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Mixing Guitars

Lesson 6 from: Robert Lang Studios Mixing Class

Casey Bates

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Lesson Info

6. Mixing Guitars

Lesson Info

Mixing Guitars

So let's move on to guitars, guitars for me, I grew up a guitar player and, you know, some producer mixtures guys are drummers or their bass players with their vocalists, and you kind of it kind of ends up being the part you know, the most of and you're most comfortable with, and for me that is guitars like tone wise, I'm I'm big on what's going in, you know it has to be it has to be quality, it has to be a good amp good player, it has to be the right sound because you can't trying to fix a crappy guitar sound in pro tools is not fun, no amount of q fixes that fixes you running through a little crate and for something, so if you look here, I've got no excuse, no compression on any of this stuff because I the tones I got going in where the tones that I wanted, you know, at this point, I probably had the bass and drum mics sound about where they sound right now, and so we knew the direction the song was going wanted to be a little dirty, your soundings, some grit to it. So for this guita...

r, we went with a wacky, edited up ah bit shaper pedal, so it sounds like this it sounds like this no, it's, not this isn't that crazy. Different from the tom idea I had earlier with the editing and that's I with these guitars, these guitars probably had all kinds of bleeding between each of these lines. Because this reason, this bit shaper thing and it's, a heavily distorted guitar, and but really sticking with this, like choppy don't don't feel the song I went in, and we just I just like hard cut these up and made it so that they lined up with the kick drum in the base. 00:02:03.12 --> 00:02:06. So, let's, listen, tio. What? This sounds like now 00:02:06.03 --> 00:02:08. with bass, drums and these guitars. 00:02:20.28 --> 00:02:23. Now, one of the things one things that's, bringing 00:02:23.51 --> 00:02:25. up earlier about context. Now, all of a sudden, the 00:02:25.84 --> 00:02:28. base is sounding better to me. And part of that is 00:02:28.76 --> 00:02:30. the fact the guitar and bass playing the exact same 00:02:30.61 --> 00:02:34. thing, and they're creating one tone or one. Yeah, 00:02:34.78 --> 00:02:36. kind of like a one tone thing. And so the guitar is 00:02:36.8 --> 00:02:39. actually helping that low, and that I'm sorry. The 00:02:39.47 --> 00:02:41. high and I thought I was missing with the base. 00:02:44.32 --> 00:02:46. You know it's, a little muddy it's, a little low. 00:02:46.02 --> 00:02:47. But now you throwing the guitars in here? 00:02:51.79 --> 00:02:55. And the texture starts feeling a lot better. So I'm 00:02:55.3 --> 00:02:57. sticking with that. I think that sounds good let's. 00:02:57.32 --> 00:03:00. Move on to the, uh, pre chorus guitars here. 00:03:04.82 --> 00:03:06. So here we've got 00:03:07.72 --> 00:03:10. for rhythm guitar parts. Basically, we've got these 00:03:10.71 --> 00:03:11. guys. 00:03:18.32 --> 00:03:20. And then these guys running over the top. 00:03:30.94 --> 00:03:32. These air running through one of my favorite amps 00:03:32.68 --> 00:03:36. of all time, jason eight hundred. Well, reason a telly 00:03:36.43 --> 00:03:40. on this stuff, I believe, and I guess we're talking 00:03:40.19 --> 00:03:43. about mike's. Ah, I'm in sn fifty seven guy, everything 00:03:43.99 --> 00:03:46. guitars give me an s m fifty seven on the cab, running 00:03:46.89 --> 00:03:50. through it a good mike pre, and I'm set. I want I 00:03:50.99 --> 00:03:55. always start there because I know I can make innocent. 00:03:55.69 --> 00:03:58. I know, I know that sounds good on a guitar cap, so 00:03:59.46 --> 00:04:04. it eliminates the that part of the chain. If if the guitars are sounding terrible, then I can look at the guitar player, I can look at the guitar, I can look at the amp itself, how the embassy cute, because I know that this this chain into my pro tools I know that's going that's supposed to sound good. So again, like I dialed in these tones exactly the way I wanted him, and I'm not doing a whole lot with him. Let's hear what these other ones gone so I really quick and noticed that you had a comments on each of these guitar tracks what are those exactly these were so we were using different amps throughout the whole process and this is just mean notated what chance we use for those parts just in case we needed to punch something in later down the line so like you know here was a telly on the bridge pick up with a box a c thirty on drive with a bit shaper pedal and then this guy is ah this is actually an epa phone on a bridge pick up through an eight hundred and then we've got a telly here on a bridge pick up through another eight hundred so there's just notes for you yeah just himself totally yeah and I mean I would encourage everyone to be I mean you should I mean it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world to be right you know d one twelve here for the kick drum you know like that's what this is forced take notes and it actually helps me if you're sending me a song to mix put a bunch of comments and tell me how it was recorded er you know like thoughts you have are about how it should sound like what may be the chain it was running through was it was it compressed was it you know what kind of mike pre all that stuff any informations gonna help and actually just for yourself I wish I did this like I'm in a bad habit of I don't do this enough even for me I wish I would have gone through and nose hated every single one of these things just because you you know you might come back to this six months later and go you know I wonder what I did on that part to make it sound like that I've done I've done that way too much where all I'll do a mix a year later and I'll be like man I love how I had that bass sound on that one mix I did from way back when and all I'll go in and I'll look at the session and I'll see what plug ins I used but I also don't see what kind of guitar we might have used our amp or you know even mike so ah strongly encourage you know session management man that's I I'm not the best at and I try to be good but like naming your tracks putting in comments like even little things like making sure even even if the band you know making sure you're you're you're bpm sharpie on the grid making sure you put the key in the song making sure you put I mean that's what all these little guys are a pure for like they've got a meter here like if the songs and for for put it out there of songs in five four put it up there but if a sections in five four highlight it and let me know just anything helps a little bit and and I showed it a little bit here at the beginning of the day but I mean organ organisation is so big for me and I mean looking I can easily scroll through this and find anything I need to find real quick like these are my guitars these air my lead guitars here's my vocals here's my percussion uh workflow is I can't stress enough you've got to make it easy on yourself and when you can't find things or when you've got you know a bunch of parts there like just muted randomly and your don't know you know it isn't being used like this session has been you know I've taken all the fat off but there's nothing in here that's that's not supposed to be here just make it easy on yourself do you always order like like all your guitars are exactly the same place and each song the mixer doesn't depend on the song in the group on what type of things you have you know it kind of this probably what you're seeing here is what I do most of the time if I for some reason get going and I end up grouping all my drums at the top of the session sometimes that happens but I say for the most part I have a group this way I start with the I always have the master the master but the very bottom and then I've got all my drums up into bass guitars vocals and then keys and percussion usually appear at the top is there any sort of like universal color coding for stuffers inept upto in fact I just one time when I do it I literally just pick out any random color I'll just you know I'll grab these tracks and double click the little color bar here and just pick these guys or this guy you know there's there's no I e s u could get in there and really do like a nice a rainbow so it all looks nice now cool all right let's uh let's listen to what these guitar sound like now that we've got them in here with very little all I have is volume happening and I think I have really touched on yet is automation man I I don't use a whole lot there's a fact there's none on the drums there's going to be none on the base and the on ly automation so far is going to be just a little bit here on the guitars and that's happening here is the bridge probably if I remember I think these guitars are a little bit more of a lead and so I kind of bumped these up and turn these down and then bumped up the guitars here at the end a little bit, because the symbol crashing gets going quite a bit harder. But I'm still about. I want. I compress the crap out of everything, so I want I want that control let's, listen to this how this sounds here. No. Here's. The part where with the tom thing. I love how it drops out of that chorus and just kind of hits and drops right into that. No, you know, no there's, no there's, no, tom believe going into their just punches, right in, like, that's. One of the reasons I do that, uh, little some stuff going on, that's going to need to be addressed like the base is a little too wolfie in the low end, and and things aren't quite as bright as I think they're going to need to be. But I'm gonna press on and just keep going with this stuff. We got some lead guitars here, and then I'm gonna address the mix as a whole before we get into vocals. So in the verse, we've got this lead guitar parts. It's. A little bit harsh. And it probably with the room, tones and stuff going on, I decided to put a little bit of spring reverb on here. And and I don't really need to compress him, because the verb kind of smooths everything else. This's just ah, think this comes free with pro tools. Is the air spring nearby? Actually? Use this quite a bit when just for spring rivers on guitars sounds awesome. Hey! No. You can really hear it when I pull it out, how much drier. And you know, you kind of lose the space of of that part. So tip. Then. We've got this other lead guitar part in the next bridge. Our next verse. Now, what you're hearing here is a lot of pluck. You're not hearing a lot of the tone of what's actually happening. It's. A cool part, but it's just it's like there's. So much attack going on with this guitar part that it needs to be smoothed out so I can try. I tried doing that with some reverb on here, which sounds cool. But still too much pluck in there. So now we're going to my old faithful here, the renaissance compressor, and I've got the attacks lead all the way up. So I'm trying to grab those transients and pull him down. And so let's, hear what? This sounds like this. And I'm hitting that hard. But now, all of a sudden, the the excellent notes are starting to come out from that guitar part. And you, you could start here in the part as a whole, slits here with everything else going. So, yeah, really, like how that sounds like hearing the notes. Actually, getting pulled up is the big thing for that part. Okay, we got this other lead parts. Now. Here is the the solo of song, right after the first chorus. This is an interesting thing because bobby the songwriter of the song he recorded all of his stuff into an ipad with garage band and you know, just some fake middie drums and uh some probably midi base and then saying some scratch vocals into it and then I think there's some guitar plug ins you can use on the ipad and he used that for this tone and when we were building up the sessions you know we'd bring in is his scraps guitars just as a template for the song and this is one of the times where the guitar solo that was used with whatever wacky ipad plug ins he was using were like, hey, that sounds pretty cool let's put it in a session when everything gets down let's see if we like it and this is actually the original scratch version from an ipad garage band we just kept it in the song we there's there's a few of these on the record but most time we redid it way said when we get it better but it just seemed to fit with the vibe and it's one of those things where if it sounds cool don't overthink it you know too many times I'll be working with a band and they'll have it they'll have a great sounding part on a demo or something there's this idea I mean and everyone agrees it sounds awesome but there is a simple were in the studio we have to redo it, and I, I don't know, I'm of the mindset that if it sounds good, it sounds good. Leave it alone. So I was really, yeah, this part sounded awesome. Were like, let's. Keep it, and we did. We actually used it for the same thing here, which is this kind of soft guitar part in the bridge and it's supposed to be a low five guitar part anyway. So these were just from his ipad garage band, and we just kept it in there. So it's this little low before the last chorus. Now, one of the other things is you can get away with a lot of like I will die guitars for lead guitar parts. Um, I find that the attention really gets drawn to the rhythm. The actual kind of the tone of the rhythm guitar sets the stage for the whole song, and you could get away with a lot when it comes. I mean, when you're talking, like running lots of pedals and delays and rivers and stuff like that, I don't necessarily think it's that important to be running that stuff through you're best chain, I mean, you're, you're going to be affecting it out already. I mean, if it sounds better, toe, die into pro tools and used approaches, plug ins, by all means, go for it and there's. One of those scenarios is where it's the same thing. It's. You know, obviously, if the hole gets all the guitars in the songs, sounded like this. I'd be in trouble. But it's meant it works for just this part of the song, because it's it's something different than you know. These bigger chorus part. Yeah.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Audio Tracks from 'I Want My Money Back' by The Money Pit

Ratings and Reviews

Joe Wilkinson

Regardless if you've listened to the music Casey has personally worked on or not, you'll find a lot of great information on his methods for mixing. It is such a great idea that this class comes with the files that Casey is actually work with so you can work side by side. This class includes best practices in organizing mixes, using busses, and what I consider the most important take away: listening to the MIX and not necessary just a single track over and over again. My requests: attendees had better formed questions to ask and to do another class -- I would love to hear some of the techniques and mixing that went into Church Mouth by Portugal. The Man.

fbuser 42790ebd

It was straight forward and helped show everyone it doesn't take fancy plugins or shiny toys to make great records. Even his vocal chain is mid tier but he yields excellent results with years of knowledge on his side. Casey you should come back to do a song off Emarosa's 131 album. There has to be some cool tricks there.

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