Mixing Clean Electric Guitars

For this Mix Lesson I am focusing on a clean electric guitar that comes in the Pre Chorus as well as the second half of the chorus.

I have been asked by a number of people to cover the topic of electric guitars in more of my articles and videos but have never really found a good opportunity to do so.  So now that I have some guitars to work with I though it would be a perfect opportunity to explore this topic.  This isn’t going to cover every scenario you would face when mixing electric guitars but it definitely is a start.  Plus it doesn’t hurt to have some practice files to experiment with – Enjoy!

What We Are Working With

These guitars were at a very good starting point but were lacking that je ne sais quoi about them.  They were kind of dull and boring and they also needed a little bit of a frequency lift.

Another thing to mention is that the part in the pre chorus and the part in the chorus are actually different from a tonal stand point but I thought that they were very much related.  Since I thought that they shared a common bond, I decided to put them on the same track treat the exact same way.

I panned this guitar 100% to the right to get it out of the way of the vocal but to also create some symmetry with the plucked guitar that is panned 100% to the left.

Here is the Raw sound of this guitar in the PreChorus

[audio:https://modernmixing.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Raw-PC.mp3|titles=Raw guitar on the PreChorus]

Here is the Raw sound in the Chorus

[audio:https://modernmixing.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Raw-HK.mp3|titles=Raw guitar on the PreChorus]

CLA Guitars

This reason I often reach for this plug-in on guitars is because I find that it just works.  It’s simple to use and has a lot of features laid our right in front of me.

It keeps me in a creative mode and not in a technical mode.  I find that the longer you are in a technical mode than the more you second guess a lot of your decisions instead of doing things based on instincts.

Mix Lesson - Electric Guitars - CLA Gutiars

Treble (Bite) – I set up the high end boost to the Bite setting and I am pushing it fairly aggressively.  I would say that it’s set to about +8.5.  I like the sounds of this EQ and it really gives a lot of life to a dull sound

Compression (Push) – For the compression slider, I used the Push setting because it not only brings the sound forward in the mix but it also adds a tiny bit of mid range colour that I like.

Reverb (Club) – I used the Club setting because the guitar sounded too dry in this mix, which was fairly wet, and I wanted something that wasn’t too intrusive.

Delay (Eight) – I used an eighth note setting here because it felt the most musical with the guitar.  This also works really well with the reverb and completes the overall landscape of the sound.

CLA Gutiars on the Pre Chorus

[audio:https://modernmixing.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/CLA-PC.mp3|titles=CLA Gutiars on the Pre Chorus]

CLA Gutiars on the Chorus

[audio:https://modernmixing.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/CLA-HK.mp3|titles=CLA Gutiars on the Chorus]

Renaissance Axx

The more I use this compressor the more I like it on the guitars.  It has a very musical sounding release that I find can help the rhythm of a guitar in most situations.

It also has a soft sounding character to it so it you have a rough sound it can help round out the edges.

Mix Lesson - Electric Guitars - CLA Aax

Attack – I set this attack very fast because the CLA Guitars made this sound a bit prickly so I wanted to help take off some of the edge and a fast attack works great.

Threshold – I brought the threshold down so I was getting about 6dB’s of gain reduction and this served 2 purposes.  The first is that it really brought out the release in this plug-in which gave the guitars a bit more musical vibe.  The second reason is that by squishing it a bit and making it more stable the, frequency response is less wide, meaning the there isn’t a wide gap between the high frequencies and the low frequencies – They are much closer together.

Gain – This is basically the output gain.  I have it set to 0dB because when the sound gets really dynamic it hits the output wall.  The output has some limiting and compression built in so it’s not clipping but instead it’s adding even more colour and tone to the sound, which I liked.

Renaissance Aax on the Pre Chorus

[audio:https://modernmixing.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Axx-PC.mp3|titles=Renaissance Aax on the Pre Chorus]

Renaissance Aax on the Chorus

[audio:https://modernmixing.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Axx-HK.mp3|titles=Renaissance Aax on the Chorus]

Summing It All Up

Sometimes it can be a challenge to get something to pull through mix but then not interfere with the star of the show – the vocal.

These guitars were originally pretty dull sounding but just by adding a couple of plug-ins I was able to give it some more life and give it some unique character to help it stand out in the mix.

Video Source: Mixing Clean Electric Guitars