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How to record a baritone ukelele through an amp? Condenser Microphones
Old 5th September 2011
Lives for gear
How to record a baritone ukelele through an amp?

I have met this amazing ukelele player and have offered to record him as he should be selling CDs of his music. He plays a baritone ukelele through an old Ibanez amp with a bit of chorus and reverb. I saw him playing in a restaurant and he gets this amazing Celtic sound with Indian flavours.

I am seeking your suggestions as to the best way to capture that amazing sound.

I have a pair of U87s, a pair of KM184s and an old AMS ST250 (like a soundfield).

I would be most grateful for your suggestions.
Old 5th September 2011
Gear Guru

what does he use for a pickup

I have a baritone ukulele and it makes it onto a lot of tracks around here, but it has no pickup. I just record it with an SDC like it was a guitar.

when you say it is an 'amazing' sound, are you talking about the instrument itself, or are you referring to the whole setup - pickup, amp and all - the way it sounds in the restaurant?

If the amp is just for reinforcement and volume, maybe a truly acoustic recording of the uke is in order, and you could ditch the fizzy pickup and amp in the studio.

OTOH, if the pickup and amp is part of his thing, then you need to mic the amp. And maybe the room as well because it could be that the sound you like is not simply the sound of the amp, but the sound you are hearing at 'your table'.

if you record acoustically take a DI from the pickup just in case
if you record electric, put a mic on the uke anyway
use a room mic no matter what
Old 6th September 2011
Registered User
I'm guessing the magic is in his playing, not necessarily the actual sound he is getting ...

I'm guessing this is a piezo mic, and it would sound a little strange through a chorus, and the reverb probably isn't up to much ...

Does he move around a lot? Might be hard to mic ...

My prefered options would be:

Fit a really high end acoustic pickup/mic system to the guitar,
or tape a small condensor mic onto a gooseneck set up in the optimum position. (Apparantly something similar worked on a James Taylor album)

Can he overdub? Some people can, some people can't ...

If you can capture a good clean signal, you might find you can apply much better chorus and reverb FX in the mix. Then again, he might need to hear his own amp to get into the mood ... could he perform with headphones?

You never know - with a lush studio reverb he might be more inspired than ever ... things to try ...

Reamping is always an option
Old 6th September 2011
Lives for gear
Thanks for your replies and great suggestions.

The guy plays with his fingers. He produces bass notes with his thumb, chords and picking with his other fingers. Not sure what his pick up set up is but I will soon find out tonight.

The sound he gets is very full - almost synth-like. Some of his tracks are quite hypnotic with drones. So the amp, reverb and chorus are very much part of that sound. Miking the amp could be one scenario tried with some close mics and room mics.

I also take the point that may be the player will probably get inspired with the ukelele being miked without the amp and with studio reverb and fx added throug the headphones. He doesn't move around much. So recording the straight instrument is a great suggestion, which I will try. To do that should I use the KM 184 pair and have them set up just like recording and acoustic guitar (eg 7-8 inches away from the instrument - one positioned pointing towards the upper fret board and the other pointing at the end of the ukelele)? What is the gooseneck mic position? I will also record a track with a feed from the DI, have a room mic. Basically I will try all of the suggestions.
Old 7th September 2011
Lives for gear
I am recording the ukelele player now. I have tried all your suggestions with the exception of miking the amp. After hearing the sound from the KM 184s he was hooked. The DI sound was very weak and lacked bass. We decided to ditch the DI and not mic the amp at all. The mic placement I am using is 6 inches from the ukelele and 18 inches apart. One mic is pointing towards the 12th fret while the other is at the end pointing towards the hole. It seems to capture the bass end well as well as the higher end. He loves the Angelic Echoes preset 5710 on the H8000FW. Thanks again for all your suggestions. Much appreciated.
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