Join 30,000 Audio Issues Subscribers and Get Your FREE 10-Step Cheatsheet That Make Your Mixes Sound Awesome Next to Your Favorite Albums, Using the Plug-ins You Already Have

7 Quick and Dirty EQ Fixes for the Guitar


Where can I pin-point that annoying tinny sound from my guitar? What guitar frequency is that? that boomy and muddy sound out of your guitar production?

Any of those questions sounds familiar?

Just like with every other instrument, the guitar responds to boosts and cuts in the audio frequency spectrum. There are specific guitar frequency areas that make the guitar sound a specific way. Here are 7 quick and dirty tricks to make your guitar mixing smoother.

1. Yucky Low-End

Usually, a good place to start your guitar mixing is to filter out the low-end. Cut everything below 100 Hz as a general rule. Filter all the way up until your guitar starts sounding thin, then back off a little.

Acoustic guitars might need a little more bass, especially if there’s no bass. A boost at 80 Hz can lighten the low-end clutter while still giving your acoustic some weight.

2. Guitar Thickness

Add thickness to the guitar in the 150 Hz area. Be careful since you can easily pile on the low-mids, but if your guitar sounds thin then it can benefit from the added thickness from 150-200 Hz. I use this guitar frequency a lot if I feel the guitars should have more bass and power.

3. The Fundamental Guitar Frequency

Boosts in the 500 Hz area can compete with the snare drum so make sure that they aren’t clashing with each other.

4. Honk and Presence

If your guitar starts sounding tinny or “honky,” a nice cut in the 1-2 kHz can round out the sound. However, if you feel that your guitar lacks presence, you can pull it to the front of the mix by boosting in the 3 kHz area.

5. High Frequency Hiss

Highly distorted guitars can add a substantial amount of hiss and noise to a mix. Be especially careful when you’re boosting in the high mids since you might introduce more hiss than guitar.

6. Vocal Cut-Through Trick

If you feel like the guitar is getting in the way of the vocal, a simple trick is a wide cut around 3-5 kHz. This can clear up that area in order for the vocal to shine through in a busy mix.

7. Brilliance

After giving the vocal some space, you might need to compensate for the now dull guitar sound. Add some slight boosts in the 8 kHz area for some brilliance. This works especially well on acoustic guitar and clean electrics. Now the vocal can shine through in its own area as well as giving the guitar some additional grace.

Sweep Around

You might need to sweep around the frequency areas to find the exact frequencies where the guitar jumps out and comes alive. Every guitar is different and each one will react differently to a specific guitar frequency.

Use these simple guidelines for a faster EQ workflow. Don’t sweep around the spectrum when you are looking to add some fullness to your guitar. If you already know where you can find it you don’t have to waste time.

If you want a simple, no-fuss guide on EQ, complete with a 1-hour mix walkthrough then head on over and check out my EQ Strategies – Ultimate Guide to EQ.

 


Get Your FREE 10-Step Cheatsheet and Make Your Home Studio Mixes Sound Great Next to Your Favorite Albums, Using the Gear You Already Have

*Spam sucks and I will not share your email with anyone.

About me

About Björgvin Benediktsson

I’m Björgvin Benediktsson. I’m a musician, audio engineer and best-selling author. I help musicians and producers make a greater impact with their music by teaching them how to produce and engineer themselves. I’ve taught thousands of up and coming home studio producers such as yourself how to make an impact with their music through Audio Issues since 2011.

Read more

LEAVE A COMMENT

  • Aaron

    My acoustic sounds really muddy and nasty and no matter what I do, I can’t get rid of this. But I only hear it on some speakers. Is this an EQ issue? Would cutting everything below 100hz take care of this?

  • Aaron

    My acoustic sounds really muddy and nasty and no matter what I do, I can’t get rid of this. But I only hear it on some speakers. Is this an EQ issue? Would cutting everything below 100hz take care of this?

  • Björgvin Benediktsson

    Are the guitars the only thing that sounds nasty on some speakers, or is it everything?
    I would filter below 100 if you have a bass guitar in the mix, to give him some room, but for muddiness I would try to cut around 150 – 250 hz, somewhere in that area. Check out this post http://audioissues.dev/music-mixing/fix-the-muddiness-in-your-music-mixing/ if you’re having problems with muddiness.

  • Björgvin Benediktsson

    Are the guitars the only thing that sounds nasty on some speakers, or is it everything?
    I would filter below 100 if you have a bass guitar in the mix, to give him some room, but for muddiness I would try to cut around 150 – 250 hz, somewhere in that area. Check out this post http://audio-issues.com/music-mixing/fix-the-muddiness-in-your-music-mixing/ if you’re having problems with muddiness.

  • Pingback: 6 Stupid-Ass Electric Guitar Recording Mistakes - Audio Issues()

  • Pingback: 6 Stupid-Ass Electric Guitar Recording Mistakes - Audio Issues()

  • Pingback: The 4 P's of Audio Engineering and Music Production()

  • Pingback: The 4 P's of Audio Engineering and Music Production()

  • Pingback: 6 Stupid-Ass Electric Guitar Recording Mistakes()

  • Pingback: 6 Stupid-Ass Electric Guitar Recording Mistakes()

  • Pingback: How To Get Your Guitar Production to Fit in the Mix()

  • Pingback: How To Get Your Guitar Production to Fit in the Mix()

  • Dhanu

    The major problem I always have is the clear 6th and 5 th string sound and the same time worm 1st and 2nd string sound..that’s my aim….. When the low strings are bright clear , the higher strings are getting more THIN sound…… How can I avoid this situation and get a well balanced sound on clean lead tone ? Help me pls

    • Mygmail

      You’re never going to get the high string to sound as fat as the lows unless you bi-amp and eq each amp different. Plug your guitar into an ABY BOX. Dial out the hi’s on one amp and boost the hi’s on the other. You might need to add a (50ms) millisecond delay with the shortest repeat possible. Crank the balance knob on the delay pedal. You may need to add a chorus pedal with subtlety so that it sounds 3d and not warbly for a more realistic 2 man guitar effect. The chorus on one amp also will tame the lows a little bit so it isn’t so woofy sounding yet punchy glossy . And you can move the treble knob on your amp until you find the sweet spot you like. -You’re welcome.

  • Dhanu

    The major problem I always have is the clear 6th and 5 th string sound and the same time worm 1st and 2nd string sound..that’s my aim….. When the low strings are bright clear , the higher strings are getting more THIN sound…… How can I avoid this situation and get a well balanced sound on clean lead tone ? Help me pls

    • Mygmail

      You’re never going to get the high string to sound as fat as the lows unless you bi-amp and eq each amp different. Plug your guitar into an ABY BOX. Dial out the hi’s on one amp and boost the hi’s on the other. You might need to add a (50ms) millisecond delay with the shortest repeat possible. Crank the balance knob on the delay pedal. You may need to add a chorus pedal with subtlety so that it sounds 3d and not warbly for a more realistic 2 man guitar effect. The chorus on one amp also will tame the lows a little bit so it isn’t so woofy sounding yet punchy glossy . And you can move the treble knob on your amp until you find the sweet spot you like. -You’re welcome.

  • Noah Cole.

    I play a shecter diamond series guitar with active pickups and my only complaint about the guitar is the 1st and 2nd strings being what I think high pitch or not smooth when needed. Any solutions to this problem it would be much appreciated.

    • andrew

      You should get a new guitar. Those diamond series have a terrible sound.

  • Noah Cole.

    I play a shecter diamond series guitar with active pickups and my only complaint about the guitar is the 1st and 2nd strings being what I think high pitch or not smooth when needed. Any solutions to this problem it would be much appreciated.

    • andrew

      You should get a new guitar. Those diamond series have a terrible sound.