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Folk strumming acoustic tone Condenser Microphones
Old 5th June 2018
  #301
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Quote:
Originally Posted by numero6 View Post
If you look it up there a few Red Hot Chilli Peppers tunes where John Fushiante recorded with one of those. Also look up Valerie June on Youtube as she uses one as her main instrument.
Thanks numero, I see what you mean about the Valerie June stuff - definitely sounds close to the sound I'm after - different style, but the tone/sound is there. I dig her stuff, listening now - thanks for turnin' me on.
Old 5th June 2018
  #302
Quote:
Originally Posted by doorknocker View Post
Here's a few things that personally got me much closer to the 'dry sparkle' acoustic guitar sound that is my ideal:

- Practice

- A single AKG D19c (they are all different, I got lucky with one that has a much wider range that other D19s I owned in the past). I also had great results with a Sennheiser MD 409, not a mic you typically see on acoustic guitar but I think it's fantastic for that. Small condensors like the KM84 or AKG 451 can also be great but it's a much more hifi and 'beautiful' sound and I tend to use those mics more for solo work or specific overdubs. That's also the only time I would (occasionaly) mic in stereo.

- Gibson acoustic guitars: I own a '59 LG-2 and a more recent J-185. Hope to buy a Hummingbird at some point. Of course Martins are also great for either more Stephen Stills-type sounds or Blue-/Newgrass. But a good Gibson just has that warmth without getting boomy. No need to notch out low mids.

- I bought the Waves J37 Tape Saturation plugin because it was on sale without expecting much. This thing is KILLER on acoustic guitar!! Check it out and thank me later!

- I use regular Phosphor Bronze strings, either D'Addario or Gibson J-200 strings for the J-185. Especially in the summertime, the strings lose their brightness pretty quicky under my hands. So I don't believe in 'vintage strings' or anything that is already dead sounding on arrival.....

Compression can be your friend, just experiment. Don't believe the 'purists', a lot of the great classic acoustic guitar sounds we all love are not 'natural' at all. Often those sounds are heavily compressed or filtered. None more so than what you hear on early Cat Stevens records. I believe that was a Pye compressor in action and the Waves plug-in is not bad at all. (Of course I never used an original, though I was very close to buying one quite a few years ago).
Just for the sake of reference, I am not a fan of Cat Stevens (early or late) at all and don't regard that sound as having much, if anything, to do with the topic at hand.
Old 5th June 2018
  #303
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doorknocker's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by StevieD009 View Post
Thanks Doorknocker,
This all sounds like it's worth trying, I'll keep it all in mind - thanks for the examples. Yeah, an old Gibson is in my future I think I just picked up an outboard compressor specifically for my acoustic channel, so gonna see what kind of sounds I can get with it. I'm imagining just a touch of compression, but who knows, might get creative and see what comes of it. Thanks again!
You're welcome!

My favorite (ab)use of acoustic guitar compression is Stephen Stills sound on the first CSN record as well as on later songs like 'Black Queen'. Also check his earlier work with Buffalo Springfield. They really were putting heavy compression to creative use. That's why I mentioned Cat Stevens as well - those records have a totally unique sound.

if pressed my fave acoustic guitar sounds of all time happen on the Stones 'Beggar's Banquet' record, 'Sticky Fingers' has also some amazing acoustic guitars. Two words: Glyn Johns. (Not forgetting his amazing work with The Who/Pete Townshend as well)
Old 5th June 2018
  #304
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by doorknocker View Post
if pressed my fave acoustic guitar sounds of all time happen on the Stones 'Beggar's Banquet' record, 'Sticky Fingers' has also some amazing acoustic guitars.
Dito. Even with all the hiss it's my favorite acoustic sound- soft and gritty at the same time.
Old 6th June 2018
  #305
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Rockabilly69's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by blotto View Post
Dito. Even with all the hiss it's my favorite acoustic sound- soft and gritty at the same time.
My favorite band, here's one of my songs, I think a little of the Glyn Johns, Stones and the Faces have worn off of me...

Old 6th June 2018
  #306
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockabilly69 View Post
My favorite band, here's one of my songs, I think a little of the Glyn Johns, Stones and the Faces have worn off of me...

Great song, man! What guitar are you playing?
Old 6th June 2018
  #307
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Rockabilly69's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by blotto View Post
Great song, man! What guitar are you playing?
1964 Gibson J45, it's the same one as in this song which totally sounds Beggars like...

Old 7th June 2018
  #308
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doorknocker's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockabilly69 View Post
My favorite band, here's one of my songs, I think a little of the Glyn Johns, Stones and the Faces have worn off of me...

Very nice! Good to hear acoustic guitars that sound like - well - acoustic guitars and not like tuned hi-hats or Windham Hill outtakes.
Old 7th June 2018
  #309
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Rockabilly69's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by doorknocker View Post
Very nice! Good to hear acoustic guitars that sound like - well - acoustic guitars and not like tuned hi-hats or Windham Hill outtakes.
Windham Hill Outtakes
Old 7th June 2018
  #310
OT, but what is the "classic" Windham Hill sound/artist? I keep hearing about this label but have never heard any of the music.
Old 7th June 2018
  #311
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KevWind's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hermetech Mastering View Post
OT, but what is the "classic" Windham Hill sound/artist? I keep hearing about this label but have never heard any of the music.
William Ackerman (founder of the Label)

This is classic Ackerman/Windham Hill sound.
Old 7th June 2018
  #312
Thank you! @KevWind

I heard it was supposed to be Ambient/New Agey, and it is. Quite nice, although would probably have me tearing my hair out after too long! Too much reverb on the guitar for sure, and that synth piccolo thing just kills it for me (in a bad way).
Old 7th June 2018
  #313
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doorknocker's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockabilly69 View Post
Windham Hill Outtakes
To be fair, I recently bought fingerstyle guitar virtuoso's Alex DeGrassi's 'Southern Exposure' on vinyl. Yes, it was released on Windham Hill but it's really great. Probably not a typical Windham Hill release because it's quite rhythmic and while pristine-sounding it's not drowned in reverb like the example above that is pretty much what I was alluding to. Music so nice and relaxing it makes me want to randomly break stuff and beat people up, hehe....

Note: My vinyl sounds WAY better than the YouTube clip, doesn't really do it justice. One thing I notice though is that with very clean and bright recordings like this one the left-hand fretting noises become really loud and can be distracting. I'll check the vinyl to see if it's as noticable there.




In any way, I'd say the Windham Hill sound is the polar opposite of the Beggar's Banquet acoustic guitar sound or the great song that Rockabilly69 posted above. I once read somewhere that 'Beggar's Banquet' is proof that acoustic guitars can sound dangerous. I think that pretty much nails it.

Addendum: A friend of mine that grew up in California told the story of getting together with a girl who would put on a George Winston/Windham Hill album to 'set the mood'. He fled.

Last edited by doorknocker; 7th June 2018 at 02:57 PM..
Old 7th June 2018
  #314
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doorknocker's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hermetech Mastering View Post
T Too much reverb on the guitar for sure, and that synth piccolo thing just kills it for me (in a bad way).
Not forgetting the obligatory 'sensitive' fretless bass playing . It was great when Jaco or Eberhard Weber did it but it quicky became a lame cliche.
Old 7th June 2018
  #315
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doorknocker View Post
Not forgetting the obligatory 'sensitive' fretless bass playing . It was great when Jaco or Eberhard Weber did it but it quicky became a lame cliche.
True but listen to the album Alex DeGrassi made with virtuoso bassist Michael Manring. It is called DeMaNia. You'll be blown away. Alex is a great guy I once got played fretless bass (sorry) with him in a NorCal winery. I think he plays a Lowden.
Old 7th June 2018
  #316
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by doorknocker View Post
To be fair, I recently bought fingerstyle guitar virtuoso's Alex DeGrassi's 'Southern Exposure' on vinyl. Yes, it was released on Windham Hill but it's really great. Probably not a typical Windham Hill release because it's quite rhythmic and while pristine-sounding it's not drowned in reverb...
No, not drowned in reverb but the flangey/chorusey thing on the guitar is definitely "on brand" for Windham Hill. I don't care for it, but to be a Windham Hill product I guess it has to be there. The tune and the playing are good, though, and it's well-tracked.
Old 7th June 2018
  #317
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The New Age thing is the only thing allowing some of those bad ass players to reach a larger audience and make a little money out of their talent. It is a little bit like a hip Jazz artist playing Smooth Jazz in order to make a living.
BTW, I once heard someone saying "smooth Jazz is where old Jazz musicians go to die" I thought it was very funny.
Old 8th June 2018
  #318
Quote:
Originally Posted by numero6 View Post
The New Age thing is the only thing allowing some of those bad ass players to reach a larger audience and make a little money out of their talent. It is a little bit like a hip Jazz artist playing Smooth Jazz in order to make a living.
BTW, I once heard someone saying "smooth Jazz is where old Jazz musicians go to die" I thought it was very funny.
Even John Renbourn released some projects that lay pretty close to that vein.

One of his albums that works that turf -- but does it with intelligence and few concessions to the cliches of the genre (no flangers that I can remember ) is Palermo Snow, which has some nice chamber orchestra elements in the backing.


PS... I put on "Blue Trout" by DeGrassi. I found the soupy ping pong-echo driven reverb pretty distracting as it bounced across the stereo field, but he's clearly a good player who probably pleases his audience.

By the way, it's not as well known but WH pianist George Winston was also a quite respectable stride pianist when he wasn't lulling yuppies to sleep.


PPS... as long as I'm adding semi-unrelated postscripts, I'm also a fan of Valerie June, particularly the roots/country stuff. I had put a bunch of people I wasn't familiar with in my stream queue and when one of those tunes came up, her raw, rootsy voice immediately grabbed my attention -- when I clicked to see who it was -- and saw how she looked -- I was totally charmed.

Last edited by theblue1; 8th June 2018 at 04:51 PM..
Old 10th June 2018
  #319
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doorknocker View Post
Compression can be your friend, just experiment. Don't believe the 'purists', a lot of the great classic acoustic guitar sounds we all love are not 'natural' at all. Often those sounds are heavily compressed or filtered. None more so than what you hear on early Cat Stevens records. I believe that was a Pye compressor in action and the Waves plug-in is not bad at all. (Of course I never used an original, though I was very close to buying one quite a few years ago).
Been messing around with some outboard compression on the acoustic this weekend - The chain for the acoustic is:
Shure SM81 --> Daking Mic Pre One --> Warm Audio WA76

It's interesting, because I'm finding that I can reign in the sustain of the Martin D-28 to where heavy strumming sounds a lot better - def closer to the sound I'm after. It takes a little dialing in, and trying to be subtle with it, but I've found that attack/release at 10/2 is a pretty good place to start.

I am borrowing an old Gibson small body from a friend next weekend so we'll see where that leads me. So far a lot of the advice on here has been really helpful and has only improved the sound I'm getting. Thanks all for posting!
Old 11th June 2018
  #320
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TurboJets's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by StevieD009 View Post
Been messing around with some outboard compression on the acoustic this weekend - The chain for the acoustic is:
Shure SM81 --> Daking Mic Pre One --> Warm Audio WA76

It's interesting, because I'm finding that I can reign in the sustain of the Martin D-28 to where heavy strumming sounds a lot better - def closer to the sound I'm after. It takes a little dialing in, and trying to be subtle with it, but I've found that attack/release at 10/2 is a pretty good place to start.

I am borrowing an old Gibson small body from a friend next weekend so we'll see where that leads me. So far a lot of the advice on here has been really helpful and has only improved the sound I'm getting. Thanks all for posting!
Glad you are getting a sound you like and slow attack with fast release is the way to go for acoustic guitar. What was your Ratio?...4:1?
Old 11th June 2018
  #321
Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboJets View Post
Glad you are getting a sound you like and slow attack with fast release is the way to go for acoustic guitar. What was your Ratio?...4:1?
That's definitely NOT the sound he's been asking about. As to whether it's a sound he might like, well, that's another question, not related to the one he was asking.
Old 11th June 2018
  #322
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TurboJets's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
That's definitely NOT the sound he's been asking about. As to whether it's a sound he might like, well, that's another question, not related to the one he was asking.
I understand what you mean John. What I meant was, if you are going to compress acoustic guitar, at least a slow attack and fast release at a low ratio (like 4:1) is not going to kill the dynamics. You lose dynamics, yes. But at least its not squashed.
Old 11th June 2018
  #323
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First you have to NOT DO what everyone is going to tell you to do to get the guitar ready to record

NO NEW STRINGS....PERIOD

If you put new strings on it, its going to have that sharp, defined sound you don't want,

It's got to be now just used strings but DIRTY ones, and you've got to break that guitar in, beat the **** out of it for a few months before you even think about recording,

Keith Richard's won't even play brand new electric guitars, he gives them to friends and then collects them a year later,

One more thing, an acoustic is what it is, by that I mean don't play guitar that sounds one way and start thinking that you want "that" sound. Trying to make an acoustic sound like anything other than what it is is a fool errand.

You should be able to pick it up off the rack strum one chord and hear what you want,

That's why a lot of engineers have their own acoustic that they insist artists use, for myself, I found a strange gawdy looking Epiphone in a Pawn shop earlier this year, when I strummed it, the first chord told me everything, I just said "Ring it up, I'll take it"

So, find a GUITAR that sounds the way you want....and then kick it's ass
Old 11th June 2018
  #324
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
Even John Renbourn released some projects that lay pretty close to that vein.

One of his albums that works that turf -- but does it with intelligence and few concessions to the cliches of the genre (no flangers that I can remember ) is Palermo Snow, which has some nice chamber orchestra elements in the backing.


PS... I put on "Blue Trout" by DeGrassi. I found the soupy ping pong-echo driven reverb pretty distracting as it bounced across the stereo field, but he's clearly a good player who probably pleases his audience.

By the way, it's not as well known but WH pianist George Winston was also a quite respectable stride pianist when he wasn't lulling yuppies to sleep.


PPS... as long as I'm adding semi-unrelated postscripts, I'm also a fan of Valerie June, particularly the roots/country stuff. I had put a bunch of people I wasn't familiar with in my stream queue and when one of those tunes came up, her raw, rootsy voice immediately grabbed my attention -- when I clicked to see who it was -- and saw how she looked -- I was totally charmed.
Bro.....you are WAAAY off track, time to get this flaming wreck back on a flight path,

Go listen to KISS "Rock n' Roll over" 50 times, and remember.....this music thing is a front to get laid....people who get into Jazz have forgotten the original mission.
Old 11th June 2018
  #325
Quote:
Originally Posted by terrible.dee View Post
Bro.....you are WAAAY off track, time to get this flaming wreck back on a flight path,

Go listen to KISS "Rock n' Roll over" 50 times, and remember.....this music thing is a front to get laid....people who get into Jazz have forgotten the original mission.


To be brutally frank, I always felt KISS was... um... let's just say, not legitimate rock. Or, of course, musically interesting. But they really seemed to excite 12 year old boys going through the homoerotic phase.


FWIW, depending on where one draws lines, I don't listen to new age music. (That Palermo Snow Renbourn album might be an exception depending on definition.) My affection for outsider/boho music (big Beefheart fan, for instance) led me to the early days of punk rock in the second half of the 70s and into the 80s. These days, I do listen to a lot of acoustic, folk, roots. And I've listened to jazz and classical since I was a kid.
Old 11th June 2018
  #326
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboJets View Post
Glad you are getting a sound you like and slow attack with fast release is the way to go for acoustic guitar. What was your Ratio?...4:1?
Yeah, for subtle compression as you mention. Don't tell anyone, but I was getting some pretty cool sounds at 8 and 12:1 as well
Old 11th June 2018
  #327
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
That's definitely NOT the sound he's been asking about. As to whether it's a sound he might like, well, that's another question, not related to the one he was asking.
It depends on the song - I find that if I'm really digging in and need a chunky sound that some compression is good. But if I'm looking for a more jangly open sound, then I bypass it. Not suggesting that Dylan's guitar was compressed - I don't know, maybe you do? But I do hear both sides of the coin in those early records, depending on the song/album. Make sense?
Old 11th June 2018
  #328
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doorknocker's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by StevieD009 View Post
[B]Is there a certain brand of strings anyone can recommend (I feel like I've tried them all and haven't found it to make a huge difference). Maybe some trick - I remember reading something about Johnny Cash using a playing card to get a more staccato sound, I dunno, I'm open to ideas. Any advice is greatly appreciated, thanks!
What I found is that even more so than with other sources, the room makes a HUGE difference with acoustic guitar recordings. By 'room' I not only mean the acoustics of the space you're recording in but also where and how you position the guitar/mics/etc.

Acoustic guitar is such a soft instrument and the reflections coming from the walls/floor/etc make a tremendous difference. I would encourage you to experiment a lot and work towards a sound that is rather dry but still resonant. Use gobos, blankets. Mix different surfaces, even mirrors or laying a piece of wood underneath the playing postiion, etc.

Tape is a very important factor in the sound of those 60s recordings. These days there are some great plug-in emulations available but it might also be worth to record to actual tape. Hell, you might even try recording to cassette With the right setup that might give you what you want.
Old 11th June 2018
  #329
A helios or API pre with a BA6 might help. Karloff mentioned M67 :0) Might just get you there. Or an old Altec.
Have not tried BA6 plugin.
Summit?
Altec 436?

Ya know....you might give a shot if you haven't already, switching the mics. I know...81 on vox?!!! But the 81 has a very chimey sound. Might be contributing to what your hearing with pick attack. SDC's aren't horrible on vox. Even electrets. 81's have that thing going where they flatter some of the gtr and cymbal attack. I wouldn't say hypes it, but it def comes through super clear.

Sounds like you probably want less of this?

Tried a ribbon mic?

They have those felt picks too...I don't know about on gtr though. I've only tried on bass, uke, and for about a minute on mandolin. Probably NOT going to get the Dylan sound...but in 2018...heh? Who knows.
Also, def watch your phase very carefully. But if you own the gear you own, and those gtrs, you already know this.

I think the tube limiter might be a big part of the sound though.
I like the phosphor bronze strings myself. The Martins

Just throwin' out some ideas. Probably already been covered, and I know buying more gear was kinda ruled out. That said, you can maybe find gear that is similar sounding, or try plugins and see what happens.

Good luck, sounds like you are getting close man!
Old 11th June 2018
  #330
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NEWTON IN ORBIT View Post
A helios or API pre with a BA6 might help. Karloff mentioned M67 :0) Might just get you there. Or an old Altec.
Have not tried BA6 plugin.
Summit?
Altec 436?

Ya know....you might give a shot if you haven't already, switching the mics. I know...81 on vox?!!! But the 81 has a very chimey sound. Might be contributing to what your hearing with pick attack. SDC's aren't horrible on vox. Even electrets. 81's have that thing going where they flatter some of the gtr and cymbal attack. I wouldn't say hypes it, but it def comes through super clear.

Sounds like you probably want less of this?

Tried a ribbon mic?

They have those felt picks too...I don't know about on gtr though. I've only tried on bass, uke, and for about a minute on mandolin. Probably NOT going to get the Dylan sound...but in 2018...heh? Who knows.
Also, def watch your phase very carefully. But if you own the gear you own, and those gtrs, you already know this.

I think the tube limiter might be a big part of the sound though.
I like the phosphor bronze strings myself. The Martins

Just throwin' out some ideas. Probably already been covered, and I know buying more gear was kinda ruled out. That said, you can maybe find gear that is similar sounding, or try plugins and see what happens.

Good luck, sounds like you are getting close man!
Yeah, definitely closer than I was before. I have tried a lot of combinations with the vocal/guitar mic. I have a Shure KSM 313 but wasn't able to get anything with vocals or acoustic that sounded better than the SM81 on the Guitar and the Charter Oak I now have on vox - not to say that it couldn't work, or that a ribbon might help get closer to the sound I'm asking for, but in this instance it seemed to be hurting more than helping.

As I mentioned, finding the D'addario EXP17 strings has been huge - never liked coated string until I found them, and they sound really good right off the bat - after a few days of settling even better. The don't have as much harshness as new uncoated PBs - they sound good on every guitar I've put them on, highly recommend. I've been using picks from a company called Fred Kelly - they are made of a material called "delrin." I find them to give off much less pick noise, the grip feels really solid, and they still grab the strings like a regular pick - not like using a felt pick or something that might be too soft/textured. Highly recommend those as well - I have some mediums and have lights on order now - definitely improved my sound and the feel of picking.

Of course those things are only part of the story, and as you mention experimenting with the room/mic placement, etc. etc. has given me some good results as well. As the post above yours suggested, I have been messing around with tape emulation on the back-end and it helps give a bit of that tape saturation - not a fix-all or anything, but it's a lot of little things adding up to the final product, which is much closer to where I wanted to be thanks to you all.
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