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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-24-2012, 06:30 PM Thread Starter
 
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Doubling with Detuning

In a previous thread titled "Recording Tips from Steve Vai Himself....Read On."

Steve's recording technique of slightly detuning a doubling guitar to create a chorusing effect is discussed...

"Double Tracking:

Vai insists that double tracking is one of the best ways to make a guitar sound good. Of course, you have to make sure the two overdubbed tracks are tight. However, there will always be slight differences, and this is where the magic happens. Those slight differences add considerable dimensionality to the tone. You can even detune the second guitar slightly to produce a chorused effect, or slow down/speed up the tape for the second guitar if your using analog. Both work just fine.

Just make sure things don't get sloppy!"


If anyone is familiar with this recording technique could you please answer a few questions:

1. Does Steve use this technique for leads and melodies, rhythm guitars, clean guitars, all or some of the above?

2. Is this technique used among multiple tracks of guitar or usually only as a double?

3. How would one pan this detuned guitar? Close to center, separated widely?

Thank you!
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-24-2012, 06:58 PM
 
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Re: Doubling with Detuning

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazarus Pit View Post
In a previous thread titled "Recording Tips from Steve Vai Himself....Read On."

Steve's recording technique of slightly detuning a doubling guitar to create a chorusing effect is discussed...

"Double Tracking:

Vai insists that double tracking is one of the best ways to make a guitar sound good. Of course, you have to make sure the two overdubbed tracks are tight. However, there will always be slight differences, and this is where the magic happens. Those slight differences add considerable dimensionality to the tone. You can even detune the second guitar slightly to produce a chorused effect, or slow down/speed up the tape for the second guitar if your using analog. Both work just fine.

Just make sure things don't get sloppy!"


If anyone is familiar with this recording technique could you please answer a few questions:

1. Does Steve use this technique for leads and melodies, rhythm guitars, clean guitars, all or some of the above?

2. Is this technique used among multiple tracks of guitar or usually only as a double?

3. How would one pan this detuned guitar? Close to center, separated widely?

Thank you!
Well, using a detuner is somewhat rare on doubled guitars, and is usually done as a "special effect" more than as a main sound. I'd get more comfortable with doubling in general before you play around with that.

1.) Almost everyone double tracks (or quad-tracks) rhythm guitars, especially distorted rhythm guitars. Clean is a little iffier - you can do it, but if you're not 100% perfect in your doubling you tend to get a pronounced "chorused" sound, much more than you do with distorted rhythm guitars. I'm more likely to record complimentary clean guitars and pan those L and R (left and right) than to exactly double a performance, because I prefer how it sounds. Solos? This is done much more rarely, though some guys (Randy Rhoads) do multitrack their leads.

2.) Depends. Again, focusing mostly on distorted rhythm guitars... Either two tracks, one hard left and one hard right, or four tracks, one pair hard L and R and another maybe 80% L and R, are the most common, though some guys will do a doubled set L and R with a third track panned down the center and mixed back quite a bit. I've done this occasionally using my "lead" guitar tone for riffing sections where there's no lead guitar to keep those sections from sounding like something's missing sometimes.

3.) Don't worry about detuning for now. This really isn't done that frequently, and it's not really a "signature" sound of Vai's.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-24-2012, 07:50 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Doubling with Detuning

I appreciate the response, Drew, however I am specifically looking for further insight regarding the detuning technique, not double tracking in general. Perhaps I was not clear enough in my thread. I suppose I assumed that doubling itself is so commonplace that I would not need to indicate that I am specifically looking for more details regarding the detuning technique.

I have read about Vai's usage of detuning when doubling from at least two other sources recently. If anyone is familiar with this I would appreciate further insights.

Thanks again.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-24-2012, 08:46 PM
 
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Re: Doubling with Detuning

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazarus Pit View Post
I appreciate the response, Drew, however I am specifically looking for further insight regarding the detuning technique, not double tracking in general. Perhaps I was not clear enough in my thread. I suppose I assumed that doubling itself is so commonplace that I would not need to indicate that I am specifically looking for more details regarding the detuning technique.

I have read about Vai's usage of detuning when doubling from at least two other sources recently. If anyone is familiar with this I would appreciate further insights.

Thanks again.
Then, give it a try. Record two tracks, pan one L and one R, and add a detuner to one. I would start VERY subtle, maybe just a couple cents, and see what you think.

That said, if what you're asking is if this is a "standard" part of Vai's guitar tone, then the answer is no.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-24-2012, 08:46 PM
 
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Re: Doubling with Detuning

When Vai talks about detuning in this context I think he means tuning the guitar a few cents flat and doubling the part. It would exaggerate the effect of having two guitars playing the same thing.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-24-2012, 08:57 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Doubling with Detuning

Thank you Drew and Formerly Given To Fly. When Vai has used this technique would it be for leads and melodies, rhythm or clean guitars? Moreover, will this work in all three contexts?

Thank you guys.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-24-2012, 09:15 PM
 
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Re: Doubling with Detuning

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazarus Pit View Post
Thank you Drew and Formerly Given To Fly. When Vai has used this technique would it be for leads and melodies, rhythm or clean guitars? Moreover, will this work in all three contexts?

Thank you guys.
It's not a sound I'm wild about, but there's no reason you couldn't use it in any context. Though, obviously, it requires doubling up a part if you're manually retuning. Though I DO think Vai is talking about using a detuning effect - he follows up "...or slow down/speed up the tape for the second guitar if using analog" and it's not like he doesn't have a couple Eventides kicking around.

Also worth noting - he says you could do this, not that he does. Again, if you're trying to get a recorded tone to sound like Vai, this isn't necessarily where I'd start.
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