Layering your guitar tracks

Have you ever recorded your guitar and wondered, why it sounds kind of flat compared to your favorite metal band? Well, the answer lies in a technique called layering...

First of all, imagine you have recorded your guitar as normal. That means you put a microphone in front of your guitar box and pressed "record" on your DAW or harddisk recorder. That would result in a mono guitar track as the following.

Okay, here comes the trick: now you record exactly the same a second time. After that you'll have two guitar tracks in your DAW. If you play this, it still sound some kind of flat. But now you lay the first recording 100 percent to the left (panning) and the second recording 100 percent to the right.

If you listen to it now it will sound much brighter, because it's stereo.

This is definitely an improvement which goes into the right direction. You now have a stereo track. But even this one can be enhanced to some ... hmmm ... fatter sound. Therefore you record your guitar twice more. You know have four guitar tracks in your DAW. The first two tracks (panned to 100 percent left and right) are the stereo track. You pan now track 3 to 80 percent left and track 4 to 80 percent right.

The effect that shows up is not as extrem as the difference between a mono and a stereo track. There are fine nuances which increases which each layer to add to your recording.
The side effect is, that you have to record your guitar several times and - very important - you have to play your guitar as accurate as possible. A single mistake can be heared easily and will break your fat guitar sound.