Many guitarists spend hours tuning and tweaking their instruments, amps, and effects, striving for the ideal sound. Searching for that perfect tone is one of the things that make it so exciting to play the guitar. Unfortunately, when we get to the recording and mixing part, it’s often challenging to translate this tone to the DAW. There are some useful tips and tricks for mixing guitars that can get the best out of your recording in such a situation. In the next tutorial, we’ll address some of them.

Proper recording

Positioning the microphone the right way is the first crucial step. If this is done wrong, any possible improvement with processing will be much harder. If you notice that the raw recording doesn’t sound satisfying, clean, balanced, or appropriate enough, tweak positions or change the microphone. 

Low and High-Pass Filtering

With filtering, we can allow instruments to breathe within their own range of the frequency spectrum. The guitar is no exception to this rule. You probably don’t want it to clash with the bass, for example, so using a low-cut filter is generally a must. Different settings will be ideal for different situations and guitars, but in general, you can be safe cutting everything below 80 Hz.

The same thing goes for high frequencies. You will have more space for high-frequency content of other important elements of the full mix by cutting the unnecessary content of the guitar’s high range.

Group tracks for mixing guitars

Grouping different guitar tracks together, you set yourself to a better and more practical way of achieving cohesion. It’s really time-consuming to work independently on many rhythm guitar-takes that are supposed to work together and sound similar in the end anyway. It’s much harder and needless to process all of them separately.

Be careful with distortion

In many cases, guitarists think more distortion equals a bigger tone. In reality, more distortion often becomes more noise, less articulation, and additional problems when mixing guitars.

Keeping distortion in control and using it in the right amounts is important regardless of whether you’re using DI’s or soft amp simulators. You can try using little amounts of distortion and instead push and overdrive the input signal. In most cases, this will achieve the wanted grit and crunch but also result in a more clear and easier tone to handle.

Avoid mixing guitars in solo

As with most of the elements of the full mix, the guitar needs to be mixed in context. Making something sound awesome alone can easily fool you into believing this will benefit the overall mix. Try to address problematic frequencies surgically in solo, but otherwise strive to mix it in context.