Sometimes more is actually more
You’ll often hear us say that less is more – that if you’ve got a ton of plugins on every channel or super complex signal chains that it’s probably compensating for a mistake you made somewhere else. And while that is generally true (#tbt when I first started out and had like 4 or 5 EQs on my guitar tracks), there are exceptions. Sometimes more is actually more, with each new element adding something new and vital.
Such is the case with the guitars in this clip from Tue Madsen’s NTM session where he mixes “MonstroCity” by Meshuggah. This session is nuts, with over a dozen layers of guitars that blend 4 or 5 different tones (several amps, mics, etc).
And for 99% of bands, we’d probably say this is overkill. But as you’ll see and hear in the video, every one of these tones fills in a little gap in the other tones – it’s subtle, but they all layer on top of each other and combine into a guitar tone that’s fucking gigantic and absolutely crushing! Pay special attention to when he turns on the 4 “C-WATT” tracks and check out how it adds that extra bit of saturation that really takes them over the top.
A word of caution before you try this at home, remember that these guys are some of the very best players in metal and Tue is a ridiculous mixer. Go ahead and give it a shot if you want, but don’t let yourself get distracted by fancy stuff like this if you haven’t yet nailed the basics.
If you’re not super happy with your guitars, the answer is VERY rarely “add more tones.” 99% of the time that’s only going to make things worse– you’re almost always going to be better off focusing on the performances, cab/mic selection/placement, and other basics.
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