Many of you have this simple problem.
The guitar keeps getting in the way of the vocal. It drowns it out with the rocking riffs or spacious chords.
Not that the guitar isn’t sounding absolutely amazing. It’s just that the vocal is kind of the main point here. It’s all about the vocal. Unless there’s a solo, the guitar shouldn’t be drowning out the vocal.
However, before you start resorting to tricky EQ tricks like scooping the high-mids out of the guitar to make room for the vocal – a trick commonly used to make those two instruments fit together – try this.
Turn the Guitar Down
Just use the volume stupid. Maybe the guitar is drowning out your vocal because it’s just too plain loud. If you are a guitarist(and I am) then you have probably made this mistake time and again(I have).
If the vocal fits with everything else, maybe the guitar is just being a big fat bully. Turn that sucker down and notice how much space the vocal gets immediately.
There’s this tendency to keep pushing the volume up on everything while you’re mixing. The first order of business while mixing is to get the levels right. You can make a well recorded song sit right from the start by just using the faders. Then, after all the EQ and compression, you should keep track of how that affects the levels you set in the beginning.
Side-Chain Guitar Dance
If you can’t get a good result using just the volume of the guitar, try using side-chain compression to make the guitar breathe with the vocal. That way the guitar can duck out of the way every time the vocal comes in. It’s a nice little dance between the instrument that works well without you having to resort to any drastic EQ changes.
If you want more guitar production tricks I have a full chapter devoted to guitars in both my Recording and Mixing Strategies eBooks. Learn how to get a clean and pristine guitar tone(or even a really raunchy one) as well an invaluable checklist on guitar mixing do’s and dont’s.
Grab your copy here:
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