Guitars in the mix

Tame wild and distorted guitars and mix them with drums and vocals.

Electric and acoustic guitars take up a certain amount of space in the frequency spectrum. To add them to your mix without negatively affecting audio characteristics, you need to know how to limit them. Our focus this time is on editing guitars, in order to help you make your solos sound just as impressive on record as they do live.

Guitars play a decisive role in the mix when it comes to emphasizing the harmony structure and melody. Depending on the music style, the audio characteristics of the guitar sounds can vary considerably. In addition, distorted guitars have a sound image which is different from clean or acoustic guitars.

However, you can follow a few general guidelines when editing frequencies for the guitar sound.

A guitar's basic frequency is 80 Hz in the bass range. You can use a low-cut filter below 60 Hz without any problems. This gives the kick drum and bass more room to open up in the mix.

 

You can achieve more warmth by accentuating the frequency range between 125 Hz and 300 Hz.

 

You can create more or less intensity between 500 Hz and 800 Hz.

 

In contrast, you can create a crisp punch, presence and more aggressiveness between 3 kHz and 5 kHz.

 

Lastly, you can use a high-cut filter to trim the highs above 11 kHz.

 

EQ recommendations for electric guitars

 

Deep bass range below 80 Hz: Low-cut
Low mids 125 Hz - 300 Hz (warmth): +4dB
Mid mids 500 Hz - 800 Hz (presence): +2dB
Mid highs 3 kHz - 5 kHz (bite): +3dB
Super high tone range above 11 kHz: Hi-cut

 

Please note that electric guitars tend to dominate the majority of the frequency spectrum. In terms of the overall mix, it is therefore wise to create individual frequency niches wherever you want the characteristic features of other instruments to stand out. For example, you can lower the frequency ranges that you want to emphasize in the vocals (e.g. at 1.5 kHz, 3.3 kHz and 7.5 kHz).

If the guitar sound tends to drone, slightly lower it at 500 Hz. In contrast, if the guitars are too sharp, remove some bite between 2 kHz and 4 kHz.

EQ recommendations for acoustic guitars

 

Deep bass range below 60 Hz: Low-cut
Low mids 80 Hz - 300 Hz (warmth/volume): +4dB
Mid mids 500 Hz - 800 Hz (presence): +2dB
Mid highs 3 kHz - 5 kHz (bite): +3dB
Upper highs 6 kHz - 10 kHz (brilliance): +4dB (shelving)

 

When editing the sound, make sure to avoid making too many corrections since the human ear is particularly sensitive to rough settings with acoustic instruments. We therefore recommend subtly increasing the broadband to maintain a natural overall sound.

If the acoustic guitar sounds too hollow, lower it at 400 to 800 Hz accordingly.

 

The range for accentuating the silky sound of acoustic guitars is at 4 kHz.

 

How to reduce resonance

Step 1: You can quickly find the potential resonance frequencies by using a filter sweep.

 

Step 2: Lower the resonance frequency you found.

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Step 3: You can achieve the best results by subtly correcting the problematic frequency as well as its octave or half-octave.

 

This is what the edited guitars sound like in the mix:

 

We hope you have fun creating the optimal guitar sounds with the EQ.

The Samplitude Team