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Marcello

Electric Guitar EQ Tips

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Hi there one question,

I'm using TH-U amps for my electric guitars sound, I'm using the Plexi Marshall and it's perfect but it's missing some bass/boost, so I added an EQ and set it up as you can see in the photo below, increasing the low frequencies, now I like the sound it's perfect by itself.

Then when playing the song all together with drums and bass, everyone recommends to cut the low frequencies of the guitars to leave those lows for the Bass and take out that "mud", so then  I cut the lows on the guitar bus EQ at around frequency 90 (photo below)

Does this make any sense to you? I mean, I'm using a Plexi Marshall TH-U cause I love the timbre, but I like it to be boosted a bit like the JCM800, so I increase the lows to make it sound like I want, but then I cut those lows after in the bus EQ to make space for the Bass???

I'm not a big fan of this cutting guitar lows to be honest even if everyone says it must be done, I mean I want my guitars to be fat!

Any suggestion? what should I do? should I remove the EQ in TH-U at this point?

 

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There's a difference between playing solo and playing in a band. Playing in a band not only changes your sound, it can change how you play. If you know the bass is playing the low note in a chord you may leave it out of the guitar chord. I think a good musician considers their role in a band. Do you think of how you sound or how the band sounds? I think in a band first you consider how the band sounds and then how you sound in the band. My 2 cents.

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I take a two step approach to EQ'ing guitars, quite often using two EQ's (e.g. one in the FX bin, and one in the ProChannel).

1. The "sound design" part - this involves EQ'ing the guitar to how I want it to sound on its own, but I'll also do a high pass as you've done in your example. The trick here is to bring the cut-off frequency up until you can just hear it taking effect, then back it off so you can't hear a difference. 

2. In the mix - anything goes here, and 50% of the time if I solo the guitar it usually sounds pretty thin and nasty. This does not matter. The only thing that matters is how it sounds in the mix.  The reason it sounds ok in the mix and awful in solo, is that the frequencies I've removed to get it to sound good in the mix are being provided by other instruments... but if I left them all in,  it would sound muddy.   It depends though... if the guitar is more musically dominant than say the keyboards, it'll be the keyboards that get their frequencies cut instead.
 

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Back in the Green Day era the bands all wanted that big fat sound. Back then I was lucky to have 1 eq and 1 compressor. My method was we would double track the same big fat Marshall amp guitar and pan it hard left and right. The bass player used a pick and the eq was more low mids than sub bass.  And I would put a eq boost at about 500hz on the kick. The guitars  had a lot of low end and in those days you didn’t have fancy graphics to show them you used your ears 👂 

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You are definitely right, but then the same concept should be valid also when you play live, I honestly never heard someone saying you should put the guitar bass on the amp at minimum when playing in a band. Also there might be some parts when there’s only electric guitar playing in the song, and in that moment it will sound quite thin I guess

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Anyway thanks for the tips. I will keep the EQ high pass cut at around 90, I guess should be fine

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21 minutes ago, Marcello said:

Anyway thanks for the tips. I will keep the EQ high pass cut at around 90, I guess should be fine

You have to consider that every song is different. Different for kind of music, different fot tempo, different for mood. Joking with eq in your guitar sound you have to do in final  mixing, not  in the first phase of the song..

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Posted (edited)

Frequency masking is what you are dealing with (when sounds compete in the same frequency, just a couple dB advantage in one will make the other(s) lose focus). You do not need to be overzealous with this, so in a live situation a few dB might do the trick. You also might not need to HPF, when a -6 dB shelf may suffice (depending on lower end mud from the guitar), or you can use a combination. Dynamic EQs (where you can lower guitar frequencies based on what the bass is dishing out) is another option, but this is not a must.

As far as the "90Hz"... if you jack up the Q on a parametric EQ, this will give you an "audio microscope" that lets you find where the meat of an instrument begins (by adjusting frequency of the "microscope"). Depending on how you are set up, this can vary, but is where you want your shelf/HPF to cut into the signal.

As far as the mixing part, if you have 10 minutes this video from 2010 runs through a lot of mixing information in nice detail. It is Dan Worrall doing a promotion for FabFilter Pro-Q, but what he discusses can be done with any plugins. He actually discusses both of the above in the first minute of the video.

 

Edited by mettelus

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 I can't emphasize enough that EQ is automatable. If the guitar is pulled back and playing a chunky rhythm part, you can get away with a lot more bass. But then when the volume kicks up for a solo, you can attenuate the low end to give space to the kick and bass so they can really "speak" in the mix. 

The main thing you want to avoid is a massive buildup from multiple instruments in the 250-500 Hz range, because if you don't keep that range under control while mastering, the music will likely sound muddy and lack clarity.

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50 minutes ago, Craig Anderton said:

 I can't emphasize enough that EQ is automatable. If the guitar is pulled back and playing a chunky rhythm part, you can get away with a lot more bass. But then when the volume kicks up for a solo, you can attenuate the low end to give space to the kick and bass so they can really "speak" in the mix. 

 

As an alternative to automation, I often use separate tracks for the same instrument.   Even for something as simple as slight volume changes.  

If everything is on one track, a change upstream means it will sound different downstream and you'll end up making more work for yourself.

 

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On 1/1/2021 at 9:10 AM, Marcello said:

You are definitely right, but then the same concept should be valid also when you play live, I honestly never heard someone saying you should put the guitar bass on the amp at minimum when playing in a band. Also there might be some parts when there’s only electric guitar playing in the song, and in that moment it will sound quite thin I guess

Hence the creation of the EQ pedal.

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