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Don't want to double guitar

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by NCdan, Sep 4, 2008.

  1. NCdan

    NCdan Guest

    I'm in the process of recording a demo, and I've decided I'd rather not double (as in do to separate takes) my guitar track. First of all, I'm not a phenomenal guitarist: Randy Rhodes and other like guitarists may be able to double, triple, and quadruple guitar tracks and make them sound improvised, but I have to make my guitar parts a bit more canned then I'd like to pull off believable doubles. I really want my guitar to have more of a raw, on-the-spot sound. The reason why is that this demo falls under the genre of speed punk (RKL, Suicidal Tendencies, NOFX, etc...). I'm well aware of the benefits of doing two or more takes of the same thing and panning them, but I really don't need or want a wall of guitars.

    So, to get to the point: what else can I do besides record the exact same guitar part twice to make a hard L and R panned guitar (the same guitar take) stand out?

    I'm planning on running two different mics (one for L and one for R). I'm planning on fiddling with the EQ a bit to separate them. But what else can I do? Anyone feel free to chime in: ameteurs, pros, and anything in between. I really appreciate any suggestions, especially ones that have been sucessfully tried by the person who suggests them :D . Thanks and God bless.
  2. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Doubled guitars don't always sound good. They can cause as many problems as they solve. Personally, I like the sound of a single guitar track done well. I can think of lots of songs where the guitars aren't doubled. It's just a matter of getting the sound right at the source. A good sounding amp with a good sounding guitar and a guitarist with attitude. Playing it like you mean it is half the battle.

    In fact, you can double track all you want. If the guitarist plays wimpy it'll still sound wimpy. Thick maybe but still wimpy.
  3. GeckoMusic

    GeckoMusic Guest

    Re amping is a good alternative.

    Record your amp, and a DI line from your guitar. Then mess with you amp settings to your liking, and play the DI guitar back through the amp.

    Put one Left, one Right. If you want more, put them back a little in the mix by EQing down the high, low, and presence a little, delaying and adding a little reverb, and level down. You might want to do a little pitch shift (3-5 cents) on the delayed parts to minimize phase problems.
  4. hackenslash

    hackenslash Active Member

    Or you can copy the recorded part to another track and shift it a few milliseconds and then pan. I've never found this method entirely satisfactory, but it's a reasonable approximation of double tracking.
  5. GeckoMusic

    GeckoMusic Guest

    You may not like the sound of it because of the phase issues that it introduces. On headphones it will not be very noticeable, but with speakers it is.

    1/1ms = 1kHz, so at 1k, 2k, 3k etc the sound is doubled, and at 500, 1.5k, 2.5k it is combed out.

    With a sine wave you can visualize what is happening, but it even works with white noise! Audacity works nicely to illustrate this. Generate some white noise, copy it and delay it 1ms, and then bounce it and look at the fft. It is very dramatic. You can play the results and hear the difference in tone. The audible difference is more present at 5-10ms.

    don't worry, I run XP on my DAW :)
  6. hackenslash

    hackenslash Active Member


    Agreed. This is why I tend to the double take approach. Some peeps worry too much about playing it exactly the same, but I find that the little differences actually add to the effect.
  7. sshack

    sshack Active Member

    You could pay me to do it for you. :D j/k (I'm not a dick, really...ask my wife)

    Seriously though, you could think about taking your guitar part and splitting it up, say like as you would play it on a piano (ala left hand/right hand).

    For instance, if you have a G, C, D kind of progression, maybe just play the triad of each chord on the top strings of the guitar and use it on the LEFT channel, then take the higher (maybe even a different inversion if you like) part of the chord and play/use it on the RIGHT channel.
    They don't necessarily need to be played at exactly the same time either. You could play off of yourself...that sounded weird, eh?

    Of course, if you're just kickin' it with some I-V barre chords, it's a bit more difficult. Play your barre chords on one side and counter them with a higher voicing or a harmony guitar on the other.

    Food for thought.
  8. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Use a chorus effect, might get you somewhere. It'll add some depth to it anyway.
  9. ouzo77

    ouzo77 Active Member

    what eddie van halen does is, pan the guitar left (or right) put a synced delay on it and pan that the other way.

    sounds good to me...
  10. NCdan

    NCdan Guest

    Thanks, everyone for the responses so far. So far, I've already planned on doing everything mentioned, aside from the real doubling (remember, this is speed punk: sloppy, manic playing is a good thing, and it's nigh impossible to double a completely raw take). I usually use a chorus on my solos to make them stand out in the mix more, but I find effects don't work so well for rhythm for this genre. I've done the delay one side thing before, and it works, although, as hackenslash commented, it isn't as good as two separate takes. If I keep the mics far enough apart, I shouldn't have any phase issues, correct? At least that's what I've heard... I'll probably put one right in the middle of the cone and one further out towards the edge of the speaker. I've never heard a DI line that didn't sound like poo, so I really don't want to do that. Well, I was hoping for suggestions that might be a bit more experimental, so keep the ideas coming :D . Thanks again, everyone.
  11. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    You want experimental?

    Add a 2nd set of pickups and output jack on your current guitar, with different tone. Then plug both outputs into an amp (you'll need 2) at once, but track it with a stereo pair.

    That's as wild as I can come up with.
  12. NCdan

    NCdan Guest

    Hmmmm, that's certainly experimental, but I think that's more trouble than it's worth :? :lol: . And it would require a bit of guitar surgery... But thanks for the suggestion :D .
  13. StephenMC

    StephenMC Guest

    I like that idea. A lot.
  14. hackenslash

    hackenslash Active Member

    Not a great distance apart, no, but the same distance from the source, to avoid phase issues. Using two complete different mic with different characteristics will probably give you some gains.
  15. BrianaW

    BrianaW Active Member

    I love this idea. This is what Smashing Pumpkins did on their earlier stuff. Separate the chords and mash a ton of tracks together. A variation of the same idea.

    You could always use 2 amps and 2 mics in 2 separate rooms. I used to do that live. I rewired a footswitch to kick 2 completely different amps on in "stereo" for distorted parts. I had a slight delay/chorus on one to give it that 2 guitarists sound. It was pretty thick. If I were in your situation (and I listen to a lot of older punk rock), I would mic the amp using 3 mics, one in front of the speaker, one somewhere far away in the room, and one in the room but closer. Then I'd pan them crazy and maybe switch phase somewhere. Just another one for the pile. :)
  16. GeckoMusic

    GeckoMusic Guest

    Neither Have I but if you re-amp that DI line, then you have something.

    If you do use different distance of microphones you can minimize phase issues by delaying the microphones that are closer. Delay in seconds = distance in meters / 340.29 Or you can just zoom way in and line up the transients.
  17. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Isn't it dependent on air pressure/humidity/temperature?
  18. AwedOne

    AwedOne Guest

    Just add a second guitar player to your band and don't let him play exactly the same thing you're playing.

    Seroiusly, playing complimentary parts in different octaves helps, but when you're looking for THICK, double or triple the part. The slight imperfections in playing from take to take will fatten things up.
  19. hackenslash

    hackenslash Active Member

    ^^ Alright Bill. How's the golf?
  20. AwedOne

    AwedOne Guest

    I wish I knew how to spell that gutteral sound Lurch, from "The Addams Family" made.

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