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Keeping It S.I.M.P.L.E (part IV)

P Is 4 Placement

Today we're talking about "placement", or if you want to call it "production" that's fine. I prefer "placement", because so much production is putting parts here, and there. And it's more complicated than just adding parts. You have to manage equalization, too.

See the photo? These parts are two acoustic guitars playing the same parts and we're exactly at the same place on those two tracks. The guitar on the left is very focused in the midrange. The guitar on the right is more broadband. And that's before adjusting equalization. Hard to believe those are both guitars. But, there you have it.

So you must know what frequencies to use so that some of the sounds land here or there in space. But sometimes focusing sounds is advantageous. For example, I like mixing acoustic and electric guitars together. Why? Well, if you consider electric guitars run through amplifiers, those amplifiers actually filter tones. So acoustic guitars are more out of control on the higher frequencies, and give more sonic range. So, they're nice to have in the mix.

Then there's placing music in one ear, or both. Sometimes you want stuff running right down the middle, like bass and kick drum. But the bass guitar and the kick drum share a lot of the same frequencies, so you have to know which frequencies to shave off, or to increase.

Or perhaps you'll pan the bass guitar to one side. Vocals are things producers love to bounce around in the mix. If you listen to "Here Comes The Sun" you see The Beatles used all of these tricks.

But they also did more than that for production. They used instruments to give you a very cool sonic ride. The always had guitars, but they'd sometimes add synth, violins, and the rest. Very cool.

And even more for production? Yes. They'd borrow time signatures, chords and other things that wouldn't normally fit and throw that in. They constantly experimented with new ways of doing things. And that's why they wrote so many great songs.

Now, when you compare all of these things with today's modern music, somehow it sounds like someone tamed beast. The older music sounds more organic. The drums sound real, the guitar sound wholesome. No matter how powerful, I think we just can't fake music made by humans.

Next time you listen to music take some time to listen to how a song was produced, or how stuff was placed in the music. Chances are you'll take away a deeper appreciation for how much effort goes into making music enjoyable.

Love and Rockets,


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