Pro Audio Files

Production Techniques for Electric Guitar: Part 1

Transcript
Hi, it’s Warren Huart here. Hope you’re doing marvelously well.

Today, I’d like to talk about basic recording guitar production techniques. So, not just getting the guitar tone, but just how to use guitars, you know, in an effective way to maybe make the choruses bigger, and also, you know, different techniques that I use to sort of separate guitars.

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Okay, so let’s get started. What I’m going to do is I want a pair of heavy rhythm guitars in a chorus to make the chorus huge, and also to make the guitars wide. It’s not just about the mixing, but I’m actually going to show you a couple of subtle techniques that I use for recording guitars so they sound big and wide.

Okay, so let’s get started.

Okay, great, so what I’m going to do is I’m going to lay is some simple rakes on this chorus. Just to lift the chorus a little bit. There’s already a heavy guitar in Drop D, actually, playing a cool sequence. So chugging through in a kind of grungy way, but now what I’m going to do is I’m just going to put a pair of rakes just for a lift.

Now, let’s listen to the track so you can hear what it is.

[mix]

There’s already a couple of guitar parts in there. You can hear the grungy kind of rhythm that’s chunking through with the Drop D, and there’s also like, a high line that I put in.

So this is really just going to reinforce the grungier guitar to give it a little bit of definition. Not going to be super loud in there, but the most important thing is I need this to sound wide.

Now, not all of us have tons of amps to choose from, so if you’re just going to use one amp, here’s a little trick that I’ve used, and — so what I’ll do is I use one guitar, the same guitar, I use the same amp, but to get width in stereo things, I do a little tiny little tweak, and I’ll show you what it is.

So here, I’m using my Les Paul. Personally, the reason why I like this for rakes is because it has this Evertune system on it. Basically, what it is is it keeps the guitar perfectly in tune and it keeps the intonation great, so it makes life for doubling guitars really easy, because the — you know, the tuning will remain constant.

But anyway, so here is the part.

[guitar rakes]

Now what you can see I’ve done is I’ve got an EchoTone delay pedal here. You can use any delay pedal, I just personally liked this one because it has a tone control on it, and it sounds very analog to me. And I don’t want a digital kind of delay that muddies up the strum, because if you listen to the strum…

[guitar strum]

See, the delays that come after it are warm sounding, because I’ve wound the tone down, so I can have the definition, but it adds to the sustain. The reason for adding to the sustain is I’m moving between chords.

[guitar strums with delay]

And it helps smooth out those chord changes. You know, in the past, when I first started producing, I would actually play each chord independently, and then punch in, because I didn’t want that kind of, you know…

[DI guitar strums]

You know, where you kind of play a chord and then have to move your hand, but I’ve found now, just put a little bit of delay. The feedback is a little short here, so I’m going to lengthen the feedback. So I’ll just turn the feedback up, and you’ll hear that covers my hand movement.

[guitar with delay]

So a little delay on the rakes is great. Now, the second thing I do is I use a chorus. Now, I’m blessed here, because I have this Carl Martin chorus that has two different chorus settings, but you don’t have to have a chorus that has two different chorus settings, you can just have one chorus and then change it.

So what I do is I use the depth pretty low. It’s not super high here, you can see the depth is down there, but I changed the speed so one, the speed is super fast, and one — one is fast and one is really fast, I should say.

So let’s go for the first one here. I’m going to turn it on.

[guitar, chorus and delay]

You can hear it.

[guitar]

Bring the depth down a little bit…

[guitar, lower depth]

So let’s try doing one side of this stereo guitar part.

[music]

Cool, so that’s our first track. Now all we’re going to do is we’re going to go to the other setting with the faster speed and a different depth setting to get some real width. We’ll take the old one, pan it left, create a new track, pan it right, and I’ll double what I just did, and that will give us some width, but now I’m going to click on the other side, and it’s going to go to the even faster speed.

[song]

Great. So I left the delay the same both times. You could change the delay up, but that isn’t as big a deal to me as using that chorus with slightly different rates and depths, and all it’s doing is slightly detuning the guitar, but if we solo those two panned hard left and hard right, you can see how wide they feel.

[raked guitars, soloed]

Thanks ever so much for watching. If you have any questions about guitar production, please leave them in the comments below. I’d love to answer them. I love this discussion that we have about recording. I learn a lot as well. You guys give me different tips and it’s great to share them.

Please go to producelikeapro.com and sign up, and on the email list, and you’ll get free stuff, you’ll also get access to our Vimeos where you can see drum recording techniques, you can download drum files recorded by Greg D’Angelo to edit, you can see the piano recording one, and there’s lots of fun things to do.

And subscribe! Thank you ever so much for watching and I really appreciate it! Have a marvelous time recording.

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Warren Huart

Warren Huart

Warren Huart is an English record producer/musician/composer and recording engineer based in Los Angeles, California. Learn more at producelikeapro.com.
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