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I'm new to EQ but need some. Guidance appreciated!


FacemanJoe
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Hi all,

 

I've dialed in a great guitar tone and used it at a gig last night. I love the tone but I definitely need to finesse it with some EQ to make it pop out of the mix. I've definitely got some clashing frequencies that need to be cut.  Mostly in the low and low-mids based on what I consider to be a muddy guitar sound when part of the overall band mix. 

 

I have some questions -

 

1. Is the parametric EQ in the Helix the best route? If so, I'm thinking that I could record a clip on the looper and experiment that way. 

 

2. I've watched some vids on how to EQ electric guitar sounds at it appears that cutting anything below 100HZ is a definite.  Are there any other essential frequencies that I absolutely must address? 

 

3. If I'm using an EQ, doesn't it render the HC and LC cabinet settings redundant? Do I leave those flat?

 

4. Instead of using an EQ block, can I achieve my goal by using the Global EQ.

 

I'd appreciate learning any best practices from those of you who could do this stuff in your sleep.  

 

Thank you.

Joe

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1. The parametric EQ has the most control. It will allow you to target a specific frequency and set the bandwidth around that frequency. The looper is certainly a good way to tweak that. Also, if you know there's an annoying frequency somewhere but not quite sure where, temporarily increase the gain on one of the bands and scan through the frequencies, hopefully making the offensive sound pop out at you. Now you should know what frequency you need to cut.

 

2. The only thing that comes to mind is the high cut on the cab block. I start at 10k, but it usually ends up somewhere between 7.5k and 9k.

 

3. You could use the EQ HC and LC as an alternative to the cab block settings. The cab block provides a gentler curve while the EQ curve is more aggressive for high and low cuts. It's probably easier to use one or the other. Using both can complicate things unnecessarily. But more likely, if you do use both, the EQ would basically override the cab settings.

 

4. You can certainly use the global EQ, but that's more for compensating for environmental conditions. So if that's not what you're trying to do, you'd be better off using an EQ block for a particular preset. The global EQ only works on the XLR and 1/4" outputs.

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In addition to the other great suggestions, try adjusting the mic setting so it is further from the speaker. Even moving it out to 3-4 inches instead of the default position can remove a lot of the undesirable low end due to the proximity effect.

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One more quick idea for you.  I noticed you particularly called out the low to low mids.  You didn't say what kind of setup you're running, but I have noticed on my FRFR rig that in some cases the low end of my guitar sounds a bit flabby and not well articulated.  Usually I can tighten up that low end by dialing up the low cut on the cabinet to around 500 Hz.

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If you boost a freq to make it "pop out of the mix", the sound engineer might turn that freq down to make it "sit in the mix better".

imho, global EQ, or any kind of EQ on electric guitar, is to fix what's wrong with the room you're in. Boomy at 320hz? cut it. stuff like that. I trust a sound guy to do that.

If you don't have a sound guy, THEN use the global EQ, perhaps, but make your adjustments with the band while you're playing, otherwise you're just guessing at the freqs that will work.

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Hi all,

 

I've dialed in a great guitar tone and used it at a gig last night. I love the tone but I definitely need to finesse it with some EQ to make it pop out of the mix. I've definitely got some clashing frequencies that need to be cut.  Mostly in the low and low-mids based on what I consider to be a muddy guitar sound when part of the overall band mix. 

 

I have some questions -

 

1. Is the parametric EQ in the Helix the best route? If so, I'm thinking that I could record a clip on the looper and experiment that way. 

 

2. I've watched some vids on how to EQ electric guitar sounds at it appears that cutting anything below 100HZ is a definite.  Are there any other essential frequencies that I absolutely must address? 

 

3. If I'm using an EQ, doesn't it render the HC and LC cabinet settings redundant? Do I leave those flat?

 

4. Instead of using an EQ block, can I achieve my goal by using the Global EQ.

 

I'd appreciate learning any best practices from those of you who could do this stuff in your sleep.  

 

Thank you.

Joe

 

I agree with the comments about using Global EQ primarily for adapting to the particular room or equipment you are playing for a specific gig.  I find the most important thing to EQ is to dial in the low and high cuts somewhere in your signal chain whether it is in the cab or in an EQ block. Hopefully from there you should be able to mostly get the sound you like with the right combination of amp settings and your preferred cab or IR. That may be all you need unless for instance you always like "scooped" mids, or have a guitar or amp with specific EQ requirements. The less you have to do in the way of additional EQ blocks other than the low/high cuts the better IMHO although they are there if you need them. As is so often the case with EQ, less can be more. The amp tone stack and cabinet/IR are already setting different EQ curves for you. If you are having problems with mud in the low end you may want to experiment with increasing the distance settings on the mic in the cab blocks (proximity effect) and reducing the bass on the amp setting.

 

Another thing to keep in mind with high cuts is where you set them on reverbs, I find they can make a difference between varying instruments. For instance, I like setting the high cuts on reverbs higher on acoustic guitars emulations where they seem to offer some of the effect that the sound bouncing around in the body of the acoustic would have.

 

In general you are right about the high and low cuts in the cab and an additional H/L cut in an EQ block being potentially redundant. It would depend somewhat on how you have routed your signal chain. For instance, you may have mod effects after your cab capable of generating a signal that may require a high cut.

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Thank you for all of the feedback. Great stuff.

 

Working with a new sound at tonight's gig - a super Classic Rock tone based on the Soladano clean channel.

 

I ended up cutting 140hz with my Les Paul and it really cleaned up the bottom end. I can already tell that the tone will cut better. With my Strat on the neck pickup, I cut 200hz with similar effect. Still enough bass to round out the tone, but it definitely reduces that nasty boom.  

 

I just kept turning the knob until the bass sounded right. 

 

I'll let you know how it works out.

Joe

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EQ for electric guitar is a bit unique because of the typical amount of distortion we use. Where you adjust the EQ, before and/or after distortions blocks can make a huge difference. Generally cut lows and boost highs before distortion and boost lows and cut highs after distortion. Cutting the lows before distortion removes the mud that happens when the low frequencies are clipped and overwhelm the mids and highs. Boosting highs befor distortion doesn't have much effect on the distorted tone since the highs are just clipped. But it does effect what happens when you roll back the guitar volume control as the distortion is reduced and the highs come through. More on the reason for this coming up.

 

You want to do just about the opposite after distortion. You can carefully bring the bass back up to compensate for the cut you did before distortion. This won't add too much mud since it's not being distorted. It's often unnecessary to bring all the bass back since this can start causing mix conflicts with the bass player and keys. Then you cut highs post distortion to reduce fizz and ice pick that results from the distortion in order to warm the tone a bit.

 

Now why boost highs before distortion just to have them clipped? It's so that when you roll back the guitar volume control for cleaner tone the highs will come through because the boost will compensate for the high cut after distortion you needed to reduce the fizz.

 

This doesn't work exactly, you can't completely compensate for cut/boost pre distortion with boost/cut post distortion, and you might not want to as the tone and song might not need the balance. But it can be useful for getting a wider range of applicable tones from the same amp settings.

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EQ for electric guitar is a bit unique because of the typical amount of distortion we use. Where you adjust the EQ, before and/or after distortions blocks can make a huge difference. Generally cut lows and boost highs before distortion and boost lows and cut highs after distortion. Cutting the lows before distortion removes the mud that happens when the low frequencies are clipped and overwhelm the mids and highs. Boosting highs befor distortion doesn't have much effect on the distorted tone since the highs are just clipped. But it does effect what happens when you roll back the guitar volume control as the distortion is reduced and the highs come through. More on the reason for this coming up.

 

You want to do just about the opposite after distortion. You can carefully bring the bass back up to compensate for the cut you did before distortion. This won't add too much mud since it's not being distorted. It's often unnecessary to bring all the bass back since this can start causing mix conflicts with the bass player and keys. Then you cut highs post distortion to reduce fizz and ice pick that results from the distortion in order to warm the tone a bit.

 

Now why boost highs before distortion just to have them clipped? It's so that when you roll back the guitar volume control for cleaner tone the highs will come through because the boost will compensate for the high cut after distortion you needed to reduce the fizz.

 

This doesn't work exactly, you can't completely compensate for cut/boost pre distortion with boost/cut post distortion, and you might not want to as the tone and song might not need the balance. But it can be useful for getting a wider range of applicable tones from the same amp settings.

 

This is very helpful, as are all of your technical posts, and is definitely going into my OneNote file on Helix tips.  I enjoy your posts and your blog.  Have you ever considered writing a book?

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  • 7 months later...

Regarding EQ ---- "hearing yourself" in the context of a band mix vs. just your guitar is tricky.  I don't exactly love my main guitar sound when I hear it from front of house (I have a wireless rig).  It can sound a bit too mid-rangy and bordering on harsh.  But then, when the band joins in, it sounds absolutely fantastic.  It's a trade-off that's well worth it.  I have a different set of presets for quieter rehearsals and at home practice.

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