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on a mission
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#1
22nd August 2010
Old 22nd August 2010
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Red face Pick noise

Besides smacking the guitarist until he plays better (like they would ever admit a flaw) how can I reduce that klak klak pick noise?
In the past I have tried turning the tone down on the guitar and compensating with the amp eq. What else can I try?
#2
22nd August 2010
Old 22nd August 2010
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Use a spectrum analyser (or an EQ with an analyser - like the Logic one) to find the frequency responsible for pick noise, and use a high-Q parametric EQ to pull it out of the mix.

It shouldn't change in pitch, so once you've done that you're done.
#3
23rd August 2010
Old 23rd August 2010
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What kind of music and what kind of guitar tone through what guitar and what kind of amp? I've never had an issue with too much pick attack... I would start with EQ and if all else fails move to a very quick attack quick release comp to lower out the attacks.
#4
23rd August 2010
Old 23rd August 2010
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2 things your guitarist can do;

1) Use a pick made of a different material. Ultex sounds very different from Tortex

2) Angle the pick slightly to the strings. This will require a conscious adjustment on his part, but once mastered will allow him to vary the pick attack as appropriate.
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#5
23rd August 2010
Old 23rd August 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikethedrummer View Post
What kind of music and what kind of guitar tone through what guitar and what kind of amp? I've never had an issue with too much pick attack... I would start with EQ and if all else fails move to a very quick attack quick release comp to lower out the attacks.
Kind of a blues based rock with a lot of jazzy 7th chords.
Using a strat through a fender hot rod deluxe.

A lot is his playing he loves to play exactly over the pick up hes using.
Hense my statement about smacking him.

Little warning about the digitech RP355, it has mager problems
I wish they would reisue the 256
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23rd August 2010
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Go buy a collection of different picks and have them available when recording, worth it. While you're there buy a drum key, some gaf, ear plugs, string cleaner and a screwdriver.
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23rd August 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by on a mission View Post
Using a strat through a fender hot rod deluxe.
STRAT STRAT STRAT STRAT. The Lords of pick attack. I just did a session, guitarist had a strat, similar sort of music, had similar problems. Ended up doubling the guitars with a gibson sg into a jcm900, the two sounded pretty good together.
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23rd August 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karp47 View Post
Go buy a collection of different picks and have them available when recording, worth it. While you're there buy a drum key, some gaf, ear plugs, string cleaner and a screwdriver.
and ALLEN KEYS - SAE and metric.
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23rd August 2010
Old 23rd August 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krusty View Post
2 things your guitarist can do;

1) Use a pick made of a different material. Ultex sounds very different from Tortex

2) Angle the pick slightly to the strings. This will require a conscious adjustment on his part, but once mastered will allow him to vary the pick attack as appropriate.
Quote:
Originally Posted by karp47 View Post
Go buy a collection of different picks and have them available when recording, worth it. While you're there buy a drum key, some gaf, ear plugs, string cleaner and a screwdriver.
+1 . The pick is the guitar's equivalent to the violin's bow. Much more important than many people realize.

When I was younger and had only played guitar for a few years, I had someone show me how to "twist" the pick to a certain angle for tone. I will be forever in debt to her for some of the best advice I ever got to achieve the sound I wanted.
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#10
23rd August 2010
Old 23rd August 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by on a mission View Post
Besides smacking the guitarist until he plays better (like they would ever admit a flaw) how can I reduce that klak klak pick noise?
In the past I have tried turning the tone down on the guitar and compensating with the amp eq. What else can I try?

pick size and pick material
#11
23rd August 2010
Old 23rd August 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dustyreels View Post
+1 . The pick is the guitar's equivalent to the violin's bow. Much more important than many people realize.

When I was younger and had only played guitar for a few years, I had someone show me how to "twist" the pick to a certain angle for tone. I will be forever in debt to her for some of the best advice I ever got to achieve the sound I wanted.

It's all about the pick and how it's held. This is the conduit between the player's hands and the strings, and the origin of much of their tone.

Check out what different players like; Billy Gibbons uses a Mexican silver peso, which is why he's the king of the pitch squeal. Johnny Winter uses a sharpened 1964 silver quarter--these are easy to make, and sound great on acoustics, but give off tons of pick noise. Wood picks give out less noise in general, but do major things to tone you might not like.

That advice about angling the pick is gold; took me ages to figure out the impact this has -- more important than the guitar's pickup settings. You could also advise your guitarist to play further up the neck, which should dampen the sharpness of the pick attack as well.
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24th August 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noah330 View Post
and ALLEN KEYS - SAE and metric.
I knew I forgot something!
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#13
26th August 2010
Old 26th August 2010
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Thanks a lot to you all.

I hope I can find some better picks (where I live theres not much selection), and figure out how to teach an old dog new tricks.
#14
26th August 2010
Old 26th August 2010
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single coil pickups with an alnico slug magnet under each string, like most Fender pickups and also Rickenbacker toasters and DeArmond Dynasonics, tend to have a very pronounced attack. Particularly when the guitar has the full 25 1/2" scale length.

You can certainly help this issue with picking technique and with different picks, but depending on the player that might take a long time or might not be practical. It's easier to change out the guitar. Of course they might not want to do that either or might not be able to play as well on an unfamiliar guitar.

Maybe the right compressor (LA2A ?) would soften the attack. Low passing at 5 or 6 K wouldn't be a bad thing to try either.
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#15
27th August 2010
Old 27th August 2010
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When all else fails....

UAD Transient Designer has been a real help.
#16
27th August 2010
Old 27th August 2010
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Fingers.
#17
27th August 2010
Old 27th August 2010
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Embrace the pick noise. Think of it as another rhythm instrument.

OK... it doesn't always sound good. But sometimes it's just killer.
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#18
27th August 2010
Old 27th August 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bodoc View Post
UAD Transient Designer has been a real help.
I was looking for this answer.

I was going to suggest Digital Fish Phones' Dominion, or that Flux freebie.
#19
27th August 2010
Old 27th August 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BudgetMC View Post
Embrace the pick noise. Think of it as another rhythm instrument.

OK... it doesn't always sound good. But sometimes it's just killer.
Yes!
I personally believe that once we start sterilizing every aspect of a recording, we lose the soul of the music. Some amps bring out pick noise, and that's just the character of the amp and a good player learns to work with it and even use it to his advantage.

If you must get it under control, start with mic and mic placement.
If the guitarist isn't set on a particular amp, try differemnt amps.
Making the guitarist use a different pic or adjust his style might make him uncomfortable and screw up the song.
If all else fails during tracking, notch it out in the mix as a LAST resort.
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#20
27th August 2010
Old 27th August 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BOWIE View Post
I personally believe that once we start sterilizing every aspect of a recording, we lose the soul of the music.
I couldn't agree more.
#21
27th August 2010
Old 27th August 2010
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The pick noise is part of his personal playing style and character. Changing his guitar or trying to dictate his playing style is a bad idea. Instead, I would embrace it. I can't see how the pick noise could be more dominant than the actual notes being played, and, especially amongst the other elements of the mix (unless it's just solo guitar?), it's not going to be that noticeable.

It's just like that sliding guitar string noise, particularly on acoustic guitars. Annoying as hell once you start focusing on it, and you can spend forever and a day trying to minimize it, but if you just embrace it, you'll barely notice it, and it actually enhances the natural character of the instrument.

Oh, and Digitech RP50, and other multi effects pedal in general = tutt

I would suggest to you that that is your problem right there. Get some decent stompboxes and run them through a nice tube amp!
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#22
27th August 2010
Old 27th August 2010
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+1 again for different picks. For years I have played live with .88mm Tortex picks, but used thinner nylon picks in the studio for this very reason.
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27th August 2010
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I play with 1.14mm when I record and you just have to play the guitar in a way where you only hit the strings when you want the note to sound or a percussive if you want that. Record him as is and show him the track isolated
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#24
27th August 2010
Old 27th August 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BudgetMC View Post
Embrace the pick noise. Think of it as another rhythm instrument.

OK... it doesn't always sound good. But sometimes it's just killer.
Brian May from Queen often used a small coin (sixpence) as a pick. I reckon that contributed greatly to his signature sound.

Paul
#25
27th August 2010
Old 27th August 2010
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Harumph!

Originally Posted by BOWIE I personally believe that once we start sterilizing every aspect of a recording, we lose the soul of the music.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dustyreels View Post
I couldn't agree more.
thumbsupthumbsup

Geez, I could go on about one of my best friends doing this for hours on end. Trying to replace every snare hit on tracks because the hat bled into it, or trying get every Kick to sound even on a "gallup" type of rhythm. I'm a pretty consistent player and I told him "if you want a drum machine sound, I'll sequence it for ya". What he was doing was insane. Guitar players don't pick, hammer, pull, pinch, strum or anything else with the same "attack" and neither do drummers, and I don't care WHO it is. We're HUMANS and dynamics are as natural as breathing, not to mention part of song writing. Please, all you real engineer types, do NOT sacrifice someones music or sound by trying to make it too perfect. That's not what it's about. Do your utmost to make your clients/subjects sound as good as you can, but in the end, let them decide if their performance is worthy enough the toss out into the world. I realize there are some exceptions to this that need to be schooled, but you guys are artists too and I wouldn't try to tell you what mic to put where, and your monitors are not set up right, etc..

Went on a rant on another thread about "LOUD drummers that refuse to play softer". I explained that it's not necessarily "refusing" to play soft, it may be that's the way he plays. Adjustments may need to be made to accommodate it. I also explained that a kit that I owned sounded pretty crappy when played lightly. But when I would smack it, it sounded awesome. Not all musicians are idiots, rubes or hacks but I'll admit there are some. Just as there are ignorant engineers/recordists. I'm sure there was someone somewhere sometime that told Jeff Healey he plays his guitar wrong, or told Mike Portnoy that his hi-hat was too close to his snare.

Cheers!
Mitchell
#26
27th August 2010
Old 27th August 2010
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The guitar may have too much pick noise now, but when you add some drums and more high-frequency sounds, it should blend in a bit better. Remember that the goal of mixing is not to make a single sound source great in its own right, but rather to make the whole collection of sounds sound great together.

To get rid of some of the pick noise, try adjusting the tone control on the guitar itself. It's the next closest thing to the source of the sound and you would be surprised at how much difference it can actually make (a lot of guitarists never even think about it at leave it at full!). A good plugin that would excel at removing it would be Eiosis Transienter. Flux BitterSweet II might also help you out.
#27
27th August 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdf25 View Post
The guitar may have too much pick noise now, but when you add some drums and more high-frequency sounds, it should blend in a bit better. Remember that the goal of mixing is not to make a single sound source great in its own right, but rather to make the whole collection of sounds sound great together.
thumbsup+1

Another excellent point I was trying to make above but didn't elaborate on. Definitely try that before you spend too much time on the guitar track itself.

I find myself sometimes soloing a track up and tweaking it for awhile, only to find my adjustments suck when I bring the mix back up.
Are those plugins you speak of for ProTools?

Cheers!
Mitchell
#28
28th August 2010
Old 28th August 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdf25 View Post
The guitar may have too much pick noise now, but when you add some drums and more high-frequency sounds, it should blend in a bit better. Remember that the goal of mixing is not to make a single sound source great in its own right, but rather to make the whole collection of sounds sound great together.
If that doesn't work out, if you have access to Waves' Trans-X Multi you can try pulling down the attack at that frequency where it's most prominent.
#29
28th August 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhs2xs View Post
thumbsup+1

Are those plugins you speak of for ProTools?

Mitchell
The Eiosis Transienter is available for ProTools LE and ProTools|HD, as well as for VST and AU hosts. The BitterSweet II is also available for all DAW platforms as far as I know but you might have to check for ProTools...
#30
28th August 2010
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Thanks very much. I really dig the info I get on GS.

I've been resisting ProTools and using Sonar and Producer for so long now because, when I was starting all this, there was no way I could afford much else, even the Digi001. I will eventually get with the program I guess, but what I've got now works and sounds pretty good and I know where everything is. I can at least track 48k/24b with no hiccups to speak of.

I'll check into the Bittersweet II...

Thanks again.

Cheers!
Mitchell
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