Any tips to tighten up double-tracked guitars?

Need a helping hand to make sure you do it right, first time? Got some good advice to pass on, so no-one makes the same mistakes you did? This is your forum.
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SweetDan
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Any tips to tighten up double-tracked guitars?

Post by SweetDan » Tue Jan 23, 2018 12:46 am

Like the title says, I'm searching (I'd say high and low, but the truth is I barely began...) for your best tips on getting nice, tight double-tracked guitars.

I know, I know, "Play to a click, you fool!" There's also "Learn your damn part!" Sure, I got that...but when that still produces lackluster results with cascades of plinkety-plinketies left and right, what do you do?

Alternatives I can guess so far:
  • keep practicing...maybe this time next year I'll have it down
  • turn up the click in the headphones while tracking; maybe my wife's right and I *am* going deaf...
  • break out the quantizing/time-sliding editing features of my DAW...but that can sound artificial, depending on how far you have to slide things...plus, I really want to get this right at the source (note: I'm not talking about comping different takes...yet)
  • (nice lead-in there, buddy) record that riff over and over (and over and over and....), then comp the best, tightest takes together
  • and if all else fails, re-do the arrangement so that the tune doesn't call for double-tracked guitars playing exactly the same part; you can still have left/right guitars, but give them complementary/contrasting parts to play, maybe one does arpeggio-thingies while the other plays long, slow sustained chords
If you have other tips (or even variations of the any of the above), I'd love to hear them.

---

(edit: links to samples)

1) first stab: http://eastofcleveland.com/m/traveling_ ... ection.mp3
2) better(?): http://eastofcleveland.com/m/traveling_ ... ansVox.mp3
Last edited by SweetDan on Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
awesome youtube comment of the day:
which resistor gets rid of the pop music?

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Greg_L
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Re: Any tips to tighten up double-tracked guitars?

Post by Greg_L » Tue Jan 23, 2018 1:22 am

You already know what you need to do - play it better.

Ultimately, just playing it better will give you the best results. If it's something you're not comfortable with, get comfortable with it. Practice it.

If you need to slice and dice a good take together, you won't be the first guy to do that.

Avoid quantizing at all costs.
Rebel Yell

Farview
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Re: Any tips to tighten up double-tracked guitars?

Post by Farview » Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:34 am

Are you playing to the click or a drum part?

If you can't play the same thing the same way twice, you simply need to practice more. You don't have to practice the part necessarily, you need to practice things that will help get your timing better.

This stuff takes time, patience is key. If it is really important to record this song now, maybe get a friend to play it, to get it done now. If it's more important that you play it, keep practicing.

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JD01
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Re: Any tips to tighten up double-tracked guitars?

Post by JD01 » Tue Jan 23, 2018 3:48 am

Yeah, just practice a lot. Does help to turn the click up so it's really audible over the music too.

SweetDan
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Re: Any tips to tighten up double-tracked guitars?

Post by SweetDan » Tue Jan 23, 2018 12:00 pm

Here's a rough mix of my tune in question (no vocals yet): http://eastofcleveland.com/m/traveling_ ... ralKit.mp3 The tracking/editing process so far consists of several takes on each of the left/right guitar parts, which I then comped together the sections of takes that aligned together best; no quantizing or time-stretching.

Farview wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:34 am
Are you playing to the click or a drum part?
Programmed drums, but with the click playing during tracking.

---

Regarding:
Farview wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:34 am
...practice things [not necessarily the part] that will help get your timing better.
The essence of my question is this: What are those "things" you all have found that actually make your timing better? Always playing while seated (or standing)? Always using the same pick? Same guitar? Deep breathing before each take?
awesome youtube comment of the day:
which resistor gets rid of the pop music?

Farview
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Re: Any tips to tighten up double-tracked guitars?

Post by Farview » Tue Jan 23, 2018 12:07 pm

You have to ask yourself why you can't play it the same way twice, and work on that.

It's going to be one of a few things
1. The part is pushing the limits of your ability to play it. (Practice the part slowly with a click and build up speed)
2. You aren't used to locking in to something else's rhythm. (See above parenthetical advice)

I know that practicing isn't as exciting as playing and recording, but once you put in the time, playing and recording becomes more enjoyable.

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vomitHatSteve
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Re: Any tips to tighten up double-tracked guitars?

Post by vomitHatSteve » Tue Jan 23, 2018 12:13 pm

+1 on playing it until you get it right. I also subscribe to comping together takes.

If I want 2 parts, I'll usually do at least 4 takes to comp together (sometimes 3 if it's super-simple)

I'll occasionally quantize a note or two but usually pretty minimally.

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JD01
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Re: Any tips to tighten up double-tracked guitars?

Post by JD01 » Tue Jan 23, 2018 12:14 pm

SweetDan wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 12:00 pm
Here's a rough mix of my tune in question (no vocals yet): http://eastofcleveland.com/m/traveling_ ... ralKit.mp3 The tracking/editing process so far consists of several takes on each of the left/right guitar parts, which I then comped together the sections of takes that aligned together best; no quantizing or time-stretching.

Farview wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:34 am
Are you playing to the click or a drum part?
Programmed drums, but with the click playing during tracking.

---

Regarding:
Farview wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:34 am
...practice things [not necessarily the part] that will help get your timing better.
The essence of my question is this: What are those "things" you all have found that actually make your timing better? Always playing while seated (or standing)? Always using the same pick? Same guitar? Deep breathing before each take?
I know this is piss boring, mate - but it really is just practice... also, really think about what you're going - listen back to the first take carefully and listen for what quirks are in your playing, picking pattern, strumming pattern or whatever and think about whether you want to keep them and copy them, if so, learn where they are, if not replace the first take. You need to be 100% sure of what you're playing. You can just "wing it" if you're very familiar with the piece and can wing in identically each time.

I do a LOT of fast punk double tracking, downpicking at 170 - 180 bpm, and I have to remember on what notes I relax my palm mute and where I start to release my mute completely to move to openly strummed chords - it takes time to remember all that stuff.

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Tadpui
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Re: Any tips to tighten up double-tracked guitars?

Post by Tadpui » Tue Jan 23, 2018 12:14 pm

I don't have much to add beyond what's already been said about practicing the part. One thing that I did notice early on in my recording days is that I play much tighter when I have drums instead of a click track. A lot of times I compose and start tracking the song while I still have a very simple drum beat holding down the tempo and groove. Just hearing a kick and snare instead of beep-boop-boop-boop helps me quite a bit. Then, if I continue to develop the song, I'll add fancier drums later in the process.

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Re: Any tips to tighten up double-tracked guitars?

Post by WhiskeyJack » Tue Jan 23, 2018 1:46 pm

Tadpui wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 12:14 pm
I don't have much to add beyond what's already been said about practicing the part. One thing that I did notice early on in my recording days is that I play much tighter when I have drums instead of a click track. A lot of times I compose and start tracking the song while I still have a very simple drum beat holding down the tempo and groove. Just hearing a kick and snare instead of beep-boop-boop-boop helps me quite a bit. Then, if I continue to develop the song, I'll add fancier drums later in the process.
This is my process exactly. :like:
:happytrees:

Farview
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Re: Any tips to tighten up double-tracked guitars?

Post by Farview » Tue Jan 23, 2018 3:14 pm

SweetDan wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 12:00 pm
Farview wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:34 am
...practice things [not necessarily the part] that will help get your timing better.
The essence of my question is this: What are those "things" you all have found that actually make your timing better? Always playing while seated (or standing)? Always using the same pick? Same guitar? Deep breathing before each take?
Come up with a pattern or riff that is all 1/8 notes. (if you can't come up with one, play Crazy Train) Then set the metronome to 1/8 notes and play the pattern over and over again, making sure that you are on the click. Slow the tempo down until you can do it comfortably. Then speed it up a few BPM and practice until this feels comfortable. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Essentially, you have to train yourself to anticipate the next note and know (feel) when it is coming. Once you can do it with straight 1/8 notes, come up with a different riff, or strumming pattern that doesn't have a note on every 1/8.

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Armistice
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Re: Any tips to tighten up double-tracked guitars?

Post by Armistice » Tue Jan 23, 2018 3:53 pm

Don't play to a click - establish a proper drum pattern that has a bit of feel to it and play to that.

Also, in case no-one's mentioned it and you're doing it. Don't have the first track playing when you do the second - just the drumbs.
:facepalm2: :nyuk: :guru:

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vomitHatSteve
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Re: Any tips to tighten up double-tracked guitars?

Post by vomitHatSteve » Wed Jan 24, 2018 12:22 pm

Armistice wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 3:53 pm
Also, in case no-one's mentioned it and you're doing it. Don't have the first track playing when you do the second - just the drumbs.
I'd say that's disputable. Sometimes it helps to have the track you're trying to match audible.

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JD01
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Re: Any tips to tighten up double-tracked guitars?

Post by JD01 » Wed Jan 24, 2018 12:44 pm

Yeah. I agree with VHS on that. But really listen to track 1 first to make sure you know how to play it the same.

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Greg_L
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Re: Any tips to tighten up double-tracked guitars?

Post by Greg_L » Wed Jan 24, 2018 12:54 pm

I pay no attention to previously recorded tracks when playing new tracks. I don't want to hear that shit. If you can play it you will play it and it will all work out.

Also, picture perfect mirror matching is not good. Yes double tracks should be close and tight, but they don't have to be fucking exact. Little things happen and those little differences are what makes double guitar tracks sound good and big and interesting.
Rebel Yell

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Tadpui
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Re: Any tips to tighten up double-tracked guitars?

Post by Tadpui » Wed Jan 24, 2018 7:45 pm

Greg_L wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 12:54 pm
Also, picture perfect mirror matching is not good. Yes double tracks should be close and tight, but they don't have to be fucking exact. Little things happen and those little differences are what makes double guitar tracks sound good and big and interesting.
Agreed 100%. If they match perfectly, you essentially end up with a mono guitar track again!

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Armistice
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Re: Any tips to tighten up double-tracked guitars?

Post by Armistice » Wed Jan 24, 2018 8:36 pm

vomitHatSteve wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 12:22 pm
Armistice wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 3:53 pm
Also, in case no-one's mentioned it and you're doing it. Don't have the first track playing when you do the second - just the drumbs.
I'd say that's disputable. Sometimes it helps to have the track you're trying to match audible.
I find it distracting, but that's just me. YMMV.
:facepalm2: :nyuk: :guru:

SweetDan
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Re: Any tips to tighten up double-tracked guitars?

Post by SweetDan » Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:21 am

:mad3: Thanks a lot, guys! Look what you made me do with all that practicing to get this thing right! :mad3:
0124182235.jpg
/s

(It must be rock and roll, otherwise there wouldn't be blood, right?)

;)
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awesome youtube comment of the day:
which resistor gets rid of the pop music?

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Greg_L
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Re: Any tips to tighten up double-tracked guitars?

Post by Greg_L » Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:26 am

Wait, what the hell are you playing that uses the top side of a thumb knuckle?
Rebel Yell

Farview
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Re: Any tips to tighten up double-tracked guitars?

Post by Farview » Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:19 am

Greg_L wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:26 am
Wait, what the hell are you playing that uses the top side of a thumb knuckle?
Ummm... yea. Have you tried a pick?

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