How to Mix Acoustic Guitars in a Song – The 4 Tips You Need To Master

When it comes to mixing acoustic guitars in a song, there might not be a perfect way to go about it to get that perfect sound, since people perceive music differently. However, there are some things you can do to improve your chances of getting a great sounding guitar in your records.

With that said, here are some tips to get you started.

1. Understand the Role You Want For the guitar

You might want to introduce acoustic guitars as a rhythmic supplement to the song, or you might want to include some finger picking parts to layer in the background of the song.

If you’re going for something that sounds more rhythmic, I suggest going for a sound that is a bit more lush so if highlights the sound of the strings and the chords. If you are going to go after a plucking style sound, it might sound a bit better to focus on the mid-range so that the tone of the pluck can pull through the mix. Ultimately your equalizer, panning, and compression settings will depend on the role you want your acoustic guitars to play. So don’t be afraid to role up your sleeves and get your hands dirty.

2. Low Cut/High Pass Filter

With the high pass filter, you can set it up so that the low end of the guitar is filtered out and the high frequencies pass through without being affected. The high pass filter can also eliminate noise; it frees up some of the low end so that other sounds can fit into the mix, and it also frees up headroom in your mix.

I suggest starting around the 100Hz range as it seems to work in most situations but at the same time, you are going to have to adjust based on your song.

3. Use of Slow Attack Compression

To get more pluck from your acoustic guitar sound, you can incorporate a slow attack compression setting as it usually does the trick. It allows you to introduce and play with the guitar in the mix without affecting the transient, which can make your song even more exciting.

4. Dealing with Stereo Acoustic Guitar Sounds

If you are recording your guitars in stereo, you are going to have to be vigilant about making sure that they are in phase.

Video on recording in stereo (to help eliminate phase)

But if the sound is too full in context with the rest of the songs, you can always try collapsing the guitar into mono. This can help bring focus to the guitar and can also free up a lot more space for other sounds to live.

5. Aligning the Guitars

Sometimes you are going to have to mix guitar parts that weren’t played by someone who is very experienced. If that’s the case, you are going to have to manipulate the parts so that they line up and play in time with the rest of the track.

If you are the one that’s playing guitar, and you can’t get another guitar player to perform the parts for you, I would advise investing in some guitar training. It does help in terms of getting your timing and your technique down pat. I suggest working with a company like Guitar Lessons Oakland because they do remote guitar lessons as well as local lessons to give the most value to their students.  So stop waiting!

Here is where Guitar Lessons Oakland is located…

6. Getting Equalizing Right

What EQ settings you use are going to be important when mixing acoustic guitars. You need to understand that the settings you use are going to depend on the songs key and also its tone.

You can get your hands on some presets as a way to start and get going but to be honest, they are going to be far from perfect. I suggest using your ears and your best judgement to find the frequencies that sound good to your ears.

With that said, I’ve created a list of guidelines to help you equalize the guitars and get the most out of your mixes.

Deep Bass – To allow more room for the kick drum and the bass guitar, some low-end filtering needs to be done. This helps avoid or get rid of any low-frequency noises from your guitar tracks.

Fullness – If the acoustic guitar is the main sound in the song you are mixing, be sure to filter up to about 80Hz for the best results. If it’s not the main instrument and you have a lot of other stuff in the song, you could try pushing the high pass filter a little higher – maybe 120Hz – to give more room to the other sounds.

Great Post on Mixing Music

Mixing Music

Hey, I’m back again!!

So you know that I like to post some of my own tips but I also like to share stuff when I find it.  And today I found a gem.

I was looking around on the Modern Mixing site and saw a very very interesting post on how to mix music for beginners.  I mean, I’m not a begnineer myself but I understand that I have a lot of room to grow.

This post was absolutely eye opening for me even with my 2 years of experience.  I think I learned more in that post that I did in all of the time I spent researching the last year.  So if you have a minute, I suggest checking it out.

What are Some Things Covered?

Anything from session organization to color coding tracks was covered.

He also talks about simple things like the balance and listening to the rough which are really important when you are trying to mix a song.  Especially the balance because ultimately that is the song in a nutshell.

More Than Just a Post

But more than just that one post on mixing music, Modern Mixing is a great information site run by a really cool guy.  I mean he even worked hard on a trap drum kit and then gave away some of the samples for FREE.  Like who does that?  Seriously nice guy.

There are also a tonne of post on that site that have to do with general mixing strategies, articles, tutorials and he also does interviews with some top notch engineers.

Here’s a cool video he did with another engineer on mixing vocals

How Simply Effective Reverb and Delay Can Be


Let’s be honest with our selves.  The only two plugins that you’ll need to get a great mix are an EQ and a Compressor – That’s it.  But if you could take that mix that you did with just EQ and compression and then make it sound more dimensional and full of life, wouldn’t that be something you’d want to do?

This is exactly where your easy to use reverb and delay plugins come in.  So today, I;m going to show you just how powerful these two effects can be to bring your already great sounding mix to another level.

Reverb Can Be Like Instant Glue To Your Mix

I think that home studio owners all have one thing in common and that is that we are using overdubs, almost all the time.  What that means is that we aren’t recording the entire band in one shot.  We record the drums, then maybe the guitars and the bass after that.

Now to the music consumer, it just sounds like there was an entire band recording but in reality that’s not why happened (our secret – shhh)

One of the problems with recording this way is that each sound is dry and distinct on its own.  There is no microphone bleed or room that has entered the recordings.  It lacks a little something.

This is where our first use of reverb would come in.

Just by routing all of your tracks to a reverb plugin, you can put each instrument into the same room. Now, we definitely are not trying to overkill the reverb, just a tiny amount can give the illusion that all the tracks were recorded in the same room.

Caution: Less is ALWAYS MORE

A little goes a long way when using reverb, especially with digital reverb plugins. By using too much of this reverb glue techniquem you can really muddy up a mix that was once clean and clear.

Stop and think about it for a second. You’ve used EQ and compression, to work hard and open up your tracks. But by adding a lot more reverb we are going to ruin the hard work we put in by introducing more mud and washiness.

One way to help keep you out of trouble is to push the reverb up until you her too much of it and then dial it back until its as if you want more.  That’s usually a good place for the reverb.

Delays, Delays, Delays

It really is difficult to write about delays and reverbs because everyone has different tastes.  People are going to add in as much or as little as they want and there isn’t really a general rule of thumb.

One that that I really like about delays is that you can add a really unique texture to a guitar or vocal by adding in a long feedback.  It really does give you something extra that you just can’t get anywhere else.

A lot of what goes into mixing is taking the listener on a journey that they have never been on before.  By adding in a long delay, you can effectively create a really nice and pleasing listening experience.

My favorite delay trick is to send the vocal to an aux channel with a delay unit on it.  Then roll off some of the high end so that the delay sounds a bit more muffled and distant.  This way it doesn’t interfere with the lead vocal.

Delay Can and Will Mess With Your Stereo Field

A word of warning with delays, too much delay can kill your sense of stereo separation and panning, just like too much reverb can kill all your hard work with EQ,

That fact is even more true when you put the delay on things that aren’t panned in mono. Your are now hearing the hard panned sound as well as the ping pong delayed echo.

Just try to keep that in mind.  Have fun with the delays, just don’t go crazy.

How Do You Use Effects?

So if you aren’t too busy already mixing your music.  Tell me below how you are using effects. I want to hear about it.

Compressing Overheads For Balance

Hey whats up?

So I was browsing around YouTube to check out mixing videos and found this one on compressing overheads.

The basic premise is that you compress the overheads to get more balance out of them so that everything sits better in the mix.

Check it out, let me know what you think.

Why Do We Use EQs When Mixing?


It’s no secret that we “should be using” an EQ when were mixing.  We look at all the pros using them in articles and videos.  The come with our digital audio workstations and mixing consoles.  It’s clear that EQ is a tool made for the modern engineer.  But How Come?  Why and how should we be using it during the mix process?

Sound Balancing

To start, EQ is a short form for equalizer so we can start with the idea of what it is meant for.  Thus the EQ lives to equal out the tone and balance of the instruments in a track.  Basically the term “balance” is going to be a common thing on this blog.

So at the root, an EQ is simply something you have at your disposal to bring your tracks in balance with one another so that all the sounds are heard in your mix.  Similar to a guitar amp, which has controls to alter tone, we use an EQ in a similar fashion to bring out the best balance in our mix.

Clearing Up Frequency Space

One thing I noticed early on when I was learning how to mix, was that my tracks sounded great when solo’d but not so great when they were played together.  And actually the more tracks I added, the cloudier my mix was soudning.  I was having a problem called “masking”.

There tends to be a lot of frequency overlap when mixing instruments together.  One thing that EQ is great for, is carving out spaces where elements in a mix tend to overlap and mask each other.   One of the most common forms of masking is a kick drum and bass guitar.  With a little EQing tweaking you can get them both to live together.

This is why I am huge user of subtractive equalization because it allows you to clear up space for everything.

Control Over Your Mix

The last reason you would want to use an EQ is for control over your mix.  So Am I talking about?  It’s simple – audio can be wildly untamed.  Frequencies can stand out at any moment and be much louder then any other sound.  It’s like how a bass guitar can sound really good and then all of a sudden one note just sound A LOT louder than everything else.

Equalization can help with these bursts of sound to give you a much more controlled track.  It might be some harshness in the guitar tracks, some muddyness in the vocals, or an unrulely bass guitar like I just talked about.  You can find the frequencies that are out of control and then dial them back to give you a smoother and more polished mix.

They Shouldn’t Hear It

If you excute your EQ techniques corretly, then the listener should never be able ot hear it.  No one will ever notice your hard work.  Ultimately it’s what the listener doesn’t hear that will make or break the mix and not what they do hear.  So once you can grasp this subtle EQ technique, you’ll be much more effective with it.


What’s Going on?

I just thought I would start the blog by making an introduction.  My name is Jerry Silva and I’m an audio enthusiast.

I love to play guitar and make my own music on my home studio system.  Recently I’ve become pretty obsessed with the process of mixing and mastering.  I’ve realized just how important it is to making your music stand out.

This blog is going to be dedicated to sharing the knowledge that I have with mixing and mastering as well as sharing posts from other people who I think give great advice on the technical process.

Until the next post!!!