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Thickening a band with a single guitar
Old 4th February 2009
  #1
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Fu Schnickens's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Thickening a band with a single guitar

I am going to be remixing a couple of tracks for a band, and at the time they only had resourcces to record one guitar with one amp and one mic. They tracked to tape, which I will be importing to PT. What are some options for making the guitar sound bigger and better than just the single mic? Re-amping is not an option as there is no clean signal, and I don't have a re-amp box.
Old 4th February 2009
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
A quick solution would be to dupe the guitar track, delay it 10-20ms and hard pan the two. I've never been a real fan of that trick, but apparently it's pretty popular, and it'll get you by in a pinch. Obviously the best thing to do would be to get the guitarist back in and have him double-track it, but I'm not sure if that's an option.
Old 4th February 2009
  #3
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jproc's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
One thing I've done frequently when faced with a single guitar track that needs some thickening is copy it to a second track, and delay it by a tiny amount.. just enough to fatten it without the delay being perceptible..
Old 4th February 2009 | Show parent
  #4
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jproc's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
hehe.. i must have hit submit at the same time as Buddy... he read my mind...
Old 4th February 2009 | Show parent
  #5
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amishsixstringe's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
What tracking engineer would not even bother at least recording a double? Did he even print a DI? That could help you. I never have been a fan of the fake double method mentioned above. If I was you, I would try to make the drums sound big and wide and put the guitar somewhere close to the middle of the soundscape. Pan the guitar like <20 and then send it to a delayed plate verb and pan that 50> and put a stereo widener on the drum bus. Might sound kinda cool. You'll have your work cut out for you if you're trying to make the guitars sound big. Good luck.


neil
Old 4th February 2009
  #6
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BIGT-1's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
In addition to the delay trick, try detuning the faux dbl 9-12 cents.
Old 4th February 2009 | Show parent
  #7
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leebridges's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
if they tracked to a click, copy the 2nd chorus guitar to a second track at the time of the 1st chorus...etc...or if the progression repeats, copy the first progression to the second on a second track, and vice-versa. make sense?
Old 4th February 2009
  #8
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casey_outlaw's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fu Schnickens ➑️
I am going to be remixing a couple of tracks for a band, and at the time they only had resourcces to record one guitar with one amp and one mic. They tracked to tape, which I will be importing to PT. What are some options for making the guitar sound bigger and better than just the single mic? Re-amping is not an option as there is no clean signal, and I don't have a re-amp box.
When I think of single tracked guitars, I think of Rage Against the Machine. They have some great single tracked guitar sections in their songs. A little distortion on the bass seems to help a good bit in filling it out.
Old 4th February 2009 | Show parent
  #9
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eclectic's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Just hard pan it to one side, and then throw a send to other side with a nice plate verb or some wacky effect? Enough to fill it out. If there was acoustic, maybe try duping that and running through a sim. Also, try duping the original electric, reverse it, compress it enough to change the nature of the transient, maybe throw a little slap delay on it, reverse it back and then slide it around until it feels right, then throw a sim on that.
Old 4th February 2009 | Show parent
  #10
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Ol' Betsey's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by leebridges ➑️
if they tracked to a click, copy the 2nd chorus guitar to a second track at the time of the 1st chorus...etc...or if the progression repeats, copy the first progression to the second on a second track, and vice-versa. make sense?
I know exactly what you mean and use it frequently when needed.

And even if they didn't play to click I've just had amazing results using Elastic Audio and taking a lead guitar that was done as a guide during some demos (and not to a click) and dropping it into a 'clicked' album version.

Say what you will about Elastic Audio but used correctly, and obviously not too drastically, you can get great results.

And I think it would work great tightening up a 'double' as such.

R.
Old 4th February 2009 | Show parent
  #11
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RockManDan's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
+1 for the method of chopping and splicing. Ive done it many times and it can work wonders. Basically you find a riff that repeats and you layer the different repeats over each other, taking care to alternate which repeats are over which originals. Ideally you would be able to get enough repeats of a given riff to make 3 whole tracks in which the same performance never overlaps itself. This way, you can keep the original track loud like you were mixing just one, then mix in the other two comp tracks hard panned L and R to add fullness. Sometimes you dont want to have that obviously doubled sound, but you still want a thickness, so just keep the main track on top and blend the comp tracks, maybe bringing them up on the chorus. This can also help when a solo is performed live with the band, and you can put a rhthym guitar underneath it.

also you can try a small mono room reverb on one side and a different, yet similarly tweaked, room reverb on another side.

another +1 for the L/R 20/40 ms delay plus +/- 6 cents pitch shift trick. Do it right and you end up with a cool late-Van Halen sound, if thats your thing. DO it wrong and you have a phasey mess.

a single-tap echo or delay timed to an 1/8th or 1/4 note and panned hard can do a lot to spread out the mix.
-Dan
Old 4th February 2009 | Show parent
  #12
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RCM - Ronan's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
There is nothing wrong with your scenario. I would much rather mix a record with one guitar than 20, any day of the week.

For inspirations listen to U2s vertigo, Tools Aenima album, any early Van Halen, Lots of Rage against the Machine.

Big bass with some texture will help a lot.
Old 4th February 2009 | Show parent
  #13
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Waltz Mastering's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Double it and use an "amp farm" even though the original is not clean.

Try an AC 30 on clean setting with a big cab setting (add distortion as needed).

TW
Old 4th February 2009 | Show parent
  #14
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Farm sounds's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Some great ideas. Listen to VH "Running with the devil" for inspiration. I would maybe try the plate panned to one side for the verses, and then in the chorus have the double trick take effect.
Old 4th February 2009 | Show parent
  #15
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gwailoh's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by rcm ➑️
There is nothing wrong with your scenario. I would much rather mix a record with one guitar than 20, any day of the week.

For inspirations listen to U2s vertigo, Tools Aenima album, any early Van Halen, Lots of Rage against the Machine.

Big bass with some texture will help a lot.
Bad Company...
Old 4th February 2009 | Show parent
  #16
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theblue1's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I scanned the answers above -- but apologies if this was covered earlier...


Like others, I have mixed feelings about putting the original guitar on one side and a slightly delayed copy on the other.

But a variation on that that can work well without getting the Elliott Smith out-of-time-echo on one side (love Elliott but some of his tracks drive me nuts because of that) is to put the original guitar in the center and then slightly differently delayed copies to either side, possibly pitch-shifting them by slight amounts. Since the 'satellite' copies don't have to carry the same kind of weight that a single opposite-side copy might have to, you can lower their levels considerably, getting just enough level to get a big guitar sound.

Also, I think it was covered above, but on occasion, when working to the grid, I've been able to beef up the overall guitar sound by copying the guitar from another verse and/or chorus in. (Obviously, if there are non-parallel change-ups from one section to another this may not work.)
Old 4th February 2009 | Show parent
  #17
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kafka's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by casey_outlaw ➑️
A little distortion on the bass seems to help a good bit in filling it out.
Quote:
Originally Posted by rcm ➑️
Big bass with some texture will help a lot.
A nice bright bass sound helps to fill out that range that the rhythm guitar usually occupies. Think of John Entwistle (or RATM, or countless others). That sound largely comes from the strings, and might be impossible to EQ up. If it's impractical to re-track a guitar, you might be able to re-track the bass DI with some out-of-the-package strings instead. You may have to re-write the part to be really effective. You also might try doubling the bass with a VI piano, if it doesn't sound too out-of-place.

Also, a good cymbal hit at the right time sometimes is confused for the guitar if blended well. Use those sparingly or it becomes obvious.
Old 4th February 2009 | Show parent
  #18
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Fu Schnickens's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by rcm ➑️
There is nothing wrong with your scenario. I would much rather mix a record with one guitar than 20, any day of the week.

For inspirations listen to U2s vertigo, Tools Aenima album, any early Van Halen, Lots of Rage against the Machine.

Big bass with some texture will help a lot.

Thanks for the ideas. I was hoping to keep a single guitar vibe, but I don't like the lopsided panning that usually happens w/ one guit. I want the one guitar to fill out the stereo field, not be on one side only. These are great ideas, and I'm going to try each to see what's more to my liking.
No click, but I'll try the cut & paste thing anyway. Just have to earhole it (as opposed to "eyeball"). Someone had the idea to duplicate the track, hard pan, and then flip phase on the copy. Drawbacks? Phase mess?
Old 4th February 2009 | Show parent
  #19
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RKrizman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fu Schnickens ➑️
Someone had the idea to duplicate the track, hard pan, and then flip phase on the copy. Drawbacks? Phase mess?
Phase mess. It will make your listeners feel like there is something wrong with their hearing.

I'm with RCM on this. Be happy it's just one guitar. Have you heard it yet? It might already fill the window. With no other guitars fighting it, you can eq and compress it to make it as large as you want. Treat it like you would a lead vocal. Put little delays and a touch of harmonizer effect, but keep it low so the guitar still sounds natural, but big. If it's a more drawn out ambient part, try adding a couple of eight note or dotted eight delays, with some feedback, at s;lightly different delay times, panned hard. Then slightly and slowly modulate the delayed signal to give it a little motion and pitch shift. Then send those delays to an appropriate sized reverb. Balance to taste.

All kinds of things you can do with one guitar. I almost never double guitars for this reason.

-R
Old 20th January 2016
  #20
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
I'm dealing with this problem right now. The artist loves weezer/smashing pumpkins guitar sound. Which I can get the mix to sound like the parts with just one guitar (quiet parts), ...but those massive fuzzed out stereo guitar walls, - not happening.

We spent a session trying to overdub guitars. Guitarist is only 15yrs old, just couldn't deliver super tight layers. The tone also,... weezer/sp sounds pedal fuzzy to me and he was going Mesa tube amp. I also wonder if those massive walls are direct to tape, they are so tight, deep and ambience free. ...sorta how I vaguely remember direct to cassette used to sound.
(Hmm. I might have him overdub direct guitars at home)

So I'm wondering..

Any new ideas for thickening guitars?

All these ideas I've tried, and just not delivering the results I want.

Copy/paste comes close, but I'm looking at 4hours+per song to get enough layers. (No click track)

Anyone try autotune with any success?
I read where some people use tuning for vocals to make layers. any luck for guitars doing this?

Ideally I'd like 2 layers each side to support main track.
Old 20th January 2016
  #21
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toledo3's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
You can try putting the track through an amp sim of some sort, or other distortion/saturation...and then probably pan wide, leaving bass/vocals/snare/kick in the middle. Not ideal by any means, but you might stumble on something that isn't horrible.
Old 20th January 2016
  #22
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Me_Likey's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
The easy fix is to put it through a mono to stereo plugin like Sound Toys Micro Shift or a stereo chorus. I think Pro Tools even comes with a free stereoizer plug. You don't even need to pan it hard L&R.
Old 20th January 2016 | Show parent
  #23
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by heyhey ➑️
I read where some people use tuning for vocals to make layers. any luck for guitars doing this?
For vocals, that's one of those things that sounds good in theory but doesn't actually work. Never has for me, anyway.

Your idea about having the kid layer his guitars DI at home is a good one. He'll become a better player, he'll be off the clock, and you'll save yourself some needless grief. You're not gonna pull off a loaves & fishes miracle, so you might as well "teach a man to fish."
Old 21st January 2016
  #24
Registered User
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
If you want layers of chorused fuzz from a single guitar track ... it's worth having a go just for fun. If nothing else, you will learn why it isn't a popular trick - but it certainly can be done.

Just clone multiple versions, and then pitch shift them. Try some 3 cents down, some at 3 cents up, some at 7 cents down, some at 7 cents up - maybe 11 cents down/up. I would suggest offline rendering with the highest quality algo you have - the best one can take hours to render, but the quaity is way better than real time processing which tends to have artifacts. Run them all independantly through a fuzz or amp simp to give them extra overtones.

Also try an octave down just for kicks, and maybe an octave up. If you are guitar player famililar with Hogs or Pogs (like the Jack White thing) you will know where i'm going with this ...

Also worth trying is converting the audio to midi and then triggering a synth and blending this in - if you have the tools, such as Melodyne ...

There is a lot you can do to thicken up a single guitar track. It used to said that "you can't eq what isn't there' ... but distortion adds harmonics that were not there in the first place, and pitch shifting adds virtually anything you want in any frequency band ...

It will sound big and processed - it's not for everything, but your 15 yr old might love it ...
Old 21st January 2016 | Show parent
  #25
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by heyhey ➑️
The tone also,... weezer/sp sounds pedal fuzzy to me and he was going Mesa tube amp. I also wonder if those massive walls are direct to tape, they are so tight, deep and ambience free.
Big Muff Pi, run a gate after it with a low threshold
Old 21st January 2016 | Show parent
  #26
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by amishsixstringe ➑️
What tracking engineer would not even bother at least recording a double? Did he even print a DI? That could help you. I never have been a fan of the fake double method mentioned above. If I was you, I would try to make the drums sound big and wide and put the guitar somewhere close to the middle of the soundscape. Pan the guitar like <20 and then send it to a delayed plate verb and pan that 50> and put a stereo widener on the drum bus. Might sound kinda cool. You'll have your work cut out for you if you're trying to make the guitars sound big. Good luck.


neil
One that gets great tones and makes decisions saving the mix engineer work down the line?

Tons of great, huge, classic guitar tones recorded with one mic.
Old 21st January 2016 | Show parent
  #27
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by phanlon ➑️
One that gets great tones and makes decisions saving the mix engineer work down the line?

Tons of great, huge, classic guitar tones recorded with one mic.
-1

Way too easy to get a quick different vibe with a different amp or (preferably) different guitar, especially if your job is just tracking and not mixing engineer. Equally as many examples of double gtrs on classics VS singles. Especially if we're talking HUGE. And doubling is fast compared to FX trickery downstream.

I'm with amish on this one
Old 21st January 2016 | Show parent
  #28
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn ➑️
For vocals, that's one of those things that sounds good in theory but doesn't actually work. Never has for me, anyway.

Your idea about having the kid layer his guitars DI at home is a good one. He'll become a better player, he'll be off the clock, and you'll save yourself some needless grief. You're not gonna pull off a loaves & fishes miracle, so you might as well "teach a man to fish."
+1
Old 21st January 2016
  #29
Registered User
 
🎧 5 years
Check out Valhalla DSP Ubermob. The stereo widening presets are great starting points.
Old 21st January 2016 | Show parent
  #30
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by nosleepPDX ➑️
-1

Way too easy to get a quick different vibe with a different amp or (preferably) different guitar, especially if your job is just tracking and not mixing engineer. Equally as many examples of double gtrs on classics VS singles. Especially if we're talking HUGE. And doubling is fast compared to FX trickery downstream.

I'm with amish on this one
Producer's JOB not engineers. Don't know about you but with the producers I've worked with, if I spoke up an said yeah "thats a great idea but we need to double this part with a different guitar/ and or a different amp" I don't think I would get hired again. This is heresy but, have heard stories of a producer/engineer making a record and sending the drums on a stereo track, guitars without di's. Of course the mixer bitches but he wasn't in the room.. and still made it sound great. Make some decisions and commit people. This is not to say do a ****ty job, but I would bet an "A list" mixer would prefer a single great sounding guitar track than the same guitar track with a 57, 121, 421, u67, di all on separate tracks.
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