Live playing with a 2 guitar band: proper balance between rythm & lead guitar

scaron

New member
Hi,

Whether during rehearsal or in live situation, with a 2 guitar band, how would you set up both guitars/amp/Fx for sonic balance ?

First thing first, when both guitars are playing the rythm parts what are your views on their respective EQ-ing, Fx, etc.

Then...

What is your take on the lead guitar, for it to be heard, cutting through the rythm mayhem all around (rythm guit, bass & drum).

Thanks a whole lot in advance, we, as a band have quite difficulties properly adjusting our sound balance. Your help and advices are more than welcome !

Stef
 

Zaphod B

Raccoons-Be-Gone, Inc.
There are lots of ways to approach it depending on the roles of the two guitarists.

If it's an AC/DC kind of thing where the two guitars are essentially doubling except for when the lead steps out, I'd attempt for them both to sound pretty much the same. The lead guitarist just needs to boost it when it's time to play solos.

Another way to do it is to have the two guitarists playing different but complementary rhythm parts, and in this situation I think the guitars should be individually discernable tone-wise. Like one on a LP, the other on a Strat, for example, or at least with unique tone settings if the guitars are similar.

As far as FX go, you really don't want two guitarists with choruses going at the same time, or delays, unless they are controlled by the board.... otherwise the different tempos on the effects are going to cause some wierd time-based interaction between the two. But experimentation is the key; anything is possible.

Regarding getting the lead out front: I've found that in some cases the best way to get above the mayhem is to have a tone that's skewed towards the midrange so that you're not competing with the other instruments. You may have a tone that sounds a bit hollow or thin on its own, but can find its spot in the mix.

Good luck!
 

TeyshaBlue

It's the smell..
Regarding getting the lead out front: I've found that in some cases the best way to get above the mayhem is to have a tone that's skewed towards the midrange so that you're not competing with the other instruments. You may have a tone that sounds a bit hollow or thin on its own, but can find its spot in the mix.

Good luck!

1.8khz is your friend.
 

miroslav

Cosmic Cowboy
Most times when I played with a 2-guitar band the other player and I rarely played a similar type of guitar, so our tones were automatically different, plus, each person brings his/her own touch to the instrument, and that goes a long way to giving each guitar its own sonic signature.
We mainly kept the guitar on either side of the stage/setup...that's it. There was no real focus or discussions about how to each set up our guitar relative to the other's guitar.

AFA getting a lead to cut through...well, I think there's more to it than that. Sure, you can punch up the volume and go for a tone that "slices" through everything else going on, but I would just listen the whole of the band and not really try to force the lead out in front of everything.
I use to take a really long guitar cable during sound check and walk out as far as I could into the room so I could hear the whole band, not just my guitar.
I mean, you COULD just crank it and push it out easy enough to make it heard above everything else...but you want to also consider if that's the best balance and not just that one instrument is way out in front.
You can piss off your band mates AND the audience if you push it out too far. :D
 

Zaphod B

Raccoons-Be-Gone, Inc.
Getting a lead to stand out can also require some discipline from the guitarists. If you both keep your levels reasonable during the non-solo parts of the song, then the soloist doesn't need to punch up the volume that much. The goal would be to replace the level of the vocalist with the level of the solo - the vocalist leaves a void so you shouldn't need that much to fill it unless you're already maxing things out.

If you're running a full mix and have a sound guy out front, you can rely on the sound guy to help keep the levels right - again, assuming that your stage volume isn't so hot that he's cutting you out of the mix.

There are lots of different ways to approach it.
 

miroslav

Cosmic Cowboy
Getting a lead to stand out can also require some discipline from the guitarists.

:D

Yeah...nothing worse than 2 guitar players with equally inflated egos, fighting each other for the loudest, most cutting tone!
Meanwhile...the rest of the band is in tears with ears bleeding. ;)

I like to put the lead out in front a bit when playing my part as much as the next guy...but even as a guitar player, I can't stand it when I hear a band, and the guitar player is consistently the LOUDEST instrument in the band...especially when he does the leads.
 

Milnoque

Resident Curmudgeon
Either locate the amps or dial the mix so that each of the players can hear himself a little bit louder than he is in the FOH mix. Just doing that often solves the competition for enough volume. Everything else is just a matter of taste.
 

Bubba po

Tiny Stonehenge Moment
One of the main things to get right is to rehearse a lot and play sympathetically with the rest of the members of the band. When it's the other guy's solo, leave him some space. Listen to what's going on! There's a reason why good bands sound great, and trust me, it's not the guitars, amps and drums they're using.
 

Armistice

Son of Yoda
Either locate the amps or dial the mix so that each of the players can hear himself a little bit louder than he is in the FOH mix. Just doing that often solves the competition for enough volume. Everything else is just a matter of taste.

This ^^^^^^

Miro's point about a long guitar lead in soundcheck is good too... get out front and listen to the whole thing... after all, as the guitarist, you certainly can't take anyone else's word about what it sounds like, can you? :D

Now are you double posting or am I going mad? I swear I've answered this question from you somewhere else recently.....
 
Y

YeshuasFan

Guest
As a rhythm player for over 40 years, I've always taken the approach that rhythm guitar is a supporting instrument to the lead guitar, so the lead guitarist always got pushed forward in the mix. It also helps if the players are not playing the same make/model of instrument (although the Beatles got away with it on their 1966 tour when John and George were both playing Epiphone Casinos). When I was in college, I played rhythm parts on an acoustic 12-string [with a barcus-berry pickup] while the lead player played a Telecaster.
Now I play a Breedlove Atlas Series dread while my lead player plays a Taylors. My Breedlove has a Fishman Infinity pre-amp/pickup as an after-market add-on and his Taylors have the factory installed Expression systems.
 
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