Tone Layering


Recording Rock Guitars


Lesson Info

Tone Layering

Okay tone leering it's really easy to do this wrong but it's a very useful technique if you've tried it in the past I encourage you to try these these methods because um I swore it off for a little bit because I was not having success with it but you need to know when to use it that was pretty good um you know when to use it you know why to use it we're gonna go over the correct tones the way to get the right tones that we'll work together because sometimes just don't work together for some reason um and do it with purpose some of the main reasons that I would ever do tone layering is to improve clarity, low end and just overall fullness so the reason that I kind of compare this to the mic placement technique with dual mike's for instance we were talking about the d six that adds a lot of low end into it so you might use a different tone just to add lohan into it with with same mike it's stuff so let's talk about this um oh it's not just for amps you can use it with amps simms or amps ...

and simms if you want a combination of both and the one that I'm actually gonna be going over today is one with amps and simms on going to point out any potential issues and how to solve them so you can get the best sound some of the most common one phase problems earlier I reversed the phase when we're doing their duel miking techniques and that completely messed up the tone and the same thing can happen with tone layering you can have latency issues uh if you're going to use a an amp sim and your program or if you're actually going to use on amp they're goingto they're goingto have differently and sees naturally views to different amps there going differently and sees there's nothing you can do about that well, there is that I'm going to show you but you can't you can't have it automatically be fixed right away okay, so let me show you the characteristics of when things are not just when it doesn't just have a reversed phase because that's not your only problem sometimes you'll reverse the phase back and forth and you're like, well, this still sounds bad uh, there are you can completely move the the phase one hundred eighty degrees um and every every little change that you make two one track dramatically changed the sound of the other, so I'm going to go into actually I'm going to go into going to go into the example where we use the dual miking technique and I'm going adjust the phase just very slightly amount an easy way to adjust phase is either you got the phase button or um on a lot of plug ins, a lot of deer w's have the face button just on the on every channel um but another way to deal with faiz is toe literally move things left and right because sometimes phase and late and sea are kind of the same thing but not always it can be complicated and that's why I want to go over this okay, so we're going back to the song dead and buried where we were showing how to get rid of fizz how to do the dual miking techniques uh, so let's see what we got right now, okay, so let me turn this down. No, okay, so in real time, what I'm going to do is nudge this over by one sample, which is a very, very small if you're recording it's the smallest amount that you could move something over, if you can see I'm zoomed in very far and that's how much I'm going to be moving this and you're gonna hear dramatic changes in the tone just from these small changes. So this is what leyton see problems sound like it and face problems. So here we go. So as you can see that those all sound very different with every single one you could just hear the tone jumping to another strange, um, sound, so I'm zoomed out uh you know I mean I'm zoomed in a good bit and I can't even see how much I just move that I only move this over by you know on ly about you know, ten samples or so and it made that drastic of a change so that's why tone layering and face problems are such a big deal because you know they could be a hiding in the bushes if you will yeah I don't I don't you have to you have to be able to hear what sounds like so what I just showed you is a good example of weird sounds that happened from the phase uh in late and see uh you know being out of face and really quick just as a reminder completely inverting the phase here's a tone with so you might mike up your cabinet or you might make up you know have the two different tones it sounds like this like okay, well that's absolutely terrible but all you needed to do so um this is a huge this is a huge thing right here whenever you're dealing with phase as you can see, these tracks that I'm messing with have already been processed whether they're being sent through the amp already whether they've already been uh printed from or mixed down bounced down from uh a sim bounce in place that's another way that you can have it the processing on the track already in logic um that it has to be done you can't really be doing this on the d I track because moving moving the g I tracts around are going to make things go out of beat you know, off sync you know you're gonna write yeah, suddenly you're you're messing with some weird stuff so it's got to be already processed waves makes a really awesome plugin called in phase is what in face looks like? And this is what I use if I'm trying to figure out how how far something is off sometimes it will be like something insane, like nineteen milliseconds, which is a lot whenever you're talking about layton sea and trying to get things in face so even if you just use this to, uh, figure out how many milliseconds you are off so you can correct it yourself these these tools are invaluable. So and this song is one that you guys may know it's bidet remember again it's called violence um again, this is not mixed at also somethings are wacky, but let me just show you this is this is one of my favorite examples here, let me just show you what the guitar tone sounds like check out the clean tone in this uh pre course and someone asked about this the other day and hopefully they'll get some more answers so that's super but whatever I whenever I hear that tone it sounds like I can hear every single hit on the guitar but it's also pretty distorted at the same time um which is kind of confusing when you're trying to dial in and tell him because you think, well, maybe I need to turn my distortion now but no, I hear a lot of distortion so let's break this let's break this thing down so we have the regular guitar tone which is this which is pretty cool but I really wouldn't you know, I really like the way it sounds percussive lee uh during this part whenever you hit all the different notes so this is what I did, what happened? What I've added here is a basically a clean track I process this with ample two and here's what sounds like by itself pretty clean, pretty thin but what happened was I listen to the tone um the original tone that I had in there and I thought, what is missing exactly? Because what you can do easily is throw another tone on there that might not help it in the right way. So when you hear this there's a lot of low end missing because whenever I you know hear the original tone, I think the low end is good, so I filter that out of the tone that I'm layering on top of it toe add just the clarity in the high end and that's uh that's all I really needed to put in there so that's an example of let me go back um we were talking about doing with purpose that that's the first one clarity this is an example of how to do clarity so, um let me show you guys what this would sound like if, uh and sometimes one of you have the low end that's it rolled off in the tone that you're layering it with uh it actually cuts down on face problems, but let me just reverse the phase on this and see what these sound like together. Yeah, actually I needed what is in a different method so I can hear it quickly this case, the flipping the face doesn't make that that big of a difference, so and I would attribute that mostly too how different the tone is. Yeah, right. Very different tones when you have really similar tones that's one over it it can get, uh, weird with face problems. Okay, so another one this is this is ah very cool trick that I like to this one. You probably shouldn't have faced problems, but any time I'm doing tone layering even if I got it to where I like it, I like to flip the phase just in case because just like drums, sample layering, flipping the phase on a snare drum might make this near pop more for whatever reason that's just how it works. So, um, let me show another, uh, really awesome reason that you would ever do tone larry so this is r d I let's actually, just just take the d ill it's not I'm not gonna put a tone on it. This is, uh ah layering technique that you can use to, uh, add low in two guitars in in a very interesting and clean way. So what I'm going to do is, uh, let's say, let's, listen, things sound pretty full already, but let's just say, for the sake of this example that it doesn't have very good blowing, and that happens a lot. Sometimes you just don't have all the well and on and that you want or let's say in the, um, themed the palm mutes maybe there's not enough uh, low in so what I'm going to do is I'm going to compress now, this is not this thing. This is not the same as compressing and a d I even though it whenever you're running into an amp or anam simulator, this is I'm just compressing this clean track, and it is only going to be, um it's going to be a very filtered, very different sound is it is a different purpose than running it through an amp or anything like that. And that's, why this this seems, uh, this might seem like I'm you know, contradicting myself, but this is a this is an absolutely different method. All right? Okay. Okay. So the reason that I'm compressing this is so that I can have the fullness and the low end and everything kind of at the same volume. So it's, listen, this really quick way, okay? So we're here in that low income through this is what it sounds like without the queue on it bythe pretty discussed. Pretty gross. So, um, I'm just gonna go ahead and put this filter on it. That's uh, just letting the low end come through. And the thing about this loan that's coming through versus on actual guitar tone is that this low end is clean. It is really, really clean. If you send this through an amp, sometimes you might get, um, uh, amore garbled, low and sound, which sometimes is also cool, but that's not always what you want. So this is a way that you can get really loud, clean, low in so let's, copy this to the other track way okay, so you got that loan that stuff that's probably going to be coming through on subwoofers and stuff like that if you're on a laptop I don't know if you'll even hear that or not but uh okay so let's I'm just going over exaggerate this for the sake of the example so you can hear it but uh we need to hear allow this vessel s so when I haven't played together you can really hear that clean low in just cutting through everything so this's without it so that's that's a pretty simple way that you can just add low end into rhythm tracks I've never seen other people do that but it's something that that I do a lot whenever I'm having a hard time adding low end instead of just yeah you just the same thing with the sex method on on the last album letter worked on the low end yeah it's uh it's a very, very clean low end and if you, um it's really cool because it's almost like you can add low end into things that may not really have were that thick too right and with what you can do it in a really non intrusive way you know and because you have complete control over the low end frequency and how much of it you want to blend in and you can really shape it a lot easier that way and uh you know if you have tracks that aren't very thick sounding I know for me a lot of times my guitars tend to sound kind of thin and this is one really easy and quick trick that you can do to just all the sudden make him sound way bigger yeah it blends right into so it might not be the best situation for this exactly but whenever you're doing maybe chords you want the courts to sound bigger or something that yeah for this example I mean obviously it's exaggerated varied a bit but and it's already kind of had a lot of bass yeah, it is pretty much fine the way it was right yeah but you can hear how I increased the base so if I took any q and I put it on the distorted sound you would get all kinds of weird rumbly stuff and that would be shining through your subwoofer in the worst way that you've ever heard that just sounds like mud if you take the distilled the process track and try to do the same method it gets really muddy yes, you know the trick is to have something that doesn't have processing on it so you get that you know the true source notes that aren't really you know being distorted in any way because if you blend those in you know it really starts to sound muddy you know this using this method with process guitars I think sounds terrible, but, you know, with absolutely with, you know, with clean guitars and things like that, it definitely makes a big difference. Yeah, I I've used this method so many times and sometimes it can be a lifesaver. Andrew crow's nest audio wants to know what frequency you did the low past. What the guitar d I oh, that's it's on the screen here, it's one thirty five. Thank you, khun. You could even go lower if you wanted to get real nasty with it. I mean, you could do all kinds of stuff. Yeah, a lot of times I'll do it from, like, eighty and down, you know, for really heavy parts that have, you know, deep palm utes and things like that just don't really make him sound huge. You know, you go from about eighty down and you can get that those sub frequencies in there quite a bit. Make it sound pretty heavy. Yes. And it's, really cool to have when you have chords, we have really clean cords coming through a sub it's there's something really like warm and nice about it. Like it's. Like there is a fight, there is, like, a kind of a weird vibration, but it's like a very pleasant it's, almost it almost accentuates like a speaker response you know, like if you're playing big open cords not just chugs and you know palm utes and things like that but to have that those sub frequency is in there when you're just doing open strums that kind of makes it sound like it's being played through a cabinet really loud and you get that you know, that flex response of you know that that kind of emulates that yeah and a lot of ways yeah, very cool um technique so uh now let me try to make, um I'm actually going to go into I'm gonna come back into this session in one second I'm gonna grab the the setting from amplitude been dead and buried um and a and apply it to this guitar tone and uh and and we're gonna layer to, um, similar tones similar but not the same these these other two methods that we've been talking about are very different it's very easy to blend these too, and I would even encourage on that last one that I just showed too reverse the phase it may have made it sound even bigger I didn't even try it, but I would encourage you did to do that if you're going to try this method okay, so we're gonna go save this setting big booty okay uh see, what should we call this so and I think already covered this but darth vader wanted to know do you have a roll off low frequencies and guitars to make room for base and kick in? Uh yeah and leads actually I always roll the low often leads because that leaves room for a lot of stuff in the rhythm guitars and the bass and vocals vocals and leads sometimes they're they're kind of hitting the same frequencies so it's cool to scoop out things for us so so other things khun live in the mix not so much for ramon's though I mean, I know you covered that before not for what you know, you know so much to do that for rhythm so you know, usually high past the rhythms you know I don't think I would cut out low the only time I would cut out a low frequency if there was something strange happening in the low in the low end uh which does happen depending on all kinds of things the tuning the guitar all that stuff all right let's go back into, uh, violence ok, cool. So this, uh, this type of tone leering that I'm about to demonstrate is going to in theory at least I haven't done this yet ever but in theory this will add uh, mid range clarity and amplitude is really good about, uh, midrange clarity just loading here okay all right, so the reason that I'm loading this up differently I'm not loading this up on the track I'm loading this up in the audio suite which well process it will process the signal because whenever you're, uh doing this tone layering you have to be using signals that have been processed so we have the tone loaded up process that now keep in mind yes, I'm talking to myself here but I'm going to keep in mind that the cabinet is turned off so I also have to load up the impulse response uh, well, just in case people missed this earlier this is how you use my impulse you gotta load import impulse response I'm using the twenty four bit one thirty two bit one is higher quality technically, but for some reason it doesn't work well with the iron will it might work with something else better the s the s y x impulse response is made for the, uh, axe effects specifically it's in the axe effects for me. Okay, so before you use it, you have to turn direct on, so we're gonna process that process that okay? So we got two processed guitar signals here, okay, so that's just, uh, amplitude only now, if we're lucky and this will also be unfortunate if they are already matched up perfectly oh, because I want to show you how to match up perfectly if they are so uh this is both of them this is both of them together s so there's a huge agency and it's your this is probably the most typical late and see problem that you'll notice it'll sound like it's playing out of a toilet ah they think there's a little bit of an echo on there so this is a perfect example awesome um all right so let's move this guy down so let's say I got I got a tone say with in real life with an angle amplifier uh angle let's say powerball or something like that and my mid range isn't cutting through its not clear so I load up amplitude which is uh usually very clear in the mid range for whatever reason that's the nature of that plug in um which can help out a lot whenever you're trying to get clarity out of heavily to story guitars so let's load up uh just so you guys so this is the this is what I'll be loading up getting lost um so I'm gonna use this in a way I don't use this often so if I kind of stumbled through this I apologize um but we're all going to figure this out together that isn't that what life is about this is a very important tool uh there are definitely ways you can go through this um you could you could probably do this just by ear, but we're going to use this plug it so what I've just done it's kind of hard to seeks this is covering the screen so we have ah wei have all of our tracks here. What I'm going to do is kind of backtracking I'm so so sorry. Okay, so I'm gonna make a stereo audio track because that's kind of how this planet works and I'm gonna take the same guitar. So this is the left guitar, which is the same as this process guitar, which is also the left and they're supposed to they're basically the same way form and they're supposed to match up quickly so what I'm gonna do is I'm going to load up I'm assuming that there is a like a stereo version of this plugin yes, there is, so I'm just I just loaded them on the track and this is going to be for reference because I'm going, I'm going to actually put these in face by hand. All right? So we're gonna turn on capture and then play this okay, so it has a little as little guy, okay, so what you want to do when you're trying to use this plug in, you want to try to, uh, find the peaks that the final peaks that match up there and so you confined to knit like this uh it's really cool because this is, um visual you can really see in detail whenever you're close so this is out I'm seeing some similarities here so let's if you can see this almost looks like a blue w for wade andrew wade don't make me say it this is the perfect opportunity you know, you don't need to say maybe we should say okay, so whatever we lost it uh okay, so we use these guys all right, so these look like they are perfectly matched up ah, it sounds like it. Okay, so what does this tell us? Um this was off by a man like I said, I don't use this plugging a lot. I just wanted to emphasize that um so I am kind of stumbling through this a little bit okay, so this is off by, uh eight point eight seven milliseconds so what we want to do uh you could leave that on or whatever, but I would I would just adjust this by hand wait so we want okay, so how long is eight milliseconds? Uh sorry. Where was I? Are there any questions by the way, guys, any questions or anything? Well, there was a question from any vh fifty one fifty who said ask could you not just achieve this through zooming in and matching the two up um if yeah let's see what we can do with that? Is that how you would normally do it yeah this be quicker that's how I would normally do it there was one time where for whatever reason I was having a really hard time figuring out sometimes like the actual the wave forms won't even look similar and that's what I was trying to I was trying to match up things that that didn't look somewhere at all but the waves plugin really helps me so um let's do this uh sorry sorry about that we're just gonna put this uh in time by hand okay, so I'm staying somewhere things here wait just okay let's see what this sounds like ah okay, so this sounds kind of strange and what I would do to to further fine tune this is uh just nudge this over as I'm listening to it to make tio to make sure it matches up well, that sounds crazy. Um let's reverse the face on this this sometimes things don't go perfect but we're all trying right I'd like it if you tried a little harder what I'd like it if you tried a little harder okay, well um this uh these particular tones and this this is what this is this is why I told larry is so so difficult tedious um these tones together don't really even work very well and uh it actually didn't add the clarity that I was looking for but sometimes it's just about trial and error and we could keep going through this but I think the method is is uh you know how to get there is uh is is pretty obvious by the things I explained but I don't think these tones were working together and I don't really want teo keep going through this random tones for no reason but uh this would be a good example of kind of shooting in the dark for tones whenever I was talking about, um this before do it with purpose I was kind of t be totally honest I was just trying to do this example for this class this wasn't for purpose this wasn't for a good purpose I I didn't actually have a problem with this tone I was looking for another tone and trying to match it up and it didn't work out and sometimes that's what happened so whenever you're going to do something uh you know, tone layering like this you do it because you need more clarity you do because you need more low end or fullness this was just for an example and I actually don't consider that a good reason to do it, so so I kind of broke my own rule I didn't do it for purpose and we saw this uh this this didn't work out so um the other two are beautiful examples I love those whenever you need to add more clarity tried turning down the gain in your tone and scooping out the low end at the end, you know, in the bottom end and mix it together it should it should help out a lot um it's easy to whenever your tone layering teo, maybe if you did do one for clarity to turn it up too loud, be careful with that because you don't want to sound like you have someone following along playing playing clean guitar so we've all learned how important it is to do it with purpose, and this was just for an example and, you know, it doesn't always work out perfectly, so yeah, it I didn't have a problem with it. So, um, this is a great example in a different way. I think these air also life lessons, yeah, could apply to anything, uh am hts says I've seen phase monitors installed on mixing deaths in film and tv post audio departments have you ever used one? Yeah, they have ah, I think little uh, little labs, they make a they make an adjustment knob that, uh, you can adjust the phase with in real time, but whenever your deal of amp simms and you have to process it and then, um you have to deal with late and see. And you're doing all the editing stuff. Unless you have money to do, have all the outboard gear set up? I mean, it's, it's kind of overkill. So, yes, I have seen those.

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!