Double or quad guitar tracking?

  • So, I’m recording my band’s songs for a future release. I’m using an 8-string guitar in standard tuning with the 7th in B and 8th in E. The music is not fast but rather groovy, Meshuggah style. Ive always double tracked my guitars like most will do but I want the sound to be big and cut through the mix. Looking at a Meshuggah multitrack, there were way too many takes. 4-5 amps with 4 guitar tracks each, plus DI and room mics recording the room’s sound. I realise that this is one way of doing it, an extreme one. I’m trying to figure out if I should stick to double tracking or go quad tracking, 2 tracks hard panned and the other two panned at 70-80%. When I tried quad tracking, the sound lost its clarity and became sort of blurry. I tracked as precise as I could. Also, although my 8th string is thicker than what it was (.78 instead of .74) to reduce the string from vibrating too much, I still get a chorusy effect as the tuning is not always on point. I’d like to hear how you go about tracking something like this and achieve a big sound but retain the clarity of it. Sorry for the long post but I’ve been struggling with this for weeks now.

  • Interesting subject, i'm curious about other people's feedbacks as well. I've been experimenting similar issues with the quad method.

    Some sounds are less difficult to work with, or blend together better. Id didnt even tried tracking with different guitars / pick ups yet since recording with the Kemper, various IRs and the quad thing are still all new for me.

  • I do some stoner tracks not much heavier than this style, but I've fount that Quad track is good when I mix neck pickup on 2 tracks and bridge pickup , to have a real wall of sound, but I think it's specific of stoner & doom where a relative muddy tone is welcome.


    Simple double tracking is enough for most of my stoner tracks.


    If you got chorus tone like , it sounds like a phasing issue to me.


    Using 4 tracks of bridge pickup did not have the same impact. You should at least change the profile , even go for extreme tones ( super high trebles for instance). some individual parts sounding harsh on their own could make a great wall once stacked.


    Of course you have to play the parts 4 times , not simply copy them.


    Panning is also used to maximize the effect , hard left & right for the cleaner bridge PU , 9 o clock and 3 o clock for the neck parts.


    The icing on the cake is the Post EQ at DAW, much important to get some cleaner, deeper results . You could enhance the basses and low mids on a part while removing the mud on the other. Also go for stereo widening plugins and experiment.


    Here is an example , no 8 strings , passive P90 on my semi hollow , sorry ;) check around 2:00 for the speedy part ( quad tracking)

  • And, at least the general rule of thumb from most well known producers of this genre is, "turn down your gain". It will allow for better note definition without the loss of brutality once you've got 4 or more tracks playing the same tight rhythms.

  • So, I’m recording my band’s songs for a future release. I’m using an 8-string guitar in standard tuning with the 7th in B and 8th in E. The music is not fast but rather groovy, Meshuggah style. Ive always double tracked my guitars like most will do but I want the sound to be big and cut through the mix. Looking at a Meshuggah multitrack, there were way too many takes. 4-5 amps with 4 guitar tracks each, plus DI and room mics recording the room’s sound. I realise that this is one way of doing it, an extreme one. I’m trying to figure out if I should stick to double tracking or go quad tracking, 2 tracks hard panned and the other two panned at 70-80%. When I tried quad tracking, the sound lost its clarity and became sort of blurry. I tracked as precise as I could. Also, although my 8th string is thicker than what it was (.78 instead of .74) to reduce the string from vibrating too much, I still get a chorusy effect as the tuning is not always on point. I’d like to hear how you go about tracking something like this and achieve a big sound but retain the clarity of it. Sorry for the long post but I’ve been struggling with this for weeks now.


    Getting the tuning on point is actually where I think things are going wrong. Quad tracking can sound huge *if* all the guitars are lining up. If they don't, it will sound washy or phasey or chorusy.


    One thing I think you can try is to get a string mute of some kind, a hair band will do. This will help keep the strings from vibrating too much, which would increase the chances of them being out of tune with each other.

  • And, at least the general rule of thumb from most well known producers of this genre is, "turn down your gain". It will allow for better note definition without the loss of brutality once you've got 4 or more tracks playing the same tight rhythms.

    Bah.


    Quad tracking with low gain will NOT make your percieve more gain if played tightly.

    Some people say that. It's bullcrap.

    If played sloppily, it will mush out and somewhat "mimick more gain".


    I tracked 12 (TWELVE!) guitars left and right and it didn't sound a lot different to regular two tracked. When played tightly.

    However when I purposley played sloppier, it mushed out.


    I have audio clips of this if you dont believe me.

  • And, at least the general rule of thumb from most well known producers of this genre is, "turn down your gain". It will allow for better note definition without the loss of brutality once you've got 4 or more tracks playing the same tight rhythms.

    Bah.


    Quad tracking with low gain will NOT make your percieve more gain if played tightly.

    Some people say that. It's bullcrap.

    If played sloppily, it will mush out and somewhat "mimick more gain".


    I tracked 12 (TWELVE!) guitars left and right and it didn't sound a lot different to regular two tracked. When played tightly.

    However when I purposley played sloppier, it mushed out.


    I have audio clips of this if you dont believe me.

  • Interesting subject, i'm curious about other people's feedbacks as well. I've been experimenting similar issues with the quad method.

    Some sounds are less difficult to work with, or blend together better. Id didnt even tried tracking with different guitars / pick ups yet since recording with the Kemper, various IRs and the quad thing are still all new for me.

    Using two different guitars you run the risk of not being in perfect tune with the other guitar. It's more common, at least for metal bands, one guitarist records all rythm. The other maybe some fills or and solos. With some bands the other guitarist doesn't record a thing an a album.

  • And, at least the general rule of thumb from most well known producers of this genre is, "turn down your gain". It will allow for better note definition without the loss of brutality once you've got 4 or more tracks playing the same tight rhythms.

    Another trick is a track with more gain and the other with less gain.

  • I always quad track. I use 2 very different profiles. One very creamy tone 100% left and right. One huge, scooped and more fizzy tone the same way. I can adjust after how fizzy or creamy the tone has to be. Works wonderfully but it is very long to record. You have to play very precisely or everything will sound very mushy. Low gain, hi gain are very subjective. depends of your profiles and their transients in fact.

  • With all the issues that come with the tuning you'll be in, quad-tracking would be a major headache for me. It depends on the arrangement, and how tight of a player you are, but that can get sloppy quick.


    The subject of turning the gain down...you definitely should, but not because you'll perceive more gain, but because it will keep what clarity you can and will still sound very heavy, double or quad tracked.


    I haven't read the arguments Cedric is referring to, but he sounds correct to me, if played very tightly, as he can, it won't really simulate the wall of guitar sound people are thinking of when they think "more tracks less gain", but that's only true for tight riffs, imo. More chordal music that doesn't have to be as quick and precise can benefit from this approach. I believe this is the approach Chevelle took for Wonder What's Next, quite a lot of tracks through a Mess MKIV at relatively low gain.


    I think this can really vary from genre to genre, but "turn down the gain" is pretty solid advice regardless of how many tracks you'll do, especially at your tuning.

    Disclaimer: When I post demo clips for profiles, there will be some minimal post-processing, unless stated otherwise. I normally double-track hard L/R, and add to the main buss a small amount of EQ and a limiter/comp set pretty light as well. Sometimes I get test profiles in advance of release, though 90% of my clips will be from packs I have purchased.

  • With all the issues that come with the tuning you'll be in, quad-tracking would be a major headache for me. It depends on the arrangement, and how tight of a player you are, but that can get sloppy quick.

    That's why it's a great idea to always record with EVERTUNE 8)8)8)8)


    Not that I quadtrack rhythms but... Still... Best guitar upgrade EVER (hence the name :love: )


    Evertune bridges are expensive to buy and install, but being able to record guitar for several days without checking tuning is priceless.

  • That's why it's a great idea to always record with EVERTUNE 8)8)8)8)


    Not that I quadtrack rhythms but... Still... Best guitar upgrade EVER (hence the name :love: )


    Evertune bridges are expensive to buy and install, but being able to record guitar for several days without checking tuning is priceless.

    Its not so much the tuning instability inherent to a traditional bridge that I'm talking about, though that is less tolerable the lower you go, and I'm sure evertune would be a huge help there.


    The lower you tune, you're faced with a compromise we've all had to deal with. You can get a bigger low string, or you can use a thinner one that will of course be less taut. Either way has the same consequence, at some point (tuning wise), the physical travel of the string vibrating back and forth becomes too large, and it will not be in tune enough with the other strings. This concept exists in all tunings/setups, it's what most people instantly like about drop D, the nasty slightly sharp attack just sounds cool. Drop B set up well is a more exaggerated version of that. But an open chord below ~A no longer sounds like a guitar, there's too much dissonance inside the chord. There are a couple ways to try to tackle the issue, but that'd be even more of a digression...


    Anyway, I just wanted to explain what I meant by "tuning issues".


    I do think an evertune would help as I mentioned at the start, and I have really been wanting one lately. I think I'm going to have one installed in my Se277 baritone. I'm a little apprehensive about it, I really like that guitar, it plays and sounds so good, I don't want to screw anything up. But if my favorite guitar could be even better...I think I'm going to do it pretty soon.


    Is there anything you really don't like about them? I know they can take a little while to get used to and get set up, but most of what I've read is pretty positive. They seem like a dream for recording.

    Disclaimer: When I post demo clips for profiles, there will be some minimal post-processing, unless stated otherwise. I normally double-track hard L/R, and add to the main buss a small amount of EQ and a limiter/comp set pretty light as well. Sometimes I get test profiles in advance of release, though 90% of my clips will be from packs I have purchased.

  • Locrain


    Do you talk about when you hit the strings, the pitch bouncing up and then down on the sustain?

    Well, Evertune does reduce that "pitch bounce" on the intitial pick attack. It will make the notes more even. Almost no pitch bounce.


    Nah, I love Evertune, I wouldn't go a day without using one. It's just a great feeling to know you're ALWAYS in tune.


    Of course there's the fact that it just doesn't have as much as sustain as other guitars. Each string is on an individual saddle that vibrates and steals the strings energy. BUT I SIMPLY DO NOT CARE.

    If the sustain loss was REALLY an issue I wouldn't be using the bridge.

    I freaking love Evertune. And they DO SUSTAIN ENOUGH for any regular use of a guitar you could think of.


    If somebody really needs more sustain, get a guitar with a Fernandes Sustainer / Sustainiac installed ^^

  • Locrain


    Do you talk about when you hit the strings, the pitch bouncing up and then down on the sustain?

    Well, Evertune does reduce that "pitch bounce" on the intitial pick attack. It will make the notes more even. Almost no pitch bounce.

    No, and I should have been more clear about that. But it is related of course, it's likely to be out of tune the most at the attack, so that's a good point.


    But no, I'm just talking about the physical travel of the string, since as the pitch lowers and the low string gets either larger or has less tension, which are really your only two options, the distance the string travels during it's oscillation increases, and eventually it just drifts too far in and out with the rest of the chord.


    A baritone is nice since you can achieve a lower tuning with the same tension and string gauge, but then the length of the string is longer, which I assume would offset some of those benefits.


    The sustain reduction does bother me a little. It's a semi-hollow, so I'm not really sure how the evertune would affect it there. And I have P90s in it and love them, but they can be a little lacking in that department. It's not really a big deal, I could move up to the BPK stockholms if it was an issue, and it's not likely to be often, I don't do a ton of leads or long held out notes...


    I wanna check it out though. I know one guy who says it makes his guitar sound like a piano. That sounds pretty cool. :D

    Disclaimer: When I post demo clips for profiles, there will be some minimal post-processing, unless stated otherwise. I normally double-track hard L/R, and add to the main buss a small amount of EQ and a limiter/comp set pretty light as well. Sometimes I get test profiles in advance of release, though 90% of my clips will be from packs I have purchased.

  • For tuning, get the needle of the tuner to be bang on pitch as you strike the note with your plectrum, playing with the same attack and intensity as when you will be recording - don't do the long note sustaining as you look at the needle...its on the attack that is most important.


    If things sound 'phased' or 'chorussed' then it is either tuning issues, string gauge too light for the pitch, not being played tightly enough, or differing vibrato if applied.


    Personally, I enjoy there being variation between left and right so do a single track per side - as I am far too sloppy to be expressive (and repeat)...I don't know what it is I've just done half the time :D

    PRS Custom 22's - PRS 594 - Diezel VH4 - Carol Ann OD2 - Colin the Kemper - CLR Neo ii.