How to pan acoustic or electric guitar in the mix?

2.) If you have two different guitar tracks played together (such as guitar rhythm 1 and rhythm 2), pan one guitar on the left and the other on the right with exactly the same value.

You can decide on the panning values, this depends largely on the material being mixed and there is no standard. As discussed previously you can pan the guitar either in MID Right/Left or in Hard LEFT/RIGHT.

Example: Rhythm 1- LEFT 90%, Rhythm 2- RIGHT 90%

This creates a slight layering of guitar that adds some feel or ambiance.

3.) If you have two or more guitars, same mirroring concept applies. For example if you are recording 6 different guitar tracks and would like to layer them all in the mix. You can create a wall of guitars using the following panning settings (assuming: Guitar 1&2, Guitar3&4, Guitar5&6 are overdubbed pairs):

1st overdub guitar pair
Guitar 1- 50% LEFT
Guitar 2- 50% RIGHT

2nd overdub guitar pair
Guitar 3 – 75% LEFT
Guitar 4 – 75% RIGHT

3rd overdub guitar pair
Guitar 5 – 100% LEFT
Guitar 6 – 100% RIGHT

Read the following tutorial below on how you can further create these walls of guitar sound in the mix by recording overdubs:

Recording Overdubs for Guitars

Best practices on panning guitars

a. If you need the guitar to be more punchy, strong and dominant, you can pan it at -50 , +50. This is best for guitar riff power chords and complete acoustic guitar chord strumming.

b. For background guitars which the sole purpose is for accompaniment and with lots of instruments involved, you can pan it hard left and right (-100 and +100).

This is best for high guitar notes arpeggios and high note fillers.

c. If there are 2 guitarists (lead and rhythm guitars), you can pan the lead guitar near to the center to give more “presence” in the mix (-25, +25) while the rhythm guitars will be placed at -85 and +85.

For more spacious, ambiance and live feeling on the sound of the guitars, you can even put a delay between the left and right channel. So if the right channel is lagged at 2ms from the left channel, this creates an illusion of wide stereo.

For best results with panning, you can record the guitar track twice, first place the 1st guitar on the left channel. Record the guitar track again and place it on the right channel. This creates a nice ambiance very ideal for pop, acoustic and country recordings.

You can read more about this technique in double tracking guitars.

Content last updated on June 20, 2012