Join Josh Harris for an in-depth discussion in this video Adding guitars, part of Remixing Techniques: Arranging and Song Form.
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In keeping with the R&B spirit of this radio remix, I'd like to add guitars, and I'd like the guitars to have a little bit of that classic R&B feel that you hear on old R&B songs. With me in the booth, I have fellow author, David Franz. David has been kind enough to lend his guitar-playing skills to several tracks here in this arrangement. So we're starting about two bars out from the chorus. I'll go ahead and record and David is going to lay down a couple of tracks, and then we'll put them in context with the rest of our arrangement. So here we go.
(music playing) Excellent! So that rhythm part will most likely be panned off to one side, maybe the left side when the final mix is put together.
The next guitar part we're going to add is going to center around the tonic of the song, C#. So I'll start from 2 bars out again, we have our other part in, and I'll turn the first guitar part down a little bit so that it's not a distraction, and let's go ahead and record the second part in. (music playing) Now that we have a couple of tracks of guitars added to the arrangement, let's zoom in on them and make sure that rhythmically everything is tight and what it needs to be.
I'll increase the View Size of the clips and take a listen to them in context, one at a time. So we'll take the first guitar part and I'll back it up one bar before and just pan it off to the left a little bit. (music playing) The part itself feels pretty tight, but I'm not crazy about this note that's hanging over here, so I'll actually delete that, and do the same thing at the end of the phrase and just see if that makes a difference.
The ringing of the notes was not working for me; it was clashing a little bit with the descending bass line. (music playing) Hearing that one part removed gives me an idea for how to edit the front part of the phrase, which will open up even more space around the vocal. (music playing) An edit point right there.
(music playing) And one nice way to go about this is to actually mute this part of the clip, as opposed to deleting it. Just in case I don't like what I did, all I have to do is unmute this part of the clip and I'm back to where I was. (music playing) That sounds much better to me.
And so I want the parts to be exactly the same, from the first four bars and the last four bars. So I will highlight a 4-bar section and copy and paste it, and I can trim off this 1 bar preroll here. So now let's take a listen to guitar one all the way through the end of the chorus, and we don't need this extra bit here. (music playing) I'll zoom in here and take out these last two chords as that bass line begins to descend.
(music playing) This guitar part feels a lot tighter to me, and it's not clashing with the other instrumentation that we currently have in the arrangement. (music playing) So now it's time to move on to guitar number two, and I'll leave guitar one in because both of these parts need to work together, but I will pan it off to the left even more and I'll pan guitar number two over to the right a little bit so that there's some separation between the two parts.
Let's take a listen. (music playing) Right away I can tell that I need to apply the same treatment to this part as I did to guitar number one. So I'll cut out the same areas that I did in guitar one, and let's take a listen to just these first couple of bars. (music playing) I think I like these first two bars the best, and I will just commit to them right now.
That felt very tight, both those parts together. We can solo them out and listen to them together. (music playing) That's very tight. So I will just use the first two bars of the guitar and paste them. Again, it will feel like a sample, something that was maybe sampled off of an old record. And now we can listen to our chorus with both guitar parts in, and here we go. (music playing) I need to go in here and get rid of these last couple of notes and just double-check and make sure that these are ending together.
(music playing) That works for me. So the important take-home is that even after a couple of guitar parts are tracked, you certainly should spend some time zooming and editing, cutting and pasting, and experimenting with tightening the parts up to give them a slightly different feel. I want a live player on the track, but I also would like the guitar parts to feel like maybe I grabbed them out of an old sample library, and the best way to achieve that is to zoom in and edit out certain parts of the performance.
- Reviewing the different types of arranging: music, remix, and radio/club
- Referencing a previous version of the song
- Listening to stems
- Creating a sketch arrangement
- Adding synths and guitars
- Developing the drums and bass
- Using time stretching
- Creating a radio edit from a club mix
- Adding special effects like drum fills and delays