Jump to content
ddufour

Best way to be heard in a mix

Recommended Posts

I am using a Helix and the other guitar player is using a Boss GT001 I think.

We are both going thru the pa. For some reason I can hear him perfectly but

can't hear myself so I keep turning up. When no one is playing, I check my volume and it seems like

I am excessively loud until the other guitar starts playing. I don't know anything about eq's but I have

heard this problem usually occurs when 2 instruments are using the same eq range. Is there some

special eq that would help me be heard better that I could use?

Thanks

Dan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have always felt it's a lot about what parts you are playing in a 2 guitar band.

The masters of it are The Stones and Aerosmith. Making 2 guitars sound like one big one 

But if you're both playing distorted power chords, then it gets tricky.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's a number of different techniques that people use in multiple guitar settings.  The Eagles were masters at this because of all the guitars.  The trick is to play complementary parts.  I play in a dual guitar band so often when the other guitar player is playing a bar chord, I'll play an open chord or some form of inversion of the chord.  Sometimes if he plays low on the fretboard I'll play high.  Many times I'll just play accents to his rhythm, or another common thing is to change my strumming pattern.  I might palm mute to his power chords or finger pick or hybrid pick against his strumming.  And don't forget someone should be comping between non vocal phrases.  The main thing is to not compete, but compliment.  Sometimes, as Robbieb61 pointed out you may want to over power the chord together on certain phrases, but if you use your ear and are creative you can make the sound more interesting and big with just variations like I mentioned above.

 

All of those fundamentals aside, I also try to adjust my tone so it's clearly different from his.  Generally speaking that's fairly easy because we're using different types of guitars.  With the same guitar you need to be a bit more creative, maybe using a brighter tone against a darker tone, or cleaner tone against a crunchy one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Midrange cuts through the mix. I would assume that's why the Boss unit is so easily heard. The mids are accentuated in their amp models. Lots of people call it "Cocked Wah" 

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/16/2018 at 3:38 PM, ddufour said:

I am using a Helix and the other guitar player is using a Boss GT001 I think.

We are both going thru the pa. For some reason I can hear him perfectly but

can't hear myself so I keep turning up. When no one is playing, I check my volume and it seems like

I am excessively loud until the other guitar starts playing. I don't know anything about eq's but I have

heard this problem usually occurs when 2 instruments are using the same eq range. Is there some

special eq that would help me be heard better that I could use?

Thanks

Dan

 

Is it your onstage monitor mix where you are washed out, your FOH, or both? The first thing I would try is making sure that the PA settings/cables for your guitar are not the problem by swapping cables going to the PA with your other guitarist as well as swapping channels with him on the PA. Once you have established that it is not the PA or the cables causing the issue and assuming that it is not just a matter of playing complementary parts with the other guitarist, another simple test would be to put the 10 band EQ block in your preset and try boosting different bands until your guitar cuts through better. You can use the parametric EQ for this as well but it is a bit trickier. If you find some EQ boosts that are helping with the 10 band EQ you can fine tune those settings with the parametric afterwards. Trying multiple presets is not a bad idea either as different amps/cabs, mics, etc. cut better than others depending on what the band mix is like. Also helps if you have an apples to apples comparison as far as what type of monitors you both use and how your monitors are pointed at the players. If his is at ear level and yours is pointed at your feet that can make a huge difference in how audible your sound will be.Two guitarists playing different types of guitar/pickups e.g. humbuckers, single-coil makes them easier to make out in the mix. Having different EQ curves for the two guitars in the PA can help as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, ddufour said:

When no one is playing, I check my volume and it seems like

I am excessively loud until the other guitar starts playing. I don't know anything about eq's but I have

heard this problem usually occurs when 2 instruments are using the same eq range. Is there some

special eq that would help me be heard better that I could use?

 

Without hearing any tracks, it sounds to me like you have a mid scooped tone while the other player has a mid forward tone. Knowing your choice of amp model and how you set it would go a long way in any suggestion to fix it. I would be interested in knowing what the other guys's amp model choice is. 

 

It is easy to fall into the trap of a mid scoop tone. If you setup your sounds at low volume, and without the context of other instruments at the same time it's easy to push the lows and highs (scooping the mids) to make the tone sound bigger. When you add other instruments in, you get lost in the mix... and as you turn up, the low end takes all the energy, leaving nothing left for the mids. Making your guitar sound great on it's own is totally different from making it sound great in a mix. 

 

The other critical part is arrangement, but many others have gone over that already. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah if you are scooping the mids you're screwed.

I have never been a fan of that sound anyway.

It sounds fat when you play alone...but in a band mix it sounds like an angry mosquito.

I push the mids on my settings.

Nice and warm and present in the mix

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I start with slow increments at 2.5Khz.  A little can go a long way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/16/2018 at 1:41 PM, robbieb61 said:

I have always felt it's a lot about what parts you are playing in a 2 guitar band.

The masters of it are The Stones and Aerosmith. Making 2 guitars sound like one big one 

But if you're both playing distorted power chords, then it gets tricky.

 

That's certainly a big part of it.  Playing in the same register as the other guitarist doesn't help either.  Gotta find your own space in the spectrum.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We play classic rock with a few heavier songs. I play a PRS custom 24 and the

other guitar players guitar has active pickups. (I forget the make). He is always heard.

I use the volume gain when I play solos and have it set to +5. When I play alone, seems

like +5 is way too high, but again, I barely hear it with everyone. Just doesn't stand out. I will try some

of these suggestions for next weeks practice. Hard to mess around with settings during practice.

Thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/16/2018 at 5:49 PM, GlennDeLaune said:

Midrange cuts through the mix. I would assume that's why the Boss unit is so easily heard. The mids are accentuated in their amp models. Lots of people call it "Cocked Wah" 

Hey, Glenn.....where in the frequency spectrum would you recommend the boost?  I've always thought that cutting is better than boosting when it comes to EQ.  I'm curious what your opinion is when it comes to electric guitar and cutting through the mix.

-Ron

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/18/2018 at 11:07 AM, RD1967 said:

...  I've always thought that cutting is better than boosting when it comes to EQ.  I'm curious what your opinion is when it comes to electric guitar and cutting through the mix.

-Ron

 

I'm a fan of subtractive mixing as well where possible but depending on your fellow bandmember's temperament, good luck "subtracting" your other guitarist's mix. You can work on your own though and pull the mud out of your own mix (usually a low cut anywhere from 70-120hz) as well as making sure you don't have too aggressive a high cut; this can help you hear your guitar more clearly. I have found that when I  design presets at bedroom volume levels with an ear to dialing out brittle highs that preset sometimes don't cut through the mix when I use it with the band. 'Course sometimes they go the other way (Fletcher-Munson) and sound ear-piercing. Designing your presets at as close to rehearsal/gig levels as possible(use earplugs), or even just anticipating that you may need a little more in the mids/highs to cut through the band mix can yield more predictable results when you hit the stage without necessitating an uncomfortable increase in volume.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/18/2018 at 10:07 AM, RD1967 said:

Hey, Glenn.....where in the frequency spectrum would you recommend the boost?  I've always thought that cutting is better than boosting when it comes to EQ.  I'm curious what your opinion is when it comes to electric guitar and cutting through the mix.

-Ron

 

Not Glenn here, and he's probably better at this sort of thing that I am, but I'll say that there may not be a one size fits all boost or cut range for a given mix. If possible, try and create the preset within an existing mix - which means creating a first track's tone and then build the second track's tone around the first, and so on. And instead of relying solely on frequencies, use your ears. It could provide for easier and faster results, while still being adequate. But it could potentially have an end result that's a bit more subjective (factors like a generally bad or good day, ear fatigue, malnutrition, sleeplessness, wife cheating on you, too much to drink, low air pressure, high humidity, etc.) than analyzing each tracks profile, which would be more methodical, and time consuming, to determine which frequencies need boosting or cutting.

 

1 hour ago, HonestOpinion said:

 

I'm a fan of subtractive mixing as well where possible but depending on your fellow bandmember's temperament, good luck "subtracting" your other guitarist's mix.

 

Let me say it's nice not to have to worry about subtracting frequencies from another guitarist's mix, I guess. I only have to subtract from a track in a mix from myself, so it's probably somewhat easier. Lol. But if I did have to subtract frequencies from another bandmember, and if the one in question has a temperament problem, perhaps I would consider threatening to "subtract" some of his fingers, so it'd be harder for him to produce certain frequencies. For the good of the band's overall tone, of course.

 

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I play in a P&W band in church with a pretty busy band mix (2 guitar, 1 key/pad, often tracks and an acoustic guitar). Many of the tricks in this thread I use as well and it works.

 

Some other ones that work in my experience: 

1. Using the minotaur in front of your amp model, with gain at 1.0, helps to boost the right frequencies. Cutting frequencies is regarded as better, however many OD pedals boost certain frequencies (for instance: a tube screamer)

- don’t cut the highs to aggressive. You need some sizzle to cut. I use celestion IRs, which are a little bright/ mid focused and I cut somewhere at 10kHz

- if using headphones to dial in your tone: use good ones (I use Beyerdynamic DT 770 and could not be happier) and dial your base tone in while playing along with the recording of the song you are playing and make sure you dial the EQ in a way you can pleasantly hear your self, without overpowering the track volume wise. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/18/2018 at 10:07 AM, RD1967 said:

Hey, Glenn.....where in the frequency spectrum would you recommend the boost?  I've always thought that cutting is better than boosting when it comes to EQ.  I'm curious what your opinion is when it comes to electric guitar and cutting through the mix.

-Ron

Usually around 1K or 2K boost of just a couple db will do the trick.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One constant here is respect and common courtesy- I'm fortunate to play in a band where the other guitar player is sensitive to dynamic changes, i.e; when I'm soloing he pulls back & vice versa. This is very rare but so important, whether you're driving a plexi stack in a stadium or at rehearsal. 

 

That volume creep thing is a total PITA also!

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, patdixon said:

That volume creep thing is a total PITA also!

 

 

 

WHAT?!?!?!??!   ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, GlennDeLaune said:

Usually around 1K or 2K boost of just a couple db will do the trick.

Thank you, brother.  Much appreciated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, cruisinon2 said:

 

WHAT?!?!?!??!   ;)

he's saying it is a PITA........Pain In The A$$

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In summary, stand out in the mix by:

  1. focusing on what the song needs from section to section, making sure what you and everyone else is playing reinforces the song. Do this from the perspective of the whole, in addition to your particular part
  2. play something different than the other guitarist, do this as part of your band’s arrangement of the song. Sometimes less is more.
  3. use a different guitar or different pickups. In a two guitar band, having one guitarist use double coils and another single creates a nice complimentary contrast between mid focused and scooped. Use neck vs. bridge pickups, there’s a lot of tone variation there that can help distinguish parts
  4. use different amps and cabinets to compliment sounds
  5. use EQ to cut/boost each guitar at complimentary frequencies: boost guitar one at the same frequencies you cut guitar two. A little goes a long way
  6. beware of low-mid buildup, everyone’s competing for those same frequencies. Low and high cut can provide mid focus without adding volume to cut through a mix.
  7. beware of what sounds good by yourself, it often won’t sound good in a mix. Set patches and play in context.
  8. But most important, stand out by turning everything else down at appropriate times. Be heard by cutting what’s not needed rather than boosting what is needed. The latter leads to volume escalation that ends up in one loud jumbled mess.
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, RD1967 said:

he's saying it is a PITA........Pain In The A$$

 

yes, i know the PITA acronym... he was talking about volume creep,  so I made a deaf musician joke. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As folks have been saying, there needs to be room for each player, both in the parts you're playing, and the frequencies you're taking up.

 

If you have a way to do it, record the band multi-tracked, ideally also a DI track of yourself unprocessed, and maybe the other guitarist too. That would let you experiment with different tonalities, even different parts, to see how you could get things to fit together well, so everyone gets heard with impact.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×