If you’re looking for new arrangement ideas for guitar, check out my 4 ways to a groovier guitar production.
1. Find the Sweet Spot
The sweet spot is where the instrument sounds the best. Usually this is a pretty subjective sound, but there are some guidelines to go by.
- Acoustic Guitar – The sweet spot is usually where the neck meets the body, around the 12th fret. This is where you get a balanced sound, or a good combination of highs and lows.
- Electric Guitar – When talking about electric guitars, we’re usually talking about the amplifiers. The sweet spot on an amplifier is where the dust-cap(the center cap) of the cone meets the cone itself. It usually gives you a smooth sound, without the harsh attack of the center of the rounded tone of the edge.
2. Double Track Your Guitars
Double-tracking guitar can be overlooked. You might not have the time to do it, or just can’t seem to make it sound right. When done well, double-tracked guitars really thicken up the guitar sound and make a strummy acoustic track sound lush and wide and a rock guitar sound thick and powerful.
- Acoustic Guitar – If you want a different take on double-tracking acoustic guitars, try different chord voicings with a capo. Check out How to Create a Wall of Acoustic Guitars for more information.
- Electric Guitar – Double-tracked rock guitars are tricky. You need to have a tightly recorded double in order for them to sound good together. Check out Jon Tidey’s great post on double tracking rock guitars
3. Find a Space
If you have a lot of guitar tracks, chances are they are all fighting for the same frequencies. You can’t make all your guitars sit on the same frequency. They’ll get in the way of each other and it will create a cluttered mess out of your guitar sound.
Create a space for each guitar track with EQ. If you’re boosting one frequency on a particular guitar track, cut it on the other. Give each guitar track an individual EQ curve, so that each guitar has their own space. This makes each guitar stand out on its own, giving you better definition and clarity in your guitars.
4. Smooth out the Edges
Sometimes you need to smooth out your guitar sound. They can sound a little rough around the edges. Your acoustic guitar might have a clangy string sound or your electric might have too much distorted hiss.
- Acoustic Guitar – Are you dealing with an acoustic guitar that sounds brittle and hars? This ”cheap-o” sound of an acoustic guitar can be mellowed out with EQ. Reducing the mids, around 800 Hz mellows out the brittle string sound and increases the warmth.
- Electric Guitar – Noisy hiss from distorted guitars can really ruin an otherwise great take. Use a low-pass filter to take out all the unnecessary highs you don’t need. If that doesn’t work, try cutting in the high mids. Too much of 4 – 8 kHz can really bring a guitar sound down with too much hiss.
ReThink Guitar Production
If you’re still struggling with guitar production, or just want to know more about it, then head on over to The Recording Revolution. Graham Cochrane just released a new addition to his ReThink series, ReThink Guitars.
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