Adding some extra ambience to guitars is always a good idea to enhance already awesome guitar tracks. The number of guitar mixing tricks out there is in overabundance and I learn a new trick every song I fool around with. I'm writing this on my break time from writing the next Premium tut, namely about guitar mixing, and I thought I would give you a quick tip to whet your appetite.
Whether it's adding extra delay to solos, shimmering chorus to chords or creating automatic double tracking for a more expansive sound, there are quite a few tricks to enhance your guitar sound. One of my more favorite ones is using both panning and reverb to create a wider and more soulful soundscape for your guitar.
It's easy. All you need is some panning knobs, a nice guitar track and some reverb.
First we have our guitar part, and since we don't want it to compete with our imaginary vocal track that's supposed to be in the center (work with me here...), I'm panning it a little off center to give it some room to breathe. However, I'm feeling that this guitar track needs some extra pizazz, although it does sound quite sweet by itself.
Listen to the dry guitar sound here, panned a little off center:
Add Some Reverb
Now, although this guitar had some ample spring reverb on it when it was recorded, I want to make it sound like it was recorded in a hall. Send your guitar track to an auxiliary bus using your chosen DAW's auxiliary sends. There, insert whatever reverb device you think sounds great. I'm using Logic's Space Designer, and am choosing a nice medium sized (1.7s) Guitar Hall from Logic's Impulse Response library. Make sure your aux bus and reverb is in mono. Why? You'll see it in the next step.
As always when we're working with reverb as a send effect, make sure it is at 100% wet and no dry sound is interfering with the reverb sound. The original track is for the dry sound, the aux bus is for our reverb. Good? Good.
Pan Your Reverb
Now, to create a nice stereo soundscape we leave the original sound panned 50% to one side while we pan the reverb itself 50% to the other side. That's why we want the reverb to be mono, since we're panning the original mono track to one side, we want to be able to pan the mono reverb to the other side of the spectrum.
Now listen to the nice sound we've accomplished with such an easy trick.
We can use this for all sorts of audio files we want to make bigger in our mixes. Pan various backing vocals around the center and by panning their reverbs or delays to the opposite sides we can create a bigger and fuller sound.
A quick tip indeed. But a very handy mixing tip to know!