Tips for Blending Guitar Tones in the Mix
So I got to finally get around to mixing ‘Chosen’. Last night I was sitting with Jeris going over guitar tones. I really liked the guitar tones Victor Encarnacion sent me but he committed to the sound, which is great, but he processed them with reverbs and delays. For me, the delays and the reverbs trailed out too much, covering up the tone. What I want to show you is how I took his dry guitars and processed them with my own. I’m a guitar player so you guys who play guitar you’ll know how we are about our tones. I kind of created a tone of my own, and blended the two. Check for phase and we’ll go over that. I’ve barely started this mix so don’t judge me on the mix, but we’re gonna talk about the guitars.
I love the part. Vic uses Native Instruments Guitar Rig 2. I have an eleven rack. I’ve got Waves Guitar. Sansamp is awesome. But in this case he used that and I’m gonna solo it. I have a little EQ cutting out some lows. Let’s listen to the processed guitar from Vic.
[electric guitar with printed reverb and delay effects]
One of my favorite guitar pedals of all time is the Voodoo Labs Sparkle Drive. The Sparkle Drive is an emulation of a clean amp and a driven amp at the same time. You can control the blend between clean and drive and then drive and level, but what I love is when I’ve tracked guitars I’ve always thought about the Sparkle Drive pedal. Because when you track clean tones, you seem to get the transient, more of the note. You get a nice attack from the clean of your guitar, from smacking strings. But that’s not enough for me, so I double the part with a drive tone. Even if it’s just a bit dirtier or if it’s slammed with distortion or overdrive. Tube Screamer tone. I love the blend that gives me. So when I’m producing guitars, I often duplicate and come up with a different amp tone and blend them or if I’ve got the Sparkle Drive. Anyways, that’s what I’m thinking about whenever I produce this guitar tone.
The UAD Chandler amp also blew me away. I found a preset called tele clean, kind of fit the vibe.
[electric guitar + UAD Chandler Amp Plugin]
It’s got a nice tight sound. Not too driven. This is the one that I’ve driven harder and that’s again the chandler. Another preset called Paula Lead. I think it just turned off delay.
[electric guitar + UAD Chandler Amp Plugin with different preset]
That’s got more of the character and tone of the sound.
[electric guitar solo clean and overdrive blend]
I’ll mute the drive solo. Now mute the clean. Either way you’re missing something. I love the blend. When I put it in the mix, let’s mute Vic’s solo.
[guitar solo in the mix]
A little volume automation maybe when I get to mixing to pull up some of the softer stuff. I have control now of clean and drive, so maybe the unison bend I could pull down the drive a bit, or up, whatever to taste. What I did because I like options, I pulled open Vic’s solo guitar. The original with the processed sounds.
[guitar solo blend of original, clean and overdrive signals]
Now it may be pretty subtle but listen whenever I mute it.
[guitar with/without original processed solo]
It may seem like a lot, you’ve got three tones of the same part, but three tones contributing to the overall sound and in my opinion I think it sounds great with all three. Sometimes what I want to note is when you’re messing with different amp tones you may come across a phase issue. So it’s as simple as pulling open, in this case I got lucky they did, but while I was experimenting there were a couple of tones that didn’t play nice together. But if you just pull open an EQ or some way to flip the phase depending upon the DAW you’re in. Pro Tools guys gotta pull something up separate. Pull that up, you can solo those tones. Mute for a second. Then flip the phase. You hear how everything kind of disappears, it gets real tinny and thin. That’s how you know it’s out of phase. By flipping the phase we actually put it out phase so let’s put it back in.
[guitar solo with/without phase flip]
Then with the other solo. So the Sparkle Drive effect I’m calling it, the clean and a driven tone and then we even had that other one for character so I’m not even gonna be going too much to any verb or delay because it’s already in the printed track. That’s what I wanted this video to be about, was the Sparkle Drive. So clean and driven is beautiful.