Tutorial: Double-Tracking Rhythm Guitars



Have you ever wondered how the professionals manage to produce such impressive rhythm guitar recordings? In this tutorial I will teach you how to record these rich, full, and professional-sounding rhythm guitars by "Double-Tracking" and creating an auditory illusion ("Haas Effect") that we, as sound engineers, can use to trick the human brain into experiencing that sought-after width and thickness.


STEP 1:


Record your riff into an audio track.
As you can see, I record in Ableton, but this can be done in any recording program.


STEP 2:


Duplicate this track. Doing so allows you to copy over any EQ or other settings you may have already applied to your rhythm guitar.

STEP 3:
 
Delete the audio on the duplicated track. Why?
Because you should never double-track and/or apply the Haas Effect with an exact copy & pasted clone of your audio.
It will sound very strange, robotic, and metallic.

STEP 4: 


Record the riff again, this time on the duplicated track.
Get it as close to the original as you possibly can.

STEP 5:


Using the pan controls, pan one track all the way to the left and the other all the way to the right, like so:



As you can now see, track 1 is panned 50L and track 2 is panned 50R (making up the whole stereo spectrum of 100):




STEP 6:
 

Apply a track delay to one of the tracks. I chose the second track, although it doesn't matter which one you choose.
I typically set a track delay of -7.00ms.
I have found that this is the sweet spot for me.
If you set it much closer to zero there will be too little delay. Conversely, set it too high and the tracks will be too much out of sync.

STEP 7:

Listen to that sound! So thick and full; so much presence.
Well done, you have successfully double-tracked and applied the Haas Effect to your rhythm guitar recording.

The effect explained:

So, how does this all work?

We have two (near) identical riff takes.
One is playing through the left ear/channel.
The other through the right ear/channel.

But... one of the tracks is delayed by a miniscule -7.00ms.

This is where the auditory illusion and brain manipulation takes place!
Because one ear hears the riff a fraction of a second after the other ear, the brain interprets it as echoing off a distant surface,
meaning that the sound must be very wide and vast. Our brain has evolved to make assumptions like this, and so this is how we hack it.
It's through this auditory illusion that we create full, professional rhythm guitars. 

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Shoulder and Elbow Study Animations



The shoulder and elbow are responsible for a lot more than you may think when it comes to guitar technique. In lead guitar, it is essential that we learn and master control over these joints to put them to work immediately. If you aren't using shoulder and elbow mechanics yet - this may be the eye-opener you've been needing! Let's now explore, with animations (see bottom of page), precisely how these joints perform a variety of motions.

Arm String Tracking (animation #1)
 

"String Tracking" is the term used to describe how the picking hand moves from string to string. Both my sweep picking technique and scalar picking technique rely on the arm to achieve this. By pivoting at the shoulder and flexing/extending the elbow, observe how a slightly positive, piston-like, diagonal, push/pull path is sliced out across the strings, moving gradually up towards the neck pickup and back again. 

Wrist Yaw Picking (animation #2)
 

If you are familiar with my works, you'll already be aware that my pickstrokes are generated by the side-to-side yawing of the wrist, otherwise known anatomically as "wrist deviation". Observe the animation and notice how the motion comes entirely from the wrist.

Elbow Picking (BAD) (animation #3)
 

Sometimes it's worth including an example of how NOT to do something. Avoid locking the wrist joint and spasming at the elbow. Sure, the strength of the elbow is mighty, and at first it may seem like it's a great way to pick (because of the undeniable and instant speed one can achieve), but there are many reasons why this is a bad idea:

- Spasming at the elbow will eventually lead to injury.
- Moving the mass of the entire forearm + hand assembly about the elbow fulcrum takes a lot of energy.
- It only seems to work cleanly for neutral pickslanting and upward pickslanting.

Elbow Accents (animation #4) 


You don't have to rule elbow picking completely out of your picking technique, however. I, and many wrist pickers like me, use the elbow to assist with accenting. See the animation below where a loop of four pickstrokes is being played. The wrist is loose and yaws the whole time, but observe how the elbow lifts the forearm up on every other upstroke and then smacks down hard on that first note (ONE...two...three...four...):

- With a loose and yawing wrist, slam the forearm down using the elbow to accent the first pickstroke (ONE...).
- Wrist yaw pick the next two pickstokes. (two...three...)
- With a loose and yawing wrist, raise the forearm up using the elbow to perform the final stoke of four, in preparation for the hard downward forearm accent again (four...).

Repeat.

The sheer speed and tightness you can get with elbow accenting is phenomenal.

Wrist Yaw Picking 6S (animation #5)
 

This animation demonstrates how to combine wrist yaw picking and string tracking to traverse 6 strings. If done correctly, the hand will feel like it's picking just one string the whole time. In reality, the string is simply changing underneath the picking hand. In a downward pickslant:

- Wrist yaw pick the first 4 strokes (one...two...three...four)
- String track the distance of one string by pivoting at the shoulder and flexing/extending the elbow.
- Wrist yaw pick another 4 strokes (one...two...three...four)
- String track the distance of one string by pivoting at the shoulder and flexing/extending the elbow again.

and so on across the remaining strings.

Elbow Accents 6S (animation #6)
 

Finally, try combining the elbow accenting mechanic with string tracking across 6 strings. In a downward pickslant again:

- With a loose and yawing wrist, slam the forearm down using the elbow to accent the first pickstroke (ONE...).
- Wrist yaw pick the next two pickstrokes (two...three...)
- With a loose and yawing wrist, raise the forearm up using the elbow to perform the final stoke of four, in preparation for the hard downward forearm accent again (four...).
- String track the distance of one string.

Repeat across the strings.


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20 Sweep Picking Licks

20 Sweep Picking Licks


Need sweep picking licks?
Have you recently gotten into sweep picking and are already growing tired of the same "up 'n' down" repetitive patterns? If so, it's time to get creative with "20 Sweep Picking Licks"! This video download contains 20 creative sweep picking licks, fast and slowed down, with TABs on-screen. No chit-chat. ALL LICKS! Get it now.

 

DOWNLOAD .MP4 NOW

  


 

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