Doubling guitar

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20 years 8 months
Submitted by Anonymous on Sun, 10/01/2006 - 19:41

Hey everyone. Im just getting into recording and i want to get the best out of what i have. obviously. lol. haha. I have a digi002 with an apple imac, a presonus pre with sm57's and im using dual recs and mesa cabs. Im into heavy rock with thick heavy sounding guitars. But i feel like im not getting the clarity as well as stereo spread that i want. I know i just have a 100.00 presonus pre. But i feel like i could do better. I notice that people talk about doubling guitars as in panning one left and re recording a duplicate and panning it right. But does that count as two guitar tracks or just one. In other words if i have two guitars each playing something. WOuld there be 4 tracks, two in which are just duplicates panned to the opposite side, or would there be just two tracks. One guitarist doing one to left, and the other guitarist doing the second to the right. Because that is what i am doing now. But i cant tell if people actually mean, for each guitar track. do a duplicate which would make 4 total tracks with just two guitars. I hope that makes any sense at all. haha. thanks for any help. Im sure ill have plenty of questions coming up cause im really getting into this and im amazed at the knowledge i have been reading on this forum. Thanks for any help. Ron

you probably have better preamps on the 002 than the presonus preamp.

and for two guitars, have one record one track on one side, then the other record on the other side. When people record two takes of a guitar part and pan them, its the same as two guitarists recording one track each (usually they double if its a band with one guitarist). So with two guitarists, you want two tracks total. Of course you could do more, but I wouldn't think you'd need more.

It's not unusual to record more than 2 takes, specially with riffs. The trick is to play accurate as possible to make takes tight („perfectly“ aligned) and that means better impact and bigger sound. With inaccurate takes you will get the mud. Use less drive/gain than usual – better definition.

For more than 2 takes you can change guitar, amp, amp settings, mic, alternate finger positions on the neck (if possible) – all sounds different. With 4 takes (each player 2 ) you can pan at 100 and 75 or 50 %. With 8 - the real wall.

Take day or two to play with. 8-) Remember, accuracy means – everything !


Another added "trick" is to record as normal... e.g.

record track 1 - pan to 10 o'clock
record track 2 - pan to 3 o'clock

Then take a short verb with a short pre-delay or a straight delay on each track and pan it wide to the opposite side... e.g.

delay track 2 - pan to 8-9 o'clock
delay track 1 - pan to 3-4 o'clock

The width and length of delay is dependant on the material and isn't always appropriate, but when it works, it WORKS!

Start with something in the 20-45 mS range and go from there. This can take some time, but if you've doubled accurately, it can add some real thick wall of power sound to your mix. Again, it isn't always the right thing, so don't expect it to work... If nothing else, just keep this in the ol' tool box to try.


man i just tried it and i just hate the tone im getting. Its not like tones on here or is just i need a really nice preamp. I have no warmth at all. its just like blah in your face tone. i tried messing with the eq on the amp but itsjust the same. doy ouhave any suggestions on mic placement, volumes of recording, compression. The presonus preamp settings or if the digi002s in's sound better what should i do. lol. thanks once again.

Have you maybe a AKG d112 ? try combination with 57 and 112 on the same take (but different tracks).

nahh i dont. but maybe i should. lol. thats like the second time ive heard about that mic this week. is there any other options i can try. i feel like maybe compression, cause i have the slightest idea of the best setup for compression and limiting. i am using plugin compression and limiting that came with protools.

OK, try half of what I posted...

Track 1 gat...

Mix to one side either 3 or 10 o'clock.

Add an aux returned 35 ms delay panned to the mirrored opposite side.

If just that alone sounds like a$$, then it's possibly either your recording technique or your channel eq... You mention that you don't like the "tone"... what part?

Don't boost what you like, cut what you DON'T like. Lather rinse, repeat... pan to the opposite side.... any better?


You could always do a 'Bob Rock' like on Metallica's Black album and multitrack all the rhythm guitars 20 times each for that 'wall of sound' effect !

thanks everyone. Im starting to get the sound i want but i still think maybe a nice pre like a avalon 737 would give me exactly what i want cause im stilling lacking the real warm evenly compressed sound that i want and that tends to be what most people i hear say nice preamps give you.

tempest1226 wrote: thanks everyone. Im starting to get the sound i want but i still think maybe a nice pre like a avalon 737 would give me exactly what i want cause im stilling lacking the real warm evenly compressed sound that i want and that tends to be what most people i hear say nice preamps give you.

How exactlly are you micing the amp? That has A LOT to do with the type of sound you are getting from your amp.

just curious, with all those takes and that much panning. Say 4 left and 4 right, wont the guitar sound "too big" and take up just too much space and make it that much harder to get it to sit well in the mix?

Have you thought about Tape. If it's warmth you're looking for then that's the best way to get it. You can record (capture) digitaly, and then put it on tape for the warmth.

This is just personal preferrence but I think the best tones I've ever heard were single tracks of guitar. Just really good tone out of an amp
(or amps or one amp mic'd in stereo) but definitely one guitar. If you can't get one guitar track to sound good on it's own, I think that is an issue in itself. Doubling it is just going to sound like two bad sounding guitar tracks.

Incidentally, I've heard a lot of people complain about recording Dual Rectifiers. That, it's difficult to get a good recorded tone out of them. Of course this is just opinion.

At any rate have a listen to Elton John-Captain Fantastic and The Brown Dirt Cowboy. When the rhythm guitar comes in. It's just an amazingly creamy overdrive. Yeah it's not Metal distortion but you get my drift.

Dude, u cant slag off the wall of sound like that. Multi guitar tracks are the tits. Just listen to anything off the new machinehead album, anything mike oldfield has ever recorded and brian god damn may.

speaking of which, a really wierd, time consuming trick- work out how to play guitar parts just on one string per track, i.e. normally u play a whole g chord but with this u play the e string on one track the a string on the next track and so on.

I'm not slagging doubling tracks. I do it all the time. What I'm saying is that doubling a bad sounding guitar is just going to sound like two tracks of bad tone.

The Mutt Lange thing with tracking each string is overkill as far as I'm concerned. Especially when you consider he was doing that with (analog?) tape at the time so we're talking three 24track reel to reels slaved to each other at least. It seems a little ridiculous. At any rate, the albums he did with Def Leopard did sound great. I still think it borders on O.C.D. control freakism.

Off topic: did you get your username from Godzilla vs. Megalon?

Yes, yes I did. also the name of my band not to be confused with Uzbekistanien electro grindcore band Jet Jaguar KR-3 (check them out its hilarious.) Check out in about a months time once we've finished recording.

It can be overkill but it gives the same flexibility of say the gibson digital guitar that u can create huge layers of varied tone as u can have different sounds on each string. I find this usefull for giving more appropriate EQ for almost each note. for basic sounds ure probably right and i never realised that Lange used it to.

first off yes hard pan left then rerecord hard panned right will sound a ton better than just one track (thats assuming youre not using some great stereo miking in your room)

and for original poster, just a tad of reverb could help warm it up, or amp placement, or even throw a tube screamer on low gain in front of your amp (boss overdrive works sufficiently as well) that REALLY gets a cleaner drive and feeds some nice mids in for warmth (eq doesnt work as well imo).

as for individual strings, um yeah, that would sound more like an orchestra of guitar than a single guitar hard driving an amp, wouldnt it? im no expert on recording, but when i recorded one of my songs parts harmonizing single strings (it was a minor and a couple major chords not power chords) compared to when i use to just play both strings together it sounded completely different (and appropriate for the piece in question)

and this isnt necessarily for first poster, it gives the opposite of a warm bluesy effect, but in response to multitracking (and anyone who can benefit from it):

well lately ive been recording 4 tracks for just the rhythem (or panned melodies), and 2 for centered leads (room for harmony)

i pan hard left, then half way left (around 9 o clock)
hard right, then at half way right (around 3 o clock)

that gives me 2 very wide guitars and 2 somewhat wide guitars and helps keep it from sounding too spread and unnatural, but it doesnt sound monoish (for lack of better term). then the vocals sit in between them to fill in and still stand out well enough.

it actually gives the exact opposite effect you think. i started out recording at i think -4db on my guitars, now theyve all dropped to -7db to compensate for the loudness boost. it thickens up the sound a ton but it still sounds crystal clear. best i can describe it is a cross between going from 5 to 10 on your gain (without losing the dynamics) and adding a verb to vocals to smooth them out a tad.

now if i can just get my hands on some better guitar gear so i can mess around with multiple mics, and id love to try 2 guitar amps as well (boogie and a jsx i imagine would sound perfect for me).

just something i ran into lately i thought could help.