Slightly OT: Double tracking guitars

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Art
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Slightly OT: Double tracking guitars

Post by Art » Fri Jul 02, 2010 10:05 pm

For those of you who are into recording:

When you double track guitars (esp. when going for a 'heavier sound), what's your method to get some differentiation between the 2/4 takes? I usually try changing gain / eq / mic placement for the 2nd take as I don't want to end up with effectively the same take and sound twice which gives that 'big mono' sound and ruins the spaciousness of the mix. I still don't think this is cutting it though, and when I mono the mix the guitars all but disappear.

Admittedly I'm not planning on playing my mixes in mono a whole lot, but as I understand it things disappearing when mono'd is usually a good sign of problems with phase / stereo imaging.

Does anyone have any advice or knowledge to help me reduce this problem? Is it the case that I should be playing different parts each side, or is there a fair bit to be said for just altering the tones of the 2 takes? I've only got the one reasonable amp + guitar (poor student!) so switching them for alternate takes isn't much of an option...

Thanks!
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Borderline Productions
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Re: Slightly OT: Double tracking guitars

Post by Borderline Productions » Fri Jul 02, 2010 11:06 pm

I have faced the same issue before. There are a few different things to try. The first is to take the first track and make a second track from the first but adding a slight delay (like 23 milliseconds). Then pan them completely apart in the mix. It will sound like two guitars are playing the same part. This is done quite a bit with vocals. You will find it if you listen with headphones and are looking for it.

The second is to have two amps and a AB/Y pedal. Play through both amps at the same time with different tones in each amp. Mic each amp separately and send each to their own track. This works killer if you have two amps and a AB/Y pedal.

Third, if you are going to have two separate guitar tracks, have them complement each other rather than replicate one another. Getting the replication just right is harder than you think (which is why I like option one).
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Re: Slightly OT: Double tracking guitars

Post by Ddjembe Mutombo » Fri Jul 02, 2010 11:19 pm

I change cabinets for the double. It is creates a very slight tonal difference. If the second guitar part is the same as the rhythm, I just play it through a different head. For instance, when I did quadruples... 2 through the rocker 30 with my ASAT classic (1 through my mesa 212, one through my avatar 412... both have vintage 30s). The other set went through my JCM 800 with my les paul std (1 through the mesa 212, the other through the avatar 412). On top of that I had a lead part that I tripled. That was my AD30 through the mesa on one side and the double had it through the avatar. Finally the triple, I switched pickups and dimed the gain and mixed it low in the mix.

Honestly, I wouldn't sweat it. you can always do adjustments after production if you don't have the resources I had.
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Re: Slightly OT: Double tracking guitars

Post by Taronja » Fri Jul 02, 2010 11:58 pm

yup, what "Ddjembe Mutombo" said :wink:

love double tracking, adds a nice touch. best when panned 1/4 left and right.

best and most easy way to get an awesome full tone is use a different amp for each track. play live individually on both tracks, then pan em apart. dont do a dual mono take.

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Re: Slightly OT: Double tracking guitars

Post by Stainboy » Sat Jul 03, 2010 12:14 am

For big power stuff I usually record one track with some good drive and then for the second track I go for more of a cleaner, punchier sound to add more definition. Like others have said above, using different guitars and rigs and a slight delay works very well. I'll go with hard panning or just slight panning, depending on what works for the song. I also use a third track to accent power chords, melodic runs, feedback, etc. Sometimes I like stacking guitars without much panning for the effect that producer Chris Thomas has called "mono deluxe".

When stacking several guitar tracks, you don't need much gain to make 'em sound powerful. If you do it well it can sound like one track of really BIG guitar as opposed to a wall of guitar soup.
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Re: Slightly OT: Double tracking guitars

Post by PopnFresh » Sat Jul 03, 2010 12:29 am

I was always taught the best and easiest way to double track a guitar, was to reamp it and then knock it out of phase from the original track, just to eliminate any issues there could be.

You can get dedicated reamping boxes, but I tend to find the easiest way is a bit ghetto, but you can run your guitar via a DI with the output into your recorder and amp, and record the amp at the same time.

Then run the unamped guitar out of the recorder into the amp and record again, and knock it out of phase slightly.
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Re: Slightly OT: Double tracking guitars

Post by bclaire » Sat Jul 03, 2010 3:11 am

Best way to avoid phasing is to have a close mic and a mic further away so the difference will avoid phasing...

Otherwise, I prefer to use different guitars...

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Re: Slightly OT: Double tracking guitars

Post by blacklight_uk » Sat Jul 03, 2010 5:09 am

Alter as much as you can. If you can only use one guitar and one amp, play with the settings on the amp, move the mic slightly and change pickups. Move the amp around the room, play standing on one leg, whatever. You might also try detuning the doubles slightly. You can do this in your DAW afterwards. Only talking a few cents, but it's amazing how well this can fill out the sound. Think of it as a primitive chorus.

Do you have a DI input? If so record a couple of clean DI tracks and send them to an amp sim. Amp sims are getting really good these days and it won't take you long before you find a sound that slots in nicely with your recorded tone.

Remember that bass eats up a lot of space in a mix. Don't be afraid to roll off a lot of bass on the amp and focus on getting your sound from the midrange. Also don't crank the gain, but don't be a fairy with it either :wink:

Phase cancellation of some form is a given when summing a mix to mono. If it's too much to bare, try flipping the polarity on one track and shifting it along the timeline until you hear as close to silence as possible. Flip it back and you're in phase.
Josh

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Re: Slightly OT: Double tracking guitars

Post by CD9266 » Sat Jul 03, 2010 8:36 am

My friend Steve is helping me redo a bunch of stuff on my band's failed first studio album and on the guitar tracks we have double tracked them, hard panned left and right, with no alteration of my tone whatsoever. We used to have two guitar players but now it's just me so we stuck with my tone.

It sounds phenomenal and has worked out really well. I'm not sure if he put a delay on it or not but I don't think he did as he didn't mention it to me and probably would have. We even triple tracked a part but it's a harmonized part for track three and it fit in rather nicely.

For any other part that was doubled with other parts on top we did try to change it up a little by using a wah (such as leads) or EQing a little differently but nothing too drastic. We used my RV50 and Les Paul the entire time.
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Art
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Re: Slightly OT: Double tracking guitars

Post by Art » Sat Jul 03, 2010 9:50 am

Cheers guys! As always some great tips there.
~Joe

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Re: Slightly OT: Double tracking guitars

Post by venusandeve » Sat Jul 03, 2010 11:01 pm

i have a good one for you. this applies to EL34 amps.

set your stuff up and play one take with the power amp wide open and one with it set lower. the first take will have plenty of crunch and the second will have plenty of chunk (assuming you are doing gainy stuff). if you need examples of crunch winning over chunk, go listen to some maiden, made me love my amp all over again. :D
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Re: Slightly OT: Double tracking guitars

Post by baytamusic » Sun Jul 04, 2010 5:46 pm

One dirtier. One cleaner. Usually works best to me. I don't really feel the need to double track anymore but we have two guitar players and go for a certain unpolished sound. I guess it all depends on what you are going for.

Like the band or not, Smashing Pumpkins Siamese Dream is the epitome of perfection in the art of multiple tracking the same guitar part many times to create a wall of sound. Reading up on the production techniques of this album may help you out a lot.

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