Mixing Synth Guitar with EQ, Amp Simulators and Delay
I’ve got a guitar that sounds like it was a keyboard through a virtual instrument and while I don’t hate it, I think that it sounded pretty cool, the thought in my head as a mixer when I was mixing it was it was a little bit too dark, it wasn’t cutting through the mix and I felt like it needed some oomph.
The first thing I did was I reached for an EQ and I pulled open — tried to brighten it up — 2 to 5k. Give it a little more of a trashy sound. And that wasn’t cutting it for me. So the tone was — it was what it was — so then I thought, let me throw this through another guitar amp. So I pulled open an Eleven Free. I’m gonna shut up and hit play so you guys can hear what we’re working with and then I’ll show you the before and after. So this is the track right here. It’s gonna be on your left ear.
[electric synth guitar in the mix]
I’m loving the track. Still not done mixing it so lots of instruments coming in that may need to be muted or moved around, so don’t judge me on the mix.
The guitar, let’s bypass this stuff — that’s just Slate’s VCC. If you guys have watched any of my other videos you know I’m sporting that there. Let’s solo this guy and take a listen to what it’s doing before any processing.
[electric distorted guitar without processing]
Then I pulled in Eleven Free and I’m using this for EQ and I’m using it for grit, distortion, to drive the part a little bit more. I don’t want this one to be really heavy in the mix but I want it to be bright enough and dirty enough to where I hear it and feel it more. I’ll show you before and after.
[distorted guitar with/without Eleven Free]
I felt like it got a little bit too much of the trashiness in the top end so I put the — excuse me — FabFilter Pro-Q 2 there. Pulled out a little bit of that.
[electric guitar + FabFilter Pro-Q 2 EQ]
Just kind of removing, controlling a bit of that top end. Then what’s important is in the track so let’s bypass these. let’s play it in the track. Pull this track up. Let’s see if I have any automation on this one… no, so I can pull that up in the mix a little bit more for us. Let’s hear it before and after.
[virtual synth guitar before/after Eleven Free and FabFilter Pro-Q 2 EQ]
Then I even went to step further. Sometimes with instruments that I throw left — all the way left or all the way right — I’ll throw a slap delay on the opposite side of where I pan that. So in solo you’ll hear, this guitar is panned to the left and a little bit of a slap delay is on the right.
[guitar with panned slap delay]
So it sounds kind of messy by itself, but in the track it gives it a little bit of a vibe, almost like it creates a space for it.
[guitar in the mix with panned slap delay]
So don’t be afraid to reach for these guitar simulators for more than just running guitars through them. You may throw vocals on it, drums, a loop. You may automate just a section of the song for it. Use it for the EQ, not just for tone or character. All kinds of great stuff you can do with it. In this case for Pro Tools guys, it’s just free.
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