Thread: What Adds MORE Interest to Distorted Guitars?

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  1. #1
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    Default What Adds MORE Interest to Distorted Guitars?

    Hi All,

    How do you add interest to traditional guitar sounds?

    I am currently mixing a very guitar heavy, Radiohead-like tune (loops, percussion and groovy bass lines). And I wanted to know if anyone could tell me about FX or other treatments for adding interest to guitars.

    There are about 5 different guitar parts:

    • Tremolo Rhythm
    • Lead (Orange Amp + Cab)
    • Phased Chords on chorus (Modern)
    • "Chimey" Rhythm (Vintage AC30 type sound)

    I usually treat distorted guitars with flange, tape delay and pitch shift + delay. But are there any other treatments that may add a bit of interest to these guitar performances?
  2. #2
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    Default Re: What Adds MORE Interest to Distorted Guitars?

    Perhaps better/more interesting performances might be a good starting point before you reach for the toys...

    Just sayin'


    Cheers,
    Tim
    Don't forget, we are all engaged in a battle to the death against mediocrity.

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    Default Re: What Adds MORE Interest to Distorted Guitars?

    Perhaps better/more interesting performances might be a good starting point before you reach for the toys...
    Thanks Tim I agree with you that source is always the first option both performance and sound quality.

    However, here I am not unhappy with the performances. As I noted the tune is Radiohead-like which means the band wants to hear the guitars pretty wet.

    I was just wondering if there is anything more than the stuff I generally do. For example, I like C. Dye type harmonizing except I use a delay of 25/50ms more or less.
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    Default Re: What Adds MORE Interest to Distorted Guitars?

    Arseing around with chorus on lead and clean guitars tends to work well; only thing is you have to either be very very subtle or go all out ridiculous with it to try and avoid cheesiness.

    That's about the only sort of "generic" thing I can think of, almost everything is dependent on what the material and performance.

    All of that said, I'm no radiohead fan, so I'm probably not the best person to ask...
    I'm probably talking shit.

    "Mixing most 'heavy' records is like trying to find order and lucidity in a recording of a Cathedral Pipe Organ, all stops out, randomly veering between Handel's Messiah, Ginestera's 2nd and a coupla Bach Fugues, in a Titanium kitchenware foundry, while a gaggle of enraged PCP snorting gorillas with bullhorns conduct a demolition derby with cement mixers against the soothing cacophony of a nearby landslide/tsunami/heavy artillery exchange."- Slipperman
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    Default Re: What Adds MORE Interest to Distorted Guitars?

    Arseing around with chorus on lead and clean guitars tends to work well...
    Gotcha I'll arse-around with that a bit, thanks.
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    Default Re: What Adds MORE Interest to Distorted Guitars?

    I have to say what is not so much a variation on what Tim said, more like a much more basic matter.

    The performances are important. If it's badly executed, it's badly executed, if it's played well, it's played well, and this is fundamentally important.

    But more fundamental; are the actual PARTS interesting? Are there ACTUAL MUSICAL IDEAS, or is it just a set of multiple tracks churning away filling sonic real estate? I'm not saying every note has to be brilliant genius. But does the part matter?

    Just to be totally clear about this: This isn't an argument against, or criticism of, the idea of simple parts. We could have a thread party of taking turns naming players and tunes where there are parts that are just elementary dead simple, but totally essential to the music at hand.

    No, it's more of a matter of having heard years of just really pointless masses of guitar tracks in all kinds of things where it seems like people thought "just keep piling 'em up, eventually it will sound cool", like somebody trying to get all spiffed up and dressing fancy and trying to make themselves as flashy and glamorous as possible before heading out to a party or something, and thinking all that will completely cancel out the fact that they're really an unattractive and dead boring human being.

    I've got nothing at all against big masses of guitars. I love that stuff. But not as a substitute for nothing going on. If you have a pile of five or six guitar tracks and you're thinking "I don't know, man, nothing's really making an impression on me", maybe the central theme to think about is not "I need to make the sounds more interesting!".


    That said, take it as you will, how about a one word answer: contrast.


    JLE
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    Default Re: What Adds MORE Interest to Distorted Guitars?

    But does the part matter?
    That is a very good question. This band of guys are just a Saturday night jam band so there is no producer to speak of. Quite frankly, I never considered having a discussion about which parts should go. This conversation might get complicated... due to the nature of the band.

    But it is worth looking into because I suspect that some of those guitar parts could very well be cut from the mix.

    No, it's more of a matter of having heard years of just really pointless masses of guitar tracks in all kinds of things where it seems like people thought "just keep piling 'em up, eventually it will sound cool", like somebody trying to get all spiffed up and dressing fancy and trying to make themselves as flashy and glamorous as possible before heading out to a party or something, and thinking all that will completely cancel out the fact that they're really an unattractive and dead boring human being.
    That was a very funny analogy.

    If you have a pile of five or six guitar tracks and you're thinking "I don't know, man, nothing's really making an impression on me", maybe the central theme to think about is not "I need to make the sounds more interesting!".
    Yeah, perhaps the central theme should be... hey what sounds interesting here?

    contrast.
    Great thank you eagan, loads of help and great insight.
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    Default Re: What Adds MORE Interest to Distorted Guitars?

    This band of guys are just a Saturday night jam band so there is no producer to speak of.
    Yikes. I think you're getting down to the core of the thing here.

    Quite frankly, I never considered having a discussion about which parts should go. This conversation might get complicated... due to the nature of the band.

    But it is worth looking into because I suspect that some of those guitar parts could very well be cut from the mix.
    Yeah. Now you're into the heart of the matter, that's the primary stuff.


    Yeah, perhaps the central theme should be... hey what sounds interesting here?
    Yep. That's the biggest thing, and it could be tricky with that whole "no producer" thing combined with "saturday night jam band". Tell me if I'm wrong, but I don't think I am, and a lot of people reading are going to be thinking the same thing. In short form, it definitely sounds like there's a certain "keep tossing shit at the wall and see what sticks" modus operandi going, there.

    That can be not necessarily bad depending on a variety of things, but of course, the other end of that string is where it's then necessary to have some serious objective review with at least one person capable of adult supervision, in case collective consensus isn't working, to say "OK.... this.... uh-uh, that's OUT OF THERE" and not having anybody crying about it.


    JLE
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    Default Re: What Adds MORE Interest to Distorted Guitars?

    Tell me if I'm wrong, but I don't think I am, and a lot of people reading are going to be thinking the same thing. In short form, it definitely sounds like there's a certain "keep tossing shit at the wall and see what sticks" modus operandi going, there.
    Yeah, you're right. jam band + no producer = the real issue

    Alright, so let me start thinking about this a bit more carefully then. I doubt I'm going to get objective reviews and an an accepted authority from one member. I just don't see it.

    That can be not necessarily bad depending on a variety of things, but of course, the other end of that string is where it's then necessary to have some serious objective review with at least one person capable of adult supervision, in case collective consensus isn't working, to say "OK.... this.... uh-uh, that's OUT OF THERE" and not having anybody crying about it.
    So there are I guess two options:

    1) Take the responsibility myself as a the producer and work with them to get a better sounding record... yet denied producer credit.

    or

    2) Do the same damn thing yet with a producer contract.
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    Default Re: What Adds MORE Interest to Distorted Guitars?

    Hi All,

    How do you add interest to traditional guitar sounds?

    great lyrics

    and a bass part not played by a guitar player
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    Default Re: What Adds MORE Interest to Distorted Guitars?

    Univibe or equivalent.

    A good juicy phaser.

    Roland CH-1 or some other fat sounding chorus.

    Fat sounding envelope follower or wah pedal.

    Rotary speaker.

    Various kinds of delay, including stereo.

    Octave effect.

    Fuzz.

    Multi layering of same guitar part.
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    Default Re: What Adds MORE Interest to Distorted Guitars?

    I like to listen to the song and come up with a part it really needs.

    Then I try tracking that part with a sound that's interesting, right there and then.

    The good thing about that approach is, the sound inspires the performance, making the part even more interesting.


    otek
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    Default Re: What Adds MORE Interest to Distorted Guitars?

    great lyrics

    and a bass part not played by a guitar player
    ... unless that guitarplayer is also a bass player.
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    Default Re: What Adds MORE Interest to Distorted Guitars?

    ... unless that guitarplayer is also a bass player.
    You mean a bass player that also plays guitar?
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    Default Re: What Adds MORE Interest to Distorted Guitars?

    If you have a lot of different parts to choose from you might try bringing different ones in and out of the mix.
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    Default Re: What Adds MORE Interest to Distorted Guitars?

    I like to listen to the song and come up with a part it really needs.

    Then I try tracking that part with a sound that's interesting, right there and then.

    The good thing about that approach is, the sound inspires the performance, making the part even more interesting.

    Tattoo this advice onto your forehead.

    Cheers,
    Tim
    Don't forget, we are all engaged in a battle to the death against mediocrity.

    The best radio mic system that money can buy is ALMOST as good as a $20 cable.

    One of the most important things to remember about sound is:
    'Sucks' is always conducted better than 'Rules'. - Pimp-X wisdom


    Never underestimate the power of stupid - Blackie C (RIP)

    Ego and talent seldom go hand in hand... Talent and humble on the other hand... - Zoesch

    Weedy ignores this simple bit of glaring obviousness because he is an "ELECTRIC BASS GUITARIST"(coughcough)
    and views the kick drum as a "bass riff rhythmic pattern suggestion generator" - Slipperman
  17. #17
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    Default Re: What Adds MORE Interest to Distorted Guitars?

    There is some really great advice in this post. Thanks a lot guys, I swear this the Womb is a gold mine of record production gems.
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    Default Re: What Adds MORE Interest to Distorted Guitars?

    I like to listen to the song and come up with a part it really needs.

    Then I try tracking that part with a sound that's interesting, right there and then.

    The good thing about that approach is, the sound inspires the performance, making the part even more interesting.

    Gold.

    As was already said, I see, this is essential principle kind of stuff.


    JLE
    "A machine is only as effective as its user"-Wilbur Wright

    "I've suffered for my music, and now it's your turn"-Neil Innes

    "I am amazed every single day how so many think that you have to constantly DO things to engineer properly. In fact, you do as little as possible, and then only the things required. The trick is in knowing what is actually required."-Terry Manning

    "WE'RE ALL VILLAGE IDIOTS AT ONE POINT OR ANOTHER. "-der Schlippermensch

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  19. #19
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    Default Re: What Adds MORE Interest to Distorted Guitars?

    You mean a bass player that also plays guitar?
    nope.
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    Default Re: What Adds MORE Interest to Distorted Guitars?

    Those are a rare breed IMHO

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