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Mixing Rhythm Guitars

Lesson 70 from: Recording Metal with Eyal Levi: A Bootcamp

Eyal Levi

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Lesson Info

70. Mixing Rhythm Guitars

Next Lesson: Basic Vocal Mix


Class Trailer

Intro to Bootcamp


Purpose of Pre-Production


Technical Side of Preproduction


Pre-Production: Setting Up the Tempo Map


Pre-Production: Importing Stems


Pre-Production: Click Track


Creating Tracking Templates


Intro and the Tone Pie


Drums - Lay of the Land


Bearing Edges


Wood Types


Depths and Sizes




Sticks and Beaters


Drum Heads


Drum Tuning


Drum Mic Placement Intro


Basic Drum Mic Setup


Cymbal Mic Setup


Touch Up Tuning


Microphone Choice and Placement


Drum Tracking Intro


Getting Tones and Final Placement


Primary Tracking


Punching In and Comping Takes


Guitar Setup and Rhythm Tone Tracking


Amplifiers - Lay of the Land


Amplifiers & Cab Shoot Out


Guitar Cab Mic Choice and Placement


Guitar Tracking and Signal Chain


Finalizing Amplifier Tone


Guitar Mic Shootout Round Robin


Intro to Rhythm Tracking


Setting Up Guitars


Working with a Guitarist


Final Guitar Tone and Recap


Guitar Tracking with John


Guitar Tracking with Ollie


Final Tracking


Tracking Quads


Intro to Bass Tone


Bass Tone Setup


Bass Tone Mic Placement


Bass Tracking


Intro to Clean and Lead Tones


Clean Guitar Tones


Lead Tones


Vocal Setup for Tracking


Vocal Mic Selection and Setup


Vocal Mic Shootout


Lead Vocal Tracking


Writing Harmonies


Harmony Vocal Tracking


Vocal Warm Ups


Scream Vocal Tracking


Vocal Tuning and Editing Introduction


Vocal Tuning and Editing


Routing and Bussing


Color Coding, Labeling and Arranging Channels


Setting Up Parallel Compression


Setting Up Drum Triggers


Gain Staging and Trim


Drum Mixing - Subtractive EQ


Drum Mixing - Snare


Drum Mixing - Kick


Drum Mixing - Toms


Drum Mixing - Cymbals and Rooms


Drum Mixing Recap


Mixing Bass Guitar


Mixing Rhythm Guitars


Basic Vocal Mix


Mixing Clean and Lead Guitars


Mixing - Automation


Mastering - Interview with Joel Wanasek


Lesson Info

Mixing Rhythm Guitars

We've got a lot to work with here. So we've got the DIs down here. And then we've got the three microphones from the that were on the cabinet on three per side. Going to a bus. But then we've also got the pod tones because I had him do some emphasis tracks. Show you guys what I mean. (rock music) Sound pretty cool. Make sure that this group is working. Yeah, okay. (rock music) I did that since he's one of these guitar players who insists on doing things in single takes. And he's good enough to do it. But because he does insist on that, there's certain things that I would just want emphasized. Like if I was piecing it together, I would ask him to play a certain way but that's not quite as possible due to his playing the riff all the way through. So I had him do an accent track with his regular pod tone to bring out some of the parts that I thought needed some definition like the opens and the slides. (rock music) Felt like it helped the groove along and I'll show you what I mean. I'll ...

just play those tracks along with the drums and bass, you'll see what I mean. (rock music) Alright, cool. So now the trick is to see if they'll even match up with the amped tracks in a pleasing way and if we're even gonna keep the amped tracks. Because that's always a question on my mind. You know, I definitely like amps a lot but I also know that Monuments is a band that has always used a guitar sim in the studio and they kinda play into the way that a guitar sim reacts to your playing. So this was an experiment for them also to see if tube amps would work for them. And I do think the 5150 is cool but I'm just wondering if it's exactly right for them and that's what I'm gonna try and find out. (rock music) Sounds kinda thin. Gonna mess with that a little bit. (rock music) That's the 57. Here it is with the angled 57. (rock music) Turn this group on. Make some groups. It'll be important. Okay. With the G. Angled 57. Attributes, volume, mute, solo, plug ins. Sense. Then straight 57, same thing. And then 421. Same thing. Now we can actually see. (rock music) Already like it better with the angled mic a little louder than the direct mic. Not sure how I feel about the 421 in there. Not sure if it adds or not. Try listening again. (rock music) Alright, so I'm starting to like that a little better. That's the 57s with the angled one being dominant. I brought the straight one down because the straight one, you put a microphone, especially a 57 straight up in the middle of the speaker, you're gonna get a lot of high end and mid high spiky garbage and that's kind of what was coming out. That angled, though, gives it a nicer, slightly more scooped sound. And if you could hear, I was blending in the pods just to where you couldn't really tell that there was another guitar, just that those notes came out a little more. I'll show you again by turning it down and then bringing it back in. (rock music) Already sounds better. Well, that doesn't totally suck. Got an L1 here on the master guitar bus as well as some very gentle EQ bringing down this area that typically gets harsh and this area that typically gets gross. (rock music) Let's go back to working on these guitars. Let me see something. My pod volume group should also have solos on it. Yep. Cool. (rock music) This is the cue that John Browne gave me for his pod. It's what he's comfortable with. I'm gonna bring down this five just a little more. (rock music) Certain frequency I'm gonna try to get rid of in the pods. (rock music) That's barely in there. (rock music) I'll try an experiment. So that sounds pretty decent. Wanna hear what it'll sound like to just throw on an amp sim. Start from scratch, these guitars. Just out of curiosity. Let's grab (mumbles) Ben Bruce. And I'm going to make a group. Cool. My stuff is set. Making sure that the outputs are going to the right spot. Guitar amps, yes. (rock music) Now one thing is that with guitar DI amp sims, you can kind of hear the clean note coming through at times differently than you can through an amp with a cab. I guess it's somewhere, somewhere along the line I guess when the electricity gets transformed into, well, when it leaves the guitar and it goes into a head, and then from a head into a cabinet, then the cabinet it leaves the speaker and goes into the air and then hits a microphone. Something is happening. It's getting mutated a bunch of times whereas just an amp sim, all you have is the DI signal straight out of the guitar to the amp sim. And sometimes you can just hear the clean note ever so slightly, so I'm gonna try and find where that is and get that out. Just move it. (rock music) Right there, around 630. You can kinda hear that the DI gets hard, kinda starts to stick out a little. (rock music) Trying to decide which one I like better. I think I might like the sim better. Let's see. (rock music) Yeah, I think I like the amp sim better. I chose a different microphone option to see if I could get it to sound closer to what the 5150's putting off to see if maybe it's just that the tones were drastically different and maybe that's why I thought it sounded better, but I mean, you know, it's all up to your taste. But I think I'm liking the Ben Bruce better without the pod. Like I thought the pod sounded good when blended with the real amps, but now by itself, I feel like this amp sim sounds better than all the amps. (rock music) Sounds like a paper without the EQ. (rock music) That just sounds weak in comparison, it's kinda sad. (rock music) Maybe there's something more I could do to make these amps come out. (rock music) Now I think I feel like an amp better now after I did what I just did. (rock music) The idea is when you have multiple tones and you're not sure which way to go is to keep jumping back and forth and try to get one better than the other, then the other one better than the one you just tweaked, and eventually you'll be somewhere cool. That's a lot like the way that Jens Bogren told me that he mics guitar cabs, which is he'll put four microphones on a cabinet, find the best speaker or the best combination, get that recorded, and then try to get the other two speakers or the other mic or whatever's left to sound better than what he originally had. And so on and so forth until he's got something really good. Or till he, you know, loses himself in the rabbit hole of EQ. Each one of those can happen but I think that as long as you can keep your wits about you, it's a good way to work. (rock music) Still think I like this better. (rock music) Alright, I'm going to save this as Quasi Possibly Amp Sim. Because I want to start getting rid of things and decluttering this a little bit but I'm pretty okay with how this sounds. (rock music) It could take a little tweaking of course but nothing's ever perfect. (rock music) So I think the right thing to do now would be for, and this won't affect you guys watching, but for me to take a 10 minute break and then come back and hear this again with slightly fresh ears just to make sure that I'm not being crazy before moving on to clean and lead guitars. Okay, we're gonna see if I was crazy. Just took a 10 minute ear break. Gonna play the amp sim versus the amp tracks. (rock music) They're both good. Makes it hard. But I think that the amp sounds better. (rock music) But a couple things with the bass is a little out of control on it. (rock music) Square that against this. (rock music) Alright. (rock music) Oh yeah, no guitars. (rock music) Trying to clamp down on the tubby range of the guitar. (rock music) I hear some things in these guitars that are due to the way John Browne plays. Now usually I tape up every single little thing on a guitar because guitars are noisy instruments even if the player's great. John Browne, guitarist of Monuments, refuses to have his guitar taped and it's a situation where he wins. If he doesn't want to tape up his guitars, there's no tape on the guitars. But it leaves us with noises and stuff that do make the track a little noisier than it should be at times. And I know he wouldn't like this, but it would require a little bit of editing the DIs, more just cutting out space so that we don't have the noise of moving parts on the guitar trailing over the gaps. (rock music) So see what I mean? We would do the same on the bass. And normally I say edit and mix at separate times. I just want to show you guys what a difference this would make. This band doesn't want this stuff edited like this and if we were recording for real, like on an album, and it's not that they would have settled for this, it's that they would have spent more time on getting the takes absolutely perfect. So it is what it is but I want to show you guys what a difference it would make in the overall tightness and heaviness and just like perceived tightness and heaviness. (rock music) Last one got a little cut off. (rock music) I'm gonna cut up a few more of these, just for the fun of it. Literally I'm just cutting where I know that he has a gap is all. And it does happen quite a bit so I'm not gonna do the whole song or anything like that. But I think that it'll be good for the sake of what we're doing. And I'm doing it on the DIs themselves. Kinda want to illustrate that it just goes to show that no matter how good the player is, and this guy's top notch, a guitar still makes noise and amps still pick up that noise and you still have to deal with those noises when you're mixing. So what are you gonna do? Are you gonna make the guitar player tape it up or are you going to wait until everything is perfect or are you going to cut these pieces out and hope that the guitar player doesn't hate you forever? You gotta kinda decide on one. (rock music) So not all of them are good though, so definitely you gotta go back and listen to each one. (rock music) Couple of these are a little too short, couple of these are a little long. Either way, when they work, they work. (rock music) That right there is kind of annoying. Maybe because of that. (rock music) So... Just so you know, also, this, like I said before, this is something that should be done before you mix, before you get amp tracks and stuff. And the other thing I wanted to say was that this bass section here where it goes softer, where the guitars drop out, right there I would get a completely different bass tone. (rock music) So let's do something. (rock music) Probably automate something or use a different, use like an amp simulator for that part right there, have it come on. Decide that later. Now this is sounding a lot better, I think. (rock music) Okay, so let me make a quick bass track for the clean part. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna duplicate this track. Gonna get rid of this one that I'm not using. Goodbye. I didn't like you anyways. And I'll load up an amp sim. And I'm just gonna sit here and wait for it to load because that's what I do. Alright. Then I'm going to cut this, turn off the groups, I'm gonna cut this bass out of the heavy parts because I don't want this amp going over the heavy parts. Come on. Come on, Pro, please be nice. I'm trying to teach a class here. Okay. And then I'm gonna remove the one with Decapitator. There. And this is much easier than doing a bunch of crazy automation honestly. I think there's another spot right here where it goes to clean. Yep. I'll do the same thing. Alright, what's happening here? (rock music) Sounded kind of interesting on top of the other bass but not what I'm going for. (rock music) That bass reverb. Okay. This is a killer, killer, killer, killer amp sim for bass. (rock music) Alright, however I'm not going to test this on a part where it doesn't play. Test this right here. (rock music) So this is a job for... (rock music) Maybe this amp isn't working out quite the way I would have wanted. Oh well. Die. (rock music) Come on, Pro Tools, stop being... (rock music) I think 57. (rock music) That actually starts here. (rock music) And then that will be good. (rock music) Just made a few minor EQ adjustments in the amp. I can't even really see. But I'm guessing this is 80 up a little and this around 100 down a little, make room for the guitars. 300 and 800 up a little, it gives a little bit more note to the bass. This is 900 even. Two to kind of define that note a little more. Down at five. (rock music) I just turned on the compressor, let's see what happens. (rock music) Good, I'll put that about there. (rock music) Now it's super important that this part isn't bigger than the clean, the heavy parts. You gotta watch out for that while still remaining even at the low end. (rock music) And even though not quite automating yet, I'm automating this. Very low end of the bass on this clean part is gonna come down half a DB. (rock music) As you can see, this is a process of figuring one thing out, then figuring something else out, then jumping around some. Can never quite just go in a linear fashion when mixing. (rock music) Okay, something else is annoying me and I need to take care of it before it annoys me too much. I have a philosophy that when you hear stuff that's annoying, I try to solve it right on the spot because you might forget about it later and that's not good. Try to just solve it right away. (rock music) That's what I thought. That snare room that I thought was really cool is cool except it needs to come down during the bridge intro. Because I'm hearing all the little ghost notes and stuff really, really loud and it's distracting. And then that'll happen again on the other soft part. So up through the bridge, turn that shit down. (rock music) Cool. That's... Oops. Minus 17, .7. So I'm just gonna do the same thing right here on the snare room. (rock music) And one other thing that I think might be a good thing to do here. (rock music) Why I hear this. (percussion music) (rock music) Bring out the rooms a little. (rock music) Okay, so I do not actually want that to start until there. (rock music) Yeah, because the room's going off while there's still heavy guitars, sounds kind of dumb. Plus there's the slide right there, so what I'm going to do is I'm going to draw an automation point so that the rooms gradually come into their new volume. (rock music) Cool. I'm gonna just do that to the next one and then we'll be done with this section. So I'm gonna just copy these levels over the course of a measure and then I'll write the automation as I see fit on this next part. Bridge intro. Okay. (rock music) Cool. And then... So I'm gonna have that go through the bridge intro. Through the bridge intro repeat. I'm just rapid firing this and then I'm gonna go back and remove all those unnecessary points. Let's hear it. (rock music) As a matter of fact, I also think that overall gotta bring the snares down just a little bit on these quiet parts. The direct mic, that is. So... Bring down a DB and a half, see what happens. (rock music) Alright, that's better. I've got some fine automation to do later when we actually get into automation, but for now this is a good placeholder for me to remember what to do in the clean parts. Just turn down the snare in this one as well. Down 1 1/2. (rock music) Okay, now you're probably wondering why did I just automate some rooms and snare in the middle of a guitar and bass section and that is because this part in particular on the drums will make it super annoying to work on cleans and leads if I didn't fix it. With it being all out of whack and out of balance, it would have been really hard to sit there with a straight face and try to work on the section that's coming up. Plus I needed to see if the bass tone that I got for the clean parts works in context, so I needed to adjust the drum mix just a little bit to go with it or else it's gonna be continually distracted by those snares that are out of whack and all that. So even though I definitely think you should automate at the end, you should make changes where you need to in order to be able to get to the next step of mixing. If there's something you have to do like cut out some guitar noise that somebody missed or bring down the snares by a DB and a half and raise the rooms because there's some weird shit going on then just do it and move on because if not, you're gonna be hearing those problems all throughout trying to get the tone and the balance of the next part, it's gonna be all screwed up.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Eyal Levi Bootcamp Bonuses
Drum Editing - HD

Ratings and Reviews


I'm on lesson 19! Already worth every dollar!!! Priceless insight! I have already incorporated some of the ideas (preproduction common sense stuff that I never thought of, but damn). VERY HAPPY with this course! ALWAYS LEARNING and looking forward to the next 50 (or whatever) lessons!!! Excellent course! GREAT PRODUCER/ENGINEER, GREAT DRUM TECH, and GREAT BAND!!!! THANK YOU!!!!!!!!


I'm just part way though and I'm blown away by the quality approach Eyal takes to getting the best out of the sessions. I love how well everything is explained and Eyals calm manner is just awesome it really makes you want to listen to the gems of wisdom he offers.


Wow is all I can say. This bootcamp goes in so much depth from tuning drums, setting up guitars, to recording and mixing. I have learned so much by participating in this bootcamp. It has taught me some new recording techniques and signal routing for my mixes. I just want to thank Eyal, Monuments, and Creative Live for taking the time to do this. It has been amazing and I will keep going back to these videos.

Student Work