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Getting guitars up front.

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by Seansean, May 27, 2010.

  1. Seansean

    Seansean Active Member

    Getting guitars up front.

    I've recorded guitars directly into logic, and I'm looking to get them up front in the mix. My thought was have to have the distorted guitars really dry and panned wide in the mix, but have the volumes low, that way I could really turn up the vocals in the mix.

    The problem I'm having is the guitars don't sound up front enough. I thought I could just compress it, but thats not really working.

    Anyone know how I can get this done?
  2. rmsaudio

    rmsaudio Active Member

    Hi Seansean, what style of music is it? If the style calls for it, you could compress the electrics to bring them up front (just have to be careful with how much compression and what ratio etc). I would EQ first though to remove excess bass (try rolling off anywhere between 80 and 120Hz, this will help carve out a spot for the guitars that won't be in conflict with the bass guitar etc). You can also roll off the highs (I do this a lot on Electric guitars - depending on the situtation I'll roll off anywhere from 7kHz to 12kHz). After EQ, then you can compress it to taste and that should bring them up front nicely...

    Also something to consider is the singer and other instruments, you will want to try to carve out a spot for the other instruments and vocals. It can be tricky as all the EQ and compression will change the tone and dynamics of the guitarists performance (sometimes for better, sometimes for worse), but generally with instruments like electric guitar, I will use EQ to attentuate some frequencies in the vocal range for the singer which helps as then I can usually bring the guitars up a little louder.

    Also - if there is more than one guitar part, EQ'ing them a little differently from each other can help as well (especially if it's the same guitar, with the same amp, recorded twice). Eq'ing them a little differently will allow them to co-exist in the mix a little better.

    I hope this helps - best of luck!
  3. Drewslum

    Drewslum Active Member

    It's probably an EQ move rather than a compression attack!
  4. First, you should not apply any reverb on the guitar, second, to make guitar sound upfront I suggest not to pan it really wide, so panning at 50 instead of 100 is fine.

    For EQ, you should not be cutting around 800Hz to 5000Hz for guitar. If the guitar starts to sound too dominant in the mix with respect particularly to the vocals, starts cutting at 2000Hz Q=1.4.You have a choice to boost vocals or not, depending on your mix situation.

    You might as well roll off guitar frequencies below 200Hz , to avoid muddiness with bass.
  5. Lionaudio

    Lionaudio Guest

    Assuming that you don't want to just turn up the guitars because of the vocal being blurred, I would make sure the vocal is compressed to cut through your loud guitars. There really isn't much need for compressing distorted guitar as distortion is compression. Unless you have a very dense and busy mix, in which case I would start subtracting tracks and only use what you need to make the song work. Find you vocal sweet spot. Carve that frequency out by a few db in the guitars. Turn the guitars up. "up front" usually infers a lead instrument. You also need to decide what you want to be the driving force of the song. The guitars or the vocals? If you don't decide this you will mix yourself into a corner by turning everything up over and over again
  6. Drewslum

    Drewslum Active Member

    I don't mean to rain on your parade, audiorecording, but in my opinion I don't think that "adding reverb" is a no no when trying to get the guitars up front. I am well aware that the basic idea of reverb is the combination of sound in a particular space and adding more reverb essentially puts something "farther back" from the listener, but I think that every mix is conditional. Obviously adding a very noticeable or long reverb and lots of it to a guitar track will push it back, but often adding just a touch of reverb can do wonders and make something sound bigger/wider without leaving a huge gap in between left/right (like panning hard L/R would do).

    Maybe this is what you want? The guitars to sound bigger, not louder? So that the vocals do sit well and are clear, but the guitars are fatter and driving the mix. One thing you can do is try experimenting with SHORT delays/echos. Just enough to give the guitars some depth and body/size. Hope this helps!!!
  7. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    As for verb on guitars I will occasionally add a bit of short verb without tails and especially a verb that I can control the preverb settings. I will also use a side-chain EQ on the verb only and tailor it to the specific instrument. Adding a verb with a lot of high-end when you're cutting that doesnt seem to be appropriate. YMMV
  8. BusterMudd

    BusterMudd Active Member

    Coupla thoughts:

    - How did you record the guitar(s) in the first place? Unless they were recorded "up front" -- i.e., with a super-close mic pasted to the grillcloth, or with a DI and no digital processing during tracking -- you're fighting the source trying to get it "up front" in the mix.

    - this is a great application for parallel compression: the squashed (post-compression) signal pulls up all the little finger squeaks and pick clicks and between-the-notes nuances that make it seem like you're listening under a microscope, but the unsquashed (uncompressed) signal provides all the transient snap and microdynamics that give guitar a tactile presence and allow it to project "into" the listening room.

    - regarding reverb, remember: Predelay is your friend. Also, if you must add 'verb, consider gently ducking the 'verb return with the guitar signal so that it's filling the holes between notes but not masking/cluttering the guitar when it plays.

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