From what I understand, rhythm guitar "holds everything together" in a sense, generally speaking. Lead guitar does the "cosmetic work" so to speak.

My question is, with a bass, drums, keyboard, and two separate guitarists (rhythm and lead) what sort of tonal structure is best for a rhythm guitar? I'm not expecting any exact settings, just a general idea ie: scooped mids, boosted mids, etc.

Thanks in advance.
טארה ניקול
נח ליאם

Shall I boost them, then? Or compensate by leaving the mids at an "average" level, and boosting the other frequencies above that?

By the way, I'm using an EQ pedal. I have the amp knobs all set to 12 O'clock.
טארה ניקול
נח ליאם

Here is what I do:

Rhythm -
Bass: 6
Mids: 6
Treble: 10

Lead -
Bass: 8
Mids: 7-8
Treble: 8

Mids will basically add more presence to your tone, and IMO having more bass helps note differenciation when you are shredding.
General rule of thumb would be to bump the mids up a little, because those are what will help you cut through the mix better.
Quote by Kensai
Racism... against the human race? Sure, go ahead
Quote by B.Renegades

Mids will basically add more presence to your tone

this, kinda.

guitar is a mid-ranged instrument.

if you just have bass and treble the guitars will be lost in the bass(and bass drum/lower toms etc) and the cymbals

mids will help fill up the space in between the drums and bass, making the guitar cut through more

also dimebag-esque tones(scooped mids) sound like complete and utter shit.

too harsh sounding

Quote by B.Renegades

Lead: Neck pickup

not necessarily...
Last edited by rickyj at Apr 7, 2011,
I'm not sure I buy that about the pickups anyway, and this is going to sound ignorant (really.) but which is which? It's reverse of what you'd think, correct? Like this:

Up position: Neck

Down position: Bridge

Middle: Mixed

I'll give it a try though.

EDIT: Les Paul 3 way, by the way.
טארה ניקול
נח ליאם

Here's what I use for leads: Bass: 8, Mid: 5 with boost, Treble: 6-7, Contour: 8.
For rhythm tone you don't need quite so much mid so: Bass: 7, Mid: 4-5 no boost, Treble: 8, Contour: 6

Guitar(s): .Shecter Tempest EXTREMEEEEEE
--------------Maton CW-80

Amplification: Randall RG75 G3
For a les paul, "rhythm" is the neck and "treble" is the bridge.

Also: The only time I use the bridge pickup for leads is if the leads involve pinch harmonics (eg - Kirks solo in Master of Puppets) because in my experience neck pickups tend not to pick up pinch harmonics as well.
Last edited by B.Renegades at Apr 7, 2011,
Mids are how you get definition and stand out in a mix. You shouldn't roll your mids back past halfway because then your tone just turns to mud. But a rhythm guitarist with full mids would come through too clear for most bands.

I play rhythm almost exclusively and I always ask that the lead guitarist plays with full or near-full mids, so let's say 100% to 85%, and I play with mids between 50% and 66%. I never drop my mids below half and if the lead guitarist wants to well then he's going to learn pretty quickly that his amp doesn't respond properly and he can't be heard.
Quote by B.Renegades

Rhythm: Bridge pickup

Lead: Neck pickup

Not really. At least, not always. You can play however you want. Plenty of leads are played on the bridge pickup.

As far as differences between the guitarists, you want them to sound different enough that they stand apart in the mix. If you both use the same amp with the same settings, then it'll just turn into a muddy mess. Rhythm doesn't need to cut through as much as leads, so less mid for them.
Quote by tubetime86
He's obviously pretty young, and I'd guess he's being raised by wolves, or at least humans with the intellectual capacity and compassion of wolves.

You finally made it home, draped in the flag that you fell for.
And so it goes
One thing I forgot was speaker cabinets. I'm a firm believer that open-back cabs are better for rhythm and closed-backs are better for lead. With closed-back cabs you get a more focused tone that goes pretty much just in one direction. With open-backs the sound is slightly diffused and fills the room more. so open-backs are better for really filling out the sound of the band while closed backs are, I think, better for any playing that has to stand out above the rest of the band.