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123: Your Sick Guitar Tone Could Ruin Your Mix

It doesn’t matter what your guitar (or any instrument) sounds like on its own, it’s about whether or not it serves the song and fits into the perfect mix for the tune.

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But when we talk to artists about their sonic vision for the project, so many people mention the guitar tone they like, or how they love or hate bright guitars, scooped midrange, or a dark, “full” sound.

While personal preference is obviously a thing and very important, many people completely ignore the fact, that the tone has to work within the context of the mix and the arrangement.

And sometimes this means that what they think would be a great guitar tone, ends up being a very bad choice for the project.

So Iet’s discuss how to actually figure out a great tone that also fits in!

We're approaching this from three different angles:

  1. Song (intention, message, vibe)
  2. Arrangement
  3. Mix

1 & 2 have a lot to do with writing and arranging with the final sound in mind, as well as understanding the importance of choosing the right instruments, key, tuning, etc.

All 3 have a lot to do with understanding the frequency spectrum. Understanding where each instrument typically lives, where the typical problems are and how each part of the spectrum “feels”.

And of course we're doing a deep dive and we're giving you a detailed explanation of what we mean here:

  1. Does the tone create the intended feeling? Does it cause the right emotional reaction
  2. Does the tone play well with the other elements in your arrangement? What’s the purpose of the instrument or part and does the tone help achieve that?
  3. Will the tone work in the mix? How well do the different sounds interact? Are there overlaps or gaps in the frequency spectrum? If so, are they intentional? Where should the bass be taking over the low end? Where should the cymbals be taking over the top end? Where will the vocals fit in? How much treatment will be necessary in order for it to sit well? Where can the guitar itself cut through and really shine?

And finally, we're discussing our individual "tone-hunt" processes that help us get the right tones quickly and consistently.

Download the free Frequency Chart Cheat-Sheet here:

Book a free feedback call with Benedikt:


This episode was edited by Thomas Krottenthaler.

Benedikt's voice on this episode has been recorded with the Antelope Axino Synergy Core.


Automatic Episode Transcript — Please excuse any errors, not reviewed for accuracy (click for full transcript)

TSRB Podcast 123 - Automatic Episode Transcript — Please excuse any errors, not reviewed for accuracy

Benedikt: Hello, and welcome to the self recording band podcast. I am your host Benedictine, and I'm here with my friend and co-host Malcolm Owen flood. How are you? Malcolm?

Malcom: Benny. I'm great, man. How are you?

Benedikt: I'm great. Thank you. It's a great weekend. Cool weather. Not, not cool weather, hot weather, but like great weather

Malcom: Oh,

Benedikt: and uh, yeah. Awesome weekend all around. So yeah, nothing. Nothing will just say about that.

Malcom: I, I I've got stuff to say, but it's really not relevant, but, so I apologize in advance, but I just wanna say it cause it was amazing. Uh, me and my fiance took off to, uh, a cabin on the west coast that didn't have cell service or internet and just chilled out there for like three days. And it was so fucking awesome. it was worth swearing about it was so good. Uh, and, uh, yeah. Yeah. Like it's just a great unplug, come back, refreshed and, and ready to crush some, some good, good stuff. And uh, yeah. Yeah, it's so awesome. But while on our last night there, we actually went into the city, broke the rule of staying unplugged and went into the city and we went and saw CIR Dule. Um,

Benedikt: wow. 

Malcom: I, I assume, goes to Germany as well. Cause it, it seems to go everywhere, but, um, it was so cool. Yeah. Yeah. It was incredible. And like, there was some incredible musicians that were part of the performance too. It actually, it made me remember that way back when I was doing this drumming documentary years ago, uh, we, we got to, uh, interview and record a drummer who I'm pretty sure his name was Emmanuel. Her name was Emmanuel caplet or something like that. I'm sorry if I'm butchering that. But she, she drums for a circuit du and like she was describing how they, like, they've got. Tracks they have to play with, but they also have to be able to keep loops going in case the, the person needs more time to do their crazy stunt, you know? So they have to like try and time it with like the downbeat being when they land or something like that, or, or cutting off when they jump kind of thing. So it's like this crazy fruit form thing that they're watching a, a performer do all this wild stuff and adapting the music to that. I just can't imagine how hard that would be. That'd be like playing a live show and like trying to time the song to the audience in front of you as they're moving around the bar, like so crazy. So crazy. Anyways thought that'd be interesting for people,

Benedikt: oh yeah, to totally interesting. And I, I think I have to go and watch that again, because to be honest, it, it was, I don't know how many years ago, like decades ago that I saw as I've seen it with, I, I went there together with my dad and I was just, I remember I was just too. Looking back now, I was just too young and stupid to really appreciate what was going on there. I was like a skateboarding punk kit, and I didn't care about any of that at all. To me, this was all just stupid, boring, and I didn't get it. you know, so, so I think, I think now I could appreciate much more than I did back then. Uh, but I, yeah. Yeah. It's definitely impressive though. Yeah, yeah, absolutely.

Malcom: yeah, totally suggest checking it out if it comes, comes near you.

Benedikt: Oh yeah. I would, I would definitely like to that's one of the things I, I, I actually kept thinking about quite a bit, um, because I, I, I was, so I don't know. I couldn't appreciate any of those things back then was all just, all I wanted to hear was like three chords as loud as possible

Malcom: Yeah.

Benedikt: to yeah.

Malcom: change. It's wild 

Benedikt: Definitely. Definitely. Yep. All right, cool. So before we dive into this episode, I have to ha say one thing. I got an email from. One of our listeners and he discovered us on YouTube, not through the podcast apps. And I thought this email and what was in this, this email is very, very interesting and, and helpful for us. And also I have to mention it to our Intel, our audience because for us, YouTube is, is just a thing where we automatically upload episodes sort of, um, so that you can discover us there too. But we are really focused on the podcast app. So on YouTube, there is the video, but it doesn't have a fancy intro and outro and it doesn't, it's not like prepped the way a typically YouTube you do is prepped and. Our listener who reached out to me was like your content and your, your topics are so good. But like, if you would do it more like YouTubers do, and you add a hook at the beginning and you did this and you did this, then it would be so much better to follow along and so much more, you know, all these things. And he's totally right with everything he says. I just wanna point out if you discovered this on YouTube and you're wondering why this is such a like long forum thing without the typical, you know, all these things you might want to check out the show on apple podcast or Spotify or any sort of podcast app, because there we have an intro and an outro, and there is a little hook in the beginning. And it's like, the overall delivery is like better than on YouTube. That being said, we wanna do YouTube videos in the future. And if we do those, we do them properly. But for now, if you're confused about the low number of Fs or why, this is the way it is, it's because it's a podcast and not a YouTube channel that we focus on. So I thought maybe you're not the only one, um, feeling like the, that, and, and if so, if you're watching this on YouTube, Just know that there is an actual podcast that you can subscribe to and listen to. And that makes much more sense in that format, uh, for if you enjoy us watching as we talk, then keep watching it on YouTube though. And then 

Malcom: it 

Benedikt: Yeah. And then the other thing that I, that was also, it was a long email with a lot of good points. So he was totally right about everything. The other thing that I have to mention, because maybe more people got that wrong. He said like, in one of the previous episodes, like at the last one or the one before, I don't know, he said that I started the conversation by telling people that I haven't prepared anything for today. And then he was like, why should I then watch if you aren't prepared? And I listened back to that episode and there was a misunderstanding. I said, I haven't prepared anything for today's banter. And I asked you if you have any like private story, you know, fun story to share that you always do in the beginning. So of course we were prepared for the episode. It was a list episode, even. So we had our whole outline and everything. I just didn't have any other, any new story prepared because it was the second episode in a row and all of that. So in case more of you were wondering about why I get going to these episodes, not having prepared, anything. That was not what I was saying. let's just have to, I need to clarify here in case you got that wrong too. I was just talking about the ban about our like little fun talk at the beginning of of all the episodes.

That that's 

probably 

Malcom: was there. Maybe he, maybe he listens in for the banter.

Benedikt: may maybe. Yeah. Maybe no. One of his points was actually that the ban is so long and that we should get to the point earlier.

Malcom: yeah, we probably should. Instead of talking about the circus yeah.

Benedikt: Yeah. I don't know. Yeah. So those two things, I just wanted to clarify those and I, and was very grateful, uh, very thankful for him putting that out because you know, maybe more people are wondering, like, what's this all about, and don't realize that it's an actual podcast on an app. So.

Malcom: Oldie.

Benedikt: All right. Good today's episode. Um, we're almost, yeah, we're almost 10 minutes in. So now I think it's time to talk about what we're gonna talk about. so today's episode is about guitar tone. It could be about any, any signal, but web chosen, uh, guitar tone, because, um, this is the primary thing where I encountered this and it's about why your we're gonna talk about why your awesome sick, perfect guitar tone might be ruining the mix because you might be judging it without context, and you might be dialing it in, in a vacuum without the context of everything else. And we think that it's super important to always listen to things in the context of other things and to tweak things in the context of the mix. That's all that matters because it doesn't matter what your instrument sounds like on its own. It's about whether or not it serves the song and whether or not it fits into the perfect mix for the tune you're working on. So

Malcom: Mm-hmm

Benedikt: the reason why I wanted to bring this up is that when I talk to artists about artists, about their Sonic vision, the project. So many people mention the guitar tones that they like, and I don't know why it's guitar, but that's, that's one of the most common things that come, things that come up. They, they either like, I don't know, bright guitars or dark guitars, or they hate or love scooped midrange, or they want, uh, a dark full sound or I don't know, but guitar tone is always part of their vision or almost always drums too. But the guitar tone is the, the popular one, especially if I'm talking to guitarists, then all they care about is the guitar tone. And I think that these personal preferences are obviously a thing and very important, but a lot of people completely ignore the fact that this tone has to work in the context of the mix and the arrangement. And sometimes that means that what they think would be a great guitar tone, that they love ends up being a very bad choice for the project. So I'd love to discuss how to actually figure out, um, a great tone to get a great tone that. You like, but that also fits into the whole thing, basically. And, and to me, there's three angles that I wanna look at it today. And I wanna talk to you about that, Malcolm. Uh it's. I look at it from the perspective of, of the song, the intention, the message, and the overall vibe of the song, like, does the guitar tone work with that for that? Like, does that make sense? With the intention and how the song's supposed to feel, then I look at it from the arrangement perspective, and then I look at it from the mixing perspective, the technical side of things, basically. Um, so these are the three, three angles that I, that I, I like to come from, um, here. And, uh, so yeah. What do you think about all this.

Malcom: something. I didn't expect you to say that I totally love is that you said that this really actually applies to any element of like, of a song. Like, it, it we're, we're talking about guitars, but you can, you can take this approach and like, uh, kind of train a thought and apply it to any instrument. Like the, like what snare you're using in the song, what kick you're using the song. Um, even vocal sound it it's, it's pretty relevant regardless. But for some reason, guitars are, are pretty hard to pin down. And I almost think it's because people have too much of an idea of what they're looking for before they've started recording and it's out of context, right? So, you know, they're listening, like you said, to some completely different song by a different band, with different gear. And they're like, I like this guitar sound. But that means nothing. When you don't have this canvas of your own song to, to plop it into and adhere it, that style of tone in the song, it just, it is just not relevant until you've done that until you've got it working with other parts. It's not really, I mean, it's, it's good to have ideas. So you, because as we're gonna talk about our processes, it is gonna speed up the, the hunt probably. But it, it doesn't, you, you really have to think beyond the guitar tone to come up with a guitar tone.

Benedikt: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Right. I think. This is one of those episodes where audio, examples would actually be very helpful. I think where to like, you know, point out the problems or like show how, how things work or don't work in the context of the mix. And this is one again, back to the whole YouTube thing, what we planned and on doing. And I'm, I'm very close to actually starting that by the way. I'm and I've been saying this for a while, but I, I keep working at it all the time. Uh, so what we're gonna do is we're gonna, in the future, we're gonna do extra YouTube videos to show the things that we talk about on the podcast. So the two will go together because audio, I, I thought about audio examples in the podcast and for a number of reasons, that's not so good of an idea because some podcast apps only play mono. Others have horrible compression where it's like a very bad MP3. That just sounds horrible. And you can't hear the details anyways. So it makes much more sense to have a dedicated, shorter format on YouTube, with great sound, where we can show and, and, and, and, and execute those things and like show you how to do it. And, um, along with those episodes, and I guess this is one of those that I have to do pretty early on, because there's so much that we talk about today that is kind of hard to describe. But very obvious that once you hear it, but we're gonna do our best to, to still make it work. So, yeah. Uh, one and two of that, of those three perspectives, like the song and the arrangement to me have to do with, um, with, with writing and arranging with the final sound in mind. Uh, and again, this goes for. Sources, but we'll talk about guitar specifically, as well as understanding, uh, the importance of choosing the right instruments, the key, the tuning, all of that. So you can optimize what you're writing and which instruments you choose and all of that, you can optimize that when you have the, the outcome in mind and the mix in mind and all of that And all three of those, like the song, the arrangement, and the mix have a lot to do with understanding the frequency spectrum. So understanding where each instrument typically lives, where the typical problem frequencies are and how do, how each part of the spectrum also feels sort of like there's this, you know, these words that you hear all the time when somebody says this sounds boxy, or this sounds muddy, or the sounds aggressive or abrasive, or I dunno, harsh or whatever. So in order for you to, to be able to understand those terms better, to know where in the spectrum, those things are and where each instruments, instrument, typically lives and parts of it, uh, I've prepared a free frequency chart, cheat sheet for you. And if you go to the surf recording, band.com/frequency chart, you can download that. And, uh, it can, it can help you a lot. If you are wondering. What to do about that muddy, those muddy guitars, or how to address whatever in your, in your tone or why that it clashes with the vocals where the overlaps are. You can have a look at this frequency, cheat, cheat, and definitely find good starting points. And, uh, the more you do that, the more you learn and the less you're gonna need the, this cheat sheet, but it's a great starting point. And I've prepared it for you to make more sense of everything that we're talking about today. So again, if you go to the self recording band.com/frequency chart, then, uh, you might wanna re-listen to that episode and look at these frequencies and then try it out for yourself. And it will all make much more sense. So,

Malcom: Yeah, it's a totally great resource. Definitely grab it. it's kind of when you're getting in there's, it's almost like you're learning a new language and I'm sure people have found that listening to this podcast, they're hearing words that we use all the time that are not part of their normal vocabulary. And over time, as you record more and, and, you know, chat with people like us, more, these words become more and more familiar and eventually work their way into your own vocabulary as well. And, uh, actually I get messaged all the time about how I say bombastic, which I feel like I haven't said in a little while. But , but I do use that word

Benedikt: I can't remember you ever saying that

Malcom: really. Okay. Yeah. I, people, multiple people have messaged me being like, I love the word Bombas, bombastic

Benedikt: did they message you because they heard you say it on the show or like

Malcom: on, on the podcast. Um,

Benedikt: Awesome. Awesome. Yeah.

Malcom: and, uh, I, I know I've used it on my other podcast too, so, uh, that, that comes up. But, um, the reason I'm bringing up this vocabulary stuff is because what I really recommend if, if you're trying to collaboratively build, um, Guitar tone. It's super helpful if you're speaking the same language. So if you grab like an amp and it's got, let's say base mid travel presence, like that's a pretty common setup. Sometimes it's more, sometimes it's less, but those are all pretty, pretty common play with those and figure out what, you know, what does presence actually mean mean versus trouble. Um, and, and what is mid-range? I mean, mid-range, these can all be tuned pretty differently across amp. So it's not an exact science, but it's gonna start giving you some idea. And the idea is that if you can describe the sound you're looking for using an actual technical term that that relates to a control like, oh, I want it to be more mid forward. To an engineer, like if you're working with an engineer or hopefully your, your, your mind is starting to think like an engineer that becomes much easier to accomplish versus, uh, aggressive, uh, like aggressive would probably make me go mid forward. I would probably try and get a very transient heart attack on some upper mids or something like that. But if they just said aggressively, mid forward, I would be like, oh, I know exactly what you mean. Very quick kind of thing. So learning this language is going to help you communicate the tone. You're hunting, uh, quicker.

Benedikt: 100% definitely. And there's always gonna be, yeah, different people are gonna use the same words slightly differently, but there's still one, I think, a common understanding of certain terms and things get repeated all the time and I, yeah, definitely I, I, yeah, I agree with everything you said there, so, okay. that's Sivan, I'd say, and, and again, if you grab that download and then come back maybe to the episode later or listen to it now and then come back, uh, if there's some things you just don't understand right now, that cheat sheet will definitely help, but let's start with the most basic of these or the it's. It's kind of the most important, not the most important, but the, the easiest to understand, I think, um, concept of those three and, and perspectives of those three, and that is, does the tone that you're dialing. Does that, and that you like, like you start probably you start by dialing in a tone that you just like standing in front of your amp or coming out of the speakers or your headphones. You just, you know, you jam, you play and you think that's the, that's the sound I like. Maybe you compare it to some references that you have and you come up with that guitar tone, but you basically do it in a vacuum. And now the first question you ask yourself is, does the tone you create there? Does that, does that tone create the intended feeling like evoke the intended emotions? Does it cause the right emotional reaction overall, like, forget about the context for now, but is the tone not only cool, but does it do what you want the song to do? So, you know, if there, if the song supposed to be. Like abrasive sounding and like a little harsh on purpose. Maybe like the Crip blue productions or the very raw, you know, punk car productions. Is that a song like that? Is that the aesthetic of your band? And does the sound do that or is it way too smooth and slick and polished for that or the other way around? Do you want a very polished slick radio rock type of sound, but it's like actually really harsh and, you know, and, and way too hard on the pick a text or whatever, you know, does, does, does, does the aesthetic you're going for overall match the tone you have, and if there's an emotional reaction that you wanna create, does it do that? Does it, does it work for the happy song, the sad song, the angry song, you know, that's the first question I would, I would ask myself if the overall direction is right, because sometimes you just like what you hear for whatever reason, but it's still not what you should use for the song. If like, if you, if you think about the big picture.

Malcom: right. Yeah. so, so essentially you're saying like, yeah. Does it give the right emotional reaction, right. Does that convey the, the feeling of the song and what do you think technically are the main contributors to, to getting that right.

Benedikt: Okay, to me, one thing, um, is definitely the upper mid range. Like the, how, how aggressive something is or how pleasing to listen to something is, um, that's one thing if yeah, that's what I, when I listen to guitars, that's one of the first things that I noticed, is it sounding like, has, does it have the, an edge or is it like very clean and like smooth sounding in a way, even if it's very distorted, it can sound very clean in a way, if you know what I mean? So is it like

if I turn it up loud, can I do that without any pain? Or is it like getting painful after, you know, a certain volume and that can be intentional or not? So that is one thing that just makes me feel different about a song. Um, or makes yeah, makes me feel different when I listen to a song. And then the other thing, I think a lot of the emotion to me is in, in the low end and the lower midrange also for whatever reason, when things are, have a lot of low midrange and are full and warm sounding, it's the more intimate it's, it's closer, it's more intimate it's if there is like a, a lot of low end that's, I don't know that, um, that always carries a lot of the, a lot of the emotion and a lot of the, what I react to when I listen to music, if there's not a lot of low end, it sounds a little more distant. It might sound more, it might sit better in the, but that, that gets into the whole context things. I don't really wanna talk about that, but in general, if I hear hear an isolated sound that is full quote, unquote warm has a lot of low end to it that tends to connect differently with me. And that is a little more. I tend to, I don't know. I don't know how to say that. Even,

maybe maybe it's because the fundamental notes are louder. I just connect better to the melody, to the core, core progression, the musical 

Malcom: point 

Benedikt: the actual musical content. Whereas if the lower midrange is lacking and I hear more of the F for example, or more of the aggressive upper midrange, that's also a feel, but that's less about the musical content and more about the overall power and the aggression and like how abrasive something is. And I connect differently depending on those 

Malcom: Right. So, but that that's not, I mean, those are actually all really great points, especially the, the fundamental note being present, making a, a emotional connection. I love that actually. But what I think, what I'm really trying to get to is like, how do you, how do you achieve this? And I don't think it's by grabbing an EQ, right? It's not, uh, like, oh, I want like, does this guitar have the right emotion? No, is crank the midrange. That's not really gonna do it. Right. So I, I think probably what is, and things people should be thinking about when they're on this step, making a guitar tone that has the right emotional reaction. Is is probably number one, the player, I think the player's probably gonna impact that decision. The most number two might be what guitar they, they pick up. And in like, so if they, you know, if they grab a strap versus a less ball, those are gonna convey completely different things, I think once put into the song kind of thing. Um, and then after that might be like, like gain, gain structure, gain type, you know, like there's overdrive distortion or, or fuzz and like stuff like that. Like those all pretty much make 'em different instruments in a way. Right.

um, but like if you reduce it to these big blocks that if you change this, it's gonna be a very different result. So like player, guitar, game type, and then, you know, speaker we've talked about, like, those are like the big changes that, that actually lead to emotional changes, I think. 

Benedikt: I think so. I, I totally think so. Yeah. I totally agree. And I would say this is one of the things that's so hard to describe because we're talking about emotion, we're talking about feeling here and, and you said that the player is so important and I totally agree with that too. So I think a great way of, of figuring that out for you and finding out what's right, is if you have options and or if you can borrow a couple guitars or a couple of amps, or if you have amp Sims available or whatever, if you have any sort of options during pre-pro, uh, or practice or whatever, Try to experiment a, a bit with those things and then try to forget about any technical things. Try to forget about frequency, response, and EQ curves and all of that. Try to really focus on how the performance feels when you play it. And if you're the player, focus on how you interact with the sound you're hearing, how, if that is actually an expression, if that feels like you're expressing yourself through playing. And if that, like how that feels and how you connect with the tone and you will, you will notice when it's just right. You will notice when it's wrong and you will notice when it's right, when it's wrong. It's like, yeah, sounds cool. But it's not really inspiring, but when it's really right, it feels like an extension of yourself. It like, it's the perfect thing. It's like, And you can only figure that out if you experiment for a bit, because if you have a good setup with a good guitar and a good amp, it probably will sound decent, but it doesn't mean it's the ideal thing emotionally, but if you can try a bunch, like if you have something like, say tone hub by STL, it's a great tool for that because it's simple, similar to a camper, or if you have a camper, same thing where you can like go through presets basically of whole rigs with different vibes and stuff, and you can quickly try a few different things and see what, what works, um, and, and how it feels while you're playing through it. And if you have a couple of guitars, you can do the same thing. And again, forget about the technical things. Just pay attention to how it feels like, how does the guitar react? How is the, the sustain, the Palm mutes, the, you know, all these expressions. And, um, and, that's, I think what you should, what you have to do to find your own voice and to find your own thing and to find what's right for the song you just have to experiment with. Yeah. I think that's just part of the process That's that's basically it. And that's the first question that I would really ask myself because chances are the reason why I brought this up is that you probably, if you have a decent EMP and a decent guitar and you can play, then if you stand in front of it, you might be able to fi to dial it a tone pretty quickly that you just like, and where you think this is the ideal thing, this works. It sounds great. But again, that doesn't really mean that for this song, it's the right thing. So you have to try alternatives and, and really think about the emotional side of it. And maybe it's something that it's, it's, it's not your obvious first choice, but actually much better for the song.

Malcom: Right. Yeah. And yeah. So like step one was, was does, you know, making sure the tone has the right emotional reaction and then step two on our list. Was, does it play with the other elements in your arrangement? And that, I mean, that like, that is very similar to step one in, in a lot of ways, but it is kind of just shifting your focus from the guitar to the rest of the things and making sure that they are being complimented by, by the tone you've chosen. I I've had the luxury of almost exclusively working with live drum. So by the time I get two guitars, there's something that is not gonna change about the, the drum, like the song, you know, like the, the, the drums are, uh, a recorded instrument that are gonna be what gets used in the mix, um, to, you know, to varying degrees. The it's not like a virtual drum instrument where I could just totally change the instrument. And now the drums were recorded in a different room entirely, you know? Um, so that makes this really easy. for me is where I can be like, okay, how does the guitar work against the snare and the symbols? Because those are going nowhere. They're gonna be there for me. I know for the whole thing. If that's not the case for your production, I think my only advice would be that maybe you should try to choose your drum sound earlier if you can, but that's just not always, sometimes you're just using the free virtual drummer and you know, your mixer, engineer's gonna choose what they want to use later,

Benedikt: Yeah. Yeah.

Agreed. And mm-hmm 

Malcom: still be there. So I think it's still possible to get 

Benedikt: Yes, Yes, I agree. And uh, I wanna make sure that people know that at least I wanna separate these two things, like number two and three. So when I say it's about the arrangement, it's not so much about, it's not about the mix in terms of like which frequencies and overlaps and all that. That's again, another thing to keep in mind while you're recording, like having the mix in mind. But when I talk about the arrangement, I mean, similar to like you would, you would put together an orchestra or something where each part of it has a certain function and has to sound, has to have a certain sound in order for, for it to fulfill that function, that purpose. so what I mean is does the tone play well with the other elements in your arrangement? Meaning what what's the purpose of the instrument or part, and does the tone help achieve that? So an example so that you know what I'm talking about, let's say. You have, you have drums, that's the pulse. That's the, the, the, the rhythm, but like not rhythmic, like not, not harm. There's no harmonic element to it. It's like just transients and like impact pulse, you know, groove, whatever you wanna call it. But then you wanna have another rhythm element that plays along with that groove, but also provides a harmonic like foundation. So you can have like a bass guitar or. Can be a guitar can be something that sort of plays together well with those drums while providing something in between the drum hits, you know, and in that together will give you the overall groove of the song, and then you might have another, and you can have, like, that can be the base that can be the base and the guitar together. That can be just the guitar or add like different there's different ways of doing that. And then let's say if you, if the, the bass and the rhythm guitar together are doing that. So the drums, the bass and the basic rhythm guitar are providing the groove and the basic core progression for the song. You might have another guitar that is there for another reason that could be a harm like additional harmonics higher up in the spectrum. It could be a melody. It could be. A call and response thing in between whatever the rhythm section does. You know, it could be a different function, could be playing along with the lyrics that the lead melody in supporting that could be a call and response with that could be all kinds of things, but it it's there for a reason. And does the tone you choose help? Get that, like achieve that. So one example where I wouldn't achieve that is if, if you want a thick. If you have like a rhythm guitar that plays the basic core progression, and that provides sort of the foundation for the song together with the bass, if that is a really thin you know, high frequency focused sort of sound, it won't do the job very well. It has to blend with the bass fundamentals and there has to be, there will be some overlap, but it also will go well together. And it has to provide a thick sort of full sounding foundation. If you play Palm mutes, you don't want to be, you don't want those to be very tinny and thin sounding. You want the feeling of air being moved. It's part of the groove. It's part of what's making the speaker move. So you need a tone that actually does that. It can't be too thin because otherwise that, that doesn't work, especially when it comes to like low tune PO PO mutes or something like that. You know, or any of those things, or if you wanna add like Octas, or like a elite melody that has to cut through, but you have still have to be able to make it quiet because it shouldn't step on top of the vocal. You probably can't do that with a very dull sound, because that will always be sort of buried or you have to turn it up really loud and then will, it will mask everything out. So, you know what I'm saying? There's. In an orchestra, there's a violin and there's a cello and there's a bass and all those things and they all have a purpose and in a band, there's these different elements and they have a purpose and you have to make sure that the tone you choose does help achieve that. And sometimes or oftentimes you only know that after you've listened to it in context, because on its own, it might sound really good. But overall, in the context of everything, it might completely fall flat.

Malcom: Okay. Here's, here's an example that I think everybody's heard at least once that's just always terrible is when the, the verse, like there's a big intro or big course. And then it goes down to a verse that should have an acoustic STR guitar, but they just like turn off the distortion pedal on the electric guitar. And it's just terrible. strumming along like an acoustic guitar, um, like that, that that's just brutal. And, and obviously doesn't do the same job. Sure. It's a cleaning six stringed instrument, you know, playing cowboy chords. But if it, it doesn't sound like the same instrument at all, really. Um, so, so like that's, that's a prime example of the arrangement not being satisfied and fulfilled by what you've chosen to use.

Benedikt: Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Great, great example. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Um, so

Malcom: just, just thinking about, you know, the other one you hear is, uh, when somebody uses an acoustic guitar, but they used to plug in. So it sounds like a zipper being opened and close to me. it's just, just like, uh, so close, but so far.

Benedikt: oh yeah. That's a good analogy. Yeah, totally. Totally. That's a, that's a good one too. Yeah, the acoustics. And with, with base sometimes too, honestly, if. You know, there's a difference between a base that's, that's playing high up on the neck all the time and, and doing a lot of base runs and licks and fills versus a base and, and being played with a pick and like just sort in all of that versus a base that's like holding down the, the fundamental notes only, and it's like very smooth and played with your fingers. And like, you know, that's a different function in, in the mix. It's both a base, but the one is, is, is almost, almost is almost the guitar. And the other one is like a more traditional base and they need different tones in order for 'em to work in the arrangement and to serve their purpose. And if you, if you decide to go with the guitar like base and you play runs and fills all the time, and you're high up on the neck, maybe you need another low end instrument to do to, you know, to make up for that because the base doesn't really do that. You need something else to hold down the low end and, and to keep it all together. Yeah, those are the, the decisions you have to make. And it's, it's partly do. It's a writing question. It's it's about picking the right instruments and it's then about picking a tone that helps the instrument do do its job in the context of the arrangement.

Malcom: right. Yeah. Great points.

Benedikt: Cool. And then number third, uh, number three, number third, number three is that will the tone work in the mix? So the decisions have been made, the song is arranged, you know, which parts you're gonna play, you know, which instrument is working well for that you've chosen the amp and the basic tone and all of that. And now it's more detailed work when dialing in the tone or, or, or putting the microphone in place, you know, make placement and all these things. So this is, uh, a little more detailed. Now, will the tone you have, will that work in the mix? Meaning how well do the different sounds that you've chosen in your arrangement? How well do they interact? There can be overlaps. There can be things masking, other things you know, this, there's the thing. You don't have to have a completely, you don't have to have every part of the frequency spectrum completely filled. There can be gaps in them if they in, in their, if they are intentional. Um, but you have to know like where, where, where are those gaps? Are they intentional? Are there overlaps? Are there like, where do I place things? And, um, this takes time and experience and practice as, as so many things. But I really, I really do believe that you have to think about those things early on at not, not only in the mix, it really helps to capture source tones that are somewhat in the ballpark and not completely off you know, because everything will be better. The rough mix will be better. You have a better understanding of what the final song's gonna sound like. It's more fun to play to that. It's my, you just make better decisions overall. And it's not too hard to do. I'd say. So you just have to really carefully think about those things, which a lot of people just. Don't do, uh, and don't know about, about those things in the first place. So how could we start there and what would good, good examples be for that? Like how could you dial in a guitar tone with the mix in mind? What could be, what could potential problem areas be and, and, and all those things?

Malcom: yeah, so, so common things for me. And like I said earlier, I, I have the luxury of working with like live recorded drums that I know are gonna be something that I I'd continue to work with in the finished mix. But, uh, like making the high end of the guitar meshed with the symbols is something that I'm totally concerned about and, and, and paying attention to, especially if there's like a crash and bash course or, or any section of the song where it's like somebody riding the crash, that relationship just has to work. Um, you, you have to compare like the top end of your stored guitar against that. And, and if it's not fitting that that could mean a number of things, but it, it just kind of has to get resolved. Right. And, and like, yeah, like what the, I record base, um, usually after guitars , uh, but, uh, but for 

Benedikt: since 

when. 

Malcom: you do guitars first

Benedikt: So it's. When do you record bass after guitars?

Malcom: um, or, sorry, sorry. No, I said that totally backwards. I said that totally backwards. I do not. 

Benedikt: for a second I thought you finally, you finally got it, but no, apparently not.

Malcom: for anybody new to the podcast. There's an ongoing FEU about this, that that will one day end, end the show in our friendship, but until then, we coexist? Um, uh, so I, I, I can kind of figure out who's filling up the low, mid and how, when I'm dialing in my guitar tone to that bass track, that's recorded, right? I've got a kick drum, I've got a bass guitar, um, that are both existing and that shapes kind of a BA a bottom end foundation of my mix. So I can think about how the guitars are relating to that as we're choosing our guitar tone as well, which I find super helpful. And yet one more reason to record base first as you should.

Benedikt: Yeah, but I I

Malcom: I'm 

Benedikt: actually, I actually agree with the point though here. Um, so base guitar, relationship based symbols relationship, uh, no net based symbols, guitar, symbols relationship, 

Malcom: Yeah. I mean, it it's an everything relationship. It, it, it's so important to have scratch tracks for your vocal and, and keys by this point, because this really educates your guitar. Um, tone decision having, you know, you're gonna replace the vocal. You're gonna replace those keys, probably whatever. Um, you, the leads, lead guitar layers that are, they're probably gonna get replaced, but they all the parts they tell you stuff about what frequencies are gonna get used, even if they're gonna change a little bit. So it's really helpful having those in place.

Benedikt: yeah, yeah, yeah, for sure. So to me, I tend, I like to think about it from, if we start and that's where the, the frequency chart cheat sheet comes in handy, if you like, when I explain things like that, and you can follow along with what I'm saying now, That's really helpful. So again, go to the self recording band.com/frequency chart, if you wanna download that for free. So when you think about the bottom end of the song, like the, the, the low end, the base, or yes, the upper base region, sort of the lower midrange, whatever you wanna call it. The transition between base and midrange I'd say is where the guitars start, where the low end of the guitar is. It's not super low, low end, but it's still considered part of the, yeah. The low end of the whole song. If I start there, I have the, the base is very important there still, but the guitars also have useful content down there and you have to make a decision of like, who is gonna do what, like, how are the two gonna blend together there without creating overall too much? Uh, there, you know, like when I when I have a guitar, when I have guitars with a lot of low end, at like between 102 hundred Hertz or something, and I also have a base. That has that, that has a lot going on there. And it, it has the, the, you know, that's depends on the, on the base on some, some bases live lower than that. Others have a lot of content in that, in that area. If, if, and if the bass and the guitar have that, and maybe even there's, there might even be a kick drum, you know, that's still living there in something. Something's gotta give you gotta make a decision there and maybe you have to make the guitars thinner because the base is really important there. Or maybe you can cut out some something, uh, you can make space in the base there because the fundamentals are actually lower than that anyways. And you don't eat the base there, but you wanna have the guitar low end. But if you leave both end, chances are that it's gonna get muddy. It's just too much in this upper base area. And you gotta be aware of that and, and, and, and try and see what, what works for the song. So there's this transition between where the bass takes over the low end and where the guitar low end sort of starts. And then The whole midrange is where a lot of things are going on. It's where the vocals live. It's where keys live. It's where guitars live. So you sort of gotta have to, to punch holes into your guitar tone, to make all the other things fit in because the guitars are covering the whole mid-range basically, if you let them, they are a very broadband instrument, especially distorted guitars. And you, you have to make space for other things. If those other things are important. And if they're even more important than the guitar like vocals, you have to find the spot where the vocals really shine. And you can't really change that because that depends on the key of the song, the range of the vocalist, the voice, all of that. So this is something you can't really change and you have to figure out where that is. And then you might have to make space for that in the guitar tone and create a guitar tone that actually lets the voice come through, the vocal come through in those areas. And it, this is a very difficult part of mixing that took me quite a while to figure out because it's just, there's so much going on in the mid-range and guitars are covering everything and, and making sure to, to, to make space for everything while it's still keeping the guitar character intact is quite difficult to achieve. But I, I, I kind of like to think about it like that, that there's a transition from bass to guitar and those that this has to work. Then there's the midrange where I have to decide, which are the most important things and which element is supporting and which is like leading. And then up higher up in the spectrum. There's this, this transition between guitars. And symbols or the strumming noise of an acoustic guitar or something that's higher up than the electric guitars. There's gotta be a transition as well. And it sounds really weird if you have a very bright fizzy guitar tone, but then very dark symbols. For example, sometimes that just is not a smooth transition. The two don't go well together or the other way around, you might have a very dark guitar tone, but then overly bright symbols. And the two don't really connect. So I'm not saying they have to be the same, but it has to feel right. It's and you have to experiment with that. And you'll notice with a little bit of experience that it's very important to get those transitions, right? So that the song as a whole feels right and feels correct. And that no, no element is like sticking out in an unpleasant way, which can easily happen. Uh, that that's, that's how I think about it. And that's why I chose guitar for this episode, because guitars are covering the whole, all of it almost. And you want the character and guitars are obviously important, but at the same time, they have to get out of the way of almost everything else. Yeah.

Malcom: Yeah, Yeah. When you it's it's again, context is everything. So you might solo the guitar and be like, this is perfect. But then when you UN solo, it you're like, okay, we gotta dial something back. You know, it can't be this aggressive or this distorted or whatever it is that can really change. Um, you know, I wanna jump into our individual processes because I feel like there's there's tricks and, and just like, uh, approaches to this that make it easier because this sounds very technical and it doesn't really have to be like, it's, it's not as technical as it sounds when you break it down, it's a technical thing. But if you go at it artistically, I, I think it it's pretty natural. If you make sure you check a, a couple boxes and, and assess a couple things along the way. Benny, do you wanna, do you wanna lead it and, and talk through your, your hunt? Nope. You 

Benedikt: no, no, no, because, uh, that's one of the things I mentioned earlier to you, Malcolm, before we started recording, I usually love systems and processes, and I have processes for a lot of things, but when it comes to dialing in guitar tones, it's, to me it's a very, or tones in general, it's a very intuitive sort of pro I guess it is a process, but it's hard for me to explain it because it it's, I react to what's what comes out of the speakers and I just 

do it pretty much. Um, and you know, so it's hard for me to explain that. Uh, just so I'm curious to hear your, your process, uh, and may, 

maybe 

that's similar to what I do. I don't know.

Malcom: Okay. I, I do think I've actually told this on the podcast before, but I, I stole it from a producer named Eric Ratz that my band worked with. Um, he's done like big wreck, Billy talent monster truck. Arkels like lots of big bands, especially in Canada. Um, and some with incredibly awesome guitar tones and, and his approach, like totally blew my mind and it was fun. And, and, uh, like I said, it kind of takes all the technical stuff out of it. And it also takes your bias out of it, which is really important. I think. And number one thing was choose the, the guitar that we thought was gonna be it just like our gut, like choose your gut gut decision guitar. Um, if you're like most people, it's probably your guitar cause you like your thing but, uh, so you grab that and you grab your most likely amp as well. You'll say you're pretty much like your, your go your gut for the whole chain. What you think the tone would be and quickly dial that in. It should sound approximately. Right. Um, and, and again, quickly dial it in. So it's like 57 Marshall, thus Paul that's, that's a rock sound. This is a rock song. This is probably gonna be a right. Then he had me record from the intro of the song up to the end of the first course, uh, assuming like a verse or like, you know, riff verse course structure kind of thing, something like that. And then I would double it and then he said, sweet, here's another guitar. We just swap the guitar. Don't even change the app at all. Run the same thing again, up until the end of the first course, double it. And then here's another guitar. We had like 11 guitars going. So luxury of guitars and time were had at this. But if you're a self recording band, you got time. So this, this works. And we just shot out all of the guitars that at least had a shot. You know, if it, if it was. A Strat with no humbucker in it. And it was totally a humbucker song. We didn't bother with the Strat. But otherwise all of the guitars got recorded and, and doubled like that through that same thing. And then we just had them on playlists and we had the luxury of having a, an assistant engineer that could play it back to us. And we wouldn't know which one we're listening to. We just, he just randomized them in an order. And then we'd listen through in an order he knew, and then we'd all vote, which one we liked. And it usually wasn't my gut choice, which is interesting. Um, I thought, uh, and so I would choose and, you know, I sometimes I'd be like, oh, number three is my favorite. I think that's my guitar. And it might not be my guitar. But what was interesting was that everybody in the room almost always chose the same number. So. Again, it's like, okay, number three. I don't know what that was, but that's my favorite if the whole room and there's like five people in the room were like, yeah, number three was the clear winner. And it just totally removed all of the ego from it. And, and the, you know, like the bias of like, okay, this guitar is fun to play. It feels good to play, but it was just, just what sounds best. And, uh, and every once in a while, there was like a case between three and five, option three, and number five, we still dunno what they are. And Eric would be like, okay, what do you like about five? And I'd be like, ah, like it's just a little more fizzy. He's like, yeah. But what do you think about the snare when you compare 'em he's like, oh yeah, the snare kind of like doesn't have any attack anymore. And he is like, okay, so what do you think? I was like, okay, yeah, we should go with three. Three's just doesn't doesn't have that cost. And, and it just, again, you don't know which one's, which until after you've made your decision, then we'd just be like, okay, number three. It is what guitar's that he'd be like, okay. It's the SG suite, grab the SG. And then we tweak from there. Then we start being like, okay, should, should we change the speaker? Should we add a mic for, for whatever we're looking for? But, but that process like led to the right emotion, uh, like taking that first box, uh, it led to us considering the frequency arrangement of what's already existing. Like, does it compliment the drums and all of the other tracks we have in there. And, and the arrangement decisions kind of made by choosing I mean, that, that's kind of a part thing as well. I guess we had that done in pre-pro I guess, but it, it, it was just a, a repeatable process that has never failed me when I, when we have the time to do it.

Benedikt: Awesome. That's so cool. So you, me, you're saying that the, the fact that you do basically you do, uh, blind tests and, um, and so you, you remove the bias is, is one of the biggest parts to this? I think like one of the biggest,

Malcom: Yeah. Yeah. And mostly like, honestly, it's mostly shooting out guitars and realizing that that's a way bigger decision than you'd think is getting the right guitar is, is so important. Um, so like I have a Keer and I've got some amp Sims that I now love as well. And it, I, I kind of do the same thing, even if we're not doing it blind. And like, in my room, there's, there's two guitars on the wall, right beside, I mean, normally there's a couple more, but like two to three guitars are always around. So we choose the one we think maybe it's on the camper. Find a quick tone. That seems right. Okay. This is sounded good. Quickly plug in that guitar. Let's just see, just to see, and, and if it's only two, we're not gonna do a blind test. It's gonna be like, okay, that one's a clear winner. Here we go. Um, but it's always worth just shooting of that guitar. I think.

Benedikt: Yeah. Yeah, totally. Totally. And yeah, and, and it, it's also interesting that when you say like, almost every, every time everybody in the room had the same opinion, this just goes to show that you don't have to necessarily know all the technical things and you don't have to even have the same terms necessarily and all the knowledge, but like everybody reacts to the music and usually there's a constant and there's a right and a wrong decision oftentimes, and, and it's about, and it also goes to show that it it's just about how it feels it's, you know, not about the numbers or anything like that. It's just, how does it feel? And most of the time, everybody in the room agrees that one feels better than the other. They might not be able to articulate it, but they know that it's better.

Malcom: yeah, exactly. And, and once you've got that, like, honestly, once you have the right guitar for the job, choosing the amp and all that kind of starts falling into place really quickly, I think.

Benedikt: I think so too. I think so, too. Yeah. Awesome. Now hearing all that, I think, I think I do have a process and, and I, I, I've never done the whole blind thing with the whole band in the room. Like you just described. That's actually a very good idea and a very cool thing to do. Um, I mean, I obviously talk to the band and we, we try together, but it's not really that, that sort of blind thing that we do, uh, or did when I was still recording. But what I do I think is to me, the, the overall vision of where the whole project is supposed to go is always super important. Like the big picture thing, like what are you trying to achieve? What do you want to sound like? Which bands do you look up to? Or what is your aesthetic? What is your identity as a band? And then I guess I have a few go-tos overall not about guitarist, but overall I have a few things that I know. Work for different for different things and they are starting points, but they work. So when, when somebody tells me they wanna. A modern sounding, very polished rock sound. That could be on the radio. For example, I know that I need a pretty sweet, expensive sounding top end for example. And I probably need pretty bright symbols in a lot of cases. Um, they don't, it can't be harsh, but it has to be bright. It has to be loud. Um, it has to, there has to be clarity in the vocal enough that say, overall, it's gonna be probably your relatively bright polished mix. And if I know that I immediately have an idea of a guitar tone in mind also. And the, and the other way around, if somebody tells me that they are, I dunno, a stoner rock band or some alternative rock band or indie band, and it's, it's darker, fuzzer overall vibe and less polished, more organic, whatever, whatever that means or more room where the sound travels through air more and it's like darker. And, um, I have a, a sound in mind for that too. And I have these starting points for the overall ectatic and that makes. Choosing the, the, the right guitar tone, a little easier for me because it automatically rules out some of the options almost. And things like the slick top end and modern, I polished sort of go together often with a little bit of a scooped midrange and a full thick, bottom end, clear top end, but of, of, um, yeah, con sort of a clean midrange with where the vocals are really intelligible and where it's like, the separation is great and all of that while, um, a more aggressive, organic thing or something fuzzier that's a little more unruly, whatever that can have a little, almost like a muddy midrange, sometimes intentionally it's more, this wall of sound thing than the separation, you know? So I don't know. That's probably what I do is I think of the overall. Like big picture and, and I immediately have some go-tos twos and then I will cycle through those and see if it works. And oftentimes it's a very natural thing because the bands come in with that sort of gear anyway, and that sort of a vision in mind, but oftentimes it's actually not sometimes it's, it's that what we said before in other episodes that they want a modern metal sound, but what they have is a fender Strat and some wax amp or whatever, that's not completely not, will not never do what they want to do. Um, and in that case, obviously we need to change things. Yeah. But that's, that's, I, I think, um, what I, what I think about, and one great example of where. Of this conflict that can happen so often even with like experienced musicians. I had this with my own band. Well I have this all the time actually, but with my own band, we had just a discussion about the current EP that I'm mixing for us. And, uh, that I, that we're working on. And our, one of our guitar players, he like Martin, he's a big fan of like dark, full sounding guitarist. He likes midrange forward, but not aggressive midrange, but lower midrange forward guitarist where it's almost like barking. You know, it's heavily distorted in a way it's like hardcore punk, but it's not really high gain. So it's, it's distorted enough so that you can have Palm mutes and it's aggressive, but it's almost barking and has this 800, you know, almost like lower midrange forward thing. That, that's what he personally likes when he stands in front of his amp. It's rather dull, but full in the midrange. And that's what he enjoys. And. It's difficult because our songs are pretty fast. There is, um, a lot of backing vocals going on. There's melodies leak, guitar and Octas and all these things and his guitar, his vision of a good guitar tone is like taking over the, the, all of the mid-range basically, it's very hard to make that work in the context of our genre, our mix. And I also, so it's always this balance of how can I make a tone that satisfies his vision of a perfect guitar tone while also serving our songs. And then he showed me some references where I'm like, yeah, we can do that. But listen to that song again, that you just sent me, do you really want the vocals to be that birdy? Do you really want the snare to be that birdy? Do you really, you know, all these things. And then he was like, oh, you're right. Maybe we can't go that far. You know? So this is a good example of a, a good real life example where somebody just likes a certain guitar static and ignores the fact that it has to fit into the mix. Maybe.

Malcom: it, it's totally true. I, I, something I find may be funny and I could be wrong with some of these, but I feel like. I'm trying to think of an example, honestly, slash let's do slash and I, I could be so wrong here, but I feel like slash doesn't care. like, he's so good. It's gonna sound good. It's a guitar tone. You know, like, I, I don't think he obsesses over what comes out over the speaker when he goes into the studio these days. He probably did when he first got started, but like, you know, , it's gonna sound like slash right. And, and so meanwhile, there's like everybody reading guitar, world magazine, looking at his rig being like, I gotta get these guitar cables between my pedals to make it happen the same. And he's probably just like walks in. All right. Are you ready? Click record.

Benedikt: Yeah. 

Malcom: like, and, and it's just good. Right. Um, and I, so I, I think some people think that guitar tone is this very personal thing. But in reality, it it's like for me, it's it couldn't be less personal. I really care that it's about like the, that the song sounds amazing as a whole, but like the guitar tone, isn't my identity. It's like the result of the song is, and the performance is really the, the main concern

Benedikt: Totally. That's so great. Like we're not creating guitar tone. We are creating a song that will connect with the listener. Nobody will ever care about the guitar tone. All they care about is do they like the song or not? You know?

Malcom: yeah, totally. And if the song's good and the performance is good, they're gonna think that tone's good. Regardless to, if it is really, you know,

Benedikt: yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, totally. Yeah. Like that. cool. I hope. Yeah, I'm pretty sure you can, you can take something away from this episode. And I think the main thing for you to take away here is, is that you actually think about those things. Honestly, it's not so much about the, the actionable, the, yeah. The actionable things and the, and the house. It's, it's about being aware that it's important, that, that the context is important and that you shouldn't create tones in a vacuum. And that what matters is the song and not the guitar tone, that's actually, that's all you need to know here. And we hopefully gave you some starting points. You hopefully downloaded that cheat sheet because it is really helpful. Um, and the rest is like experimenting and just being aware of that, just. Taking the time to sit down and think about those things like good songwriters, do good arrangers, do good producers. Do they think about those things? They think about how all the individual elements create this piece of art together. You know, they don't think about the guitar tone. They think about the whole thing, and then they make decisions based on that. And as long as you do that, you're, you're good. And although the rest of it is basically experimenting and having, and you can speed things up by having good starting points. And that's what we hope, hope to do. And to help you with, with this, with this.

Malcom: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Um, You probably picked up that a lot of what we do is like by instinct now, and that, that does come with experience. Like, like I said, with, even with the guitar shoot up method, you quickly dial in a tone that you think is gonna be close. That might be hard starting out. That might not be as easy as I made it sound. Just getting something that's in the ballpark. Um, so I mean, there's this work that's gotta be put in, you gotta experiment test with the gear you have. Um, and, and you'll just get better and better at kind of getting something quickly. Um, and maybe that's not the final thing, but, uh, just, you know, put in the work.

Benedikt: Yeah, totally. And the, the final thing I wanna say is because you said it's gonna be hard. Another thing that's gonna be hard is probably Being okay with the fact that when you hit solo, when you have the, the right guitar tone, everything works and then you hit solo and listen to the guitarist. It might sound like it's lacking something doesn't have to, but can, and you have to be, you have to be cool with the fact that the guitar in solo might not exactly what you thought it would be, but in the context of the mix, it totally works. And that takes some practice in and of itself. Because again, as the title of the episode was like your sick guitar tone might be ruining your mix and it could, so that means on its own, it could be sick, but in the context of the mix, it could not just not work. And the other way around is to, to so. Be okay with the fact that it's a great mix and it works. And what the guitar sounds like on its own. Doesn't really matter, except for if there's a section where the guitar is on its own, and then you can automate or create a second tone. But as long as everything's playing together, the individual tone doesn't matter. And that I know from experience takes a while to get used to and to be okay with, because you want to make everything perfect. And, uh, yeah, but that's not what it, what matters. What matters is the, the whole thing

Malcom: Absolutely. Okay. One, one last thing that I thought of, if we live in a world where doubled guitars are the norm, right? Um, it is very common to have a left and a right matching pair. If you, if that's how your recording's gonna be, you have to build your tone that way. Cuz a guitar mono sounds totally different than once. You've got two of 'em playing together, um, that like the tones kind of, uh, amplify what's going on. So if it's distorted and it's and heavy with one, and then you add a second one, it might be way too distorted. All of a sudden might be way too. Travely all of a sudden like you've gotta, uh, you've gotta record it twice and just listen to it that way as if it's one thing I, I think that's really important. Cuz I think people tend to overdo it. Thinking that it's like, okay, it's gotta be dirtier, but if they just left it a little cleaner and then recorded that double, they would've, it would've seemed dirty enough kind of thing. Um, it's a, it's an E easy way to overdo distortion, especially. Um, if you don't record a double and then check what that sounds like in the mix. Does that make sense? Did I explain that?

Benedikt: to totally, totally. I was just thinking about it because yeah, but no, not because. Totally makes sense. Yeah. Think about, think about the double yeah, yeah. 

Malcom: All right. Okay. Yep. There's a, there's a lot in that episode, if you want. yeah,

Benedikt: Yes, for sure. Yeah. Uh, see you next week. That's all I have to say. I think you 

Malcom: see you then 

Benedikt: for listening. Bye bye.


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