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Your approach to acoustic finger picking guitar sessions Condenser Microphones
Old 11th February 2014
  #1
Lives for gear
 

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Your approach to acoustic finger picking guitar sessions

Your ability to capture "angry-viby" electric guitars is almost supernatural but what about your approach to fingerpicking ballads? Where details, texture and subtleties of complex harmonies require totally different mindset. What are you favorite combos (mic, pre, comp etc), instruments, players, rooms, reverbs etc?
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Old 15th February 2014
  #2
Radiant Being
 
SylviaMassy's Avatar
Well, I'd start by making a cup of espresso, with steamed soymilk with a splash of real vanilla. I haven't had a drink in 24 years, so the vanilla is as close to a shot of alcohol for me these days... then I'd sit at the computer and check email while the engineer waits for me to wake up and tell him what we are gonna do with this dang guitar part.... okay, okay, here I come...

Clean arpeggiated electric guitars? The way to make the intricacies audible is to turn down the gain on the guitar amplifier. I'll often keep the same exact set-up for clean guitars that I use for heavy guitars, controlling the amount of aggression at the amp. Sometimes I'll drag out my Matchless DC-30 combo for special clean electric features. It has a beautiful round bodied color that helps give picked guitar performances extra shimmer.

Wait a second, did I even drink coffee before I wrote this answer? 10:54 in the morning, jeez this is way too early for a studio rat.
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Old 16th February 2014
  #3
Radiant Being
 
SylviaMassy's Avatar
Oh jeez, see what happens when I start writing without my first cup of coffee? I re-read the question and it asked about recording technique for acoustic guitar!

Well, time to make my third cup of espresso and check my email again... (haha!)

When recording a fingerpicked acoustic guitar I will often use a U47 Telefunken mic into the Universal Audio 175b, set on soft compression, just enough to bring up the quiet stuff but not so heavy as to make the strings sound spiny or prickly. I generally do not use a stereo micing technique on acoustic guitar. I place the single mic close to the guitar, in front of the sound hole up near the high frets. I generally will use an acoustic guitar that does not have electronics in it. I have not yet found an acoustic guitar pick-up that does not sound plasticky. The exception was on the Johnny Cash sessions, when Johnny sang at the same time. I needed that direct sound to reinforce the acoustic recording. His booming voice would always take over the guitar mic.
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Old 16th February 2014
  #4
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For me this is gold! Thank you so much!
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