How to Make Tape-Style Reversed Lead Sounds

How to Make Tape-Style Reversed Lead Sounds

In this article let’s take a look at how you can create an analog tape-style reversed lead sound. This is a technique they used to use in studio back in the day to create those awesome reversed sounds. But that same technique and steps can be applied in our modern DAW’s.

This is a technique I used to love in the analog days on my 4-track before I got into digital audio recording. My favorite was recording in backwards guitar solos. I would record my guitar riffs. And then flip the tape around and it would play all the tracks in reverse. I would then come up with my lead line listening to the parts in reverse. I’d record this part in, and then flip it back around again, and I would have this awesome in time and in key reversed guitar solo.

Now with modern digital recording, you can literally do anything and everything in the box now that was quite a mission back in the day. If you want to reverse an audio part, you simply select the part and reverse it and it’s done.

But I must admit that flipping your song around playing it back in reverse and then recording your lead parts still produces better results than simply flipping an audio part around in your DAW and hoping for the best. So let’s take a look at how we can achieve this same analog vintage reverse tape effect in our modern digital audio software.

Steps to Getting that Analog Reversed Sound

  • First select a part of your song that you want to record a reverse lead line to. Then bounce this out to an audio file.
  • Then pull this exported out file back into your project but further down in your timeline.
  • Then reverse the part, and take a listen back. Hear if you can hear the new reversed chord progression. You need to be able to hear it so that you can play your new lead line over it. If its hard to hear then maybe choose less tracks to export out. Maybe you only need the drum parts, bassline, and chords.
  • Now it’s time to try out some leads. Load up a lead instruments and start playing some ideas over the reversed part.
  • When you’re happy record in your new lead line over the reversed audio part.
  • Now bounce this lead to an audio part if it’s a MIDI instrument track. And then reverse this part.
  • And drag this to a new audio track over the original section.

And there you have your analog tape style reversed audio lead part.


I know it took a few steps. But going through these steps you got a reversed lead line that’s in key and in time, so it fits perfectly over your original section.

Plus, you learnt how this technique was achieved back in the day. And learning how things were done before, can really open you up to new ideas, plus appreciate what we have now with our modern audio production technology

I hope this trick has helped you come up with interesting reversed lead lines for your music productions.

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