Guitar solos are one of those things that you can never have enough of. Over the top shredding finds its way front and center in tons of rock & metal songs, as well as nearly every other genre that supports a bit of face-melting.
It’s for good reason too – a great guitar solo can bring the same level of emotion to a song as a seasoned vocalist. The emotive power of the bends and technical prowess found in a guitar solo can in essence “sing” to the listener.We’ve gone into ways to how delays can give you that rockstar vibe, but what do you do when that’s not enough?
Identifying the Problem
Sometimes your mix doesn’t allow much space for a guitar solo. By the time most songs reach that “climax” moment, they’re already creeping toward the red meter of death. So when your guitar solo comes up and the volumes not quite there, what do you doListen for what’s missing. Is it a matter of adding a bit more depth to your solo? Turn up the delay or reverb. Is your solo getting drowned out by the kick and snare? Shift the guitar’s pan just a bit off-center to give it it’s own space in the mix.
When these tricks don’t work and your guitar is already as loud as it’s going to get without clipping, it’s time to get creative.
When you can’t go up, go out. Your solo might not have any room to get louder, but using a spatial widener on it can still do the trick.It’s important that you maintain your center image when using a widener on a single guitar, so a mono-compatible like SideWidener can be invaluable in these situations.
By using a widener on a guitar solo, you can create a pseudo double-tracked guitar, which can go a long way, especially if your solo is particularly melodic. Best of all, a widened guitar can still be used in conjunction with your delay with minimal adjustments required if you’ve already found your dream tone in the mix.
Using the Widener
Using a widener on a solo is relatively straightforward, but you do have some options available still. In Fluff’s example below, you can see how different widening modes can affect the sound of your solo and where it sits in the mix:
Additionally, using the Tone knob in SideWidener can act as either a mid-bump or treat the full frequency range depending on preference. While Ryan decided to treat the whole thing, there are plenty of circumstances where a mid-boost might be just what you need.
Don’t Limit Yourself To Solos
This trick doesn’t have to be limited to solos – it can be just as effective at spreading your vocals and widening the impact of your snare. Engineers are using spatial wideners in new and creative ways all the time.
If you’ve got a widening technique to share, join us over on the Joey Sturgis Tones Forum where thousands of like-minded engineers are sharing their tips and looking for new ideas to try out.