I have found that tweaking the smallest of parameters while recording music tends to make the biggest impact. Today…I am taking about tuning guitars! This also happens with other instruments, but, guitars loose their tuning the fastest and are most noticeable when out of tune. I have mixed so many sessions where tuning the guitar, which takes less than 2 minutes, saves you hours in mixing time and quite a bit of money. Why? Because when guitars are out of tune, I have to take the time during the mixing session to find a way to tune them. I have worked with some of the most successful guitar players in the business, and they are constantly tuning their guitars while they are tracking. Every time you take a break , punch in, or edit during your session, you need to locate your tuner, and tune your guitar!!! This is usually not a problem when you are working with a professional and experienced producer or engineer…they will let you know when your guitar is out of tune. However, most of the tuning problems I am referring to come from home studios…I Know first hand when you are engineering and playing at the same time you can get distracted and forget to tune.
So, how do you make sure a guitar is tuned correctly? Intonation!!!
Intonation is the process of tuning a guitar where you tune the guitar string open and then check the tuning on the twelfth fret. That is what the screws on the bridge of a guitar are for. If you don’t know how to intonate your guitar, there are many tutorials on YouTube to teach you how. Also, any music store that sells guitars will fix your intonation , professionally for approximately $35-50 and usually you have to buy a set of strings with that.
Remember, when recording, pay attention to small details. Small details combined, are what make your mix better and save you money in the long run.
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