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Mixing rock guitar solos

Member for

14 years 7 months
Any general advice on how best to mix a guitar solo for modern rock ala Sevendust and heavier styles. I'm guessing that relatively narrow frequency bands are best suited for this. Last time I recorded an entire CD, I know that solo mixing was a tough part of it. I did ALL kinds of volume automation to try and make things fit and it was "ok" in the end but not great. I know that, on some tracks, the solo came out nice and loud but then, as soon as it ended, I felt as though the whole mix turned down. As if the solo was carrying the greatest amount of the volume. I'm guessing that maybe it has more to do with arrangement, tone, and maybe (I really dont know), a little side chaining to duck the rest of the mix under it? Any advice would be great. By the way, one of my favorite solo tones of all time has got to be Slash's from GNR's tunes like "Sweet Child o' Mine" and "November Rain". It's got a really soulfull mid range that is sweet and smooth without ever being harsh. I'd love some advice on coming up with that tone. Thanks everyone. See you in 10-12 hours.



Member for

21 years

Member Thu, 10/30/2008 - 04:25
While I'm no expert on this, I can give you a few tips. I never turn the rest of the mix down for a solo. In fact, I find that solo guitars don't really need much of a boost in volume, if any. The use of EQ, effects, and panning (or lack thereof) goes a long way. I'd say a solo guitar should cut through the mix, so I'd say boosting 500-2,500 Hz while putting a high pass filter on about 250 Hz is a good idea. You might consider using a low pass too to get a more focused tone if that's what you're after. Reverb is a great idea, and I personally like using a chorus pedal. The other option is to double (triple, quadruple) the solo like Randy Rhoads did. I find that I really don't need to boost the volume for my guitar solos when I apply these strategies, and I only do a single take and pan it exactly the same as the guitar during the rest of the song. That's just my two cents :D . Good luck and God bless.

Member for

13 years 4 months

HemlokSociety Thu, 10/30/2008 - 09:17
Well coming from my standpoint, being a heavy metal guitarist for 10+ yrs moving into a part-time home recordist/mixist(does that word exist? If not it should) it honestly really depends on the sound your after. Sevendust in particular uses a ton of wah-wah in their solos. Metallica keeps it simple maybe a little verb, chorus, delay and Marshall heads and cabs.

Sometimes using delays can create a nice space for that solo to sit in, instead of trying a reverby thingamajig, ha!

Try and think about how the solo itself is played...if its a slower powerballad solo you really need to make that think big with delay honestly.

Also riding the fader to me is way more fun than tryin to get that compressor to be perfect. Make that guitar speak to the listener at whatever costs.

Anyway good luck and if the guitarist cannot hit them notes, dumb it down for him or kill him and buy a new one :)


Member for

17 years 2 months

Groff Fri, 10/31/2008 - 06:43
1. The sound at first place - right choice of guitar/amp with healthy midrange voicing (i.e. L.Paul/Marshall... ). Do not suck the mids on amp (smile eq/hifi). This is the most frequent mistake. It can't be compensated during mixing. If you need sweet singing tone, use the neck humbucker and crank the mids up.

2. Less amp gain... and sweat your fingers

3. 57+421 (proper position and in phase)

4. Mic preamp with upfront character (i.e. API)

5. Arrangement – dilute the background in general, less is more – here your lead guitar speaks!

6. Make background guitars darker (EQ) and with less mids

7. At mixing, focus around the 1300 Hz for the lead (ad a few db, medium Q)

happy hunting

Member for

13 years 3 months

hackenslash Tue, 11/04/2008 - 12:31
Two words:

Sidechain, and compression.

Read up on this. Often, it's not necessary to make space for something like this, when you can get the solo to make its own space, by the process not detailed above.

Any numbers quoted are, except in the broadest sense, meaningless, especially when talking about the range of a guitar solo. Any decisions based on numbers by anyone who hasn't heard the solo in context is guesswork, at best.