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Tips for Producing Guitar with Warren Huart

Transcript
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Alright, so I’m back here with my trusty Yamaha Revstar, which I love dearly. It sounds amazing. I’ve got this same song up that we had, like, a week or two ago when we did that really cool production trick using a bass guitar playing on the D string and a wah pedal.

So we’re going to keep that same stuff, and now we’re going to do some other overdubs. We’re going to talk about voicings, and we’re going to talk about different kind of production techniques that we can make to do this.

So here’s the chorus as it stands at the moment.

[mix, chorus]

So it’s just a big, grungy song. I mean, that’s the whole idea of this song is it was kind of grungy. When you know who it’s about, you’ll understand why. Answers on a postcard, please. So what’s going on? I’ve basically got guitar and bass basically doing this.

[guitar]

Just a big wall of rhythm guitar, and a bass playing along with it.

Okay, so what can we do? Now, there’s voicing stuff. Obviously, we’ve got a lot of this area, and we’ve got some of the…

[guitar]

One of the first things we could try is just literally…

[lead guitar]

We could do that to add to it, so let’s just hear what that sounds like. Now, what that is is just the highest two notes of the chords reinforcing it, but bear in mind, they’re sort of in the voicing, with the exception of that E.

So why don’t we try going above it a bit more? So if that’s the B minor, let’s try the B, the D, the A, the E. Those won’t get in the way. But let’s just try it, literally a straight kind of down strokes. So mirroring the rhythm.

[mix]

So it kind of works. It’s cool, it’s interesting, but it’s just now adding a lot more to the grunge. So why don’t we do this? We could do this obviously with a guitar pedal, but let’s open up a plugin delay.

So I’m going to go to an H-Delay, because they’re dumb and they do the job really quickly.

[guitar]

It’s set fully wet at the moment. Let’s make it mainly dry.

[guitar with delay]

So there’s sort of like — there could be something in there with that dotted eighth note. It’ll add a different kind of movement, so let’s just mess around with that for a second.

[mix]

Now you’ll notice, I didn’t have a problem with playing dead notes.

[guitar]

I like the dead notes. So what I’m going to do is I’m now going to just duplicate that whole thing. So I’ll take that one which is panned right at the moment, and do another one panned left.

Just going to repeat the idea.

[mix]

So it’s a pretty straightforward idea, but what I like about it, and I’ll just do a little cleanup here, what I like about it is I can bury it and just use it for movement, because it’s also adding like, [imitates delay]. So if we create another pair, we could play an octave lower, which would be quite simple.

[lower guitar]

That might actually be quite nice. Let’s try it.

[song]

So pretty straightforward idea. You know, you can see how dumb it was, the part I played. It didn’t take much effort at all really to do it. So we’re going to double this part now, panned to the other side.

[music]

So cool. Very simple part that creates movement. It doesn’t even have to be that loud. I can bring it down quite considerably and just make it something that just kind of moves it along a little bit. All I’m doing here is like, when you’re working with artists with other guitar players and stuff like that, is getting to think outside of the box. I remember — I won’t say who the band is, but I remember this particular rock band that I was working with, and I was engineering, and the producer was trying to inspire, and everybody in the band wanted to play guitar, but everybody was playing variations of…

[guitar]

You know, it was all like… Whatever. Everybody was like, “Oh,” they were just playing different versions of the same chord all over the place, and what we’re trying to do here is not clutter up too much. We’ve got an octave higher than the original chords we were playing, and we’re playing something like a low octave to it, but it’s not really messing it up so much.

If we have a listen now, this is what we’ve got.

[mix]

But it’s super loud, it doesn’t have to be that loud. You know, we could group the whole lot together, create one big group here. Let’s bring this down considerably to here.

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[song]

What I like about that is it’s pretty interesting, it adds a little bit of movement. It’s not the be all and end all. What we can do now is put something against it to create a little bit of chaos. I’m going to create another guitar part.

These will all be bussed down and bounced to one stereo pair once you like what you’ve got. You don’t necessarily have to keep them up like this as multiple guitar parts.

Let’s do one in the center here. Let’s do something a little crazy and do a little Jonny Greenwood thing. We’ve got the delay going. A little chaotic guitar. Again, doesn’t have to be loud.

[mix]

So what I like about that is it’s a little bit of a chaos thing. That’s just using sort of the generic Marshall crunchy tone. What I’d probably do, quite frankly, is destroy it a little bit more. So maybe just go for something like SansAmp and just make it really ugly.

[guitar, SansAmp]

There you go. That’s super ugly, super loud, super obnoxious, but what we can do is we can put a harmony to that.

So as simple as this, I’m going to bring that one down, that screaming one down, and I’m going to play a low octave. We’re not even going to go for a harmony. We could do a harmony, but I’m just going to do a low octave first.

[mix]

That’s pretty bright and screaming on the SansAmp. We could easily take some of the high end off a little bit here. Just paste that over there. So we haven’t got something that’s quite so screaming and as aggressive, but let me bring it down like this.

[song]

There’s some chaos. Some kind of Jonny Greenwood-y chaos. And we all love Jonny Greenwood.

[guitars]

A little fizzy for me. A little aggressive on the high end. There’s a couple of things I could do. Firstly, a nice little trick is — obviously, we’ve already turned down the SansAmp high end, which is probably most of the culprit, because it’s a little digital sounding, but I still like it. It’s still a good plugin. It comes free with Pro Tools, and there’s probably similar ones with your DAW if you don’t have Pro Tools, but a great one to use is just put a de-esser.

[guitars]

Immediately gets rid of that excessive brightness.

Just because it’s chaotic, it’s not too loud but it’s chaotic, you could try some fun things. Like, we could go into eighth notes. Why don’t we even go into sixteenths like so and just do some panning?

Why the heck not? You know, even in sixteenths, if we did something like this, we could do this, and you can do Option+R, do 120 say for instance, and then you’ve got this. So it adds some chaos to it, and what I would do on the other guitar here, the other one, is pan it so they’re not at the same place at the same time. So let’s do this.

You’re going to have them go opposite each other.

[guitars, automated panning]

Total chaos. But lo, it will produce movement!

[mix]

What I like about this kind of thinking and this kind of like, just screwing things up, is that we’re in a world now with a lot of bands, and there’s some really, really cool rock bands out now that do a lot — that rely on a lot of keys to do some of this chaos, and I like the idea of guitars to do it.

So as a guitar player, it’s really refreshing to just kind of come up with some of this chaotic stuff. Now, if I bring these two parts in together for instance, with the heaviest that we did a couple of weeks ago on the previous production video, it’s like, listen to all of that together.

[guitars]

I did some crazy synth stuff here.

[guitars with synth]

Together.

So with a song like this, we went full grunge.

[guitar]

But we could make it much more rock. We could do something like that. We could even Drop D it for that second chord.

[guitar, drop tuned]

Maybe it could be like a…

[guitar]

You know, it could be a lot heavier, and a lot more syncopated, and it’s amazing. It sort of proves where you can really go in any direction with this. With this kind of song, you could keep it — make it grungy, make it far more syncopated, the world is really your oyster. A heavier tone than this, doing that kind of…

[guitar]

You know, full syncopation would be absolutely phenomenal, and still use those other kind of guitar ideas with of course the synths. There’s a lot of really amazing modern rock bands that are blending synths now with really heavy syncopated parts, but what I really want to challenge you to do is use the guitar in really interesting ways.

Synthesizers are fantastic. I love all of the virtual stuff. We’re going to start exploring that a lot in the very near future with different production stuff. So look out for those videos, look out for a lot more guitar stuff to come up. Thank you ever so much for watching this. Please give me a bunch of comments and questions below, and we’ll get into more stuff in the very near future.

Have a marvelous time recording and mixing, and we’ll see you again very soon.

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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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