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Old 2nd August 2005 | Show parent
Gear Nut

Originally Posted by MichaelT
I'm recording steel strings, with a lot more strumming than fingerpicking. Music I'm working on is mostly rock, alternative, pop...that sort of thing.
For strumming a steel string guitar, especially full/hard strums, I haven't found anything that I like better than a KM54. However, they go for around $2,000 ea. If you buy from a reputable dealer they will guarantee them in working condition so it's worth paying a little more.

With the KM54/56, they don't have the gain of say a KM84 or 451 so for quiet finger picking, noise becomes a factor but they are sweet, no or very little EQ needed (maybe just a touch of bass roll off) and a natural sound which isn't "hard" sounding. The lack of hardness in the midrange is one of the big characteristics I'd look for.

As a start, try placing the mic at a 45 degree angle (aiming from the guitar head towards the body), 12 to 20 inches away from where the neck joins the body of the guitar. You're right, small changes in position produce big changes in tone.

Let me know if you get to try the SR30/SR77, I've heard these are excellent for nylon string guitars. I have not tried the Josephson c42 or Schoeps CMC6/MK4 but have heard good things about them.

With strumming or finger picking Bronze strings seem to produce richer high harmonics and a more "zingy" or sildy tone but don't last as long. Phosphor Bronze last quite a bit longer but sound harder and less rich in the highs. The lighter gauges are also silkier than med. or heavy. Stay away from Elixir and coated strings. The high harmonics are missing. Also, I didn't care for the sound of DR, usually John Pearse or Martin SP works well.

Anyone for a guitar mic shootout? I'll supply the Radar 24 Nyquist. How about Hawaii, we can all write off the vacation!

Audy O