Alright, don’t stone me here, but I’m going to seemingly contradict what I just posted about LCR mixing and hard-panning big guitars. I almost always throw down with LCR mixing, but that doesn’t mean I can’t play with panning to make a more interesting mix!
Today’s quick mixing tip: Pan guitars in on the verse and then spread them back wide on the chorus.
Easy as pie. Let’s say you have big distorted guitars throughout. Try panning them a bit closer to center on the verse (and lowering the volume a touch!). When the chorus hits, the guitars go back out wide and the volume comes up. Jaws drop, platinum records are awarded, and all the hot chicks are beating down your door wanting to be touched by the hands that conceived this outstanding mix. At least that’s how it works in my (dream) world.
Have a listen to this in action from rock superstars, Miss America (who besides from being an incredible band, are also extremely great to work with). At :15 – :30 during the verse, you can hear me bring the single guitar closer to the center. At :30 when the 2nd guitar re-enters, the guitar swing back out wide.
Of course, this is just one guitar panned in, but this trick works equally well (or perhaps even better) for double-tracked guitars.
Keep surprising your listener with subtle ear candy and they’ll keep coming back for more!