I hear people complain a good bit. Sometimes it’s the weather, other times it’s their work.
But when it comes to people producing music, the single biggest complaint I hear is that their guitars sound “too small”.
Sometimes they are just too low in the mix, but not usually. There is an even more common reason that most people never think about.
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It is all too easy to start dialing in your distortion with too much drive. It can sound wonderful and full, thick and perfect. But this can actually be a problem if you start adding too much.
And it doesn’t become a problem until you start mixing.
You’ll notice that your guitars are just not very present. They seem to sit back in the speakers a bit more than they should.
You’ll notice how your distortion sounds “fuzzy” instead of full. There will be a layer of buzzing on your mix.
So you solo the guitars, suspecting them of the issue. But they sound great when soloed!
This is the loop many people find themselves stuck in when dealing with this issue. The way to solve it? Turn down that distortion!
It is better to start with less distortion and need to add some later than it is the other way around. A more open, less grungy distortion, (when layered properly with a doubled rhythm part, a part one octave higher, and a part two octaves higher), will give you a much bigger sound in the end.
It’s definitely a balancing act, however, because you don’t want to under-distort your guitars. Find the perfect spot and stick with it for all of your rhythm guitars.
That’s another reason to always record a dry direct in signal. You may set your drive wrong on your amp in the studio, and having that clean take will really help if you need to throw an amp model on there.
So try this out. Check out some of our series dealing with guitar tones and production in our members videos area, and become a member today to download these sessions. Happy distortion!