Interesting stuff here...
Let's start with generalities. As far as basic recording styles go, I'm very much a "live" guy. I realize that it's not always practical, or even wise, to track a band live in the studio (on my gear, a 5-year old laptop, $30 radio shack dynamic mic, and Sonic Foundry ACID 2.0, it's not even possible
), but the sound I'm going for is that "in the room with the band" vibe. Of course, I'm also into hugely layered sounds, which seems to be in opposition with that (which isn't actually the case- sometime, check out the live version of Floater's "Persecutor"- three guys, no overdubs, tracked live to stereo mix, yet is sounds like a small army), but my basic thoughts when approaching a mix/track are that everything should sound "real." So, while I usually do slight EQ tweaks on the guitars (i.e- rolling off below 80-120hz or so), i like to try to have them sound as realistic as possible on tape. Which is sorta a battle, with my gear- my ****ty sound card has a way of eating low end, lol.
Anyway... That brings me to the seven string... I do mostly instrumental rock (i.e- i'm still learning how to sing.
), so I'm dealing with a situation where I'm mixing guitar riffs and lead lines. There's a couple different schools of thought as to how to get guitar tracks to "sit" against each other, and while I still experiment a ton and will probably continue to do so until the day I die, I generally gravitate towards the "smooth, middy leads, with crunchy rhythm tracks" school, where you focus the rhythm guitars towards the high end, leave the bass for the lows, and try to save yourself as much space as possible for the lead.
This actually works pretty well for a seven-string, in my experience. wordwolf and I have debated this one around here for eons
but I'm a proponant of a clear rhythm tone with plenty of attack. I think this gives you maximum low end clarity on a seven-string. For me, the settings that seem to work the best on my TSL are the highs 7-ish, mids maybe 4, bass about 5, maybe 4, and gain about 5 on the "lead mode". The TSL's got a "deep" mode which sounds absolutely sick when playing alone,, but when you're generating that much bass, you run into problems with the bass guitar, and I try to view bass and rhythm guitar, both compositionally and from a mixing perspective, as two sides of the same instrument. That doesn't mean i just have them double each other all the time- it's more of a counterpoint relationship. Some of the heaviest tones I've ever heard are from fairly whimpy guitar sounds, it's just a question of getting them to work well together. So, the guitar's all about impact, really. With this in mind, i generally don't compress my rhythm tracks too much- a light compression on the transients, but not much more. The bass, on the other hand, i chop up quite a bit; usually record directly, and roll off everything below 40-80hz, and everything above 1-2k. It's a crappy Squier 5-string P-Bass that i haven't gotten a great tone out of yet, anyway.
So, I've got a bass guitar in the center in a comparatively narrow frewquency range, and two tracks of rhythm guitar on either side, EQ'd on the amp for an agressive "cut." This leaves me a lot of space in the center to mix a full-frequency guitar. I tend to emphasise the midrange frequencies- my current settings are presence off, treble 4, mids 8, bass 4. I generally roll off below 120 or so once it's on disc, much like my rhythm tracks, but that and some delay and verb is about it. Like i said, I'm looking for as "true" a sound as possible here.
I'm still not 100% happy with the lead sound I'm getting- part of it is the amp, I think. Marshall's are awfully bright, and I'm trying to dial it for something more akin to a Mark-IV like rhythm tone. You'd think that with all that midrange and that little treble, all you'd be hearing through the mic would be mud, but it actually sounds quite natural mic'd. Horrible in the room, but natural close-mic'd...
You run into other problems, of course... you can't have a full, lush, guitar tone with a full, lush, bass tone and a full, lush kick drum. You either need to get a really deep drum sound and lighten up the bass a little bit, or go for a pronounced attack on the kick without as much depth, and let the bass have the low frequencies. the later is probably the most practical solution, imo... As a guitarist, i sorta have a tendancy of sacrificing other instruments for a good guitar sound.
Anyway, i guess in summary my observation here is, when you're dealing with an instrument that's that low already, less is generally more, when it comes to dialing in your bass. It's nearly impossible to hold on to all the depth on disc in the context of a "big" mix, and I've found that if you allow the other instruments to suggest the depth and allow the rhythm guitars to provide the attack, you can get some absolutely massive sounds that still allow room for a lead track.