One of the most common issues we run into, when we get tracks from self-recording bands, are tuning issues. And out of tune guitar and bass tracks are one of those things that immediately scream "AMATEUR PRODUCTION!".
The sad truth is:
When the tuning is off, even if it's subtle, the song won't connect as well and the mix won't sound as good as it could have if the intonation was spot on!
Especially in modern productions where there are multiple layers of guitars, bass, keys, vocals, etc., even the slightest tuning issues can cause the whole thing to sound weird and unprofessional. And it will definitely distract the listeners and take them out of the song.
Listen as we walk you through three main concepts and lots of simple, specific tricks and tactics that you can use to identify problems, get the guitar tuning spot on and nail the intonation every single time you record.
The action steps we're giving you in this episode to help you get the tuning right:
1. Your Guitar:
- Use the proper string gauge (string tension calculator)
- Set up your guitar properly and regularly (or take it to a professional to get it done)
- Use the same tuner for every person in the band
- Use a strobe tuner
- Tune attack or tune sustain, depending on the part
- Tune like you play (hard/soft, sitting/standing)
- Tune individual chords, if necessary
- Mute unused strings and use fret wraps, if necessary
- Left hand tuning ("death grip", bending, etc)
- Right hand tuning (position of your hand, intensity, etc.)
3. Production Strategy:
- Don't tune between doubles
- Use the same guitarist for main take and double
- Use the same guitar and rig for your double if you want a solid, wide, "wall of sound" type of thing
- Use a tuning reference track (MIDI bass is great for that)
- Consider getting an Evertune bridge if you're in the market for a new guitar
Things we use and recommend for getting the tuning right (affiliate links):
- Peterson Strobe Tuner
- Music Nomad Guitar Setup Tool Kit
- Fret Wraps
- Evertune Bridges (here's an especially beautiful example of an Evertune equipped guitar, at least we think so)
- Music Nomad Fret Polish Kit
- Music Nomad Care Kit
- Music Nomad Screwdriver & Wrench Set
- Music Nomad 8 in 1 Tech Tool
- Music Nomad String Winder
- Music Nomad 17 in 1 Tech Tool
TSRB Podcast 022 - Guitar Tuning And Intonation Deep Dive
[00:00:00] Malcom: [00:00:00] Once you have something down, it doesn't matter if the tuner says the next thing is in tune. If it sounds bad against what you already put down, you've got to, you've got to make it sound good with that. And even though it's meant to be a different tone and stuff, it still has to the pitch.
Benedikt: [00:00:16] This is the self recording band podcast.
The show where we help you make exciting records on your own wherever you are, DIY stuff. Let's go.
Hello and welcome. Into the self recording band podcast. My name is Benedick tine and I'm here with my friend and cohost Malcolm Owen flood. Hi Malcolm, how are you?
Malcom: [00:00:37] Hello? I'm great, man. Had a nice weekend of camping and sunshine. It was awesome. Yeah. How about you man?
Benedikt: [00:00:44] Same year. Awesome. Weekends, camping, mountain biking.
Malcom: [00:00:49] Yeah. Summers summers shown up a.
Benedikt: [00:00:51] Oh, yeah, that was actually the first really warm weekend. Like the first time that the nights were really warm here. So it was basically almost no [00:01:00] difference between night and day temperature wise, which was very cool. So yeah.
Malcom: [00:01:05] Yeah. It it's weird. Cause it's like the same here, but there's something possible.
We're so far away that we're having like the same slogan, junior wary kind of thing going on.
Benedikt: [00:01:15] It's really the case, like what it was called. Um, Especially the nights were cold. The last couple of weeks, we had some, some nice days, but the nights were still cold, but this weekend was awesome.
Malcom: [00:01:25] Yeah. Yeah. Well, I mean, I, as listeners learned last episode, I recently proposed to my girlfriend and that was a.
Or we could go so mid June and I was really counting on sunny weather, but it was like pouring in the rain. Really? It was, I mean, there was, it was like, it was pretty light rain. Well, I actually proposed, but immediately after it was a downpour,
Benedikt: [00:01:48] really, it didn't look like that in the video that I saw. So.
Malcom: [00:01:51] Yeah. It ended up being pretty wet, but everybody was so happy that we just partied through it. So
Benedikt: [00:01:55] it doesn't matter at all, man. Like when we, when my wife and I got [00:02:00] married, like it was seven, seven years ago. It helps. I hope I'm right now. Yeah. But it was seven years ago. I think. Um, they, we, we got married in may and I think four or five or six weeks, something like that.
Like a lot of weeks. Right before our wedding day, every single day was perfection, sunshine, warm. Perfect. And then the day we got married, it was raining the whole day. It was just like, it was unbelievable. And, but it didn't matter at all because it doesn't matter on such a day. So
Malcom: [00:02:30] yeah, it doesn't for sure.
Benedikt: [00:02:32] That was a good reason to party, whether it doesn't matter. Um, other than that, We got our runner ducks this weekend.
Malcom: [00:02:42] We're talking about two times
Benedikt: [00:02:43] now, but now we have them. So we haven't new pair of young little baby. No, not baby, but not fully grown up ducks.
Malcom: [00:02:55] Sorry. Remind me. Are they meant to eat? Uh, snails or slugs
[00:03:00] Benedikt: [00:02:59] snails. The difference between what's the difference between those,
Malcom: [00:03:03] uh, at least over here, snails have shells where slugs do not have shells,
Benedikt: [00:03:07] then it's, then it's Luxe more than snails. Yeah. Then it's like, but uh, they basically eat like everything.
They're like, yeah, they eat everything. Yeah. You can, you can like literally you can feed them. Uh, like CA they laugh. Really. They really do like my mom, I has them and they, they eat like potatoes and they like, they love pasta. They love everything. But if, if you don't feed them, they just eat the slugs and
Malcom: [00:03:40] perfect
Benedikt: [00:03:41] bugs and everything.
So that's perfect. Yeah. And
Malcom: [00:03:45] how do you say snails in German?
Benedikt: [00:03:47] It's basically the same. It's like, . Oh, Nick is the word, but, and the Slack would be the . So the literal translation would be naked snail.
Malcom: [00:03:58] Oh, okay. That's [00:04:00] awesome.
That's the word?
Benedikt: [00:04:06] Yeah. So proposing whether camping, snails stuck. So
Malcom: [00:04:12] let's talk about today. We're going to talk about recording music.
Benedikt: [00:04:16] Exactly. And today's topic is guitar tuning, and we're going to talk about guitar tuning because. I want to say most of the tracks that I get sent that I got sent over the years from people who recorded themselves, had slight, at least slightly out of tune Guitar parts.
So bass parts. They really, most of them, sadly, I don't know the reason for that actually. And I think it's, I have the feeling that it's gotten a little worse during the last couple of years. I don't know why that is, but I really have the impression that I get more out of tune tracks these days. Um, and people often it's not that people are lazy or that they just don't know how to tune.
It's it's sometimes really difficult [00:05:00] because. There are subtle differences and subtle things and variances. And we need to be very accurate here when we record. And people just don't know that oftentimes, and they, they have a hard time even hearing and identifying those problems. And so we are gonna talk about why that is so important to be really accurate here and to have like great tuning and great in tune instruments.
And we gonna, we're going to talk about how to actually go about this, how to actually tune. Uh, properly set up your instance properly, and we're going to talk about three main principles, three main things that you can do to record. In tune performances. The main reason here is that we want you to record really professional sounding tracks.
Because when I get up, when I hear a song, a production, I immediately, I mean, I have like basically trained ears could say that. So I hear it easily. But if I can, if I spot it, if I spot out of tune guitars, it immediately screams amateur production at me. And not everyone will hear that, but some [00:06:00] people will do.
And if you do like it immediately distracts you from the music, it immediately sounds amateur and it's just, it's offered the difference between a really great guitar production and just an amateur sounding production. So, yeah. That's why that's so important. Um, I'm, I'm curious, Mark, are you, do you have the same, like feeling the same opinion that, or the same impression that this, this is an.
This is more of a problem now than it used to be maybe a couple of years ago.
Malcom: [00:06:28] Yeah. I think there's a good reason for that. Generally, there's a lot of guitar layers in modern productions. And double tracking is really popular, even like quad tracking and stuff like that. So you've got like stacks of guitars on top of each other.
When you have these layers, the little tuning variations start to compound and what might've been hardly noticeable is now amplified by all the extra layers. Cause when they're played in context with each other, it gets really kind of "chorusy" [00:07:00] and overly wide and out of tune sounding. And what you have to remember is that this affects more than just the guitar.
You know, we might notice the out of tune guitar, but what happens then, is that everything else that has any tuning involved in it, like basses or pianos or vocals now have a much harder time at sounding in tune as well. Right? So especially vocalist, I really feel for vocalists in the productions with these problems.
Cause they get there at the end. Usually they have to record to this like kind of like they're there. They just don't know where true pitches, you know, because it's like all Corsi. The guitars are all slightly out of tune with each other. So was which one is, are they meant to sing to? You know, it gets really tricky for them and all of a sudden you're like, ah, just, you know, do it again.
It doesn't sound right. One more time and you pull up a tuner or you're like, okay, well they're nailing it. This doesn't make sense. And it's probably the guitars, right.
Benedikt: [00:07:57] Yeah, absolutely. And that brings me to [00:08:00] one thing that I want to add here, because I think I did a terrible job explaining what this episode is about.
At least one thing here that I forgot to mention is that it's not about like the guitar being completely out of tune. It's not that you like plugged the guitar into tuner and like you look at it and use it. You obviously see that as attitude. And it's like really these subtle things that makes things sound chorusy or that makes things sound.
Uh, slightly out of tune. And just because your tuner says it's accurate, it doesn't mean it's really accurate because there are so many things at play here. So many parameters, and so, so much things you can, you can change and even, even different ways of actual tuning. And, um, so in case people are wondering why they even need to listen to an episode like this.
It's not that we think you can't tune or that we assume people record attitude, guitars. The guitar itself might sound somewhat in tune, but it's, as you said, the layers and the combination with bass and other [00:09:00] guitars and everything that, that, where it gets really tricky. And I think, yeah, we should just jump into it and explain what we mean here so that it becomes a little, a little clearer.
Yeah. And then can people can try it for themselves and they will notice the differences, I guess.
Malcom: [00:09:16] It's it's a skill for one, like, like Benny said, he's kind of got trained years because he'd been doing it so long. So just hearing it is a develop a skill. Uh, but also playing in tune is a developable skill as well.
Like the people with more studio experience, they get put through the ringer by a tough engineer that is picking up on this stuff, learn to play more in tune and more consistently. And, and what we're talking about to further what you were just saying, Benny, he is not actually how to tune a guitar. It's how to.
Record a guitar in relative tune. Um, cause it doesn't even actually matter if like the third frat on your guitar always go sharp. As long as everything else also goes sharp. It'll probably sound good. So it's getting everything in tune with each other more than just perfectly in tune.
[00:10:00] Benedikt: [00:10:00] Absolutely. Yeah.
And now people could say like, and I got that because I made a little video, just a little crappy cell phone video basically. But I did that because I got a lot of questions about tuning. I got some tracks that were really out of tune. And I came up with some actionable, some things that you could do to get your guitars in tune and what people like, some people responded to that saying that you should just use your ears and that it's like, it's easy.
It's simple as that. So just listen. And if it sounds out of tune, then tune it. While that is true to some extent, like, because what Malcolm just said is as long as it sounds in tune and everything, like the route of tuning is great. It doesn't really matter if the guitar itself is like in tune, but at the same time, I doubt that most people can really do that just using their ears.
So there is some truth to that, and it doesn't really matter what the number is. So the tuner says. But I would always try to get it as accurate as I can, and to really use the [00:11:00] tools that are out there because this, this whole, like, just use your ears thing can become dangerous here. And you can like, you're basically like running in circles at some point and just chasing your tail and you're tuning the guitar and then you tune the bass and then.
Something else sounds attitude. And then you try different tuners maybe because you don't believe what you hear. And then like just use a proper tune from the beginning. I think so.
Malcom: [00:11:23] Yeah. And there's, there's some people that hear it differently. Like I think I'm trying to remember who it is. I think it was mutt Lange.
Some of these producers, essentially a perfect pitch. Right. And they just like, it's actually like harmful for their ears here, but like other people consider in tune and it's just like, just like nails on a chalkboard to them. It seems like they care so much about that. So now when you reverse that and you think, okay, why does this matter?
It's like, okay, the most legendary producers in the world are obsessive about this. So there's gotta be something there. And it's this kind of thing where, you know, the average listener might not pick out [00:12:00] what's turning them off from the song and if you get this right, they won't notice it, but it just doesn't take them out of the song.
You know, it's like one less distraction to get in the way of them becoming emotionally attached to the song. That's why it's so important.
Benedikt: [00:12:14] Exactly. You don't want the listener to even think about you're tuning. That should never be on their minds, like they should listen to your song and enjoy the song, enjoy the music and feel the music.
And if someone notices or thinks there might be something off, it's already too late, basically, it's already distracting. And your song doesn't have the impact that it could have.
Malcom: [00:12:37] So yes, it affects the mix as well. You know, like you, you can't get things to be like really punchy and focused if things are coursing out through weird tuning.
So it's like the, what we're talking about today is important on an emotional level for the listener, but also just for a Sonic level as well. Like it, it can't really [00:13:00] achieve its full potential unless you get this right.
Benedikt: [00:13:03] Sure totally. Well, let's go to our three buckets here that we've prepared. Let's start with the first one.
And that is the guitar, your guitar. There are things you can do before you, um, Before it's about performance and other things that we're going to talk about that you can do on your actual guitar to set it up the best way possible so that you don't run into many of the most common problems. And I would start with, once again, the strings here, we've talked about it like about strings and basically every single episode for a reason.
But this time, it's not like, not only about using new strings, but it's about using the proper string gauge. We touched on that also, I think in a guitar episode, but it really matters when it comes to tuning. And while we said that thicker strings are often better or sound better when in doubt, like try thicker strings.
And I still believe that. There is something to be said [00:14:00] for having like the proper string gauge. So it can also be too thick or too thin. And that will cause intonation problems. So what I would suggest you do is you look up an online string tension calculator. There are things like that out there, and you put your scale length in and you put the tuning in that you're playing in, and then it shows you the proper string gauge, or it shows you how much tension you put on.
But how much tension you get on every string and there's a certain range that's considered ideal. And if you are below that, then the string spend easier and it's like a little inconsistent and that will be like not stay in tune as well. And, um, yeah, there's a sweet spot here and you can go too thick.
You can go too thin, but proper string gauge would be the first step and try going to such an online string tension calculator and try that out. That would be the first thing.
Malcom: [00:14:58] Yes. Yeah. That that's [00:15:00] really the top of the pyramid for getting your guitar set up correctly. Cause you can't really get the intonation is figured out and you can't really do the performance part.
Right. If you've got the wrong string gauge on, it just kind of is all for nothing. Um, so get that right. And things will start opening up further down the list here as we keep going. Sure.
Benedikt: [00:15:21] Well, the next thing here, Markham, intonation setup. Mm. Um, once you pick the right strings and you put them on the guitar, what would you do next?
Especially if you change say you, you changed string gauges, you switched from, uh, like thinner strings to thicker strings. Um, well the guitar speed still, still being tuned probably.
Malcom: [00:15:47] Yeah, definitely not. Um, so intonation, uh, in like the most general. Explanation of it is just getting the open string to be the same pitch as the 12th thread.
Um, those two [00:16:00] notes should be identical and you just do that by adjusting the saddle. Um, there's tons of good tutorials online for that and stuff. I know that Benny, you actually had a friend of yours. Who's a great guitar tech could come on and do a little workshop for your, uh, community. So is it going to be available?
What what's going on with that?
Benedikt: [00:16:18] That's going to be part of the. The self recording band Academy, the big, like online course. That could be out when this episode is out. I can't, I can't really talk about too much because by the time we recording this, we are pretty close to launch. Um, and, uh, but it's, it's part of the, the self recording band Academy and it might be available.
Um, separately, we haven't really figured out how we're going to do that, but it could be that it will be its own little workshop because it was just really good. And Diego Casillas is the guy who did that. He's a great guitar tech he's doing. Um, he's, he's been setting up guitars for, I don't know, Papa Roach [00:17:00] and the like he's worked with.
As a live guitar tech as well. I think you sweat with bands like Alison Chainz, corn, like really big Brock and heavy bands. And so he knows a thing or two about guitar set up and he did a really, really, really great workshop with us, which was amazing. He basically set up a guitar, uh, and live and filmed himself doing it and showed all the things and all the tricks he did.
And, uh, it was, there's some surprising things in there. And, um, yeah, it was absolutely absolutely amazing. I didn't, I didn't expect there to be so many like knowledge bombs and yeah. So I hope we can. I hope we can, we can like make a package of whatever out of this, this thing on its own with maybe some PDFs or something so that you can just buy that if you want that.
Malcom: [00:17:47] Yeah. Well, if you, if you want that, just contact Benny and he'll let you know, of course it's out yet.
Benedikt: [00:17:53] Exactly, exactly.
Malcom: [00:17:54] Um, yeah, so, but yeah, the, the like bare bones explanation is getting in the 12th grade and [00:18:00] open to be in tune, and that's really pretty easy to do. Um, you definitely want to make sure you're doing it right.
And if you are really like, not feeling confident about it, there's, you can find somebody professional to help you out with that. Um, and, and get your guitar set up for sure. Uh, you know, we didn't put it on our list, but we should mention that, uh, like there, there are other variables, like if your frets are just totally worn down and beat the shit, uh, for lack of a better word, you, you have to deal with that to get your guitar, to play in tune.
Um, otherwise you're going to have certain frats that are just all over the place and, and intonation is not going to fix that.
Benedikt: [00:18:37] Um, yes. Yeah, sure. Yeah, exactly. There's there are things that you can't fix and sometimes that can even be, that can even happen with a brand new guitar. Some guitars just don't internet.
Well, like even when they're brand new, some like get a little weird over time. Maybe the neck. Just bent a little move, the little, like it's, it's what it can change over the years. So sometimes you [00:19:00] can fix it by just like replacing the next, sometimes you can fix it by like, um, what's the English word for it, like a few basic remove the frets and then put them back on again.
Malcom: [00:19:11] we call that like a refresh.
Benedikt: [00:19:13] Yeah, yeah,
Malcom: [00:19:14] yeah. It is. Yeah. Sometimes you can stand them down, you know, just like get them re crowned or whatever. There's, there's lots of stuff, but you know, For me when I was gigging, uh, like a lot touring a lot. It was like every year I'd get like a big setup done.
Um, like give it to attack. They would check all the frats and engineered it, the whole works. Um, you know, make sure it's set up to the gauge that I've settled on and, uh, just give it an overhaul. So like, And that kind of seemed to be the recommendation, like once a year, if you're playing a lot, because by getting your frets looked at before, they actually like, are really bad, it's, it's cheaper and better for the lifetime of the frets.
Um, so if you're one of those people. Consider doing this at least once a year.
Benedikt: [00:19:58] Yeah, absolutely. And a [00:20:00] proper setup. Like there's so much that goes into that. That's a whole different topic here, but it's intonation is one thing. It's the, uh, the trust, right? It's like the, um, the action. It may be, you need to file, uh, the knots.
If you use a thicker strings, there's a lot of things you can do and you should do from time to time, or at least once when you switch to another string gauge or whatever, but from time to time is really recommended. Yeah. But the, the thing that you can do yourself, and it's not hard to do, you just need to look it up how it's done.
Is the intonation, at least with most guitarists, like you can, uh, the, the, the open string and 12 thread thing that Malcolm just explained, right? This is really, really easy to do. And the principle behind this is basically that the 12th fret is exactly half way between the bridge and the nut. So. If it's not that way, it won't be, it won't be the same note.
So you have to move the [00:21:00] Saddleback or forth back a little bit. And until it's exactly the same, and you can do that with a small screwdriver or Allen key or whatever your guitar has. And it's really easy to do. And that's the simple thing that you basically need to do every time you change strings. And the big setup is really recommended once a year or something I would agree here.
Malcom: [00:21:18] Yeah. Yeah. If you do the big setup, you can handle the rest, you know? Um, so that's the way to go. Yeah. Uh, now the next thing on our list, and I'm curious to hear more about this, um, cause it's not something you hear too much, so I'm, I'm curious what your experiment experiences with this Benny, but it's to use the same tuner for the project.
Benedikt: [00:21:39] Um,
Malcom: [00:21:39] yeah. Talk about that.
Benedikt: [00:21:41] Yeah. I mean, I'm actually the same tuner. Absolutely because they are not the same and they react differently and some, like you get just different results using different tuners. That's just my, my experience, always the case. So one tuner, but I'd go even [00:22:00] further and say that most.
Commonly used tuners are not good enough for recording situation. So the most of the pedals, the basic tuners that people use live, they are just not really accurate. And it's a pain in the ass to really tune very accurate with those. And the only ones that really work in a studio situation and basically all the.
Or most of the producers that I talked to agree here, and half some, something like this and their studios, and those are stroke tuners, like real stroke funerals. There are some, some tuners that call themselves stroke, tuners, or stroke like juniors. But oftentimes they just have to just look like one, but they are not one, but there is something, um, a very popular one or very, very popular, um, brand here are the Peterson, um, stroke tuners.
Yup. So they work really, really well. There, they are really accurate. And Diego. My friend who did the, the webinar we've been talking about. He actually recommended something that I haven't tried yet, but I've heard it from multiple people, um, right now, uh, [00:23:00] since then, and he said that there is a plugin after popular poly tune tuner, you know, the PolyJet unit, but TC electronic.
Yep. The one where you can like two and a whole chord, like all the strings at once, when you just from through them, there's a plugin version of that pedal and the plugin version seems, or at least people say that seems to be the most accurate thing next to stroke tuners. So, um, for some reason that works really well, that plaque, that plugin and he highly recommended it and some other people did as well.
So. You might want to check that out. That plugin is really, really great.
Malcom: [00:23:36] That's ironic. I didn't really enjoy the peddle version
Benedikt: [00:23:39] either and Diego as well. So you go set, the plugin is way better than the, than the pedal.
Malcom: [00:23:43] He wouldn't use the pepper,
Benedikt: [00:23:44] he wouldn't use the paddle, but he definitely would use the plugin.
So, and that's what I heard from multiple people now.
Malcom: [00:23:50] Well, I mean, it does make sense actually, cause like it's your computer's processing ability versus whatever little chip is shoved inside of that pedal. That makes sense. Yeah. [00:24:00] Um, the camper tuner is fantastic. Uh, but that's the most expensive tuner you can buy.
Benedikt: [00:24:06] The belts and doors are actually not that bad. Sometimes they'll plug in, um, tuners in general, better than most panels. But the most important thing is I would say use the same tuner and that I would prefer the really, I would prefer the digital, like plugin tuners or the Kemper or whatever, two most common pedals I have.
For example, I don't want to now I don't say it like I have one of the common. Uh, paddles, let's say it's just a
Malcom: [00:24:31] common, let's say it's just a common, polite. Sorry. Is it white?
Benedikt: [00:24:35] Yeah. One is white and one is black. And, um, so I think these are at least over here. These are probably the two most popular pedals and they both suck.
Malcom: [00:24:45] So, yeah, I'm actually just thinking about it now is it should show the sense, like how many cents you're out plus or negative, you know, where not just like a light, which might be 10, might be five. You have no idea if, how far [00:25:00] you are out. So, and I'm a strobe tuner as well. Uh, strip tuners are definitely way more accurate.
Benedikt: [00:25:07] so, and yeah, and try it if you have multiple tuners and even if you don't have access to strobe tuner now, or the other plugin or whatever, but just try chewing, you're using the same, uh, tuner and see if they could see better results because it likely will. Um, that's that's the first step here.
Malcom: [00:25:24] Yeah.
Benedikt: [00:25:25] Alright. What else do we have?
Malcom: [00:25:27] Well, I think we're on to bucket number two, which is performance. Um, so this is going to be stuff that you can control while you're playing. Um, generally, so the first thing that came to mind and that kind of ties into tuners is are you tuning the tack or tuning the sustain?
Um, and what that means is, do you pluck the string and then wait to see what the tuner does as the string kind of rings out? Because what happens is when you pluck a string, it always jumps sharper and then settles back somewhere. And yeah, [00:26:00] I was always kind of like default into tuning the sustain. I know other people's default was tuning the attack, but when you think about it, It depends what you're playing.
If you're playing a fast riff, that is really short notes and all attack, that's what you should be tuning to where if you're holding longer notes, uh, like sustained notes, obviously, uh, to the sustain. Right. So it's pretty simple when you think about it that way. Uh, but most people don't do that.
Benedikt: [00:26:27] Yes, totally.
And there's one interesting thing that I also learned from Diego and that is. With that you should definitely do that with the attack or sustain, but if you have a really, really great guitar, that's set up perfectly the way Diego did it with his example guitar. There wasn't much of a difference actually.
So the better your setup is the better your setup is the more accurate the tuner is. And like all the other pieces like are perfect. Then you can like hit the string really hard. And there won't be much if at all, like difference between the [00:27:00] attack and the sustained with most guitars that will be. And so I'd definitely, definitely recommend doing that because there will be a difference.
And if there is, you have to compensate for that. But in his case, he hit the string really hard. And, um, the pitch didn't drop after, like when the, when the, the note was sustaining. So. Wow.
Malcom: [00:27:20] Cool.
Benedikt: [00:27:20] Yeah, that's one thing. Cool. But you're totally right there. And in most situations it is absolutely the case here.
And even like, when I set up my guitar and when I play and I can do like a pretty decent setup, but still like at differences, depending on how hard I hit. So I always two and four heavy Palm mutes, something like that, where I really dig in, I will tune differently than when I like have open sustaining chords or single notes or leads or whatever.
Malcom: [00:27:46] yeah. Totally. Yeah. And that, uh, that kind of brings us to the next point, which is tune like you play. Uh, and that just means that if you play really hard with your right hand, you need to tune like that as well. Um, because if you're [00:28:00] like, when you're tuning, if you're just barely touching the string, that string is going to be like showing a different pitch compared to if you were just hammering on it.
So it's a, again, one of those obvious things, when you think about it, but a lot of people don't do it that way.
Benedikt: [00:28:13] Oh, yeah. I think with bass that's most of it, this, at least to me, like almost always when a bass player. Um, plays really hard when they have a really strong right hand, it will always be sharp.
They will tune very lightly and everything will be in tune. And then they start playing and like, they're just digging in and then it will be sharp. And this is, this is so common, especially with basis.
Malcom: [00:28:37] And yeah, I always see the recording base with a pick and then they go to tune with their fingers. Like, nah, it's not the same.
Benedikt: [00:28:44] No, not the same. Yeah. You, you play and not only how hard you hit and that's something I'm curious to hear from Yuma, if you had that experience as well, because to me, it's not only how hard you hit, but even like, if you are standing or sitting makes a difference the way you're holding [00:29:00] your guitar. I don't know.
Like, it seems like. Depending on how you have it. I have the, at least in my experience, um, some guitarists will slightly bend they're instant. They are their next or whatever, or they just, if they are, have a really tight grip, they just, something moves and the tuning will be different. And even standing up or sitting down like gravity, whatever it is, it's just different.
Malcom: [00:29:23] yeah, it totally is. Yeah. Posture even sitting down, you know, like if they're leaning back now, you've got gravity on the neck and it's going to be sharper, you know? So. The guitar should be operate, uh, bottom line there. But, uh, yeah, that's definitely a thing should be a comfortable position that they're going to be able to consistently return to.
Benedikt: [00:29:43] Yeah. And in that position position, if you like playing well, you, while you stand, or if you like to, I don't know, walk around the control room or whatever, you need to tune a standing up because it will be different than when you sit. So,
Malcom: [00:29:57] yeah. Yeah, definitely. [00:30:00] Um, and now this next thing is a more advanced technique, but definitely happens more often than I wish it had had to, but it's, uh, tuning individual notes and chords.
Um, so what that means is that if you just can't get your guitar to be in tune on a certain fret or on a certain cord, you Fred it and tune the note, Fred, uh, again, playing it like. You would perform it as well. Uh, but very common on guitar is like a major bar chord shape. If anybody knows what that is, if you're a guitarist, you probably do, but that middle finger is always sharp.
It's just always out. Um, it's just guitars tend to be the G string is just. Perpetually attitude. So you just hold that chord and pick through them one at a time. And usually somebody else, like you have somebody else there that actually runs the machine heads for you and is doing the tuning and you're just plucking the strings, holding the cord, and then you don't let go at the end [00:31:00] and then you're punching that part and hopefully get a perfectly in tune cord.
It is a total pain in the ass. But it is like the only way to get yourself out of some situation.
Benedikt: [00:31:09] Totally. And you know what? It seems so obvious, but I never did what you just described. I always had the guitarist like tune and then do the chord again and then adjust into the court again. But you're right.
You could totally just hold the cord and tune while you're like, have a different person's unit while you're doing it.
Malcom: [00:31:26] So. Yeah. Well, I feel like half of those complex chords, especially with, uh, well, actually we should mention this distorted guitars make out of tune. Things sound even more out of tune. Oh yeah.
Um, you just get more junk brought forward from, uh, like harmonic distortion. So the we're talking about such small differences of tune where like a couple cents really stands out. So if they're taking their hands off and then reef it just the difference in how they're holding the cord, that slight little difference in pressure even.
I can just mean it's totally out of tune again to me. Um, so that's why I like them to just [00:32:00] hold on, try and be quick through the tuning thing. Spark courts can suck, uh, depending on the guitar you're holding. Uh, but yeah, that's generally how I get it done. Um, but yeah, sometimes, you know, this gets done on single string stuff as well, especially basis.
Uh, you know, like for my bass, uh, I love my bass, but it's got a terrible first frat. So like the F if you're in standard tuning and the F on the low E is. Horrendously out of tune. And so if that note comes up, I like, look over, I see they're playing it. And I'm like, okay, stop. We're punching that in tune it.
Yeah. It's just like, you know, you get to know your instruments. Oh
Benedikt: [00:32:34] yeah. Yeah, I do. And that's, that's what we said in the beginning. There's just some things you can't really do anything about if it's the instrument itself, but might be a great instrument and sound awesome. But if there's just one fret that won't end tonight.
You'll have to find a way to make it usable. Yep. So, yeah, definitely. All right. Yeah, totally. Do you want individual course happens all the time and um, I think that's, that's one of those things that people [00:33:00] don't think you do. Like they think. It's not allowed to do that. Like you're not allowed to do that, or it should work when the guitar and tune, but it's, it's really common.
It's not, um, yeah, it's not it's if that happens, just do it. And it's, it happens in professional situations all the time and you have to do what you have to do to make it work.
Malcom: [00:33:19] It happens more than you'd believe in the really high budget stuff. Yes. Every rhythm guitar chord can be done like that sometimes.
And it's just pretty crazy. Cause it takes so much time. Yeah. And a pro tip, don't be afraid of the copy and paste method in those situations. You know, like it's such a pain in the ass to get that chord perfectly in tune. If you can copy and paste that around the song and save yourself an hour so that you can focus on doing a wicked guitar solo or something, that's totally worth it.
Right. No, don't let your ego get in the way of that.
Benedikt: [00:33:49] Oh yeah. Oh yeah, totally. Yeah, absolutely. Once you get that chord tuned, use it wherever you can. You don't have to do it again. Yep. Yep. Alright. Um, [00:34:00] then, uh, mute unused strings is the next bullet point here. We're not talking about something that's really out of tune here, but we're talking about strings that resonate when they're not actually being played.
And that can sound as if the guitar were out of tune because you hear like dissonant, um, notes that are not part of the corridor part. And even, even if it's just like very, very low, very, very quiet, it can sound distracting. And just, you might think that the corridor or whatever is out of tune, but it's not, it's just a string that doesn't belong to the court.
So. Or even with leads some sometimes if you only need one, like one string, you can mute all the others. So that they don't ring with that string and that's sometimes is necessary. It always depends on the skill and the player a bit, but even like, even with very skilled guitarists, sometimes the riff or whatever, just doesn't allow for a proper muting of the unused strings.
And that doesn't really, it's not really bad when you [00:35:00] play live. When you hear the, the guitarist play that in front of you, but on a record, it can get really, really annoying. So. And there's, it's easy to do that. So I'm curious, how would you, how would you go about that? What, what did you do in such situations?
Malcom: [00:35:12] Yeah, I mean, I've got a few tricks. Um, but yeah, I honestly think it's something that I'm going to do more of in the future. Um, Cause it doesn't always sound bad. Sometimes that overtone does actually sound nice, but it is a lot quicker going back to like copying and pasting the T the chords. It takes you an hour to record.
It's kind of the same thing as speeds up your recording. Cause it just removes the variables of these like strings ruining a take for no reason. Um, cause even with great technique, it's still just causes noise. Like you said. Um, but some ways that I go about it, my, in the back of my Kemper to my left ear, I've got a perfect piece of paper towel folded up, but I slide between the strings and the fret, um, on like by the bridge and, or sorry, the strings and the pickup.
Um, and, uh, I'll just mute out, like, you know, a lot of guitar rifts in the rock genre are [00:36:00] just on the three lowest strings, so I could get the G the B and the E just kind of removed from the equation. And, uh, that cleans it up quite a bit. Uh, Ear plugs, you know, like the like foam construction, ear plug kind of things.
Those are the perfect mutes they fit. And they're so good. You can chop them down shorter. If you need, you can turn them sideways, just meet one string there. Yeah. They're they're the bomb. And then, uh, the other thing that I haven't actually done much of, but, um, recently had abandoned with where this guy had this, like a band that went over the, the nut of the guitar.
Just kind of muting out the first. Like zero frat kind of thing. Yep. And that was really effective. He kind of had like a, a pretty crazy sweepy solo thing going on with tapping and stuff like that. And it really, really cleaned it up. So I want to pick up one of those as well. And that was like actually a purpose built.
Thing that he bought that had like an elastic band. It was almost like a keto style, like one of those elastic band Campos, but it didn't fret fret the guitar. It [00:37:00] just kind of put like soft dampening
Benedikt: [00:37:02] on the strings. Those are called fret reps, I think. And yeah. And they're pretty popular in the heavier genres.
Like almost every modern like metal band or something like that plays some version of that. Or they do some DIY version of it, but there are a whole like, Manufacturers who make them the purpose of them is like they stopped the strings above the nut from, um, ringing and it cleans it up a lot. So when you do chucks, especially with like low tune, heavy things, like they, they should sound really, really accurate, almost robotic, kind of.
So you don't want any ringing, any sustained that doesn't belong there. You want them really, really tight. And that just cleans it up a lot. So yeah, those fret wraps and they are pretty useful for any, for anything. Basically, I haven't gotten into a situation where I wouldn't want to use them, actually. I don't do it all the time.
I same for me. There's some bands come in with them and other stuff, but I've never, I've never had a situation where I was like, Hm, it's better without it. [00:38:00] So yeah, I think you can't do you can't go wrong here.
Malcom: [00:38:03] Yeah. Definitely. Yeah. There's so much noise with the story of guitars that it's cleaner is usually better.
Benedikt: [00:38:10] Yeah. And then there's something that I do or did quite a lot when I was producing more. And that is, um, I think I heard, I didn't, I don't know who it was by, at Hertz. Some producer referred to it as active or passive muting. So what we've been talking about here is passive muting and the act of muting would be like you basically standing next to the guitarist.
And manually muting the strings. That are not used. And you need to do that. Or you can do that when there is a part where some of the strings are used sometimes, but not all the time. So you can't mute them with a towel or the foam and your pets or whatever, but they still ring in between some notes where they're not supposed to ring.
So you basically need to pay attention and learn the riff basically, and stand next to the guitar player and then just use your fingers to mute the strings [00:39:00] whenever they are not supposed to ring. So it's like a team effort then to play that, that riff, but, uh, it's fun. It's really fun to do that. And B um, it it's, it works great because you have full control.
You can decide when you want to stop the ring, um, takes a little practice, but it's a very, very good option. And you should try that. I, I, I did that often and it's yeah, it's fun and leads to great results.
Malcom: [00:39:23] Definitely. Yeah. I, uh, I liked doing that too, cause it's a great way to get people that are on the couch waiting for apart to get tracked, to kind of get involved.
So it's like fun for the band and uh, and it's honestly like the only way to get some of those things done. So yeah. It's definitely cool.
Benedikt: [00:39:38] Cool. All right. And then I'm curious here about that. Um, the next two bullet points here are left-hand tuning and right hand tuning and you wrote those down. And I didn't ask before we started the episode.
So I'm wondering, like, explain that to me. What do you mean here?
Malcom: [00:39:55] Okay. We've kind of touched on them a little bit, but a left-hand tuning is that if [00:40:00] you have a death grip and you're pulling, like there's just left-hand technique. So some people, when they grab a. Say a power cord. We're assuming guitars. So listening to this, mostly for this episode, their third finger might be bending that string a little bit.
And what do you know? You're now able to tune, you know, like how you hold the string told the changes, the tuning. So you have to really work on that and make sure you're pressing directly down and not bending the string at all. Or like the death grip thing is when you are just pressing too hard and that's harder to do with bigger strings.
That's why a lot of people like bigger strings is cause it's harder to bend it, but like a really thin string, if you press harder. Like, I, I encourage you to do this, just grab a guitar, grab a fret on a higher string and pluck it and then just try and press harder and keep plucking it and see if you can modulate the pitch without moving, without bending the string and just by pressing harder.
And you told the cam, so there's tuning in the left hand and really great guitar players have that. I attribute this a [00:41:00] tone is in the hands. Kind of saying a lot with that is that some people just have. Tuning in their hands. And you, you do like some people like even adjust for it. Like you're holding this cord and you're like, ah, and you just like work it until it kinda comes together.
And now to take this a step further, especially with basis where you have like a single note, um, performance going on at a time, usually bending the neck as you play can keep you in tune as well. So going back to my base, having a terrible first fret on the low E I can press my neck forward. Like on the fly kind of thing.
Um, so I'll often keep the tuner, like the strobe tuner up for the, the basis to watch while we're playing. And we get to this note and I'm like, look, and he looks over and he just like, you know, tweaks and, and gets it. And we're like, yes, didn't have to punch it. You know? Uh, so there's like, There's your hands, uh, how hard you're pressing.
Um, obviously there's like a minimum. You, you can't press [00:42:00] softer because you'll just get buzzed, but there is too much. Um, and then you can also kinda ModuLite the neck to keep things working as well. So that's, left-hand tuning. Uh, whereas right-hand tuning is as much simpler and this just kind of applies to people that have, uh, floating bridges or soft tail bridges where there's, um, like if you rest your wrist on it, it might throw your guitar sharp, essentially.
So you have to just account for that and be mindful of that. And, uh, I really advise you not to have a soft tail or Floyd in a recording situation, unless it's absolutely essential to the song. Oh yeah. It's going to be a nightmare for you.
Benedikt: [00:42:41] Oh yes. Especially if you try different string gauges or switch between string gauges, like if you use, if you have to use different ones like or different tunings, it gets a total nightmare because the bridge will.
Like, I don't know, it will do weird things. It will like stick out of the guitar and you won't get it flat again. And then you will need to adjust [00:43:00] the Springs and the back of the guitar and all that shit. And it's just a pain in the ass. So there are some guitarists who really need those for the performances, but most of them, and I just, I really believe that most of them could get away without it, without it.
And so it's not really necessary in most cases that in many cases, And you really need to, to think about if it's worth it or not.
Malcom: [00:43:25] Yeah. My go to solution is to take it away, that guitar with a Floyd Rose and be like, okay, this thing's going in the trashcan. No, I'm joking, but give them a hard tail. And we track all the parts and then we punch in the dive bombs and stuff like that.
Um, you know, usually even as an overdub, but sometimes like right into the track as if it was a flood Rose the guitar the whole time. And you can usually make that work. Yeah. Um, and you know, that'll save you like eight hours.
Benedikt: [00:43:49] Yeah, exactly. Totally. Yeah. Awesome. Um, so yeah, tuning is really in your hands.
That's what we had the second, um, buckets here, the [00:44:00] performance, um, the third. Bucket here is production strategy. So we now have a properly set up into and guitar or bass. We know what to watch out for while we actually play. And now there's things you can do to also avoid common problems that have to do with just the way you go about recording, how, how you approach the process.
And the first thing here that comes to mind. And I only learned that recently to be honest, like a year ago is some stuff like that. And that is. Don't tune between doubles or that means what that means is when you double track rhythm guitars, which you often do in modern rock music, then, um, What I did a couple of years ago still was I would record one rhythm guitar, like the whole song, and then I would do maybe the lease or whatever.
And then I would double the parts that needed doubles, or I would, if I knew from the beginning that I [00:45:00] would use that I wanted to double track the rhythms. I would do one pass or like all the parts after each other, and then do a double like hours later or something like that. And, um, I learned that this is.
Not good in most of the cases. And it's really true. The better way to do it is you do a part of a song, can be the whole song can be a part, whatever you do, however you approach it. And right after that, if you planning, if you plan to do a, a double, if you need doubles, do that right after the perfect take.
So you play one part until you have the take. And then right after that, do the double without tuning in between. Because A, the way the person plays, and as we've learned, tuning is in the hands, the way they fret, the way they place their right hand and everything, it should be exactly the same for the double, as it was for the first take.
And you can only really do that if you do it right away, because later nobody knows how you exactly played it. [00:46:00] And the other thing is, chances are that while you're playing that part, the tuning will change just a little bit. It might drop a little bit, or like things change constantly. And when you then tune., both of those takes might be in tune. So they might sound great, but together they might still sound chorusy because there's just a slight difference because you changed it between the takes. And if you don't do that, if you tune once very accurately before the first take, do the part and then immediately the double without tuning, with the same positions of the hands, you will get a perfect double that won't sound chorusy, phasey, or whatever. And it makes a world of a difference. Really. It's a totally different thing. Like you can't really recreate that hours later, or even a day later, you need to do it right away.
Malcom: [00:46:45] Yeah. It's like we said, at the beginning of this podcast, It's relative tuning, but we're talking so getting things in tune together, and obviously if you don't tune and it's the same tuning that you just used, it should be perfect.
It won't be, it'll still be [00:47:00] out from each other, but it'll be a lot closer and that's really the best we can do.
Benedikt: [00:47:05] And that brings us actually to the next point here, because that kind of is what I wanted the same thing, because some bands, like if you have two guitarists, some bands will have like two people do the rhythm parts, like their rhythm parts, as long as nobody's playing a solo or leads or whatever both might be playing the same roof.
The thing is with the method that I just described to the same person would do the double and not the other guitarists. First of all because of the tuning and the, like the positioning of the hands and everything, but also because another person would be again, totally like has a totally different technique and would totally sound different.
And it has like, the intonation would be different and everything. And most of the time, one of the two guitarists will be the better rhythm player anyways. So it's. A great idea, actually, to find out who's the best or Titus guitar, rhythm guitarist, who has the best [00:48:00] intonation, the tightest, rhythm, whatever, and then have that person do both.
The first take and then the double. And, um, this can be a difficult discussion sometimes in the band because everyone wants to play the parts. And if you play it live and both are playing the same riff and they are used to that, they might want to play that part, but it's oftentimes really the wiser decision to have to do it with one person and to do the doubles right after the first take.
And it's just not possible with two guitarists. It will always sound slightly off. Yeah. Yeah.
Malcom: [00:48:32] Yeah. It's a, there's a little bit of an ego conversation that has to happen within the band often, but, uh, it definitely is the way to go. Um, and just remember, you're trying to serve the song, not your ego, so yeah, go with that.
Um, and you know, like sometimes, usually it's just one person ends up being the guy and they are, or girl and they, they do it all. Um, but sometimes it's like, Three quarters of the song was one person. And then the other guitars connect, you play the [00:49:00] bridge better. So they get in there and play both parts, like the, both the doubles of the bridge kind of thing, because they just are better at that riff.
Right. You can just swap at one part sometimes and get away with it. Yeah. Um, yeah. The next thing was really kind of the same conversation is a, in a way, is using the same guitar for your double. Um, so don't play the riff and then immediately grab like with Les Paul and then go grab a strap, which has a totally different scale length and try and double it with that.
Um, Because it won't be in tune at all. It'll, it'll be really out, but, uh, this is kind of a tricky conversation because that used to happen all the time with like classic rock recordings and stuff like that. Um, like down to different people as well. You know, they have two different people playing the same riff with two different guitars, um, live and it still sounded cool, but it goes back to what you're trying to accomplish.
Um, And, and most people want tighter, more modern guitars like you're hearing nowadays, and we're talking about how to achieve that. And so [00:50:00] using the same guitar or intonation is going to be set up the same way. Uh, you know, like your tone is going to match up really well. Um, so that's generally the recommendation is start there, use the same guitar for your doubles.
And then if you think that's not working, you can start exploring from
Benedikt: [00:50:16] there. Yeah. And I think there's a difference here because I wanted to actually touch on that if you, uh, so that's, that's good that you just mentioned that because when I hear doubles to me, that's like an exact double, an exact copy.
Just it's not copied, it's played, but it should be basically almost a copy. So that to me is the same guitar, the same. Amp the same, everything, the same player it's just doubled so that you don't have that the only purposes you don't want a mano guitar, you want to stereo. So there's one left and one, right.
And, but it should sound basically like one wide guitar. That's a double to me. The other example that you just said, like with two different guitar players and two different guitars. And [00:51:00] everything can work as well, actually, but I, I kind of don't think of that as true doubles. It's just two different people with two, two different setups.
And if I would go that route, I would actually do it like as different as possible. So I would either go for an. Exact double with the same setup or I would choose totally different things so that you clearly perceive it as two different people with two different setups playing the part, because it will be off, but it's not supposed to be accurate.
Then it's just two people with two different rigs playing together. And that can work as well. But like, I wouldn't try. To make that sound the same, then it could be that it could be one brighter and one darker or whatever, and then it would just, it would just work fine. But if you're going, as Malcolm said for a modern wall of sound type of wide, a heavy guitar part, then that's usually done with that with a, with a true double.
And that means the same person, same guitar, same [00:52:00] amp, everything, and just played two times. By the way copying and pasting doesn't work because people ask that all the time. It doesn't work. Whenever that happens all the time. I have to, I put that in to my, my, a checklist that people get that who work with me because they keep asking it, kept asking it.
And I understand the thinking behind this, but you cannot just track one take and then copy and paste it. And you have a double because that will still be mono. So there needs the tricky thing here is you need to have slightly different tracks. But not too different, so they should be close enough, but it's that?
Malcom: [00:52:38] Yeah. It's a weird concept because it doesn't work so copy and pasting don't work. And even if you delay it, you know, some people nudge it back a little bit and it still is awful. Um, so don't do that. Please, please don't do that. Uh, but people underestimate how hard it is to get things sounding this tight.
Um, so they're worried about it being too tight and, and, [00:53:00] and not sounding, um, like real enough. And it's really hard to do that. So I wouldn't be concerned about that if it sounds too tight you'll know. Um, and it'll be like a fluke, like, Whoa, that was like, kind of like phased out. Okay. Let's do it again.
You know, so, so don't worry about that. Um, and going back to the classic rock thing, like where there's two different guitarists or two different guitar, Sounds on each side. Normally those people are playing two different rifts on each side, you know? So it's not really a double, it's just two different guitar performances,
Benedikt: [00:53:29] different.
Malcom: [00:53:31] Like you said, wall of sound, that's the kind of like technique we're describing here.
Benedikt: [00:53:35] Yeah. The only exception may be, but that would also not really be a double right. Would be like, if you, if you're talking about layering, so you might have a brighter guitar tone on each side and then another layer with a darker tone or whatever, or a.
Maybe you could put, I don't know, a baritone under a whatever private guitar. I don't know. So you, you can do that. Um, yep. So [00:54:00] sometimes you do a double with one rig and then you do two parts on top of that. Like, um, another layer also doubled on top of the first pair basically, and you kind of layering and layering and layering and getting the tone that way.
That can work, but the more you do that kind of stuff, the trickier, it gets with the tuning. So you need to be really careful there,
Malcom: [00:54:20] but yes,
Benedikt: [00:54:21] but that can definitely work, but that's also something different. Like again, when we talk about doubles, we mean the exact same thing on both sides and yeah.
Everything else is either a different part or like two people playing together with different rigs or layering, like on purpose, different tones put together.
Malcom: [00:54:38] Yeah. Yeah. Well, I'm glad you mentioned that though. Cause it is important. Cause like I do the quad track thing a lot as well. So like a pair of doubles on my baseline doubles, but think of it as you're always building the foundation.
So whatever you record first, like if you're me and do base first or if you're wrong, like Benny and do guitar first if junkie, like that's just gotta be really in [00:55:00] tune. It has to be awesome because the next thing has to be tuned to it. Um, you know, like, cause it's all relative too. And so once you have something down, it doesn't matter if the tuner says the next things in tune.
If it sounds bad against what you already put down, you've got to, you've got to make it sound good with that. So the quad guitar, which might be, like I said, going back to having a Les Paul and a tele or something, uh, the Les Pauls I've done first, they're sounding really great. And now I bring in a fender and it's not sounded great.
I have to make it sound great to those guitars. Um, and even though it's meant to be a different tone and stuff, it still has to, the pitch has to work out.
Benedikt: [00:55:32] Yeah. And if you are. Wrong and do it like Malcolm and do base for it. You need the following thing. And that is a reference track could be a mini based.
Like I don't need that because I don't, I do guitars first. So I know if my base is in tune when I play it. But if you start with base, you need a reference and then, and you could do that by using a mini based track. So you can program a perfectly in tune Medi based track. [00:56:00] Can be just the bare minimum, like the, the, the, the core progression, like nothing fancy just as a tuning reference.
And then you play to that and you will likely, it won't be likely like much easier to spot, um, tuning problems, intonation problems, because you have this perfect reference and you will immediately notice when something's off. Usually it takes, it always takes a little practice, but with a perfect. Um, reference track it's much easier.
You can actually like use, use a reference track or program or reference track, and then even like pitch it up, like do an octave higher or something, because then it's easier to hear the intonation. You can use a really boring tone for that. It's not about tone or anything. It's just about to something where you can, as clearly as possible, hear the pitch and then play to that and later replace it with the real base.
So, or whatever instrument you're using. So.
Malcom: [00:56:51] Yeah. Well, like you said earlier, some people just seem to struggle with hearing that they're out of tune. Um, and again, out of tune, isn't really [00:57:00] the right word. It's just hearing that their guitars are not in tune with each other is what we really mean. Uh, and this is a really great way to solve that problem.
So if you are having trouble with this and it's just like, you know, something's wrong, but you don't know why this will help you kind of stay on target. It's just by programming a reference pitch and play into that.
Benedikt: [00:57:19] Yup, absolutely. And
Malcom: [00:57:21] we had one more hack, which neither of us have, but both of us want, um, and it's called an ever tune bridge.
Oh wait. Uh, and Jews should just Google this if you haven't checked it out, but, uh, it's this like the system that keeps your guitar. Ridiculously in tune. And my buddies just got one a little while ago and I got to, like, it showed up in a cardboard box from overseas somewhere, you know, like, I don't know where it came from, but it wasn't in North America when it got shipped to him.
And, uh, he pulled it over the cardboard box and the dang thing was ready to go perfectly in tune. Which is just insane. You know, I have flown my guitars a lot [00:58:00] in hard cases and I've carried them on even, and by the time they get to the gig, they're like a semitone note, you know, like the whole thing's whacked.
I have to do a full setup by the time I get to a new country and this thing came in a cupboard box and was like recording, ready? Intune. It's just insane.
Benedikt: [00:58:16] Totally insane. It's the, I can't explain the concept really, but you just have to look it up, but really with an opportune bridge, basically like, theoretically, you wouldn't have to tune ever again, like once the strings are on there, like you obviously have to change the strings, but in theory, you could just leave them on and it would stay in tune.
You could even set it, you can set it differently. You can even set it in the way that if you bend. That it kind of ignores the bands. It's just say it's the same note, no matter how hard you bend, but you can also set it so that it allows bendings. Yep.
Malcom: [00:58:48] You can do that on a string by string basis. I think so.
Like, you know, you could have your three lowest strings, just be locked, no bandaid. And then your lead strings per se, have the bending ability. If you wanted whatever.
Benedikt: [00:58:59] Yeah, I used [00:59:00] one, uh, once I tried it and I got it, I got tracks sent that were tracked with, uh, ever tune bridges. And I really, really want one.
So yeah, one day I will get one. I think, I don't know. It's like one of these things where. If I would go and buy a new guitar right now, I would definitely get an average Enbridge. I'm just hesitant because I would, in my case, I would need to upgrade my guitars. And that with evergreen bridge is a pretty big thing.
So you need to cut out a piece of that guitar body to make the fit, the average tune. And so it's a pretty, um, I would do it myself and I wouldn't recommend to do to yourself. There are people who can do it for you and who will do it for you and even like certified or whatever. People who can yeah. Can do that.
And I would only go to those people because you can really ruin your guitar if you don't. And, um, that's been the reason why I didn't do it so up until now, but if I were shopping for a new guitar, You can basically get all the common models with an avatar now ready, made for you. So, yeah, [01:00:00] it's
Malcom: [01:00:00] already installed.
So you don't have to like grow attached to your prize guitar and then think about cutting a hole in it. I'm the same way. I like just look over at my Les balls right now and I'm like, I can't cut into those. I feel terrible. I have like an emotional attachment to them no way, but if I'm just buying a new guitar and it's already in there, then.
Benedikt: [01:00:17] Yeah, that's awesome. I look that up. It's really, it's a game changer. It's but it's one of the best inventions, like in the last couple of years, actually, really a lot, also a lot of really, really good, great producers use them. So it's not just something that we heard of and we don't know if it works, but they are established right now by
Malcom: [01:00:36] just getting more and more popular.
Benedikt: [01:00:37] Yeah. So it's almost the studio standard nowadays. So. Yeah.
Malcom: [01:00:41] Did you know that there's a base model coming?
Benedikt: [01:00:44] I didn't know that
Malcom: [01:00:46] like, my, my base is already a Franken base, so I'm told they're going to cut into that
Benedikt: [01:00:50] one. Shit really? Is it? I didn't hear. Yeah.
Malcom: [01:00:53] Yeah. I think, I can't remember. It was quite awhile ago.
Like. I think it was at, uh, nom. They, uh, announced that they [01:01:00] were working on it.
Benedikt: [01:01:00] I totally missed that, but I need that in my life.
Malcom: [01:01:03] Yeah. That'd be the best. Yeah. So like to put that into context, because I often, when I record new bands, uh, they're totally surprised by how long tracking guitars and basis takes.
Cause they're just like, Whoa, I have to tune again. I'm like, yes, you have to tune again every single time. Um, And like, when I was doing my last album, we literally spent like eight hours on a single song doing guitars, you know, like that, that happens all the time for people. If I had one of those ever tunes, when I did that album, it would have been like half of that, you know, so much time you're literally spending hours tuning on every record or every song, even so.
Not having to do that would pay for itself so quick, especially if you're paying for studio time, it would be such a good investment.
Benedikt: [01:01:46] Yes, totally. And that's yeah, actually a great way to end this episode, because you just said something that we didn't mention. All of that, all of those things that we mentioned in this episode only matter and only work if you actually do them.
So [01:02:00] you need to set up the kitchen and you need to tune. Basically before every single take. So there's no way around that. It sounds crazy, but it is the way it is. So, yeah. Um, You're just, if you are recording serious, like guitars, you are tuning all the time. That's just the way it is. And you need to get used to that.
You need to get quick at that and you need to have a proper tuna use the same tuner as we said, but you need to tune all the freaking time and you need to check the tuning. You need to pay attention because it's easy to. Kinda lose focus and like, yeah. And you just go and you forget to tune. And then after tracking's done a day later, you listen to it and you're like, Oh man, this is totally out of tune.
So yeah, pay attention. And also take breaks in between so that you're still able to hear these kinds of things and just do it, there's no other way. And I think that might be one of the biggest issues with tracks that I [01:03:00] get from self-recording bands. That they know at least some of the things we talked about here, but they don't tune often enough because they don't think it's necessary.
Malcom: [01:03:10] It's always necessary. All of these things are extremely necessary. Yeah, it's beyond necessary. We're deadly serious on this stuff.
Benedikt: [01:03:20] This is not one of those episodes where you can just pick the stuff that works for you. You just have to do all of what we just said here, with the exception of the Evertune, maybe, that's optional, but everything else is like, you have to do that.
Malcom: [01:03:34] If you have to opportune tune, you don't have to do any of that stuff. Yeah.
Benedikt: [01:03:38] That's awesome. It's something that I'm afraid of, to be honest, like if I would have an average unit in my base, for example, because I still be played bass in my, in the bands that I'm in.
Hmm. I would be a little afraid that I would just get lazy or just don't play well anymore. Not that I'm a great bass player now, but I might even get worse if I had that ever tunes.
Malcom: [01:03:57] I've heard that I've heard that people get [01:04:00] like, kind of like, because somehow you can even like hold chords kind of sloppy and still stays into.
And I don't know how to like, cause it, I don't understand how it works, but it just does. So it's like your technique. You kind of go to hell. Oh
Benedikt: [01:04:12] man. Like if you ever see me, if you've ever seen me live. On stage, like, you know, how awful that already is because I just completely lose it most of the time.
And I, I'm not even sure if I'm on the right fret sometimes just, I, I just, you know, so, um, and if I, then don't like, but there's still a part of me that knows that I have to pay at least a little attention so that you can, so that it's listening, like so that you can actually listen to it without being too terrible.
But if that goes away because of whatever ever tune. Like, I don't know, then that's a, yeah. I can't even imagine how I would do that. Oh yeah. Well, let's see, I need to get one of those and then lose it even more on stage.
[01:05:00] Malcom: [01:04:59] Totally.
Benedikt: [01:05:00] Yeah. All right. So, um, let's wrap this up. Thanks. Guitar performance, production strategy to that.
I think I need, that's one of these episodes where I think I need to put the bullet points in the show notes, just so you can go through them like a checklist or something. And, uh, it's, uh, you need to practice that and do it over and over again, and then it will become second nature. And I think you're already, um, your, your recordings will already improve just.
By the fact that just, just through the fact that you know, now that this is so important, that alone, that you know, now that you need to pay attention, that you need to listen for it. And that, you know, that it's that important that alone, I think will already improve your guitar recordings. And then you just need to check the boxes and do all the things.
Malcom: [01:05:48] Yep. Absolutely. All right. Well, thanks so much. See you next week.
Benedikt: [01:05:52] See you next week. Bye [01:06:00] .
TSRB Academy Waiting List:
TSRB Free Facebook Community:
Malcom's and Benedikt's websites:
Outback Recordings (Benedikt's Mixing Studio and personal website)
Outback Recordings Podcast - Benedikt's other podcast
Stone Mastering (Malcom's Mastering Company)
Your Band Sucks (at business) - Malcom's other podcast
Gimme The Beat (The Netflix Documentary Malcom is involved with)
If you have any questions, feedback, topic ideas or want to suggest a guest, email us at: email@example.com
take action and learn how to transform your DIY recordings from basement demos to 100% usable tracks, ready to be mixed by a pro!
Get the free Ultimate 10-Step guide To Successful DIY-Recording
[…] hopefully solve your problems. For more in-depth advice and explanation please listen to podcast episode #22 and episode […]