I was visiting a friend’s recording studio today and listening to some songs he was in the process of mixing. This was a singer/songwriter sort of project, but the instrumentation was pretty full. On most tracks there were lead and harmony vocals, bass, drums, acoustic and electric guitars. Some tracks had keyboards, percussion, fiddle even sax on a couple. But even with all these parts I noticed a quality in these mixes that I call ‘air.’ There was a fair amount going on in the mix, but it didn’t seem crowded. Every part had its place and they all worked together but nothing stepped on any other part. There was room to breathe.
That concept, that notion of ‘air’ is a useful one for the guitar accompanist, too. There is no need to use up all the available space, leave some air. The song will thank you for it and what you add will be further emphasized by what you leave out.