Recording Distorted Guitar Tutorial Part 7: Double Tracking, Layering + Panning
Hi, I’m Dave from boyinaband.com
And I’m Kieran from guywithaguitar.com
And Today we’ll be looking at double tracking and panning to see if that can fill out the guitar tone a bit more.
We’ll begin with double tracking. Much like with vocals, often producers will record more than one take of a guitar part, then layer it on top of another take. Each take will have minute differences in the recording which will mean the combined tone will be thicker than the original single tone.
The recordings have to be very tight, else the double-tracking will sound sloppy and out of time.
Since we’re double tracking the guitar, let’s double track Kieran… with some minute differences. Sorted. Incidentally, I forgot to record Kieran’s guitar part to a click track, so you’ll have to use some acting skills and pretend that he’s playing this guitar part.
Take a listen to this guitar part on its own…
And now listen with the double tracking.
There’s a slight thickening of the tone, but the real use of double tracking is when either panning the tones or layering different tones. So let’s try those techniques!
Next let’s try layering two different tones together – this is really useful for getting a full sounding tone. We’ll layer a bassier tone with a treblier tone to make a nice big guitar sound.
Let’s put the bottom half of one Kieran with the top of another to express this artistically. and since this is the last chance to put him in an obscure place for this video series, I’ll place him on this adorable picture of a rhino.
Here’s the trebly tone.
Here’s the bassy tone.
And here’s the two tones mixed together.
The mixed tone gives the power of the bassy tone and the crisp, airiness of the trebley tone – If you’re struggling to get a full sounding tone with one mic take, try recording two takes with different settings and mixing them to taste on the computer!
Last, let’s try panning. You have to be careful with panning – some radio stations still only operate in mono, so you should make sure your song sounds good in mono and in stereo.
But yes – to make your guitar sound really big, try panning one tone to the left and one to the right. I’ll pan them by 100% so we can really hear the difference.
I’ll pan Kieran too, by panning him to the far left and right… with a frying pan… whilst this prospector is panning for gold, next to this dead pan comedian.
Here’s the layered guitar with no panning
And now listen with the panning applied.
And here’s both together.
The panning definitely makes the guitar feel bigger, but at the same time it loses the power and clarity of the unpanned tone. A cool tone can be achieved by combining the two, since that gives the width of the panning and the power of the central unpanned tone. A lot of professional recordings for bands such as slipknot simply use two guitars, one panned left and one panned right, though. So experiment and find what works for you!
And there we have it! I hope this video series has helped to introduce some of the different things to consider when recording distorted guitar, and if not, I hope you had a decent laugh at Kieran’s expense. When I learn more about guitar tone, I’ll no doubt make some step-by-step guides to creating quality tones.
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