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A lot of rock songs I like change the tone or distortion of the guitar during bridge/breakdown of the song. Can someone tell me what is going on that makes the guitars sound this way, and how I can do it myself? Examples:

at 2:50 in this video.

at 2:08 in this video.

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  • 2nd video is geofenced.
    – Tetsujin
    Mar 18, 2021 at 16:29
  • Kinda like that electronic/dance music production trick where the EQ sweep cuts out the low end on everything then brings it back for the drop.
    – user45266
    Mar 18, 2021 at 18:26

2 Answers 2

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To me it sounds like a lot of compression, very intense EQ that boosts the high mids and cuts everything else, and a dramatic lack of reverb. I agree that the general vibe is "intentionally crappy recording" which is a very popular production effect - going back to the intro acoustic guitar on Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here (which I think was just done with EQ). It might be as simple as using the talk back mic (the mic the engineer uses to talk to musicians in the live room) to record the guitar - that's a trick a producer showed me once.

But really I think that the reason this part sounds to striking is that it it's just one guitar! All of the other guitar tracks in this song are (at least) quadruple tracked - the guitarist is playing the same part 4 times, possibly using different amps or guitars or pickups (with 2 or more mics on each amp), and then everything is layered together with reverb and panned left and right, which is what makes rock guitars in general sound "huge." So when you suddenly hear a single guitar captured with a single crappy mic with with minimal effects it really makes you listen.

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These are all production choices that intentionally compress the crap out of the guitars and set the track to mono. Essentially, the audio engineer manipulated the tracks to purposely sound bad to create a specific kind of contrast the band wanted. You could get close to this by:

  1. Using a terrible amp like a Line 6
  2. Using way more treble than normal on your amp (1 would help with this, but definitely optional)
  3. Learning to use the production trick yourself, which I can't offer advice on since production isn't my wheelhouse.

This trick is all over 2000's hard rock and alternative rock, so if you like this, here is a full list of everything the producer of One-X, Howard Benson, has worked on: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_Benson_production_discography

And here is the Wikipedia page for Erik Ron, the producer of When Legends Rise: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erik_Ron

He doesn't have a discography page, but a lot of his work is listed in the main article.

Let me know if I can clarify anything for you.

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    The second example linked is not mono. Also, mono is the default state for a guitar track, so it's more like "they recorded only one guitar for that section."
    – Edward
    Mar 18, 2021 at 15:28
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    I've recorded entire albums on Line 6. No-one ever even spotted it, let alone called it 'terrible'.
    – Tetsujin
    Mar 18, 2021 at 16:28
  • I find it slightly hard to be too judgement about amplifiers when the original electric guitar sound is basically an amplifier right on the edge of failing. I'm not the biggest fan of this particular effect either but clearly a lot of popular music plays with the sound of equipment pushed to its limits and this is just another example of that.
    – DavidW
    Mar 18, 2021 at 22:28

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