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Author Topic: acoustic guitar sound help, mine is shitty  (Read 13212 times)

rjd2

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acoustic guitar sound help, mine is shitty
« on: January 28, 2006, 10:58:29 am »

maybe one of you kind folks can help me.

i havent been able to get an acoustic guitar sound i like. it always ends up sounding like a bad demo, mostly like the mic is right up the guitars ass or something. how do i get even close to the sound on nick drake records? i have tried the below, on 6-string martin and classical guitar:

1)-all my favorite bummy flea market, realistic dynamic mics, through an rca ba-31, 1176 at 4-1 ratio-protools.

2)-MG70----610 preamp----protools.

3)-royer 121-----rca ba-31 or 610 preamps-----protools.

all of these i have tried from 6" to 3 feet back, aimed at the soundhole of the guitar. #1 has gotten me the closest, but still not near where i want to be. what am i doing wrong? or do nice, rich acoustic guitar sounds that arent too bright come from eq/reverb/mixing? thanks alot for your help.

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rj krohn

scottoliphant

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Re: acoustic guitar sound help, mine is shitty
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2006, 11:31:10 am »

what does your guitar sound like? if it sounds bad, then good luck.   Some people get all ninja on acoustic guitar, i keep it simple with an sm81 at the 12th fret or so, a foot or so back. a room mic (i use a 414) for ambience

giraffe

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Re: acoustic guitar sound help, mine is shitty
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2006, 02:27:46 pm »

what's your room like?
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andy bishop
um....... my dog ate your headphones....

SirDonut

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Re: acoustic guitar sound help, mine is shitty
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2006, 02:54:36 pm »

what kind of martin?

Nick Drake certainly wasn't playing a cheap/laminate guitar on 'pink moon.'
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Klokkern

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Re: acoustic guitar sound help, mine is shitty
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2006, 03:18:51 pm »

I always find that the mic pointed directly at the sound hole gives me myddy sound with too much bass. I usually record in stereo, with a X/Y stereo pair in front of the soundhole, approx 2 ft away (one mic pointing between the 12th fret and the sound hole and one at the bridge og the guitar.)

This has always given me good results, the better the guitar the better sound...

Regards,
larsK
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Peace, sunshine and happiness for all

rjd2

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Re: acoustic guitar sound help, mine is shitty
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2006, 07:40:03 pm »

thanks for the help, i havent tried many different placements, that may be a solution(btw, its a martin dreadnought, in a room that is relatively dead, so to speak. i like the way both the guitars sound in the room, it is a muddyness issue). i also havent tried any stereo tracking, mainly as i dont have any stereo pairs. thanks  guys.
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rj krohn

freshvictims

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Re: acoustic guitar sound help, mine is shitty
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2006, 08:44:16 pm »

In my experience, you can have a great deal of control over the sound of even quite an average guitar by mic placement, proximity and direction. Even micing the body behind the bridge can give some  usable results in some circumstances, as well as the usual techniques of micing the hole and the fingerboard. If you've got an able assistant, it might be really useful to get them to play while you move the mic(s) around and get a guide to how it's likely to sound.

Hope that's helpful and not too obvious!  Smile
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smorgdonkey

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Re: acoustic guitar sound help, mine is shitty
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2006, 12:01:07 am »

As the previous people have stated...avoid the 'mic pointed at the soundhole' technique. That is the most common 'no-no' for recording acoustic guitar. In some cases if there is no bottom end at all then it is suggested that the mic be 'angled' toward the soundhole but a Martin shouldn't have any bottom problems...and the fact that it's a dread means that there should be extra bottom. I use a dread too and typically go with the 12 inches away pointed at the 12 fret (as was also previously mentioned). If you are using a bass too you won't have to worry if the guitar happens to come out sonding a little on the thin side...but not too much...
Don't process while recording...do that afterwards.
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vernier

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Re: acoustic guitar sound help, mine is shitty
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2006, 02:36:43 am »

For giant acoustic guitar sound, D19 ...quite huge.

Four Walls Been Gettin' You Down
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jonathan jetter

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Re: acoustic guitar sound help, mine is shitty
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2006, 02:44:23 am »

i've usually been fine with a nice LDC pointing toward the 12th fret/neck joint area, angled to taste.  usually a tube mic.  sometimes not a tube mic.

if the resulting sound is too thin, i'll add another mic on the body, behind the bridge, and mix it in behind the main mic.

for different sounds i've tried other things.  XY from a distance is cool.  more "real."  less "pop."

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Brett Mixter Rader

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Re: acoustic guitar sound help, mine is shitty
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2006, 05:12:29 am »

I dont know anything about the MG70, but you should be able to get a decent sound out of the Royer and your pres. It is however a figure 8 mic, so your room will have a bigger impact on the sound. Have you tried pointing the mic towards the bridge of the guitar and maybe putting a gobo around the back side of the mic?
The thing I´ve found about large Martin guitars is that they sound glorious on their own but can be hard to squeeze into a full mix. If the arrangement is sparse, then try the above with the other mic in cardioid pointing towards the 12th fret (careful of phase issues - use the 3 to 1 rule) you can decide which mic (or use both) to use at mix time. A cool trick if you double the guitar is to use 1 mic from each.

rjd2

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Re: acoustic guitar sound help, mine is shitty
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2006, 10:39:55 am »

these are all great tips, thanks a lot.
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rj krohn

tom eaton

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Re: acoustic guitar sound help, mine is shitty
« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2006, 10:57:01 am »

The last thing that worked here for that exact sound was an EV635a (omni dynamic) about 6 inches away from the guitar pointed right at the soundhole.  It had the best warmth vs. shine balance of all the mics we tried (Royer 121, AT4060, AT4051, KM184, TLM170, etc.). API preamp.  The guitar was a 50's Martin which sounded phenomenal on its own.  I love the 635 on tambourine, and sometimes on guitar amps, but it really surprised me on this guitar.  I've since ordered two more.

The coolest thing we did on this particular session was put a green bullet right alongside the 635 and blend it way under... crunchy, and really cool sounding.  This was for a dark bluegrass record, so the guitar will be pretty featured.  I record acoustics pretty much every day, and I was totally impressed with the 635 used that way.   I use some Beyer 101 (also omni dynamic) mics for acoustic on occasion, but the 635 was far better on this guitar.

-tom

Joe Black

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Re: acoustic guitar sound help, mine is shitty
« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2006, 11:14:29 am »

If your going for a Nick Drake guitar sound, big and fat and rich is the wrong direction. I can't remember where I read this, but according to John Wood, the man that engineered all of Drakes sessions, on recordings Nick Drake used a Guild M20 - an all mahognany 14fret, 0 size body - which might explain the pluckiness I hear on his recordings (maybe that's compression...dunno, I'm a guitar player.)

I find the richness of Drakes recordings lie in his voice, melodies and playing style (weird tunings and fingers), not in his guitar 'sound'. In fact I think the lack of richness of his guitar tone amplifies the haunting qualities of his voice. I think you'll be hard pressed to get to that sound with a Martin Dreadnaught, or even a Martin small body. All of my Martins, big and small, have a....um....richness to their tone I've never experienced from a Guild of any description, though I love the old Guild small bodied varieties for thier unique sounds.

Maybe a single mic on the dreadnaught up the neck might be a way to go or some of the other techniques suggested in combination with the player concentrating his pick or finger attack near the bridge for a tighter more focused string sound, staying away from the open woodiness found when playing near the neck.

Best of luck!
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maxdimario

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Re: acoustic guitar sound help, mine is shitty
« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2006, 06:25:30 am »

The martins you buy now are dull in the mids and have a peaky high end.

the old martins can cut it (mahogany is better for rhythm).

martins seem to have a lot more bass than you need for recording, so you have to be careful about the mics etc.
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