The Magical Doubled Guitar Trick




Hey! So you captured the perfect guitar performance and you are done tracking the song. You want to get a doubled sound to pan far left and far right, but you only have one great take. Recording a second double part is not an option (no time, guitarist is not available, tracking was done months ago, string broke, lol) but you want that wide stereo sound. Here is the answer to your dilemma. This trick can work well with any instrument under the same circumstances. It works when you have a repetitive chord progression.

So, you are at the chorus of your song (for example) and it sounds like this:

1 Looped original
Original guitar track

Cool vibe, and only two chords. The region has been looped to equal 8 bars and will make a perfect example. The thing is, if you double the track, pan each far left and far right, you do not get a doubled sound. You only get a louder track, with the stereo image still very much up the middle. You can also try to apply EQ, delay, distortion, and other techniques to each individual copy, but your efforts to get a natural, doubled acoustic sound can still end up with less than satisfying results. The following is an example of the track doubled, panned far left and far right with a different EQ applied on each, and as you can hear, it does NOT create a decent sound:

5 2 again
This is not working…

Not very good, right? But no worries — the answer to your desired sound is coming up! We will take the original file, divide it by measures, like this:

3 chopped up original
We are getting closer…

Now, we will create a new track under it, and start to get that sound we want. In this guitar part we have 2 chords that are repeating every other measure (C9 in measures 1,3,5,7 and G9 in measures 2,4,6,8). So on our new, empty track, let’s take that third measure (C9) of our original track and put it as measure 1 on our new track. Take measure 4 from the original track (G9) and transfer it to measure 2 of our new track. Then take measures 1 and two of our original track and transfer them to measures 3 and 4 of our new track. See where this is going? The doubles are now created and sound fabulous, because we are using the same progression, only with the natural variables of the strumming. This is the final sound that is a result of our cool trick:

4 final chopped
This is it!

Now, you can blend these tracks with the rest of your mix, and your ears will thank you for it! (This trick can work with 4-bar repetition just as well, say, |C///|Am7///|Dm7///|G///| as long as the original performance was at least 8 bars.)

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 8.56.46 AM

Do you have any tricks you use to double tracks? Leave your thoughts below!

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 1.25.32 PM

Leave a Reply