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Equalizing the electric guitar

From: Audio Mixing Bootcamp

Video: Equalizing the electric guitar

Electric guitars whether they're clean or distorted are very dependent upon how they sit in the track with other instruments in order to be heard in the mix. In some cases like with the big distorted guitar playing power chords, it may be better for the guitar to actually blend in with the rest of the instruments rather than be heard distinctly. But at other times, you want to make sure you hear every note of every guitar. In this video, I'm going to show you a few tips for equalizing electric guitar. The first thing we're going to do is have a listen to this song and there's actually two electric guitars in it and see if you can hear them both.

Equalizing the electric guitar

Electric guitars whether they're clean or distorted are very dependent upon how they sit in the track with other instruments in order to be heard in the mix. In some cases like with the big distorted guitar playing power chords, it may be better for the guitar to actually blend in with the rest of the instruments rather than be heard distinctly. But at other times, you want to make sure you hear every note of every guitar. In this video, I'm going to show you a few tips for equalizing electric guitar. The first thing we're going to do is have a listen to this song and there's actually two electric guitars in it and see if you can hear them both.

(Music playing) They sound pretty much the same and that's the problem. It's really hard to tell the difference between the two, and that's where some EQ comes in. So let's Solo Electric Guitar number 1, have a listen to it. (Music playing) Actually it doesn't sound too bad, but let's EQ it. We can make it sound better.

Go to our trusty 4-Band EQ. And the first thing we'll do is we'll add the high-pass filter and the reason why is an electric guitar doesn't have a whole lot going on way down under 100 cycles or so. So the first thing we'll do is we'll disconnect these frequency bands and that opens up our high-pass filter, go to 12dB per octave and then we'll go to maybe 150 hertz. And let's have a listen. (Music playing) As we switch the EQ in and out, you really can't hear the difference between having the high-pass filter in the signal path or not having it in the signal path.

Sometimes it really makes EQing simple when you just use the high-pass filter and you bring them up to 1 or 2K. And sometimes a guitar will just jump out because all of those low frequencies are now attenuated and they get out of the way of some instruments that have a lot more low frequencies that are part of their sound. But that's not all we're going to do. We're actually going to add some other EQ to make it more defined and stick out in the mix a little bit. So somewhere between 1.5 and 2.5K gives a guitar presence, so we're going to start there.

We'll go right at 2K and I'm going to play it and add some EQ as we listen. (Music playing) I can hear it's a lot more defined.

Let's have a listen in the track. Let's see if we can hear the difference between both guitars. (Music playing) That's a little better but both of them still sound pretty much the same. This is probably because they sound like there were two Gibsons of some type and maybe both are into the same type of amplifier, Marshals perhaps.

So this is usually the case where both guitars sound pretty much the same and this is why a lot of studio guys have different guitars and different amplifiers that they can mix and match just so they can sound a little bit different and stick out in the track. So let's listen to Guitar number 2 by itself. (Music playing) Once again it doesn't sound so bad by itself, but we can help it out with some EQ and let's go to our native 4-Band EQ plug-in.

And again, the first thing we'll do is we'll roll off the low end with the high-pass filter. We're going to do that by disabling the Low Frequency and Low Mid Frequency bands, and that opens up the ability for us to insert a high-pass filter. And let's go to 150 cycles or so. Have a listen. (Music playing) Once again you don't hear too much of a difference and the reason why is there is just not a lot of low-frequency information happening down there.

If we wanted, we can move the frequency of the high-pass filter up even higher and get rid of even more low frequencies in order to shape the sound a bit more. Let's try that and just here what it sounds like. Let's go up to about 800 and have a listen. (Music playing) You can hear it's a lot smaller sounding. Let's listen in the track and see if there's difference between both guitars now. (Music playing) There is a little bit of a difference but not a whole lot.

And that's because we have to shape that sound a little bit more, so we'll bring this back down to 150 or so. And we're going to look at the first electric guitar and look at where it was EQed. And now we can see that there's a peak that's at 2K and it's a 4.7 dB peak. And what we're going to do is come over to our second guitar and we're going to go to 4.7. But now where the other one peaked, what we're going to do is we're going to put a dip in there, 4.7.

And now what happens is it carves out a frequency range where one is actually emphasized in that area and the other one is deemphasized. Let's have a listen. (Music playing) Little bit of a difference. Let's Solo them up, have a listen. (Music playing) So it's a little bit better. Now we're getting more defined. Now of course what we'd normally do is we'd pan these left and right and there would be a lot more definition that way.

But if we can do it in mono, it's going to sound even better when we pan them out in stereo. So the next thing we're going to do is we're going to add a little bit of 2.5 to 3K, somewhere in there, because that's going to give this a little bit of presence. So we have to disable our High Frequency band and enable our Mid Frequency band. We'll come to about 2K. Let's give it a little boost here and have a listen between them. (Music playing) Now you can hear a big difference between them.

And we're actually going to move this down a little towards 1K and have a listen. (Music playing) Now we can hear the difference. Now let's put them back in the track, we'll unsolo, have a listen. (Music playing) And watch what happens when we pan them. We pan them about three quarters left and right. Have a listen now.

(Music playing) Now we can tweak these even more and probably if we're doing a full-on mix we'll spend a little bit more time tweaking everything so there would be a lot more definition between the guitars. But this is where we'd start and this is how we do it. So remember there are frequencies to look at when you're EQing electric guitar. Somewhere around 2 to 5K gives a presence; somewhere around 4K you can hear the pick noise and it makes it brighter.

Now if you want to make it full, between 240 and 500 actually gives you some fullness. But there is usually never much below 150 cycles. So you can use a high- pass filter and cut that off.

Show transcript

This video is part of

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Audio Mixing Bootcamp

103 video lessons · 19074 viewers

Bobby Owsinski
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 16s
    1. Welcome
      1m 16s
  2. 8m 20s
    1. Determining the listening position
      2m 27s
    2. Fixing acoustic problems
      2m 5s
    3. Setting up your monitors
      3m 48s
  3. 20m 17s
    1. Setting up your session
      5m 52s
    2. Setting up your subgroups
      7m 50s
    3. Setting up your effects
      6m 35s
  4. 8m 45s
    1. Developing the groove
      3m 46s
    2. Emphasizing the most important elements
      3m 44s
    3. Knowing what to avoid
      1m 15s
  5. 1h 4m
    1. Learning the principles of building a mix
      1m 1s
    2. Assigning the drums to a subgroup
      3m 55s
    3. Building the mix from the kick
      10m 8s
    4. Building the mix from the snare
      8m 46s
    5. Building the mix from the toms
      5m 25s
    6. Building the mix from the overhead mics
      3m 53s
    7. Checking the drum phase
      4m 44s
    8. Balancing direct and miked bass channels
      3m 36s
    9. Building the mix from the bass
      3m 26s
    10. Building the mix from the vocals
      4m 19s
    11. Balancing the rhythm section
      2m 44s
    12. Balancing the rest of the instruments with the rhythm section
      5m 22s
    13. Making a mix without building it
      4m 20s
    14. Balancing the harmony vocals
      2m 35s
  6. 23m 2s
    1. Looking at the three main panning areas
      9m 23s
    2. Panning the drums
      6m 9s
    3. Avoiding pseudo-stereo
      7m 30s
  7. 1h 17m
    1. Understanding compressor parameters
      3m 42s
    2. Setting up the compressor
      14m 44s
    3. Compressing the drums
      7m 53s
    4. Compressing the room mics
      4m 9s
    5. Compressing the bass
      5m 24s
    6. Using the New York compression trick
      4m 23s
    7. Compressing the clean electric guitars
      4m 40s
    8. Compressing the distorted electric guitars
      4m 48s
    9. Compressing the acoustic guitars
      8m 7s
    10. Compressing the piano
      6m 35s
    11. Compressing the electric keyboards
      4m 32s
    12. Compressing the vocals
      4m 34s
    13. Compressing the horns
      3m 55s
  8. 25m 36s
    1. Learning noise gate basics
      9m 23s
    2. Using the noise gate on guitars
      3m 57s
    3. Using the noise gate on drums
      7m 38s
    4. Learning de-esser basics
      2m 15s
    5. Using the de-esser on vocals
      2m 23s
  9. 36m 4s
    1. Understanding equalizer parameters
      10m 16s
    2. Learning subtractive equalization
      8m 57s
    3. Learning frequency juggling
      8m 28s
    4. Using the magic high-pass filter
      7m 39s
    5. Learning the principles of equalization
      44s
  10. 49m 46s
    1. Equalizing the kick
      6m 7s
    2. Equalizing the snare
      2m 57s
    3. Equalizing the rack toms
      5m 4s
    4. Equalizing the floor tom
      4m 32s
    5. Equalizing the hi-hat
      4m 56s
    6. Equalizing the cymbal or the overhead mics
      6m 49s
    7. Equalizing the room mics
      5m 13s
    8. Equalizing the bass
      3m 59s
    9. Editing the bass rhythm
      4m 21s
    10. Equalizing the rhythm section
      5m 48s
  11. 47m 58s
    1. Equalizing the electric guitar
      8m 15s
    2. Equalizing the acoustic guitar
      4m 55s
    3. Equalizing the hand percussion
      3m 28s
    4. Equalizing the lead vocals
      6m 5s
    5. Equalizing the background vocals
      4m 14s
    6. Equalizing the piano
      4m 46s
    7. Equalizing the organ
      6m 49s
    8. Equalizing the strings
      6m 4s
    9. Equalizing the horns
      3m 22s
  12. 30m 47s
    1. Learning the principles of reverb
      1m 59s
    2. Understanding reverb parameters
      6m 49s
    3. Timing the reverb to the track
      6m 6s
    4. Equalizing the reverb
      2m 51s
    5. Using the two-reverb quick setup
      5m 35s
    6. Using the three-reverb setup
      7m 27s
  13. 59m 8s
    1. Adding reverb to the drums
      7m 56s
    2. Adding reverb to the vocals
      11m 59s
    3. Adding reverb to the guitars
      5m 17s
    4. Adding reverb to the piano
      4m 19s
    5. Adding reverb to the organ
      3m 43s
    6. Adding reverb to the strings
      5m 36s
    7. Adding reverb to the horns
      2m 57s
    8. Adding reverb to the percussion
      4m 46s
    9. Using reverb to layer the mix
      12m 35s
  14. 46m 8s
    1. Learning delay principles
      1m 40s
    2. Understanding delay parameters
      6m 54s
    3. Timing the delay to the track
      1m 28s
    4. Using delay timing variations
      2m 51s
    5. Equalizing the delay
      4m 23s
    6. Understanding the Haas effect
      2m 51s
    7. Using the three-delay setup
      7m 23s
    8. Adding delay to the vocals
      8m 43s
    9. Using delay to layer the mix
      9m 55s
  15. 21m 35s
    1. Understanding the types of modulation
      2m 43s
    2. Understanding modulation parameters
      4m 13s
    3. Modulating the guitars
      4m 7s
    4. Modulating the keyboards
      3m 17s
    5. Modulating the vocals
      4m 17s
    6. Modulating the strings
      2m 58s
  16. 12m 22s
    1. Mixing with subgroups
      5m 5s
    2. Using mix buss compression
      4m 21s
    3. Understanding the evils of hypercompression
      2m 56s
  17. 39s
    1. Goodbye
      39s

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