Studio notes – thick guitars
Re-listening to Boston lately, I was reminded of a trick (can’t remember who I nicked it from) to put down multiple guitar tracks without the sound (especially the high-mids) jumping out in a grating fashion.
If you record several tracks using the same guitar, the prominent parts of the guitar’s sound add up and jump out of the mix in a way that’s not at all pleasing. To get those multiple tracks to nest together rather than blare certain frequencies out is a simple trick.
31-band equalizers were (and still are) the standard for graphic EQs.
There is an individual fader for each one of these frequencies:
20Hz, 25Hz, 31.5Hz, 40Hz, 50Hz, 63Hz, 80Hz, 100Hz, 125Hz 160Hz, 200Hz, 250Hz, 315Hz, 400Hz, 500Hz, 630Hz, 800Hz, 1kHz, 1.25kHz, 1.6kHz, 2kHz, 2.5kHz, 3.15kHz, 4kHz, 5kHz, 6.3kHz, 8kHz, 10kHz, 12.5kHz, 16kHz, 20kHz.
A lot more precise than bass, midrange, treble, no?
Here’s what one looks like:
Now – if you pull down every other fader to knock little sonic holes in the guitar sound, then reverse the process for the next guitar track, BOOSTING those same tiny frequency areas, you prevent the frequency peaks from adding up and becoming annoying.
Easy peasy. Works for multitracked vocals as well.
Hear a song with creamy-sounding guitars and ethereal vocals? That’s what you’re hearing.
And (just to show you what use I personally put this technique to) – the choruses in “Far Away” as well as all the lead and backing vocals on the song are something I call “The Tommy Choir” – all tracks sung by me, with different EQs on each track to make it nice and creamy. Jump to 5:08 for the big chorus effect.
Oh – the keys as well as the bass guitar are also yours truly.