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How to Sound Like Mac Demarco


How to Sound Like Mac Demarco: A Guide for Aspiring Musicians

Mac Demarco is a renowned Canadian singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist known for his unique sound and laid-back style. His music combines elements of indie rock, psychedelic rock, and lo-fi, creating a distinctive and captivating sound that has gained him a dedicated fan base worldwide. If you’re an aspiring musician looking to emulate Mac Demarco’s sound, this article is for you. We’ll explore the key components of his style and provide tips on how to sound like Mac Demarco.

1. The Jangle Guitar Sound:
One of the defining characteristics of Mac Demarco’s sound is his jangly guitar tone. To achieve this, you’ll need a guitar with single-coil pickups, preferably a Fender Stratocaster or a similar model. Set your guitar to the bridge pickup, which provides a brighter and twangier sound. Use light gauge strings and strum near the bridge to get that distinctive jangle. Experiment with chorus and reverb effects to add depth and texture to your sound.

2. Slacker Vocals:
Mac Demarco’s laid-back and slacker-style vocals are an integral part of his music. To emulate his vocal style, practice singing with a relaxed and nonchalant approach. Pay attention to his phrasing and delivery, which often includes slight vocal slides and a touch of reverb. Experiment with different microphone placements to achieve a more intimate and lo-fi sound.

3. Lo-fi Production:
Mac Demarco’s music has a distinct lo-fi aesthetic, characterized by its warm and imperfect sound. To achieve this, consider using vintage recording equipment or plugins that emulate analog gear. Experiment with tape saturation, warble, and subtle distortion to add a nostalgic and vintage feel to your recordings. Don’t be afraid to embrace imperfections and avoid excessive polishing, as this contributes to the charm of the lo-fi sound.

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4. Songwriting and Chord Progressions:
Mac Demarco’s songwriting often revolves around simple and catchy chord progressions. Explore open chords and experiment with different voicings to create a unique sound. Incorporate major 7th and suspended chords to add a dreamy and ethereal quality to your compositions. Mac Demarco’s music often features chord progressions that loop, so try experimenting with repeating patterns to create a hypnotic effect.

5. Melodic Basslines:
Pay close attention to the basslines in Mac Demarco’s music, as they play a crucial role in defining the overall sound. Emulate his style by using a pick and focusing on melodic basslines that complement the guitar parts. Experiment with slides, octaves, and syncopation to add interest and groove to your bass playing.


Q: What kind of gear does Mac Demarco use?
A: Mac Demarco is known for using vintage and budget-friendly gear. He often plays a Fender Stratocaster, a Roland JC-120 amplifier, and uses various effects pedals, including chorus, reverb, and delay.

Q: How can I achieve Mac Demarco’s guitar tone without breaking the bank?
A: While vintage gear can be expensive, you can still achieve a similar sound on a budget. Look for affordable alternatives such as Squier Stratocasters or Epiphone guitars. Experiment with digital amp simulators and budget-friendly effects pedals to emulate Mac Demarco’s signature sound.

Q: How can I improve my songwriting skills like Mac Demarco?
A: Songwriting is a skill that develops with practice. Listen to Mac Demarco’s music and analyze his song structures, chord progressions, and lyrics. Experiment with different writing techniques and don’t be afraid to take risks and find your unique voice.

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In conclusion, sounding like Mac Demarco requires a combination of specific gear, attention to detail, and experimentation. Emulating his jangly guitar sound, slacker-style vocals, lo-fi production techniques, and melodic basslines will set you on the path to achieving that signature Mac Demarco sound. Remember to develop your songwriting skills and embrace your own creativity along the way. Happy playing!