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Balancing Two guitars volume
Old 23rd January 2013
  #1
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Balancing Two guitars volume

Recently my band picked up a second guitarist and this is my first time working with two guitars and being the person who calls the shots :P. I find that when I'm playing I tend to be able to hear him a lot more than myself so i crank myself up then when i can finally hear myself others complain that im too loud. Being new to having a band I would love to hear some opinions about setting up amps(which way they should both be facing, which noise levels are right, where should i be standing, etc.) from people who have a lot more experience than me.

Gear I'm Using
Mesa Single Rec
Marshall 1960a Cab
Gibson SG Special

Gear He's Using
Peavey 5150
Carvin 2x12
Gibson LP faded

Thanks!
Old 23rd January 2013
  #2
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BLUElightCory's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
It's most likely because your speakers are projecting at your band members, and not yourself. Put your cab up on something so that it points at your ears and you'll most likely have an easier time hearing yourself at lower volumes, and he should do the same.
Old 23rd January 2013
  #3
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archfrenemy's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Volume is most likely not the real problem... Guitarists are truly the most stubborn about maintaining "their tone" regardless of the needs of an overall mix. I have found that they are the biggest culprits also have the worst ear for picking things out of a mix.

So, the solution is easy... You need to adjust the tone and EQ of both guitars until they fit nicely in the mix and best serve the song. If you do this while playing individually then you will most likely both be unhappy. However, if you have a buddy who knows what he is doing... Have him tweak to find a better EQ and tone balance for both of you while you are playing as a band. That way each player hears the improvement in the overall mix and is less focused on personal tone above the music's needs. You will likely both need to make equal tone concessions for ego and mix reasons.

If he still fights for "his sound" even though you are willing to adjust and it sounds bad in the overall mix, find a new guitarist!

Looking at your respective gear (but knowing absolutely nothing of your music or your roles)
You should be focusing toward a higher frequency range with punchy sound and attempt to limit his rigs low / low mid freq range which will clutter the mix when combined with your bass player.
Old 23rd January 2013
  #4
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
thanks for the responses!

@BLUElightcory is there any certain way that the cabs should be facing for this IE both facing the same direction, Side by side? etc.

@archfrenemy i completley can see what you're saying i have noticed myself being selfish about my tone,sound levels etc rather than doing what is right for a song and i know its a bad thing. can you elaborate about making equal tone concessions? like do you mean we should be both striving to achieve the same tone? And im sure he will stick to changing with us he's a nice guy haha
Old 23rd January 2013
  #5
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archfrenemy's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by nabced ➑️
thanks for the responses!

@BLUElightcory is there any certain way that the cabs should be facing for this IE both facing the same direction, Side by side? etc.

@archfrenemy i completley can see what you're saying i have noticed myself being selfish about my tone,sound levels etc rather than doing what is right for a song and i know its a bad thing. can you elaborate about making equal tone concessions? like do you mean we should be both striving to achieve the same tone? And im sure he will stick to changing with us he's a nice guy haha
You definitely don't want the same tone and EQ. Hitting the same frequencies will build on each other / cancel each other out causing a mess. Keep in mind having a nice fat warm guitar tone while you are playing by yourself often has a completely muffled muddy sound when it combines with other frequencies in an overall mix. Lower frequencies and mids tend to build up first so always go for a brighter sound than you would solo. Ideally for a clean mix, you want each instrument to carve out an EQ range with limited overlap.

Think of it like this... A twangy high pitched reggae guitar playing triads would still maintain great separation next to a muddy low guitar playing power chords right? You certainly don't need to go that extreme, but you do need to limit freq and tone overlap as much as possible.
Old 23rd January 2013
  #6
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
alright im getting an understanding now, so as far as what i understand; i play lead riffs and basically i want to keep those sounding tone wise different than what hes playing with the rhythms. This being said if i change my tone enough to not compete with his things like octave chords and solo lead should sound fine. But if i want to do that with my tone with what im playing should i bump the treble up on my amp while keeping his lowered or is it going to be a lot different then that?
Old 23rd January 2013
  #7
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by nabced ➑️
alright im getting an understanding now, so as far as what i understand; i play lead riffs and basically i want to keep those sounding tone wise different than what hes playing with the rhythms. This being said if i change my tone enough to not compete with his things like octave chords and solo lead should sound fine. But if i want to do that with my tone with what im playing should i bump the treble up on my amp while keeping his lowered or is it going to be a lot different then that?
You may be over thinking - get the drums going, get the bass balanced and then bring his guitar up to where it sounds right as a supporting guitar. Tell him thats the loudest he can go, fit your guitar in over the top (as the lead it should be a bit louder)

That to me is better than just playing facing your amps as it makes you think of the song as whole... because once your levels are set you can always move around if your not hearing enough of yourself

Sent from my GT-I8190
Old 23rd January 2013
  #8
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archfrenemy's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by nabced ➑️
alright im getting an understanding now, so as far as what i understand; i play lead riffs and basically i want to keep those sounding tone wise different than what hes playing with the rhythms. This being said if i change my tone enough to not compete with his things like octave chords and solo lead should sound fine. But if i want to do that with my tone with what im playing should i bump the treble up on my amp while keeping his lowered or is it going to be a lot different then that?
You have the basics... Just make sure the other guitars lows don't muddy up the mix on their own. Maybe start with the lead guitar super bright, and the rhythm guitar having mostly mids. Then you can start to tweak from there. Add some lows to your rhythm guitar, but not enough to intrude on the bass. Add or remove some mids and highs for a better tone, but make sure you maintain instrument separation. There are a couple of other options you can try like rolling the all of the mid frequencies off of one guitar (just use a mix of low and high EQ on the amp) to help make space for the mids of the other.

The whole key is to approach it by lowering out the frequencies you don't want, not turning up the ones you do. If you just attempt to boost the frequencies you want then you will never get instrument separation. As long as those other frequencies are still present as well, they are cluttering up the mix and can cancel out your boosted EQ frequencies.

It is just like studio mixing, but with more variables to take into account. Do some research on mixing and I guarantee that you will be happy you did. Understanding mixing will do amazing things for your music and fan base.
Old 23rd January 2013
  #9
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Blaine Misner's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Everybody is talking about time, and that is important. But, are you guys playing the same parts? The easiest, best, most musical way to hear both of you is to play different things. Lines vs chords. Fills vs riff. Solo vs rhythm. Hell, even if you are both playing chords you can put them in different positions to create space.
Listen to your favourite bands, I guarantee that the guitar players are not doing the same thing. After you make musical decisions it is easier to get the tones to work. Not vice versa.
Old 23rd January 2013
  #10
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Blaine Misner's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Everybody is talking about TONE. Stupid iPhone
Old 23rd January 2013
  #11
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archfrenemy's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blaine Misner ➑️
Everybody is talking about time, and that is important. But, are you guys playing the same parts? The easiest, best, most musical way to hear both of you is to play different things. Lines vs chords. Fills vs riff. Solo vs rhythm. Hell, even if you are both playing chords you can put them in different positions to create space.
Listen to your favourite bands, I guarantee that the guitar players are not doing the same thing. After you make musical decisions it is easier to get the tones to work. Not vice versa.
Good point. That was a total assumption on my part.
Old 23rd January 2013
  #12
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Ron Vogel's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I have always been in 2 guitarist bands...and this is always an issue. Best you can do is respect his judgement on the volume he needs and find a way to hear yourself other than cranking your amp and looking like a primadonna....you get what you give...you turn up, he turns up. Everyone else gets pissed. This is going to go on until you guys start to gel; and you will eventually. I would discuss it openly with the band as a whole and (listen) to the entire bands input. I've been in enough bands to say with confidence that egos cause people to hear others suggestions selectively.
Old 23rd January 2013
  #13
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5 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Guitarists of everybody have trouble hearing themselves and it can kill the stage sound. I'm guessing there's a few mics and a PA out there somewhere, so your amps are tone generators, not volume generators. You need to hear his guitar well enough to blend, and yours well enough to tell what's going on. You need the foundation of bass and drums to stay locked in and you need the vocals to hear where you are... How you solve these depends on how loud you need to be. You can have everything in the monitor, and have yourself mixed louder in your mix... Or you could have everything in the monitor, have your amp tilted back so it's aiming at your head so you can hear what it's really sounding like... Or you can have two cabinets, one on his side so he can hear you and and one on your side so you can hear yourself (and he does the same) with his cab on your side being quieter than yours (less efficient speakers, attenuator, separate volume...).

But, with all of that, EQing the guitars differently is important (and also, since it sounds like you're doing metal from the amp choices, EQing so the guitars don't step on the bass and kick drum-low cutting pretty aggressively). The lead needs more treble, and the rectifier probably needs a touch more mids to cut (that "smile" Mesa EQ curve doesn't serve you well in a band context), where he can dump treble and have less mids*for rhythm.
Old 23rd January 2013 | Show parent
  #14
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BOWIE's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by nabced ➑️
alright im getting an understanding now, so as far as what i understand; i play lead riffs and basically i want to keep those sounding tone wise different than what hes playing with the rhythms. This being said if i change my tone enough to not compete with his things like octave chords and solo lead should sound fine. But if i want to do that with my tone with what im playing should i bump the treble up on my amp while keeping his lowered or is it going to be a lot different then that?
The classic example is to listen to some old AC/DC. Listen to one speaker at a time as the guitars are usually panned hard left and hard right. Two very different guitar tones that don't step on each other (or the vocal) and come together to sound huge.
Old 23rd January 2013 | Show parent
  #15
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by BOWIE ➑️
The classic example is to listen to some old AC/DC. Listen to one speaker at a time as the guitars are usually panned hard left and hard right. Two very different guitar tones that don't step on each other (or the vocal) and come together to sound huge.
Exactly!

Get with the guitarist and listen (critically) to some reference bands/tracks that nailed this dual guitar approach.

Old 23rd January 2013
  #16
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davet's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I play in a surf band with two guitars. We try to arrange our songs so that the guitar parts are an octave apart most of the time. Volume issues are solved by pointing the speakers more towards our heads, rather than at the back of our legs. That said, we co-operate with each other for the benefit of the music. If I'm too loud, they tell me to turn down - and I do.

DaveT
Old 24th January 2013
  #17
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
When I had a 2nd guitar player at rehearsal I would always stand on the opposite side of the room to hear myself.
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