right tone find the right player finally I pick all that stuff so um these are these are the pieces that we've already gone through really so uh when it comes to mixing well actually most of what we went through pick strings player amp settings so we're going teo and guitar so we're going to go through the mix the bass and the drums and I'm going to show you an actual song in a bit where I take out each element and you hear the difference that it makes in the guitar tone and what you might have thought was the guitar tone might be the base it might be the kick drum it might be something else so um if you got the wrong player again from the start the whoever's playing can be the one that is absolutely messing it up for making it awesome air from the ghost inside tom from day to remember matt from our last night I didn't talk much about her last night but I really liked out that I did with those guys uh matt wentworth is really very good guitarist um should check those guys out um yeah biggest factor everything that happens before it hits your computer so guitar guitar and bass are hand in hand uh the bass and guitar tone so if you have a guitar tone if you take one of the exact same settings that we have and apply it to some mix that you already uh you know, we're currently working with and you're and you missed this part of the whole thing where I talk about base because I'm going to kind of go into base tone a little bit also um you're going to notice it doesn't sound the same it might not be as aggressive in my sound weaker and uh this is a very important piece of the pie um I'm always going to get oh, this is this is really interesting I think um during the different parts of the songs for instance like a chorus or something like that you might just be doing you know, the normal strumming your not going crazy with your picking because it's just something that needs to sound full um and melodic and then say you have a partner song where it's just those nasty chugs a lot of the times I almost have it sound like the base is being slapped and sometimes I'll actually put a slot based in there with maybe with trillion or something like that just make it sound even crazier um so that's that's a really it's a really awesome uh tip that I want you guys to try out yourself so and the base isn't just the low and that's what you need to keep in mind it's covering the highs uh whether you're using um a, uh the ernie ball music man that that was, uh great example of one that uses really high highs it's got the really clicky high end and then it has the nasty uh really really deep low end and that's that covers the entire spectrum basically it also it also has mid range and then you also have a ah bass like we used for a day to remember that was, uh, fender jazz bass or no, it was a p base um that one doesn't have as much high end but it's very mid rangy and it has some really thick low in it's not like super super low like the ernie ball but it's it's a little more rounded sounding but that's the one we chose and that's the one that you hear on the album okay, so okay, so I've been talking a lot about rhythm guitars um leads are also very important uh the bigness of a recording is basically gonna come from the rhythm guitars in the base and stuff like that but you also have a lot of lead guitars and they they need to blend well with the uh with the rhythm guitars especially on the courses on the melodic parts, etcetera so the way I usually do it is if I have more of a solo part of freshly lead part it might just be one down the center sometimes when it's a little more melodic whenever the strings might be ringing together um more of a polyphonic lead. I'll double them and it has a really cool sound a double mental panam left and right sometimes I'll do three where there's uh you know, they're pan left to right and then there's another one in the center and, uh, it's really cool experiment with those. Okay, so so you got the lead guitar's rhythm guitars? Uh, whenever I'm I'm penny um I do him hard left and right you can experiment with putting together a little bit sometimes you might like the way it sounds better and headphones, but I like the wide the wide natural stereo field I don't like putting on, um, a double on the double a stereo enhancer and things like that where it will just delay one side so it kind of your stereo field instead of being like this it's kind of like that. Yeah, it sounds very strange. So, uh, when you're doing rhythm guitars, I always double them. There will be parts where if you want sound extra huge and, uh, an epic, if you will, you could quad track which is recording four guitars and what's cool about that is you khun due to that air hardpan left and right and then to that it might be a little bit little in more, so you have ah huge spectrum on the stereo field which is talk about talk about the challenges there as faras tightness of the tracks fear oh yeah if you're if you're just double tracking it's a lot easier to make sound tight even if you're not that good of a guitarist but you know, we went over editing and stuff like that so it should be you should be able to get pretty tight but when your quad tracking if that stuff is if it's off too much suddenly it's just sounds like mush you're not going to be getting that really huge tight sounds so maybe you've tried quad tracking in the past and you thought it it was it was terrible or something like that um but it could just be because you may not have been editing it maybe you're not playing tight enough etcetera, etcetera. So um I encourage you guys like on big breakdowns parts in the song that should be huge tri quad tracking tuning is another challenge whenever you're doing a quad tracked part, you need to do all four tracks back to back as quick as you can so you're tuning stays the same and make sure the same person is playing um for all that and speaking of that, whatever I do double or contract or anything like that the person that I've chose usually to play um the rhythm will do both guitar tracks because everybody plays a little bit different suddenly tried to put in stereo field and and you have you have a mismatch and maybe I'm o c d but that that really bothers me when things are are just you know, not sound even I can ask a question just from nikolai who says since you program your base in midi rather than using a recorded actual base with the process be the same in getting tone if he used a real bass guitar for recording oh no, I I am I don't just, uh program the base um I do everything actually program it and I use real base and I'm going to get more into that whenever I actually show you the session where I'm mixing with base um but it's well, actually, I think that's like next showing the layers of base here we go, here we go. Good subway just skip to the diagram maybe yeah, so we got but I like that says a foodie base. Um so, uh, here's here's a little diagram of the stereo field whenever I'm using bases in my typical set up uh, of guitars and bass rhythm left and right the I'll have about it will be too at least two tracks of base I'll never have less than two tracks of base um base is another thing that if if you are going to be using real base plus any kind of program stuff your base has got to be really tight and a good guitarist is not necessarily good bassist unfortunately, um and I have found it a challenge doing this for so long to find people that can play the bass very very well very tight so the bass turns out to be a challenge, so sometimes the booty based the very, very low end the junk in the trunk is a little it is a little wobbly, a little too wobbly I like a tight low end if you know what I'm saying so like sometimes someone might be playing the bass and the strings are ringing together and you didn't catch it while you were playing and then suddenly try toe mixed with it and you try to compress the base and it's just like doings were war billy sound that should be like really clear. Um you could probably sell your bass and you got strings ringing together that you didn't even notice, so a lot of bass players will do that sometimes sometimes you don't have enough time to really go over the base or whatever um the bass player is not very good uh even if you did have some kind of thing where the base does rumble in an unpleasant way you can program just the low end and filter that out of the actual sound of the base and and I actually I end up doing that a lot, um, because I really like control over that. Lohan, if the low end isn't tight, then suddenly everything is loose, especially if you're listening to it on a huge system. So when you're doing that, you know, substituting the low end in with the actual bass track, did you just use a high pass and just cut the clothes out of the actual based town? Yeah, I tried to cut it out in a way that it's the it's still kind of maintains a little bit of the round low end, but not like this super sub nowadays frequent slow. Yeah. So, um for that really low like base booty it's, probably one hundred and under. So question from the chat room here from axe man guess do you think he means, like, like a hatchet or like a guitar either way or axe effects, but who knows either way, he's wondering it when you're layering these bass tracks are those separate takes or is that just duplicated and filtered? Um, great question some sometimes usually it's a mixture of everything the base it's really it's really easy to ignore base because you think oh we just need low end let's just whatever I don't care just put it in there we need to sound full these guitars don't have enough bass so let's play baseball on says every guitarist ever so the you would go through you try to get the absolute best bass track you can buy whoever is playing it whoever is the the tightest at playing the bass they would go through um and it's a lot like the guitar where I'll edit it but since it's such like low end you don't have you can't edit it that much because it starts doing the weird rome bally thing the guitar is you can get away with it for some reason what the base it tends to crumple up the low end and do do weird stuff so what we got is we got r d I um and I'll run that through either a sim or really it's usually sam it's usually amplitude I get great results with bass tone and amplitude so sometimes I'll run I'll just have the d I going through which adds a cool roundness to it I really like the way a d I sounds mixed in just a little bit with everything else it cuts through on a lot of smaller stereos for some reason so so you got the d I going through sometimes cut off a little bit of the high end just just so it doesn't isn't so harsh um you're going to run the simulated sound and sometimes that's where I put the filter on so I put the filter on the simulated sound and then the the very low sub base is what's programmed um and then that's your based b a s e base so that's your foundation of your bass track in my head that's how I think of it then you go through the song part by part and decide which ones need to be aggressive civ which ones need to really stand out what parts need to be louder which parts need more base and that's when you automate volumes that's when you add in maybe uh you could either try toe retract good doing way harder on the breakdowns or something that or you could use trillion they have a really awesome slap bass in there that sounds very realistic it's multi sampled so every hit isn't exactly the same it has a little bit of a life to it not many people can play slot based well so I I tend to program that if if I'm going to use that but it makes a very aggressive punchy sound that that I like a lot and it it measures well with the with the kick drum speaking of drums how did the drums improve the guitar sound? I wantto make one quick note here for anybody interested in base in february we will be having a based production class basically the same version of this class but about base and is going to be taught by andrew glover from winds of plague who also runs sound temple studios with michael from goliath and ryan from black dahlia and a couple other people so if you want to know anything about base stay tuned in february and andrew glover not andrew wade but andrew glover uh we'll tell you everything you need to know about base is another andrew coming up isn't there that we also have andrew whopper on november sixth in san francisco teaching you all about how to get your first studio job? I feel like I know it's a pattern I don't guess I'm not seeing what anyway as music related as you guys can imagine as I'm starting to talk about this base I'm unraveling mohr it's a huge suddenly you're like what are you serious there's this much so there's that much with drums? You know, a lot of people tell me and see what you guys think a lot of people tell me that they find base even more challenging than guitar when it comes to getting good tones and I don't disagree with that the bass track is definitely been my one of my biggest difficulties actually is, you know, getting in a decent bass sound and more often than not for me it's you know, there's, there's things that are important about getting a good base town that aren't necessarily quite as important as it is for guitar, because I know the quality of the base itself is a big deal, you know, with the guitar you khun, you can kind of get away with a lot, you know, you can put in a set of active pickups and I'll sound the same in that guitars it does installed into a desk, you know, so it's like it's with the bass it's like quality of the basics, so that by the way, I'll do that for you. I'll put a pick up into a desk that way now, but then, you know, the strings is well, you know, our hugely important on the baby, I may talk about strings really quick, so and pickups of course, yeah, all that stuff but that's, that's always been my biggest difficulty and kind of rounding out guitar tones as well asses the bass tone. Yes, that's absolutely right. Um you're going to see it just in just a second. We have we have to go through another thing, but, um, I'm going to show you how important the bass tone is when I take it out of the mix and you hear the difference, but, um the strings of a base are very important to that's another thing that I change constantly just just like the guitar do you change those more often than guitar strings? I know a lot of people d'oh actually based ends up going faster than guitar like well if I'm working with tom denny, for instance and he's tracking and he did the guitars already and then he does the bass, we'll fly through it and it sounds incredible so his hands he his hands actually in particular will crowed strings but he can kind of get away with a few songs that I guess it again we talked about this you you uh if you're quick you know but your maybe your hands do corrode strings you can still get away with with the good bit yet yeah, um but I do ernie ball strings in particular do not last very long um but I use blue steals on base and it's and they're awesome and the same sort of principle applies with the strings if if you're going for the thickest bass string, you're going to get a muddy or sound you're going to get a lower sound um if you have if you're putting white light or medium string bass strings on instead you're going to get more oven aggressive uh clearer sound out of it so bass strings are also very important but if you don't have a good bassist, if you don't have a good base, if you don't have a good bass guitar or can't spend money for strings trillion, um made by spectra sonics is an excellent product that will replace all that if if you don't have access to those things, so are we cool on that? Okay, so drums, how the drums improved the guitar sound. There are a lot of bands where nowadays especially the kick drum is, you know, synchronised with the the bass and the guitar so it's, kind of like what you're hearing is one big sound of a bunch of things mixed together. It's it's, not just the guitar tone, you know, it's it's uh, it's, it's, everything put together so the kick drum adds a lot of the attack two to the guitars um, in my opinion, you should still be able to hear the attack of a guitar without the kick drum. And if you if you have achieved that tone, you're going toe, you don't have an easy time mixing because that's huge, so you're not compensating by putting a lot of click on the kick drum or something like that.

Class Description

A great guitar sound is the centerpiece of modern rock, metal, pop-punk, and metalcore. Join producer Andrew Wade (A Day to Remember, The Ghost Inside, The Word Alive, etc) for an intensive look into the rock guitar techniques every producer and engineer needs to know. In this two-day course, Andrew will teach you everything you need to know about creating huge, thick guitar tones. You’ll learn how to prep and setup, and develop best practices for tracking guitars. He'll cover both real amp and amp sims, mixing in your DAW, and more. Whether you’re recording tracks at home or in a professional studio, this course will give you concrete, easy-to-apply techniques for taking your guitar sounds to the next level.


Chris Dimich

This class was extremely helpful! I learned soooo much. Andrew is a pro and it is absolutely worth the money. Specifically the tuning section of the class. Did not think to put this much effort into tuning, but it makes perfect sense! You can have the tightest band, with the best musicians, the most expensive gear, with amazing tones, but if they are even slightly out of tune its literally a bottleneck for the whole sound of the song. Thanks Andrew!