Join Bobby Owsinski for an in-depth discussion in this video Swept midrange guitar trick, part of Audio Mixing Master Class.
- [Instructor] Sometimes you need an exceptionally thick guitar sound, but the guitar wasn't recorded that way. Here's a way to find the frequencies that you need to make that guitar thick while still keeping it bright enough to cut through the mix. So first of all, in this particular song, we have three guitars and they all have pretty much the same sound, so what's going to happen, they're going to disappear into the mix and they're not particularly thick either, they're kind of on the thin side, one's thinner than the other two. First of all, have a listen to all of them together. (guitar music) Now if we were to pan all of these exactly the same place, have a listen, because there's no definition between them.
(guitar music) The only way that we can get some definition is to pan them in different places. Have a listen and then we'll listen in the track. (guitar music) ♪ How to live ♪ ♪ Every day is a chance, oh ♪ Now let's say we want this particular guitar here to sound thicker than it is because it's not particularly thick right now.
(guitar music) What we'll do is we'll take an EQ and again, I'm taking just the normal seven band pro tools EQ here and what we'll do is actually sweep around in the midrange. Have a listen. (guitar music) Now this actually might sound pretty good in the track. Should sound thicker. Let's listen. ♪ Every day is a gift ♪ (guitar music) ♪ Every day is a lesson how to live ♪ ♪ Every day is a chance, oh, ♪ ♪ To sit it out ♪ Now you can hear we made it thicker and that might work for the song and it might not.
If this was the only guitar in the song, this would probably be perfect, but since it isn't, we might actually want to keep it more on the thin side. These other two tracks are different though. Let's bypass this. We'll actually turn this off and we'll have a listen to these now. (guitar music) Now they both sound pretty much the same. Let's see if we can thicken this right one up a little bit. Have a listen. (guitar music) I can hear there's a big difference there.
Now if we listen to both of them together, now have a listen. (guitar music) And now you can hear that the right one definitely has a different sound from the left. Now let's listen in the track. ♪ Every day is a gift ♪ (guitar music) ♪ Every day is a lesson how to live ♪ ♪ Every day is a chance, oh ♪ ♪ To sit it out or join the dance ♪ Now you can hear when I took the EQ off on the last few bars, all of a sudden it disappeared from the mix.
Now the level went down a little bit, but it's also the frequency area. When you add some mids, and right here we're adding right around 1K, what we're doing is we're beefing up that midrange, making it a different sound than the other guitars and yet making it sound really good where it's going to step out of the mix and fill it up a little bit in that area, if it's needed, if the song requires it. But we can do something else with this as well. We don't always have to boost, sometimes we can cut as well and do the same thing.
Now let's listen here. Once we find the frequency that we like, if we just invert it and go the opposite way, now watch. (guitar music) Now what happened is there's a nice pocket for the other guitar, the guitar on the left, to actually fill in, so now what happens is we can hear the two guitars very distinctly, so you don't always have to add that midrange, you can actually add the midrange just to find the frequency and then invert it, so in other words, if you're adding five dB, just make it -5 dB and you'll find that that can work almost as well.
Listen in the track. ♪ Every day is a gift ♪ (guitar music) ♪ Every day is a lesson how to live ♪ ♪ Every day is a chance, oh ♪ See, what happened there when I bypassed the second guitar, the guitar on the right, what happened was it actually disappeared into the mix a little bit. When we scoop out a little bit of the the midrange, what ends up happening is it's a little more distinct and there's a frequency hole for it to fit better and for the other guitar to actually fit better.
When a guitar track needs a bit more meat to fill out a mix, insert an EQ with a variable midrange across the guitar channel, then boost the mids by about 10 dB and sweep the frequencies to find the thickest sound. Once you find the frequency that works best in the track, decrease the amount of boost to taste.
See how the pros handle the critical balance between the bass and drums. Learn where, when, why, and how EQ should be used on virtually any instrument. Become proficient in tailoring just the right effect for each particular mixing situation. And master the key to fat and punchy sounding mixes: compression. Tune in every Thursday for a new tip!
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- Making vocals shine
- Adding excitement to boring pad tracks
- Setting up your mix to get the best results in the least amount of time
Skill Level Intermediate
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