Guitar doubling

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro, rec.audio.tech (More info?)

As a rule of thumb, should doubled tracks be panned hard left and
right? Or does that lead to danger of making the lead vocal too
isolated in the middle?
27 answers Last reply
More about guitar doubling
  1. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro, rec.audio.tech (More info?)

    ot7doc@yahoo.com wrote:
    > As a rule of thumb, should doubled tracks be panned hard left and
    > right? Or does that lead to danger of making the lead vocal too
    > isolated in the middle?
    Need more info on that one..I mean how is the bass sound? Or the drums?
    Psycadelic ambient type stuff is usually nice with hard panning but you
    always have to reference it on another set of moniters, (a car,boom
    box, etc...) to know for sure. Try duplicating the tracks and playing
    with the levels while panned opposite. It's fun. Rock-n-Roll is
    sometimes a whole nuther ball game too.
    -thepaganjournalist
  2. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro,rec.audio.tech (More info?)

    <ot7doc@yahoo.com> wrote in message
    news:1105418366.881586.97230@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
    > As a rule of thumb, should doubled tracks be panned hard left and
    > right? Or does that lead to danger of making the lead vocal too
    > isolated in the middle?

    Who cares, as long as it works for the mix in question? If hard-panning
    works, then do it, if not, then don't. With regard to your question about
    lead vocals, you can usually "find the pocket" for vox, regardless of any
    instruments are hard-panned or not. Sometimes it's more challenging than
    others, depending on how the vocals were recorded (i.e. some mics just don't
    want to "sit well" in a mix), but there's always a spot for one voice, IMO.
    A couple other things to consider are:
    1.) Are the guitar parts you're planning to hard-pan identical to each
    other, or at least close enough to where you wouldn't be distracted upon
    hearing the two parts positioned so widely spaced from each other?
    2.) If they're identical, are they actually played tight enough to where
    they will still sound "tight" when panned that far apart?
    3.) If they're not identical, but do indeed have some intentional
    differences between them, are there other things/instruments that you could
    pan accordingly to balance out the spectrum on each side? IOW, you wouldn't
    necessarily want all your low end parts on the left & all your high-end
    parts on the right for each instrument... or maybe you might :D

    Neil Henderson
  3. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    <ot7doc@yahoo> wrote:

    > As a rule of thumb, should doubled tracks be panned hard left and
    > right?

    There is no rule of thumb for this; you can place them where you like
    the way they sound in the mix.

    > Or does that lead to danger of making the lead vocal too
    > isolated in the middle?

    This could depend more on the arrangement of the song than on placement
    of the doubled guitars, understanding that both of those elements work
    together, or not. What are you hearing in your mix that leads to this
    query?

    --
    ha
  4. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro, rec.audio.tech (More info?)

    There is no "rule of thumb" except - If it sounds good, do it!

    As always, I recommend checking in mono to see if you like the way it
    sounds and to make sure the vocal still stands out or sits correctly in
    the mix. Also, try panning at closer points and listening on different
    systems.

    Hope this helps.

    Larry Lessard
  5. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro,rec.audio.tech (More info?)

    >As a rule of thumb, should doubled tracks be panned hard left and
    >right?

    No rule of thumb. Do what sounds good.

    Mark
    "In this business egos can be wonderful, but they also can be a curse."
    Michael Wagener
  6. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro,rec.audio.tech (More info?)

    it's fine to do that.
  7. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro,rec.audio.tech (More info?)

    <ot7doc@yahoo.com> wrote:

    > As a rule of thumb, should doubled tracks be panned hard left and
    > right? Or does that lead to danger of making the lead vocal too
    > isolated in the middle?

    "Should" is not a word that can be used here.
    However if it helps I find that if you keep them together, unless they
    are closely doubled, they can sound confused and muddy.

    If you split them it can make things sound over produced.
    (I over produce eveything so no worries there!)

    Take your pick.

    The other thing - with all panning don't think that you have to go hard
    left and right. Or even symetrical. Listen to the overall balance and
    see what works.

    Dave
  8. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro,rec.audio.tech (More info?)

    <ot7doc@yahoo.com> wrote in message
    news:1105418366.881586.97230@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
    > As a rule of thumb, should doubled tracks be panned hard left and
    > right? Or does that lead to danger of making the lead vocal too
    > isolated in the middle?
    >

    I tend to use both tracks to fill exactly the space I want filled. If you
    pan hard right and left, the whole soundstage will be filled.

    jb
  9. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro,rec.audio.tech (More info?)

    In article <OumdnegkppdjoHncRVn-uw@adelphia.com>,
    "reddred" <opaloka@REMOVECAPSyahoo.com> wrote:

    > <ot7doc@yahoo.com> wrote in message
    > news:1105418366.881586.97230@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
    > > As a rule of thumb, should doubled tracks be panned hard left and
    > > right? Or does that lead to danger of making the lead vocal too
    > > isolated in the middle?
    > >
    >
    > I tend to use both tracks to fill exactly the space I want filled. If you
    > pan hard right and left, the whole soundstage will be filled.
    >
    > jb
    >
    >

    Not in my experience. I find that double tracked guitar hard-panned leaves the
    center of the soundstage open for drums/vocals. This does not work for tracks
    that are artificially doubled, but for tracks actually played twice.

    -Jay
    --
    x------- Jay Kadis ------- x---- Jay's Attic Studio ------x
    x Lecturer, Audio Engineer x Dexter Records x
    x CCRMA, Stanford University x http://www.offbeats.com/ x
    x---------- http://ccrma.stanford.edu/~jay/ ------------x
  10. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro,rec.audio.tech (More info?)

    Jay Kadis wrote:

    > Not in my experience. I find that double tracked guitar hard-panned leaves the
    > center of the soundstage open for drums/vocals. This does not work for tracks
    > that are artificially doubled, but for tracks actually played twice.

    Right. Artificially doubled (without any kind of random effect) just
    fills up the whole soundstage with a wierd phase shift effect happening
    from left to right (or right to left).
  11. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro,rec.audio.tech (More info?)

    It's mostly rock for me. A Vines type sound. It seems to me they
    double all their guitar tracks, and I'm guessing the tracks are hard
    panned, though I don't have the ears to tell for sure.
    BTW, this new googlegroups format is sa-weet.
  12. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro,rec.audio.tech (More info?)

    Pretty near identical. And pretty tight. I think hard panning is a
    pretty good sound for what I'm doing. But I hear that novices have to
    be careful about stranding the vocals up the barren middle, so since
    I'm a novice I'm wary.
  13. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    Hearing the bit about novice panning (above) has me anxious. I like
    the sound, but I don't know if I'm allowed to trust myself. Hence my
    quest for the fundamentals of panning.
  14. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro,rec.audio.tech (More info?)

    I used to think artificial doubling sounded good. I can't believe that.
  15. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro,rec.audio.tech (More info?)

    I like it. And I love overproduction. Other than his freaky violent
    streak, Phil Spectre rules.
  16. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro,rec.audio.tech (More info?)

    Well, if you really are going for the type of sound the The Vines have,
    it doesn't sound like they are using artificial doubling. IT is a
    pretty straightforward ambient kind of sound. Try recording the 2
    guitar tracks each with a close mic and another mic at least 20 feet
    away in a pretty live room if possible. Then pan your close mics hard
    left/right and the ambient mics hard right/left. This will give you a
    natural ambient sound with hard panning on the rhythm guitar tracks but
    the ambient tracks will help to fill up the space more.
  17. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro,rec.audio.tech (More info?)

    ot7...@yahoo.com wrote...

    I like it. And I love overproduction. Other than his
    freaky violent
    streak, Phil Spectre rules.


    Well, do you want to get a natural sound like The Vines like a real
    band playing in front of you or do you want a PHil Spector kind of
    sound? Maybe try for something completely new!

    Try playing the guitar part 1, 2, 3 or 4 times on each side and then
    add artificial doubling ar a stereo chorus to that. Try a direct box
    and amped sound together or use the one that fits best with the other
    tracks. Take that sound and send it to 2 different amps and add that to
    the sound or just use the amped with the ambient sound. Try micing the
    amps close, taking direct outs from the head or a mic in the middle 40
    feet away. Try different combinations of all these sounds. Maybe you'll
    find a unique sound that really fits the song or maybe you'll just
    learn something along the way.

    You never know what anything might sound like until you try it. Maybe
    that sounds like a lot of work to some people but it sounds like a lot
    of fun to me. (Note - If you're paying for studio time it might not be
    practical to experiment like this)

    I've tracked the same guitar part on both sides as many as 8 times. IT
    can sound pretty cool and if the guitar player is playing it almost
    exactly the same every time it can sound like just one doubled track.
    Of course, with anything you try, it has to be appropriate for the
    song. I've also done this with background vocals with great results.

    Did you ever try a 4 part harmony with each note sung 4 - 6 times on
    each side? That's over 32 voices altogether. I did this with a band
    called the "Tax Collectors back in the 80's on a 1 inch Tascam bouncing
    back and forth. It was great fun and everyone was very happy with the
    results. I even added a little artificial doubling to that with the
    chorus setting on a Yamaha SPX-90. The sound was pretty cool and
    different than anything that you could do with artificial doubling
    alone. The final mix sounded pretty tight (3 piece hard rock band with
    wild thrashing guitar) and I think all that doubling of the backgrounds
    helped give the lead and background vocals their own space in the mix.
    Sorry if I went a little off topic here!
  18. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro,rec.audio.tech (More info?)

    ot7...@yahoo.com wrote...

    I like it. And I love overproduction. Other than his
    freaky violent
    streak, Phil Spectre rules
    ..

    Well, do you want to get a natural sound like The Vines like a real
    band playing in front of you or do you want a PHil Spector kind of
    sound? Maybe try for something completely new!

    Try playing the guitar part 1, 2, 3 or 4 times on each side and then
    add artificial doubling ar a stereo chorus to that. Try a direct box
    and amped sound together or use the one that fits best with the other
    tracks. Take that sound and send it to 2 different amps and add that to
    the sound or just use the amped with the ambient sound. Try micing the
    amps close, taking direct outs from the head or a mic in the middle 40
    feet away. Try different combinations of all these sounds. Maybe you'll
    find a unique sound that really fits the song or maybe you'll just
    learn something along the way.

    You never know what anything might sound like until you try it. Maybe
    that sounds like a lot of work to some people but it sounds like a lot
    of fun to me. (Note - If you're paying for studio time it might not be
    practical to experiment like this)

    I've tracked the same guitar part on both sides as many as 8 times. IT
    can sound pretty cool and if the guitar player is playing it almost
    exactly the same every time it can sound like just one doubled track.
    Of course, with anything you try, it has to be appropriate for the
    song. I've also done this with background vocals with great results.

    Did you ever try a 4 part harmony with each note sung 4 - 6 times on
    each side? That's over 32 voices altogether. I did this with a band
    called the "Tax Collectors back in the 80's on a 1 inch Tascam bouncing
    back and forth. It was great fun and everyone was very happy with the
    results. I even added a little artificial doubling to that with the
    chorus setting on a Yamaha SPX-90. The sound was pretty cool and
    different than anything that you could do with artificial doubling
    alone. The final mix sounded pretty tight (3 piece hard rock band with
    wild thrashing guitar) and I think all that doubling of the backgrounds
    helped give the lead and background vocals their own space in the mix.
    Sorry if I went a little off topic here!
  19. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro,rec.audio.tech (More info?)

    I've had good results by recording 2 passes of an edgy guitar sound,
    like a Marshall or Johnson, hard panning those tracks, then recording 2
    passes of a thick Mesa (rectifier) sound, and hard pan those; for a
    total of 4 tracks/passes doing the same thing. Duck the edgy tracks
    some when the vocals come in, and throw them more out front when the
    vocals go away. Fiddle with it enough and it matches Linkin Park and
    some other guitar band sonics.

    YMMV.
  20. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro,rec.audio.tech (More info?)

    "Jay Kadis" <jay@ccrma.stanford.edu> wrote in message
    news:jay-2E899A.14003011012005@news.stanford.edu...
    > In article <OumdnegkppdjoHncRVn-uw@adelphia.com>,
    > "reddred" <opaloka@REMOVECAPSyahoo.com> wrote:
    >
    > > <ot7doc@yahoo.com> wrote in message
    > > news:1105418366.881586.97230@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
    > > > As a rule of thumb, should doubled tracks be panned hard left and
    > > > right? Or does that lead to danger of making the lead vocal too
    > > > isolated in the middle?
    > > >
    > >
    > > I tend to use both tracks to fill exactly the space I want filled. If
    you
    > > pan hard right and left, the whole soundstage will be filled.
    > >
    > > jb
    > >
    > >
    >
    > Not in my experience. I find that double tracked guitar hard-panned
    leaves the
    > center of the soundstage open for drums/vocals. This does not work for
    tracks
    > that are artificially doubled, but for tracks actually played twice.
    >
    > -Jay

    I hadn't thought of that, I assumed he was talking about duplicates. Usually
    I'll duplicate tracks and pan them slightly away from each other in order to
    make them 'bigger' in relation to the other tracks, or blend duplicates with
    slight processing differences as a technique to get the sound I want. A part
    that is played twice has a real musical function though, and I think it's a
    lot harder to find space in the mix for that.

    jb
  21. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro,rec.audio.tech (More info?)

    In article <1105510167.236873.235690@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com>,
    b.lessard@comcast.net says...
    <snip>
    > Did you ever try a 4 part harmony with each note sung 4 - 6 times on
    > each side? That's over 32 voices altogether. I did this with a band
    > called the "Tax Collectors back in the 80's on a 1 inch Tascam bouncing
    > back and forth. It was great fun and everyone was very happy with the
    > results. I even added a little artificial doubling to that with the
    > chorus setting on a Yamaha SPX-90. The sound was pretty cool and
    > different than anything that you could do with artificial doubling
    > alone. The final mix sounded pretty tight (3 piece hard rock band with
    > wild thrashing guitar) and I think all that doubling of the backgrounds
    > helped give the lead and background vocals their own space in the mix.
    > Sorry if I went a little off topic here!

    I've been listening to the latest Def L, I mean, Shania Twain CD (it was
    a gift, honest!) and the backing vocals sound more like a vocoder-type
    effect than many multiple tracks of actual human singing.
    --

    Imagining a world with no hypothetical situations
    BC Project - www.bcproject.com
  22. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    <ot7doc@yahoo.com> wrote:

    > Hearing the bit about novice panning (above) has me anxious. I like
    > the sound, but I don't know if I'm allowed to trust myself. Hence my
    > quest for the fundamentals of panning.

    Trust yourself, but move your mixes around to various playback systems
    to see how you're doing outside yoru own place. That way you'll learn
    when that trust has been misplaced. <g>

    If you're trying to place the guitars before the vox are cut you'll be
    taking some pretty longshots, and you'll have plenty of misses. But if
    you're working with all the elements together, go for what you like and
    then chekc it out elsewhere.

    --
    ha
  23. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    walkinay@thegrid.net (hank alrich) writes:

    >If you're trying to place the guitars before the vox are cut you'll be
    >taking some pretty longshots, and you'll have plenty of misses. But if
    >you're working with all the elements together, go for what you like and
    >then chekc it out elsewhere.

    Or if you MUST track the guitars 1st, record a rough vocal guide
    track. You can replace it later, but it will help you judge
    your guitar tracks.
  24. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro,rec.audio.tech (More info?)

    It seems like the more you track a vocal or instrument, the more you
    need a talented performer. I've heard Enya sometimes does over a
    hundred vocal tracks, but she's Enya. But then, I haven't experimented
    much with multiple tracks. It does sound cool to try.
  25. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro,rec.audio.tech (More info?)

    "reddred" <opaloka@REMOVECAPSyahoo.com> wrote in message
    news:sZqdneLyp6qmDnjcRVn-1w@adelphia.com...

    >>It's not harder to find a space in the mix for that,
    >> really... it should be easier. Think about it - a real life, "doubled"
    > track
    >> vs. a cloned/timeshifted/pseudo-doubled track. It will add depth to the
    > mix;
    >> hence, generating even more space to work with.
    >>
    >
    > I'm not sure I folow. The posts above were about having to pan hard left
    > and
    > hard right so one could have some space in the mix.

    What I was saying - maybe I didn't elucidate well enough - is that (IMO,
    anyway) the doubled parts, if doubled by playing both parts, will interact
    with each other in a different way than will cloned doubled parts. The
    cloning creates a constant differential in all respects between the cloned &
    the original track (unless you break up the waveform & nudge different
    segments of it in different increments, apply different or automated
    dynamics processing to each of those segments, etc); while doubling by
    playing creates something more interesting - the very slight varying time
    shifts between each note/chord/whatever, slightly different degrees of
    vibrato (if applicable), slightly different degrees of dynamics, slightly
    different sustain of each note or chord, etc. Now, we're talking very, very,
    very small degrees here - assuming if you've got a good player & he's trying
    to double it tight - but nonetheless, there are obviously going to be these
    slight differences in all these areas, and to me (again, YMMV) that creates
    the perception of more space in the middle than a
    cloned/nudged/processed-slightly-differently track does.

    Not that there's anything wrong with what you've described, but - and maybe
    this is just me since I'm a guitarist, and it could be an idiosycracy of
    mine - I tend to like a real doubled part much better; I think all these
    very slight variances I mentioned add more real energy to the mix. Kinda
    like having an actual violin section in a recording of a symphony instead of
    recording one violin & cloning it a dozen times.

    Neil Henderson


    >
    > I never pan much besides reverb to the edges. Hard panned instruments are
    > way too 1969 for me. I'll go 4 and 8 oclock all the time, though.
    >
    > jb
    >
    >
    >
  26. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro,rec.audio.tech (More info?)

    "Neil Henderson" <neil.henderson@sbcglobal.netNOSPAM> wrote in message
    news:IdkFd.1461$2e7.693@newssvr12.news.prodigy.com...
    >
    > "reddred" <opaloka@REMOVECAPSyahoo.com> wrote in message
    > news:sZqdneLyp6qmDnjcRVn-1w@adelphia.com...
    >
    > >>It's not harder to find a space in the mix for that,
    > >> really... it should be easier. Think about it - a real life, "doubled"
    > > track
    > >> vs. a cloned/timeshifted/pseudo-doubled track. It will add depth to the
    > > mix;
    > >> hence, generating even more space to work with.
    > >>
    > >
    > > I'm not sure I folow. The posts above were about having to pan hard left
    > > and
    > > hard right so one could have some space in the mix.
    >
    > What I was saying - maybe I didn't elucidate well enough - is that (IMO,
    > anyway) the doubled parts, if doubled by playing both parts, will interact
    > with each other in a different way than will cloned doubled parts. The
    > cloning creates a constant differential in all respects between the cloned
    &
    > the original track (unless you break up the waveform & nudge different
    > segments of it in different increments, apply different or automated
    > dynamics processing to each of those segments, etc); while doubling by
    > playing creates something more interesting - the very slight varying time
    > shifts between each note/chord/whatever, slightly different degrees of
    > vibrato (if applicable), slightly different degrees of dynamics, slightly
    > different sustain of each note or chord, etc. Now, we're talking very,
    very,
    > very small degrees here - assuming if you've got a good player & he's
    trying
    > to double it tight - but nonetheless, there are obviously going to be
    these
    > slight differences in all these areas, and to me (again, YMMV) that
    creates
    > the perception of more space in the middle than a
    > cloned/nudged/processed-slightly-differently track does.
    >

    I don't disagree at all. That's not why I duplicate parts when I'm mixing. I
    do it because it makes it easier to get the sound I want even when I'm
    working with thin pres. It helps me shape the sound and settle it into the
    mix.

    > Not that there's anything wrong with what you've described, but - and
    maybe
    > this is just me since I'm a guitarist, and it could be an idiosycracy of
    > mine - I tend to like a real doubled part much better; I think all these
    > very slight variances I mentioned add more real energy to the mix. Kinda
    > like having an actual violin section in a recording of a symphony instead
    of
    > recording one violin & cloning it a dozen times.

    All good. You're not talking about mixing though, you're talking about
    arranging. Most of the time a listener won't hear my doubled or tripled
    parts. They'll just hear 'Guitar' or 'Singer'. When I do what you're talking
    about, I might double those too, if I want a fuller sound. Some people rely
    on compression for this. That's fine too, sometimes I use a compressor if it
    does what I want.

    jb
  27. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro,rec.audio.tech (More info?)

    <ot7doc@yahoo.com> wrote in message
    news:1105577109.712813.272130@c13g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
    > It seems like the more you track a vocal or instrument, the more you
    > need a talented performer. I've heard Enya sometimes does over a
    > hundred vocal tracks, but she's Enya. But then, I haven't experimented
    > much with multiple tracks. It does sound cool to try.

    On one hand you do need a **reasonably** talented performer, but OTOH, it's
    really no different than someone playing tight in a band context. Any good
    player can do it... if they're not USED to doing it, it might take them a
    few tries to get the hang of it & a few punches to mimic the phrasing & ends
    of notes exactly here & there. And yeah if you haven't messed with it much,
    you ought to try it just to learn something new & possibly very useable for
    certain things you may work on.

    Neil Henderson
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