Im a noob at recording, why do bands record multiple layers of guitars within their songs?

Obviously if the guitars are doing different things i understand.

But from what i have read it seems people record the same guitar part for left and right? and maybe also clean and dirty sounds?

is this true?

does it make that much of a difference to the sound?

cause it sounds cool. if you record two guitars in the left and right then it sounds like theres 2 ppl playing the same thing on either side of you, instead of 1 person in front of you. if you record one clean and one dirty, then the two signals combine to make a unique sound. if you record many that are exactly the same then it can just make it sound more beastly and full.
So would you just duplicate the track, and makeone left and one right?

or actually play and record the track twice?
***Record the same guitar part, twice...do not copy and paste, this will do nothing at all***

It just sounds better in most cases.

I record with 4 different guitar tracks. The main rythmes i pan all to theleft and all to the right...this gives a HUGE and BEEFY tone that is like a wall of sound...it also surrounds the listener and sounds great when played tight and together...not the best technique if you are sloppy and can't play the same riff in time twice.

Mess around and see what you like.

The general rule is, to achieve a wall of sound, or to beef up or give your guitars balls, use this technique...usually called "double tracking".
The fact that doubling parts leaves you with two parts that are *slightly* (if you have a good player) out of time really thickens up the tone. If the two parts are two far out of time it sounds awful, but if they are relatively close it can work wonders. Sometimes I will track guitar up to 8 times and then pan them appropriately.

Also - the reason they are typically panned is so that they sonically don't step all over the vocals and other instruments that would be panned dead center.
PM Me for any help you need with recording systems/tips
Quote by BrianApocalypse
Good call

Man, you should be a mod, you know everything.

One trick is to record 3 guitar parts with varying gain, and you can then automate these throughout the song, for example bringing the distortedest sound higher in the chorus, then dropping it back down for the verses.

It's a cool trick.
ok thanks,

so i want guitar left and guitar right.
plus whatever different levels of distortion i want.

What about bass left and right?
or just middle?

drums middle?
For bass I do it once and center

On drums I'll either set it all center and pan the toms so they move from L to R (when playing high tom - low tom)
or you could set the drums up so that if you closed your eyes in a solo it would sound like the hat was at the left, crashes where they normally are on the kit and floor tom at the far right.

I'll set my drums up so it will pan according to where each trigger is (I'm using e-drums)
I record bass in stereo and pan it 10/10. Thickens it out slightly, and reduces hiss - tis easier to compress!

I never thought about panning the toms that way... genius!

In terms of guitar panning, I tend to pan both sides between 50 and 70%

Tip: if you use busses, make sure that the send and the aux channel's panning are set the same as the track. Works better
So how do you guys usually pan the guitars? For example lets say you record 4 tracks, 2 clean and 2 distorted. Do you pan 1 clean to the left and 1 to the right and the same for the distorted guitars? I tend to pan both clean to the left and both dirty to the right, not all the way though of course.
For my home grown stuff (I do all acoustic guitar), I go direct on one channel and mic'd at the sound hole on the other. I found that it gave it a fuller almost 12 string like sound.

I've been re-recording my songs at a small local studio and the guy there, runs me direct on one line, has mics a little below the sound hole, one up at the neck and a room mic as well. I like what I am hearing so far off the sessions (other than the usual fits of finger fumbles, and tuning abnormalities..)

for drums pan your overheads out all the way and toms to taste. for distorted guitars i track four, 2 100% left, 2 100% right. i have experiemented with different amounts of panning, but to get a heavy, very stereo image you have to pan all your guitars hard, period. the trick is they have to be really really tight or else you will hear every mistake being panned so hard.
Quote by ILuvPillows?
Masturbate it off.
This is how I record my guitar tracks...

3 distortions for rythm...panned hard left, center, hard right...I usually only kick in the center guitar on the chorus, or really ballsy parts of the song, to give it that much more oomph.

Then I have 2 more guitar tracks panned 50% left and 50% right...these tracks usually have higher, slightly melodic guitar parts, that add a nice flair on to the rythm parts.

I then have a ballsy bass centered.

This way I usually have guitars surrounding the centered bass, and everything comes together very nicely, and with tones of balls and it's just a complete wall of sound!

Here's an example of the sound I get panning this way...


Check out the first two clips (demo idea and demo idea 2)...these songs were recorded panned in the way i described above.
Rule of thumb for panning drums - pan how you see them from behind the kit! Is the ride in the middle or off to the right? Are the toms all in one place? Is the hi hat exactly in the middle? Basically, panning is used in this case to create a stereo representation of what you see visually, which is called a stereo image.

Bass I do once and put dead center.

Guitars I typically multitrack and pan hard left and right. In the scenario you described above, I would mix a clean and distorted guitar on each side - it would sound weird if you had one side clean and the other distorted. But who knows? Maybe that is the effect you are going for. Always mix with your ears!!! There are almost no "right" and "wrongs" with audio - just things that are appropriate in different situations.
PM Me for any help you need with recording systems/tips
Quote by BrianApocalypse
Good call

Man, you should be a mod, you know everything.

Quote by ch715dallat
can no one on this site spell rhythm?

rythm.....rhythum......errr.....rythum....rhythmsaurus...... I just can't do it man..
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Last edited by HellBent1337 at Sep 21, 2007,
Little hint: If you want to get that massive atmosphere of spiraling guitars, try slightly ringing the tremolo bar so that the sound has that dynamic element to it. My Bloody Valentine did that on their Loveless album. People thought the guitarist multi-tracked dozens and dozens of guitars, but really he only recorded 3 or 4 and instead obtained the big sound via that method.
Another reason I don't think anyone gave for multiple tracking the guitars like how you mentioned is it gives the vocal track some space. Instead of all the sounds mashed into the center and drowning out the small details of the vocals, you can use the sides for guitars. That's why when you listen to a song on stereo for the first time (when you're used to the mono version for some reason) you realize a lot more small details of the song that you probably never realized before. Separating the bass from the guitar makes the bass stand out more.
more layers = bigger/massive sound....

sorta... in a way...

It needs to be done right though. If overdone, its gonna sound just like a big noise or will end up masking out all the other instruments in the track.