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Folk strumming acoustic tone Condenser Microphones
Old 24th April 2018
  #91
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboJets View Post
Don't bother with the Martin Retro's. I recently tried them and feel like the marketing is a gimmick. I let them settle down for a few weeks but they just don't sound good.

The only way to get the softer sound of old strings is to use old strings.

My favorite "flatwounds" are Thomastik Infeld Plectrums. The A, D and G are flatwound. These strings have such a balanced and mellow sound. Love them and have been using them for about 2 years. Worth the extra money 100%.

I play with skin more often than not and have gotten to the point where I don't care for using a pick. Some things call for it, but...

There is a modern acoustic guitar made in the USA by Guild that has that classic Guild "dead and woody" sound that is "vintage" in vibe. The new Guild M20 was designed specifically to bring back that Nick Drake sound of the original. IMO they did a great job.

You said yourself, you want to attack this at the source and I agree with you. Which means...its all about the guitar.
Doh, I already ordered some lol well, can't hurt to try for $8 -- I've been toying with the idea of trying the Thomastiks, maybe it's time to bite the bullet and see how they sound. I'm afraid I'll like them and have to keep buying them :D

I'm working on getting that thumb and fingers to do the work, it's a transition. But like you say, some things call for a pick.

Hmm, the M20 seems interesting. I'll have to try and get my hands on one. The only guitar store in my town is Guitar Center and they don't stock anything decent to try out haha. Thanks for the advice!
Old 24th April 2018
  #92
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12ax7's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by StevieD009 View Post
Thank you 12ax7,
I've tried to articulate this numerous times - folks get stuck on the recording so easily around here. Doesn't matter if it's a pro studio track or home bootlegs from that era, you can still tell that it is the guitar that sounds different. Like I said, anyone who knows recording can account for the recording itself - there's some good advice on recording to be had here, but thanks for helping to keep things on track with the original post.
Thanx.

Believe me, I'm not trying to be difficult here.

Its just that the whole reason this sub-forum exists is to differentiate "guitar talk" from the typical discourse about pre-amps, mics, analog v. digital, or what-have-you.

Don't get me wrong; those are VERY good things to talk about (but that's what all the other sub-forums are for).
.
Old 24th April 2018
  #93
Gear Guru
OK I'm not trying to be difficult either but a acoustic sound is as dependent on the mic and preamp as an electric with what pickups your using and what amp. Maybe even more so, since you're ultimately recording it....So when you're chasing a "sound" I don't think it's a big reach to discuss what mics might work with preamps. May make a bigger difference than what string, pick, or even guitar you're using....

Honestly people talk about Kempers, amps, modelling and all sorts of things on this subforum, unless I'm mistaken, but at this point wasting I'm wasting my time and I guess.... yours....
Old 24th April 2018
  #94
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12ax7's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ardis View Post
OK I'm not trying to be difficult either but a acoustic sound is as dependent on the mic and preamp as an electric with what pickups your using and what amp. Maybe even more so, since you're ultimately recording it....So when you're chasing a "sound" I don't think it's a big reach to discuss what mics might work with preamps. May make a bigger difference than what string, pick, or even guitar you're using....

Honestly people talk about Kempers, amps, modelling and all sorts of things on this subforum, unless I'm mistaken, but at this point wasting I'm wasting my time and I guess.... yours....
Well, okay, but these things are only important when recording or using a PA system.

...Believe it or not, there are some people who want to "get their sound" BEFORE they even consider such things.

I do not mean to say that the things you're on about should be off-limits on this sub-forum. (Far from it.)

...Only that they don't really have much to do with the questions raised in the OP of this thread (as has been reiterated by the OP himself).
(But I guess I'm kinda on the edge of bein' a dick here, so I'll STFU.)
.
Old 24th April 2018
  #95
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peller View Post
Sorry but that is utter nonsense.
The preamps in the focusrite and behringer are horrible. Their clocks are pitiful. Their converters are a joke. 3 - 3 = 0
Turtle beach is crap too, it's just really old crap.

Quote:
Originally Posted by whiteaxxxe View Post
Complete Bullsh**. Simply BS. No argument needed.
You do need an argument since those units are garbage. The only facepalm that occurs is when listening back to stuff recorded on those junky units. There are no quality components in any of those prosumer devices. Total garbage sound in all aspects. It comes down to component quality. The least expensive quality preamp is about $100 a channel yet behriger miraculously finds a way to give you 8 pres, 8converters and a clock for $200? wow.. yeah LOL
Old 24th April 2018
  #96
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cardinal_SINE View Post
The preamps in the focusrite and behringer are horrible...
How does a thread go from "guy wanting a different sound from the guitar in his lap" to this?
Old 24th April 2018
  #97
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12ax7's Avatar
 

Okay, I give up:
...So off I go to the "Electronic Music Forum" to post this video:
(and I don't use this emoticon very often)
.
Old 25th April 2018
  #98
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
How does a thread go from "guy wanting a different sound from the guitar in his lap" to this?
Hi Brent, it's the internet, it goes with the territory I guess?? But to be specific the OP said he was getting a "metallic" sound I was just throwing it out there that cheap interfaces will enhance metallic properties of drums and acoustic instruments. It's a combination of cheap micpres, A/D and clocks. I asked what converters he had. It's spawned fro there

thanks
Old 25th April 2018
  #99
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The guitar as you know is most of that sound. Beyond that I’ve never been too picky when it comes to strings: I have a particular set of gauges I prefer for different guitars and there are some types of strings that I avoid (can’t stand Elixirs for example), but beyond that I don’t really obsess over design or material except on bass where I find the differences tend to be amplified. Instead I’ll reach for a different size or material of pick to get the tonal change I want. The advantage of this approach is that (with a few exceptions) picks are dirt cheap and you can easily audition a bunch of them much more quickly than you can change strings.
Old 25th April 2018
  #100
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12ax7's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
How does a thread go from "guy wanting a different sound from the guitar in his lap" to this?
Because it's been a very long time since the sound of a guitar was typically evaluated without electricity involved.
.
Old 25th April 2018
  #101
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Sharp11's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by StevieD009 View Post
Thank you 12ax7,
I've tried to articulate this numerous times - folks get stuck on the recording so easily around here. Doesn't matter if it's a pro studio track or home bootlegs from that era, you can still tell that it is the guitar that sounds different. Like I said, anyone who knows recording can account for the recording itself - there's some good advice on recording to be had here, but thanks for helping to keep things on track with the original post.
Nope, sorry, this is just wrong. Your brain makes that jump, it says "hey I like that sound and I want my guitar to sound like that", but the reality is, with, say, the Dylan clip you think is Hi Fi because of the mic's; the reality is it's a 1964 recording, which is being broadcast on a you tube clip, I can almost guarantee there's nothing above 8k coming through.

That's what you're really hearing, a dull recording. All of the ones you keep referencing are like that.

This is not to be contentious, but it should explain why we keep mentioning the recording process.

Still, searching for a certain tone is great, but if you main reference is 60's era recordings, you're hearing the recording, not the guitar.
Old 25th April 2018
  #102
Incredible amount of total BS in this thread. A couple of guys have something to say but at least 90% of what has been posted here is nonsense and should be ignored. Nearly all the people posting were not around at the time and have not studied the techniques that were used at the time.

Two things are paramount.

Number one - mic quality.

Number two - mic placement.

We'll start with the second first.

Rule #1 DO NOT CLOSE MIC. MOST of the problems you're having are artifacts associate with close micing. String artifacts, pick artifacts, fingerboard artifacts are all caused by the mic (ONE mic) being too close. The mic should be at a distance of 2 to 3 feet, at which point many of the problems you're having will go away.

Close micing of acoustic guitar is something that did not really become popular until the later '70s, when ther very artifacts you're trying to eliminate were viewed as desirable because they helped cut through the relatively loud rock mixes of the day.

When you're doing this you need a high quality microphone. And when I say "high quality" I'm talking about mics that cost a lot more than the kind of mics most of the people offering "advice" here are suggesting. Most suitable mics are LDCs costing between $1400 used and up. If you look at studio photos from the period you're talking about the mics you see in photos of the folk guitarists you're talking about are Telefunken/Neumann U47/U48s, Neumann U67s, AKG C12s, and ELAM 251s. These are all mics that now sell in the $15,000 and up range. Now, obviously you're probably not going to be able to afford those, but there are modern mics that can do a reasonable job, but you have to be selective. The Flea 47 is a good U47 substitute for about 4 grand new. The Pearlman TM-1 is a decent U47-ish substitute that retails for $1,760 new and can be found used around $1,200, give or take. I have 2 of them. There are other suitable mics around - you might talk to Shannon at Mic Rehab in Nashville about one of his custom builds.

Another mic worthy of serious consideration is the Neumann KM84 SDC. NOT the current KM184 - Neumann redesigned the head amp to sound "more modern" by adding a presence peak and more or less screwed the pooch. The original KM84 is actually one of the best mics ever made for recording acoustic guitar (and many, many other things) and the good news is that they can still be found for around $1,000 if you're patient and look around. I have one and am in the market for a couple more.

The KM84 has one of the most even off-axis response characteristics of any mic. Off-axis response is key to micing at a distance, as poor off-axis response is what makes most common mics not work well at a distance. At a distance you pick up room tone and if the off-axis pickup sounds bad it ruins the recording. Insulation pimps have got rich selling room treatment that really isn't needed because the problem is the mic, not the room. Some of the most popular and well known "affordable" mics, such as the SM57 and MD421 have really bad off axis response. Avoid such mics. If you use a mic with good off-axis response the room tone will generally add a nice ambience to the sound that sounds much more natural than artificial reverb added later.
Old 25th April 2018
  #103
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So, John Eppstein: is Dylan playing steel strings or nylon?
Old 25th April 2018
  #104
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TimS View Post
The guitar as you know is most of that sound. Beyond that I’ve never been too picky when it comes to strings: I have a particular set of gauges I prefer for different guitars and there are some types of strings that I avoid (can’t stand Elixirs for example), but beyond that I don’t really obsess over design or material except on bass where I find the differences tend to be amplified. Instead I’ll reach for a different size or material of pick to get the tonal change I want. The advantage of this approach is that (with a few exceptions) picks are dirt cheap and you can easily audition a bunch of them much more quickly than you can change strings.
Cool, any advice on picks you've used for different tones? I'm pretty happy with the switch I made to the Fred Kelly's, but maybe there's something softer or a different material I don't know of? Thanks!
Old 25th April 2018
  #105
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StevieD009 View Post
Cool, any advice on picks you've used for different tones? I'm pretty happy with the switch I made to the Fred Kelly's, but maybe there's something softer or a different material I don't know of? Thanks!
It’s probably going a bit too far but if you want REALLY warm the Wedgies will get you there. That pick almost sounds like you’re playing fingerstyle.
Old 25th April 2018
  #106
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharp11 View Post
Nope, sorry, this is just wrong. Your brain makes that jump, it says "hey I like that sound and I want my guitar to sound like that", but the reality is, with, say, the Dylan clip you think is Hi Fi because of the mic's; the reality is it's a 1964 recording, which is being broadcast on a you tube clip, I can almost guarantee there's nothing above 8k coming through.

That's what you're really hearing, a dull recording. All of the ones you keep referencing are like that.

This is not to be contentious, but it should explain why we keep mentioning the recording process.

Still, searching for a certain tone is great, but if you main reference is 60's era recordings, you're hearing the recording, not the guitar.
I agree that the age of the recording, and it being compressed on Youtube are going to "dull" the recording sound, but someone like myself who has been playing acoustics for years can tell that the guitar has a certain tone and quality, I don't know how to make it any clearer to you. You can listen to the proper albums on vinyl, that's a lot more hi-fi than we're getting with the compressed music we hear nowadays - even on the proper albums, you're not hearing a bunch of sharp metallic twang, etc. Now, granted, some of that can be done with EQ, but mics can only pick up the sound that is being directed to them, and that's why we're talking about acoustic guitar tone.

Anyone who had played multiple acoustics built for multiple purposes in multiple eras with a variety of strings and picks etc. etc. can tell you it is the sound of the guitar!

Everything folks on here are telling me about recording - mic placement, preamps, mic choice, etc. etc. I already know. I've experimented when recording and I've gotten some pretty good results, but still - the sound at the source is the issue, and I'm looking to change that.

If you can't hear that the acoustic Dylan is playing back then is a lot different than the sounds we're getting today, regardless of the recording method, then we'll just agree to disagree. Recording technique has it's place, but that's not what I'm asking about here. Thanks!
Old 25th April 2018
  #107
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
Incredible amount of total BS in this thread. A couple of guys have something to say but at least 90% of what has been posted here is nonsense and should be ignored. Nearly all the people posting were not around at the time and have not studied the techniques that were used at the time.

Two things are paramount.

Number one - mic quality.

Number two - mic placement.

We'll start with the second first.

Rule #1 DO NOT CLOSE MIC. MOST of the problems you're having are artifacts associate with close micing. String artifacts, pick artifacts, fingerboard artifacts are all caused by the mic (ONE mic) being too close. The mic should be at a distance of 2 to 3 feet, at which point many of the problems you're having will go away.

Close micing of acoustic guitar is something that did not really become popular until the later '70s, when ther very artifacts you're trying to eliminate were viewed as desirable because they helped cut through the relatively loud rock mixes of the day.

When you're doing this you need a high quality microphone. And when I say "high quality" I'm talking about mics that cost a lot more than the kind of mics most of the people offering "advice" here are suggesting. Most suitable mics are LDCs costing between $1400 used and up. If you look at studio photos from the period you're talking about the mics you see in photos of the folk guitarists you're talking about are Telefunken/Neumann U47/U48s, Neumann U67s, AKG C12s, and ELAM 251s. These are all mics that now sell in the $15,000 and up range. Now, obviously you're probably not going to be able to afford those, but there are modern mics that can do a reasonable job, but you have to be selective. The Flea 47 is a good U47 substitute for about 4 grand new. The Pearlman TM-1 is a decent U47-ish substitute that retails for $1,760 new and can be found used around $1,200, give or take. I have 2 of them. There are other suitable mics around - you might talk to Shannon at Mic Rehab in Nashville about one of his custom builds.

Another mic worthy of serious consideration is the Neumann KM84 SDC. NOT the current KM184 - Neumann redesigned the head amp to sound "more modern" by adding a presence peak and more or less screwed the pooch. The original KM84 is actually one of the best mics ever made for recording acoustic guitar (and many, many other things) and the good news is that they can still be found for around $1,000 if you're patient and look around. I have one and am in the market for a couple more.

The KM84 has one of the most even off-axis response characteristics of any mic. Off-axis response is key to micing at a distance, as poor off-axis response is what makes most common mics not work well at a distance. At a distance you pick up room tone and if the off-axis pickup sounds bad it ruins the recording. Insulation pimps have got rich selling room treatment that really isn't needed because the problem is the mic, not the room. Some of the most popular and well known "affordable" mics, such as the SM57 and MD421 have really bad off axis response. Avoid such mics. If you use a mic with good off-axis response the room tone will generally add a nice ambience to the sound that sounds much more natural than artificial reverb added later.
Thanks. I know how to mic an acoustic, and I'm pretty oldschool when it comes to micing technique - most of what I'm recording is one mic (MD441) set pretty far out and just singing/playing into it. Or 2 mics (441/SM81 or SM57 on the guitar), and I don't close mic anything. You have good advice, but I have to disagree with you and all the other people on this thread focusing on recording gear to get a certain tone from an acoustic. I'm not talking recording here, although inevitably I'm recording my music, I'm trying to get it to sound as best as I can at the source. It doesn't matter what mic you put on it, it will still have the same tone. Granted, the type of mic, distance of mic, preamp, EQ, etc. etc. will all effect the sound in a certain way. But I can't stress enough that you guys are going in the wrong direction here - we're talking difference in tone of acoustic guitars - not recordings. Thanks!
Old 25th April 2018
  #108
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TimS View Post
It’s probably going a bit too far but if you want REALLY warm the Wedgies will get you there. That pick almost sounds like you’re playing fingerstyle.
Hmm, interesting - it's worth a shot, thanks!
Old 25th April 2018
  #109
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12ax7's Avatar
 

@StevieD009 (the OP):

If you want more control over your thumb-picking, you might want to consider the "Un-Thumb" pick.

Read about it at the bottom of this page:
Crossover Pick Product Q&A
.
Old 25th April 2018
  #110
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TurboJets's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by TimS View Post
It’s probably going a bit too far but if you want REALLY warm the Wedgies will get you there. That pick almost sounds like you’re playing fingerstyle.
Are you talking about the rubber model, or nylon?
Old 25th April 2018
  #111
Quote:
Originally Posted by StevieD009 View Post
I agree that the age of the recording, and it being compressed on Youtube are going to "dull" the recording sound, but someone like myself who has been playing acoustics for years can tell that the guitar has a certain tone and quality, I don't know how to make it any clearer to you. You can listen to the proper albums on vinyl, that's a lot more hi-fi than we're getting with the compressed music we hear nowadays - even on the proper albums, you're not hearing a bunch of sharp metallic twang, etc. Now, granted, some of that can be done with EQ, but mics can only pick up the sound that is being directed to them, and that's why we're talking about acoustic guitar tone.

Anyone who had played multiple acoustics built for multiple purposes in multiple eras with a variety of strings and picks etc. etc. can tell you it is the sound of the guitar!

Everything folks on here are telling me about recording - mic placement, preamps, mic choice, etc. etc. I already know. I've experimented when recording and I've gotten some pretty good results, but still - the sound at the source is the issue, and I'm looking to change that.

If you can't hear that the acoustic Dylan is playing back then is a lot different than the sounds we're getting today, regardless of the recording method, then we'll just agree to disagree. Recording technique has it's place, but that's not what I'm asking about here. Thanks!
There are a lot of different guitar sounds on early Dylan albums...

Maybe it would help some of us to know specifically what tracks you're thinking of.
Old 25th April 2018
  #112
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Sharp11's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by StevieD009 View Post
Anyone who had played multiple acoustics built for multiple purposes in multiple eras with a variety of strings and picks etc. etc. can tell you it is the sound of the guitar!
Well, not this "anyone" - I've been playing and recording guitars for 40 years, professionally. You're right though, we'll just agree to disagree.

Old 25th April 2018
  #113
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
There are a lot of different guitar sounds on early Dylan albums...

Maybe it would help some of us to know specifically what tracks you're thinking of.
Hard rain's a gonna fall
Song to Woody
Anything on Freewheelin'

That signature Dylan strum pattern - there are a couple different guitar sounds (not sure that I would agree that there are a lot), but the one thing that is constant is the guitar has a very mellow sound - a short sustain yet a pronounced attack. You just can't get that with microphone placement or post-processing, regardless of what folks on here are saying. Anyway, to me it's a matter of guitar, strumming style, strings, etc. The whole reason I started this thread was because I imagined there might be some duller sounding strings, or some trick (some have mentioned dampening techniques on the guitar). Thanks!
Old 25th April 2018
  #114
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharp11 View Post
Well, not this "anyone" - I've been playing and recording guitars for 40 years, professionally. You're right though, we'll just agree to disagree.

I think we're just talking 2 different things. I can agree that the recording process will have a good deal to do with the sound that I'm hearing, as I'm sure you can agree that the guitar itself has a great deal to do with the tonal characteristics of the sound. I think we're just approaching it from different perspectives. Thanks again!
Old 25th April 2018
  #115
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboJets View Post
Are you talking about the rubber model, or nylon?
I think he's talking the rubbers - will be the first time I've used a rubber in a while

Might be too much as he said, but it's worth a shot. I remember trying some kind of cloth pick a long time ago and hated the feel of it, but I'm open to trying some things out as I've changed the dynamics of my playing quite a bit in the past few years.
Old 25th April 2018
  #116
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

I've gotten more interested in this than I really ought to, and listened a lot. Lots of stuff on the first couple albums. Looked at a bunch of photos, too.

Several different vocal mics, some of which would hear a lot of guitar while others wouldn't. A couple different SDC's on the guitar, sometimes pointed straight down to reject the vocal and especially the harp, sometimes not (on non-harp songs, maybe.)

Throughout all these different miking setups, the guitar sounds pretty much the same from song to song. And most of the photos have the same guitar in them. Which leads me to believe the main things are the instrument and the player.

As for the player, lots of attention has been paid to strings and picks and picking style. But another thing I've noticed is his left hand. It's wimpy. Whether due to actual wimpiness or by design. Meaning the notes never really ring out, they sorta half-die. And I'm changing my mind about the strings in the Newport video. They're steel, but his left hand is choking them.

And not terribly on topic, but back to the photos... even in the vast acreage of Columbia 7th Ave., it's a little bit ridiculous to mic a vocal and guitar with those ginormous Starbird stands. Like using a hook and ladder truck to water your lawn.

Last edited by Brent Hahn; 25th April 2018 at 08:18 PM..
Old 25th April 2018
  #117
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StevieD009 View Post
I think he's talking the rubbers - will be the first time I've used a rubber in a while

Might be too much as he said, but it's worth a shot. I remember trying some kind of cloth pick a long time ago and hated the feel of it, but I'm open to trying some things out as I've changed the dynamics of my playing quite a bit in the past few years.
Yeah I’m talking about the rubber ones. I like them a lot for warm electric guitar leads in sparse ballads or on bass for those times where you’d like something that splits the difference between a picked and fingerstyle sound.
Old 25th April 2018
  #118
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
I've gotten more interested in this than I really ought to, and listened a lot. Lots of stuff on the first couple albums. Looked at a bunch of photos, too.

Several different vocal mics, some of which would hear a lot of guitar while others wouldn't. A couple different SDC's on the guitar, sometimes pointed straight down to reject the vocal and especially the harp, sometimes not (on non-harp songs, maybe.)

Throughout all these different miking setups, the guitar sounds pretty much the same from song to song. And most of the photos have the same guitar in them. Which leads me to believe the main things are the instrument and the player.

As for the player, lots of attention has been paid to strings and picks and picking style. But another thing I've noticed is his left hand. It's wimpy. Whether due to actual wimpiness or by design. Meaning the notes never really ring out, they sorta half-die.

And not terribly on topic, but back to the photos... even in the vast acreage of Columbia 7th Ave., it's a little bit ridiculous to mic a vocal and guitar with those ginormous Starbird stands. Like using a hook and ladder truck to water your lawn.
Thanks Brent,
That's what I've been trying to articulate to those calling for mic/recording techniques - that the guitar is still the guitar and still puts out the same tone, so that's where the change needs to happen. Good observations here - there may be something to say for trying to mute a bit via the left hand, as you say. Wish I knew what king of strings/picks those guys were using - not to say that it's going to make or break the sound, but I have a feeling there's something in the materials. But, as you elude to, may be mostly in the technique of the player - and I think those old Martin 00s have the sound I'm searching for. I may never know 'cause you just don't get a chance to play those very often.

You're right about that mic setup at Newport - crazy overkill, but I guess they just wanted as many options on the back-end as possible, or maybe they thought it looked important back then :D
Old 25th April 2018
  #119
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TimS View Post
Yeah I’m talking about the rubber ones. I like them a lot for warm electric guitar leads in sparse ballads or on bass for those times where you’d like something that splits the difference between a picked and fingerstyle sound.
Cool, thanks again - I'll check 'em out and report back here.
Got a lot of ideas from this thread, even after it descended into a beginner's recording thread lol No matter, I welcome any and all advice and, for what it's worth, I take it all into account.
Thanks all!
Old 25th April 2018
  #120
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by StevieD009 View Post
... and I think those old Martin 00s have the sound I'm searching for.
Most of the early Dylan studio photos have him playing either a Martin O or a Martin D.

Quote:
You're right about that mic setup at Newport...
I love it when people think I'm right. But I'm pretty sure someone else said that.
Topic:
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