automating quad tracked guitars....


Nov 22, 2007
Poconos, PA
I don't quad track very often, but every time I do, I run into the same problem.

Not so much when all tracks are playing the same riff, but moreso when there is layering. Example: 2 guitars playing a "chorus riff", then 4 measures in to the chorus, 2 more guitars come in, but playing power chord roots of the "chorus riff".

I can't seem to balance everything out to where it sounds full enough with just 2 guitars playing, and not muddy/drowning the drums when all 4 tracks play. Would this be a case where I'd have to surgically EQ the different layered tracks? Or do you normally just automate them a few dB? Can never seem to get it sounding "right" with automation.

Here's a clip of what I'm talking about. No automation on this, just 100% L/R and 80% L/R.....seems close, but when the lead(s) come in, everything seems to get even worse. :erk: Requiem End Mix 2.mp3
^What the guy said. When you add more guitars their volume eventually adds up to the point it drowns the drums. I usually send all rhythm guitars to one channel and all leads to another and automate volumes as needed. I also usually start by mixing the busiest part of the song usually a chorus or something. The others are easier when you're done with that. Also be careful with stuff like reverb on guitars and use them carefully. The more you use them the less "in your face" your sound will be. Plus a common tactic I use is that when the solo guitar kicks in I cut 1-2 dbs from the rhythm so that it shines a bit more.
Try playing around with side-chaining. That way, when a new part comes in, whatever you side-chain it to will be cut a bit, keeping some of the clarity. I've only tried this a couple times, with mixed results. Something to try out, anyways.
Automate volume, use completely different guitar tones, reverb and delay are also good friends of the lead tracks.

I actually find myself doing the opposite - I try to keep my additional tracks the same tone. When the additional guitars come in it has more of a thickening effect, rather than sounding like additional detached guitars... If that makes sense.
volume and eq automation should do that.
if you dont feel like automating eq then you can split that guitar unto different tracks per part. also gets easier to tweak that way

you have to see it as enitire different won't really easily get it to sound "right" without any kind of automation imo
Thanks guys. I guess I just need more practice. Do you just automate like 2-3 dB right on the bar/grid, so it's basically instantaneous? Or a slower "fade" type?