Hey there,

I currently am the guitarist of a cover band, beside me there is another guitarist, a bass, drum and singer. The songs we cover are classic rock to modern rock or pop rock. Everyone in the band is at least descent at playing, and I feel we realy are progressing. Now the point of sharring that with you is the following.

I feel the main problem we have is that sometimes our songs sound to full, double guitar parts can become muddy and consume other elements of the song. Sometimes the rythm guitar consumes the lead line (this might have to do with us wearing earproctection but I think still its a problem). So I need some advice on how to really set bass and guitars apart from each other in terms of EQ. The last practicing hours I tried different set ups to see if it works, but still sometimes the sound gets to "fat". I wish things were as simple as turning down bass there and treble here, but it isnt. So maybe there is something I completely overlooked, maybe I just have to live with it, maybe its all my earprotection and I should stop whining. But I feel there is still some much to learn when it comes balancing out the sound within the band. Does anyone have good advice? Normally I toy around with settings untill I get what i want but thats when I am on my own, things are easier then. I need some help here.
Last edited by DavidBenyamin at Nov 28, 2009,
try giving the lead guitar more mids
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I find the big mistake a lot of bands make is turning up the gain on the guitars too much. Sure, it sounds good when the guitar is by itself, but it starts eating up way too many frequencies in a band context. Put that together with another distorted guitar, and you're going to have mud. A bit of distortion goes a long way.
It can be hard to have a guitar tone that functions well in both rhythm and lead. What I used to do was have an EQ pedal in my setup, so whenever I had a solo or single note part, I'd hit that to give a big boost to the mids, and a small boost to my highs. I found that helped me cut through really well.
^ thats useful advice
EQ pedals will help you achieve to different tones with similar gain settings
also this is what i've learnt from studio work
turn the bass from the bass guitar down and keep it highish onthe guitar
when you listen to the whole mix it works better but on its own sounds odd

the louder your play the less gain you need(especially with tube amps) so turn that down
also with reference to eq pedals if you have the boost for your lead riffs then they should cut through me and not be swallowed up by the rhythm
hope this is helpful

( if you do get EQ pedals try and get a mxr 108 if you can but if your on a budget
the danelectro fish and chips is a good alternative)
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There are potentially a load of problems that lead to this effect and it takes time to gain the expertise to run live sound systems well. The more you read the better you will get. I've started to write a guide to PA in the columns but it is still on the basics. Have a read anyway and pm me or post here with any questions.

Separating instruments in the mix can be done in a number of ways. Using different sound spectrums is one. This can be done by using different guitars to start with as a tele has a very different sound to a Les Paul. Obviously that is expensive but using different pickups or tweaking tone controls/EQ will also help to separate instruments. The second thing is to use the pan pots so the guitars are separated in space, one stage left one stage right.

Having said all this my guess is that most of your problems stem from sound spillage on stage. Most bands play too loud and you mention ear protection. When you play loud your guitars are picked up by any mics on stage and put into the mix. When you are setting up get the other guitarist to play with his channel turned down on the mixer if you mic or DI him but with everything else at the levels you would normally use. If any guitar at all is coming through the PA or monitors you have found part of your problem and this will be doubled when you are playing. The trouble with multiple pathways for sound is that they arrive at different times and really muddy the sound you hear. The solution to this is to turn down but you can help by moving mics and your backline amps so they don't point at each other.

Once you've done this you can look at your monitoring. It may be that the audience hears a better sound balance than you do. This is really quite common.

Quote by Phil Starr
Once you've done this you can look at your monitoring. It may be that the audience hears a better sound balance than you do. This is really quite common.

On this - it's worth having a look at where you're playing; you mentioned messing around during practices, trying to get seperate tones - what sort of room are you practicing in and how are you set up in it? And where are you standing in the practice room? What about on stage? What about everyone else in the band - how are they percieving the sound?

The sound'll change fairly significantly depending on where the sound is coming from (where the amps are) and where the listener is standing in relation to the sources - there's too many variables for me to know about or explain in a post, if you described your practice/live set-up I/someone else might be able to help a bit more.
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