Quick Mixing Tip #8 – Turn that Mono Guitar into Stereo Deliciousness!

Two speakers, One Guitar

Two speakers, One Guitar

There’s almost nothing I love more than big, doubled, wide, beefy distorted freaking guitars.  Squishy and creamy and wrapping around your head as you listen.  But not every style of music works well with this.  Let’s say, for example, you have a wicked trio that features a bad ass guitar player and a whole lot of intricate guitar lines.  Doubling it and panning wide might not sound good.

When I mixed the trio Tony and the Twins a few years ago, I ran into this exact problem.  Awesome guitar work, but only one guitar.  How the hell do you still get a wide guitar sound?  Simple.

Today’s Quick Mixing Tip: Pan a slightly delayed copy of the guitar to the opposite side and get instant “doubling”.

Simply copy the guitar track, slightly delay it (using 100% mix, none of the non-delayed sound) and BAM!…instant left-right guitar.  I’m talking a short delay here. Something in the ballpark of 10ms-ish.

Now, you have your copied and delayed track, why not further jack with its sound to differentiate it from the original? After all, width in a mix comes from the differences between the left and the right channels…so make ’em different! Try adding a bit of distortion ala this mixing trick I wrote about a while back.  EQ it a bit different, compress it a bit harder.

All of a sudden that mono guitar becomes a wrap-around-your-head chocked-full-of-stereo-goodness guitar.  Simple!

Let’s take a listen to this in action so you can hear what I’m talking about.  Notice the mono guitar for the first 12 seconds and then switching to “stereo” guitars after that.  Still one guitar, still one guitar player, but now a whole lot fuller.

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