I know nothing of tone!

Discussion in 'Amp Input - Normal or Bright' started by Cerb, Sep 15, 2020.

  1. Cerb

    Cerb Anti conformist reformist

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    I spent the night yesterday experinenting with tone in preparation for next rehearsal and concluded that there's a(nother) gap in my education. I searched for the busiest backing tracks I could find and then tried to dial in a tone that would cut through the mix. I had some epiphanies along the way, one was discovering how differently I have to treat the SG from the strat.

    Now the problem is that when I do find a tone that lets me cut through the mix rather than just sit on top of it and drown it with volume, I don't lile it very mych. It usually sounds a bit thin. I don't know if I should stick a pedal in front and for even more mids or what? I hear lots of guitar tones in songs all over that seem to cut through fine while still coming across as rounded.
     
  2. soulman969

    soulman969 Senior Stratmaster

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    What you're hearing in a recorded mix may have little to do with what came out of the amp as it was being recorded. In addition many guitar tracks are cut separately and fit into the mix by the producer and engineer.

    Live it's a whole different story. I nearly always found the ideal EQ for my bass on a gig was not what I wanted to hear while playing at home. And I've recorded bass tracks direct to the board that sounded thin and very high mid forward until they were re-EQ'd in the mix where they sounded great.

    Different environments have different needs.
     
  3. Cerb

    Cerb Anti conformist reformist

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    Yeah, I find that when I play at home with no backing track I tend to cut the mids and turn up the bass and treble but those settings drown in a mix. I guess the tone I'd like in a mix would be a blend of that and what actually cuts through (lots of mids). Finding it feels elusive.
     
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  4. rafasounds

    rafasounds Senior Stratmaster

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    If you're recording to the track (not just playing along), maybe a wide cut from 0-200 or 300kHz can help the guitar sit better in the mix. Sometimes a narrow boost in some mid frequencies too, but it all depends on what's already there and the initial sound you're capturing. That's just my approach.
     
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  5. Brillig

    Brillig Strat-Talker

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    Consider that the problem is likely not you but with the mix of your "busy" backing track, as they mixed that without a guitar and had no reference to leave you a slot.

    As long as you're clearing the bass you should be 90% of the way there. Anything else in your band that's competing (keys, pesky rhythm guitars) should be just turned way down or removed altogether. ;)
     
  6. nickmsmith

    nickmsmith Dr. Stratster

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    I'd personally worry more about getting a sound that is good, over one that cuts through. A lot of guitarists have historically used a dark neck humbucker on a clean setting.. which has very little in the "cut through the mix" category, and still sounds awesome.

    IMO, cutting out some of the reverb makes a guitar stand out more than a guitar track that's drenched in it, too.

    I've found that some light but present slapback delay also makes a track stand out.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2020
  7. bbarott

    bbarott Most Honored Senior Member

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    Yes, this ^^^.

    Just to add this: it helps if there's a hole in the mix somewhere for you to be in. Too much treble in the reverb competes with the drum kit and the result is a smear. Too much bass competes with the bass guitar while it's robbing your power in the registers you ought to be in. If you're playing with keys you're gonna need to share sonic space (a good keyboard player will know this already, they compete with everything).

    I use a lot of reverb and delay (instro surf here, we do drench our stuff in it) but there is a limit. Need to be careful and use both judiciously. Slap does fatten up a track and I use it all the time but it can get in the way if the picking is too fast, or if there's too much going on with the ride cymbal. The regen time needs to suit the song you're playing which is why there are two delay pedals on my board. Too little is preferable to too much, and as they say it's the rests that let the music breathe. Both reverb and delay can get in the way of your articulation if over used.
     
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  8. chicago slim

    chicago slim Senior Stratmaster

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    I did some studio work for recording artist's, which also got me live work. I knew how to ride my volume and when not to play. Fill the quiet spots and stay off of vocals and other's lines, when they should stand out in the mix. I would often just do a slow strum (roll) with vibrato, over the verses.
     
  9. Brillig

    Brillig Strat-Talker

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    ...said no rhythm guitarist I've ever played with. :D

    I totally agree, it seems like a surprisingly rare skill.

    But on the other hand, it depends on the style of music.
     
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  10. bbarott

    bbarott Most Honored Senior Member

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    ^^^ Excellent advice, right here.
     
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