This week for my final installment of Presonus Live, I continued the mix of “Behold,” focusing specifically on electric guitars.

You’ll learn:

  • The single best (and hardest) way to mix electric guitars
  • How to use EQ to balance different parts
  • When (and when not) to use compression
  • When to not use EQ
  • and more…

Enjoy!

  • Chris

    Hey Joe, there is one thing I struggle with a lot when mixing layered instruments in cases like this. How do you define what is proper to do in getting a balanced mix (no mud, instruments fighting with each other, etc.) verses tone shaping to fit your personal taste? For example, say you didn’t boost or cut any of those guitars and left them as-is. Could you still have a good mix that would translate well? Or are these standard pro tricks that should be always be applied when working with layered guitars?

    • Hey Chris,

      Good question. Unfortunately, there’s no real one-size-fits-all solution. The key to great guitar tone starts with the recording itself. For me mixing is all about carving that tone to work in the mix.

      I’m happy with where these guitars are at the end of this mix. You may not like the tone, and that’s TOTALLY cool. The key is knowing how much you can or can’t do with EQ/comp. you could make these a good bit thicker if you wanted, or even thinner (and bring up the bass more).

      The big thing is figuring out how YOU want them to sound, then go about mixing ’em that way.

      Sounds overly simplistic, but a lot of people mix without knowing what sound they’re aiming for.

      • Chris

        Thanks, Joe! I actually liked all the guitar tones in your mix. I think my personal concern is walking away with a mix that will play nicely on all kinds of speakers. I’m beginning to see that making room is important for a mix with clarity. I’ve been working on the song Sanzu from Dueling Mixes and went back and applied these concepts you showed, and it does help. But then I get to a point thinking the guitars could sound even bigger, and that’s when I’m afraid I’ll add too much and it will create problems on other speakers. I guess it just comes with practice!

        • The great thing is if you have small speakers to check your mix on, you can adjust some frequencies to make the guitars sit better on the small speakers, and oftentimes it doesn’t really change how the mix sounds on big speakers…

  • ironman2819

    Love the way you constructed individual the guitar parts to work together… is that an old Tom Scholz trick? It gives a real wall of sound and shows the advantages of less is more to build more energy in the mix.

    • I’m not familiar with Tom, but I’m sure I stole it. πŸ™‚

      • ironman2819

        For shame joe, for shame…. Tom Scholz, Scholtz Research and Development… inventor of the Rockman, oh and founder of the band Boston…..? πŸ˜‰

        • You mean like the city? πŸ™‚

          • ironman2819

            …there’s a city named after the band?
            Cool! ;-P