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Folk strumming acoustic tone Condenser Microphones
Old 24th April 2018
  #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StevieD009 View Post
Yeah, looks like it - but you do agree that there are steel strings strung on it, right?
I seriously doubt it:

That's a really good way to destroy a perfectly good guitar. (Too much tension.)
Old 24th April 2018
  #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
If you want 'old' folk sound, buy a Shure M67 for peanuts on ebay and use that.
To be clear, trying to alter the sound of the guitar, not my recordings. My recordings are fine, I have plenty of mics to choose from and a treated room. The mics can only pick up what sound is coming out of the guitar - need to get it right at the source.

Having said that - not sure what this unit would do for me? Just looks like a way to plug multiple mics in? How would this effect the sound?

thanks
Old 24th April 2018
  #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 12ax7 View Post
I seriously doubt it:

That's a really good way to destroy a perfectly good guitar. (Too much tension.)
I agree too, but you can hear from the recording that those are not nylon strings - they are steel strings. Maybe that particular guitar just has the classical style headstock - but I'm pretty sure he's playing steel strings.
Old 24th April 2018
  #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StevieD009 View Post
I've been playing steel string all my life, just trying to get closer to that sound, whether it be through technique, equipment, etc. Seems like we all agree that it is a combination of all these things. I think they used to make acoustics a lot differently back then, and that has a lot to do with it. Check out a young Randy Scruggs playing in this video. Notice how even though the strings are steel and have a bit of brightness to them, they don't ring out with sustain and they don't have a metallic sheen to them - again, maybe it's the guitar, maybe it's the strings, maybe it's the pick he's using, I dunno.

He's not using a pick.

...Also I think that guitar is ladder-braced (sure sounds like it).
Old 24th April 2018
  #35
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The Dylan clip sounds like a Nylon (or possibly gut) string played with a pick.

Most important, it's a lo fi recording, probably nothing above 8k. And outdoors, where there's almost no reflected sound coming back into the mic's.
Old 24th April 2018
  #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StevieD009 View Post
I agree too, but you can hear from the recording that those are not nylon strings - they are steel strings. Maybe that particular guitar just has the classical style headstock - but I'm pretty sure he's playing steel strings.
Sure sounds like nylon to me.

For a reference, compare to Willie Nelson Playing "Trigger" -- Also nylon strings with a pick:
(Its actually even a little brighter 'cause of the pickup.)
Old 24th April 2018
  #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharp11 View Post
That's not what I'm hearing - the Dylan clip sounds like a Nylon (or possibly gut) string played with a pick.

Most important, it's a lo fi recording, probably nothing above 8k. And outdoors, where there's almost no reflected sound coming back into the mic's.

When I said "he's not using a pick", I was talking about the Joan Baez video (not the Dylan).

...And yeah, I agree Bob's playing on nylon with a pick there.
.
Old 24th April 2018
  #38
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No way is Dylan playing a nylon-strung guitar in that clip. It's just a standard O-sized parlour guitar (probably a Martin) with a slotted peghead.

A nylon-strung guitar wouldn't usually have bridge pins -- the strings loop through holes in the bridge instead.
Old 24th April 2018
  #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 12ax7 View Post
He's not using a pick.

...Also I think that guitar is ladder-braced (sure sounds like it).
He's definitely using a pick - on the bass notes at least, then he picks with his fingernails for the upper strings. Watch the video further on - the camera gets on another angle and you'll see the pick. You just can't get that kind of attack with the skin of your thumb.

Maybe ladder-bracing is part of the equation I need here? I'm pretty limited in my knowledge of bracing - I'll look into it. I know my D-28 is "forward shifted" x bracing. Not sure about the FG-300? Thanks again!
Old 24th April 2018
  #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StevieD009 View Post
I've been playing steel string all my life, just trying to get closer to that sound...
Okay. The Martin parlor in the Newport video definitely has nylons on it. I have a similar one, slightly newer and with steel strings. Not as much strength in the lower notes as a D28, but the mid and upper registers are unmistakably steel-string Martin.

Scruggs' guitar isn't a Martin and doesn't sound like one.
Old 24th April 2018
  #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peller View Post
No way is Dylan playing a nylon-strung guitar in that clip. It's just a standard O-sized parlour guitar (probably a Martin) with a slotted peghead.

A nylon-strung guitar wouldn't usually have bridge pins -- the strings loop through holes in the bridge instead.
Exactly, I have to agree with you Peller - I've been toying with the idea of trading up one of my dreadnoughts for a parlor - I feel like it might help give me the attack I'm looking for. Also, I have small hands so might be a good option. I dunno, I always miss the volume/presence of a dread when I'm playing a parlor, but might be nice to have one of each around the house. Thanks!
Old 24th April 2018
  #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peller View Post
A nylon-strung guitar wouldn't usually have bridge pins -- the strings loop through holes in the bridge instead.
I see no pins.

He's using ball-end nylons.

They need no wrapping; you just feed 'em through and let the ball do the work):

.
Old 24th April 2018
  #43
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According to this website, it was a Martin O-45:

Bob Dylan's Guitars and Gear

Which is a steel-string guitar, and sounds like it.
Old 24th April 2018
  #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 12ax7 View Post
Sure sounds like nylon to me.

For a reference, compare to Willie Nelson Playing "Trigger" -- Also nylon strings with a pick:
(Its actually even a little brighter 'cause of the pickup.)
It's a good theory, but I have to agree with the other poster, I still don't think Dylan is playing on Nylons - I think it's the sound of the strings/guitar that are making them sound less bright/metallic - that's what I've been trying to get at. That is one direction to consider for getting a duller sound - play a nylon guitar. But, I think there's a reason Willie is one of the only folks who do that, because it's completely wrong lol For one, the strings are too far apart for strumming folk type songs - those guitars are made for finger picking, etc. Another reason there's a case for the Dylan video being a steel-strung guitar - look at the spacing of the strings/size of the nut - looks like a steel string to me.

Regardless, I wouldn't mind having a nylon, but it wouldn't be for strumming folk songs, I would reserve it for finger picking. I'll let Willie be the nylon picker :D
Old 24th April 2018
  #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StevieD009 View Post
Exactly, I have to agree with you Peller - I've been toying with the idea of trading up one of my dreadnoughts for a parlor - I feel like it might help give me the attack I'm looking for.
Maybe some kind of parlor guitar will get you away from the Martin D sound, but probably not a steel-string Martin parlor.

Quote:
Also, I have small hands so might be a good option.
i can only say for my own parlor (a Martin), but while the scale is shorter than a D, the width at the nut is quite a bit wider -- like a classical guitar.
Old 24th April 2018
  #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peller View Post
According to this website, it was a Martin O-45:

Bob Dylan's Guitars and Gear

Which is a steel-string guitar, and sounds like it.
Yeah, so maybe it's a matter of getting a smaller body guitar, maybe some old strings on it, continue refining my technique, maybe try a different pick material, some of the strings others have recommended.

Now all I need is $10,000 to pick up one of the guitars Dylan used :D
Old 24th April 2018
  #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StevieD009 View Post
He's definitely using a pick - on the bass notes at least, then he picks with his fingernails for the upper strings. Watch the video further on - the camera gets on another angle and you'll see the pick. You just can't get that kind of attack with the skin of your thumb.

Maybe ladder-bracing is part of the equation I need here? I'm pretty limited in my knowledge of bracing - I'll look into it. I know my D-28 is "forward shifted" x bracing. Not sure about the FG-300? Thanks again!
You may be right.

Lyndsey Buckingham does that alot (even on electric).

Even so, there's a whole lot more flesh & nails hitting the strings than there is plastic.

...And I still think it sounds like a ladder-braced guitar.

By the way, one of my favorite ladder-braced guitars was the old Gibson LG1 (played here with a pick, and in a fairly 'live' room with an on-camera mic):
Old 24th April 2018
  #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 12ax7 View Post
You may be right.

Lyndsey Buckingham does that alot (even on electric).

Even so, there's a whole lot more flesh & nails hitting the strings than there is plastic.

...And I still think it sounds like a ladder-braced guitar.

By the way, one of my favorite ladder-braced guitars was the old Gibson LG1 (played here with a pick, and in a fairly 'live' room with an on-camera mic):
Yeah, Lindsey is a madman - don't think I've ever even seen him use a pick on his electric - but of course that's a lot more forgiving. I've seen some guys with a pretty strong thumb, usually the have a long thumb nail - whatever works I guess, but for this bassline type pickin' I find a pick is necessary for me - tears my thumb up otherwise and I'm not growing a cocaine nail

I used to have an LG-0, loved the way it played and felt, but it was starting to have issues so I sold it. Always wanted to see what the LG-1 was like, seems a step up from the 0. Nice playing in the video - but you can hear there that those strings are making it sound thin and metallic (in my opinion). I know the recording isn't great, but I can still tell that's not the sound I'm looking for - although I can hear from the guitar that the body style might be a good fit - there's still something in the strings that I feel like they had back then that we don't have now??? I dunno, maybe it's just me
Old 24th April 2018
  #49
Quote:
Originally Posted by blotto View Post
I haven't heard this before. Interesting because I feel I'm always fighting a metallic/aggressive sound. I'm using rme ff800. I bought this one used because the reviews were very good. Would you consider these cheap converters?
I don't disagree that cheap or especially old, cheap converters can deliver a less than finely detailed sound that can often end up making many instruments sound harsh, brittle, metallic, etc.

But decent prosumer and up converters should raise one up above that level of damage to the sound. In general, the differences between modern, semi-pro and pro converters will create much less variation than, say, the differences between cheap and good mics, or, of course, between various mic positions.

In a context where one is trying to sort through many, inter-dependent variables, it's good to be wary about glomming onto one particular aspect as 'the' problem and focusing all one's attention on that -- when the problem is so often a combination of multiple factors.
Old 24th April 2018
  #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StevieD009 View Post
... you can hear there that those strings are making it sound thin and metallic (in my opinion).
Maybe I'm just not getting what "thin and metallic" means.

Regardless, I want to show you this so you don't have a mistaken impression of what a Martin parlor with steel strings sounds like. Similar to a D but shorter scale. Apologies in advance because this is a demo reel for TV & commercials, but it's what I had handy. It's the second snippet from the top, about :07 in. Pretty sure the strings weren't brand new. Also pretty sure the lead & comping are both the parlor, because I would have been too lazy to switch.

Martin Steel-String Parlor.
Old 24th April 2018
  #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StevieD009 View Post
Nice playing in the video - but you can hear there that those strings are making it sound thin and metallic (in my opinion). I know the recording isn't great, but I can still tell that's not the sound I'm looking for - although I can hear from the guitar that the body style might be a good fit - there's still something in the strings that I feel like they had back then that we don't have now??? I dunno, maybe it's just me
Well, from what I hear you saying, I'd just ditch the pick for the sound you want:
If its still too 'metallic', try an 'electric' nickel-wrapped set (with a wound g-string).

...Want it even 'darker'?

Switch to flatwound strings.
.
Old 24th April 2018
  #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Maybe I'm just not getting what "thin and metallic" means.

Regardless, I want to show you this so you don't have a mistaken impression of what a Martin parlor with steel strings sounds like. Similar to a D but shorter scale. Apologies in advance because this is a demo reel for TV & commercials, but it's what I had handy. It's the second snippet from the top, about :07 in. Pretty sure the strings weren't brand new. Also pretty sure the lead & comping are both the parlor, because I would have been too lazy to switch.

Martin Steel-String Parlor.
It's hard to describe it - the best way I can say it is that I see/hear guys using a pick, and really digging in, but the guitar isn't ringing out so much that it sounds muddy, or not so bright/metallic sounding that it is unpleasing to hear those chords strummed. It's a "dark," purposefully "dull" sound. But yeah, I think a parlor will have a better attack as far as what I'm looking for, hard to say from the clip because you're playing Gypsy Jazz one-note stuff, whereas I'm looking to hear what the strum sounds like. Again, listen to early Dylan, then listen to a modern recording of anyone strumming any modern guitar and you'll hear what I mean.
Old 24th April 2018
  #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 12ax7 View Post

When I said "he's not using a pick", I was talking about the Joan Baez video (not the Dylan).

...And yeah, I agree Bob's playing on nylon with a pick there.
.
Got and I fixed it - it gets confusing around here with so many posts flying.

Old 24th April 2018
  #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharp11 View Post
Got and I fixed it - it gets confusing around here with so many posts flying.

Ah...

...Just noticed that myself.

No worries!
.
Old 24th April 2018
  #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 12ax7 View Post
Well, from what I hear you saying, I'd just ditch the pick for the sound you want:
If its still too 'metallic', try an 'electric' nickel-wrapped set (with a wound g-string).

...Want it even 'darker'?

Switch to flatwound strings.
.
Why didn't you guys tell me about flatwound strings :D Seriously, I've never tried them, sounds like they might possibly get me closer to the sound I'm looking for. Gonna try the Martin Retros as well as recommended, I'll report back if any of these solutions work out. Thanks again!

P.S. I use a pick a lot less than I used to these days - partly because I like fingerpicking chords to add some arpeggio interest, rather than just strumming them out. Having said that - ditching the pick isn't really an option when you're playing Dylan style folk - you just can't get that kind of attack/tone with the flesh of your thumb, and personally it will tear my thumb up. The point of this is getting the tone that Dylan and the likes got, and he and his crop all used picks when strumming those bass line / chord strumming patterns.
Old 24th April 2018
  #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StevieD009 View Post
To be clear, trying to alter the sound of the guitar, not my recordings. My recordings are fine, I have plenty of mics to choose from and a treated room. The mics can only pick up what sound is coming out of the guitar - need to get it right at the source.
.... but asking your real-life guitar to sound like 50 year-old (lo fi) recordings is probably not attainable
Old 24th April 2018
  #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StevieD009 View Post
It's a good theory, but I have to agree with the other poster, I still don't think Dylan is playing on Nylons - I think it's the sound of the strings/guitar that are making them sound less bright/metallic -
It's ... the .... recording.
Old 24th April 2018
  #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharp11 View Post
It's ... the .... recording.
Listen to a pre-war Martin next to a new Martin and you'll see that it isn't just the recording. Anyone with a discerning ear can take into account what is happening in the recording and still draw a conclusion that these guitars sounded different back then. It's the guitar, strings, player, etc.

Having said that - you're right, I don't expect my modern D-28 to sound like a pre-war parlor guitar, because even Martin is making their instruments sound brighter for a modern-minded consumer. And yes, I'm not going to hear myself through a 1950s recording (by the way, I don't agree with your lo-fi statement, that Dylan video has some pretty hi-fi mics on him). All I'm asking is for ideas/ways to dampen the sustain and brightness of the guitar I have. That has nothing to do with the recording process. Thanks for your input.
Old 24th April 2018
  #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StevieD009 View Post
Why didn't you guys tell me about flatwound strings :D Seriously, I've never tried them, sounds like they might possibly get me closer to the sound I'm looking for. Gonna try the Martin Retros as well as recommended, I'll report back if any of these solutions work out. Thanks again!

P.S. I use a pick a lot less than I used to these days - partly because I like fingerpicking chords to add some arpeggio interest, rather than just strumming them out. Having said that - ditching the pick isn't really an option when you're playing Dylan style folk - you just can't get that kind of attack/tone with the flesh of your thumb, and personally it will tear my thumb up. The point of this is getting the tone that Dylan and the likes got, and he and his crop all used picks when strumming those bass line / chord strumming patterns.
From what I've read in your posts, I think flatwounds just might make a whole lotta of difference for ya.
As for the thumb thang, it all depends upon quite a few things: How is your thumb built? How hard is your thumbnail? Etc.

In order to independently use the thumb for anything but 'the fleshy sound', some folks need a thumb-pick (which makes it hard to get 'the fleshy sound' when ya want it).

...But one thing is for sure: You can get pretty close to a "pick sound" with your nails, but you can't really get a 'flesh sound' with a pick.

...And with a bit of practice, you can also learn to vary the "pickyness-to-fleshiness ratio" on a moment-to-moment basis "on the fly".

Myself, I will often use a pick, but its mostly so I can keep my nails from wearing away.

(I happen to be one of those who when I use a pick, I feel like I'm wearing 7 condoms on my right hand!)
.
Old 24th April 2018
  #60
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You might try a nylon pick and a heavier gauge. Nails are much more mellow. I like a light pick so will actually hold the pick so I'm playing with one of the top corners rather than the sharp end, sorta sideways. Mellows out the strum and gets rid of the clickyness. For recording I'd always go with nails......Elderly Music in chicago carries a bunch of different folk/bluegrass strings and are good people......
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