Mixing the Guitar and Bass in Your Home Recordings - dummies

Mixing the Guitar and Bass in Your Home Recordings

By Jeff Strong

How you mix your song has as much impact on the way it sounds as each of the individual parts, like the guitar and bass instruments, that you’ve recorded. Even minor adjustments in the relationship among the various instruments in your song can have dramatic impact on how the song affects your listeners.

Mixing guitar

For the most part, you want to avoid a muddy guitar sound and to make sure that the attack comes through in the mix.

Electric

Electric guitars can often use a little cutting below 100 Hz to eliminate muddiness. A boost between 120 and 250 Hz adds warmth. A boost in the 2.5- to 4-kHz range brings out the attack of the guitar, and a boost at 5 kHz can add some bite to the guitar.

Acoustic

Acoustic guitars often do well with a little cut below 80 Hz and again around 800 Hz to 1 kHz. If you want a warmer tone and more body, you can try boosting a little at 150 to 250 Hz. Also try adding a few dB around 3 to 5 kHz if you want more attack or punch. A few dB added at 7 kHz can add a little more brightness to the instrument.

Mixing bass

This instrument can get muddy pretty fast. The mud generally happens in the 200 to 300 Hz range, so either leave that alone or cut just a little if the bass lacks definition. Rarely you should add frequencies below 100 Hz but boost some between 100 and 200 Hz if the instrument sounds flat or thin.

Adding a little between 500 Hz and 1 kHz can increase the punch, and a boost between 2.5 and 5 kHz accentuates the attack, adding a little brightness to the bass.

With the bass guitar, one of the most important things is to make sure that it and the kick drum can both be heard. You need to adjust the frequencies of these two instruments to make room for both. For the most part, try cutting frequencies from the bass that you may add to the kick.