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James Taylor guitar sound
Old 28th January 2007
  #1
Gear Addict
James Taylor guitar sound

Hi ...before the obvious gets stated . Yes , He`s got an 8k+ Olsen . Yes he uses a capo alot ...yes he`s a great player . Lets see .....

I`m a pro , I `m using a 1947 Gibson LG2 that is my favorite ac gt . yet .
I realize that a small body mahogany gtr will sound drier , woodier and with less rosewood sparkle at the source.....

So keeping those variables in mind ..I`m having trouble with my current setup and I`m not sure who the main culprit is . Suffice it to say the performer(me) and instrument are not the things I plan to change . I want to make the color of the Gibson part of a sound that`ll work as a unique sound to blend with the singer I produce . It almost has a nylon string sweetness on the high notes and has defined clarity on the lower notes ..and sings ! We`ll be doing some really sparse songs with gtr and voice way up front .

I`m using a pair of Beyer MC930`s (KM84 family) touted by Beyer for clarity and flatness. Best results seem to be at a right angle above the neck joint .
I`m using my only pre ...Chandler TG2 chosen for el gt but for now will make do for everything .
through a mytek 192 into PT 002 .

I`ve also experimented with an Alesis/GT AM 62 tube LDC at the neck joint .

ALL results sound a bit distant and boomy on certain lower registers .

I also have a Geffel MV200 with the hypercardiod capsule .It sounds more upfront than the Beyers but because the capsule is so focused , I feel I`m getting a sometimes nasal bandwidth of the big picture .

My suspicion is I have good tools and a lousy room . I`ve tried building a more dead
ambience with blankets hung up behind me and a foam pad in front of me in the corner of the room ....better but still lacking impact .

HELP...please ,,,which would I change to get closer to the intimate but round James Taylor fingerpick ...?

A faster , cleaner pre ? Hamptone Jfet?,BAG?Langevin?

Different mics ? I`m open to rethinking everything on the mics ,,,but not too high budget ..Dragonfly ? AT4050? LDC? , SDC? , Ribbon?

I could post a sample if I wasn`t such a dinosaur ...don`t know how !

Please .I`ve learned so much here (enough to get me into trouble !) and am caught midstream on this.
Thanks to you all ...Paul
Old 28th January 2007
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
alessio's Avatar
 

A small advice, I'm an Acoustic guitar player too and even a James Taylor fan... It's seems there's nothing wrong with your equipment.. Try to put your mics where your ears are... And rise up the mic pre... And comp a little bit but do it...
Alessio
www.spazisonori.com
Old 28th January 2007
  #3
Gear Addict
Salve ! ...grazie , I tried the LDC up by my ear but ran into trouble with the room..I lost definition ....I guess I`ll try getting a hold of some more cables and look for a different space .
Old 28th January 2007
  #4
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Surfkat's Avatar
 

I think the best thing you can do is put yourself in a position to A/B different mics and different pres. Maybe find a friend or studio or dealer where you can record a passage with 3 or 4 different mics. Pick your fav mic. Then repeat with 3 or 4 different pres. Put all these sounds on CD and listen to them at home. This might save you a lot of time and money in the long run in finding the gear that works best with your guitar and your playing techniques.

I personally prefer the sound of a "hi-fi" tube pre on acoustic guitar over the mid-forward sound of discrete mic pres. Best of luck on your search and don't forget to enjoy the journey.
Old 28th January 2007
  #5
Gear Guru
 
u b k's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MooWahmBah View Post
Salve ! ...grazie , I tried the LDC up by my ear but ran into trouble with the room..I lost definition.

that's because, based on what you've told us, the room is your problem. making the room more dead is not the way to go, because your deadening solutions are merely killing the hi end, where the sparkle, shimmer, and life reside. you're still left with the murky, undefined lows, only now you've got more of them in relation to everything else.

lately i've gotten into the habit of telling people that we don't listen to sources (speakers, guitars, etc.), we listen to rooms that have sources in them. this idea cannot be overstated, ignore it at your own peril. your guitar outside sounds totally different than your guitar in a bathroom, your guitar in a church sounds different still and your guitar in a closet is a whole different animal.

in every james taylor recording, if you pay attention, you will hear as much (or more) air around the guitar as the guitar itself. the engineers of his time knew a thing or three about mic placement, about letting instruments breathe before capturing the sound. your instinct to back the mic off the instrument is correct, the fact that you then get too much crappy room sound means that your problem has made itself perfectly clear. in a world class room, you can stick an ldc 6 feet away and on playback it's so intimate it sounds like it's caressing your ears.

treat your room; 703 is a miracle worker. you'll want most of what you do to be broadband absorption (corner bass trapping), with a LITTLE bit of diffusion and spot deadening. ethan winer's site is a godsend, read everything you can. spend a thousand bucks on acoustics, and all the gear you already have will sound ten times better.


gregoire
del
ubk
.
Old 28th January 2007
  #6
Gear Addict
Hi UBK ..thanks for the bitter pill ...I understand more now about what`s happening . El GT can benefit from a dull room ...I realize ac gtr won`t be as forgiving ...Shot in the dark ?
Unfortunately , i`m in a rented apt and overseas ...I`d need cheap and available aternatives to pro baffles . I`ll look into it .

I have acess to my friends studio and intend on calling him tommorrow . He`s got millenia`s HV-3 , a pair of DPA 4011`s. a Rode NT4 ....I figure between his and my stuff .I`ll learn alot .....
I didn`t realize James Taylors sound involved that much room . Thanks for the info .
Old 28th January 2007
  #7
Lives for gear
 
allencollins's Avatar
 

Face it.... Two acoustic guitars made on the same day from wood from the same stock made with the same glue, hardware ,lacquer etc... will not sound the same. Plain and simple.

Just like drums the key of the song will also affect how the instrument interacts with the other mix elemnts. In otherwords, the same guitar played on two different songs will create different timbres. This is mainly because of chord voicings and the intonation incosistencies of fretted instuments.

It has to do with psychoacoustics which I know nothing about. But I do
know that for years this the phenomina has pissed me the fuc* off
Old 28th January 2007
  #8
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lord_bunny's Avatar
 

u bk is right about distance. something i'm always mentioning is that to get a really phase happy 2nd mic placement try using an LDC aimed at the ceiling under the bout of the guitar aimed approx. across the bridge. when you add that with the one pointed at the 14th fret (from as far away as your pre and room with permit) it's a very nice and punchy... full sound. I find that you need very little eq at this point. I am an acoustic player, and this in combination with either my Taylor 414 or my Martin SWD-Rb has always worked for me.

I've got a small room, and it shows in the recording... the piano, guitars, drums are very in your face. if you want that james taylor sound with the beautiful separation... you need the big room. i find if you have a small room and just add verb... it sounds just like that!
Old 28th January 2007
  #9
Gear Addict
 

Well, I'm not a big JT fan but was talking to an acoustic guitar player who is one who told me that JT uses ALOT of compression on his stuff.....a suprising amount.

So maybe that figures into it.
Old 29th January 2007
  #10
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluegrasser View Post
Well, I'm not a big JT fan but was talking to an acoustic guitar player who is one who told me that JT uses ALOT of compression on his stuff.....a suprising amount.

So maybe that figures into it.
Thanks for that ..MORE stuff to buy !!!!! .no really , good point .I`ll try that too .
Old 2nd May 2012
  #11
Here for the gear
 

Stick a 57 really close up to the sound hole
Old 2nd May 2012
  #12
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jnorman's Avatar
i know that JT uses SM81s as live mics, and i have seen video of him using those in his studio too. but i have also seen videos of him using a U87 in the studio. the mc930 has a sort of weird high end lift that i found awkward with acoustic instruments. i would consider changing mics if i were you. if you want clean, transparent, fast and accurate, try DPA 4011s. if you want warm and pleasant, try schoeps CMC64. if you want a "musical" sounding mic, try KM140 or U87. if things are too bright, or plinky, use the mic(s) mor off-axis. for preamp, if you want it a bit more punchy and warm, look at a vintech 1272. if you want it clean and fast, HV3, forsell or DAV BG1. and of course, you can always use compression as an effect on your sound - the API 2500 is good ig ITB. a good pultec style EQ is always your friend...
Old 2nd May 2012
  #13
Lives for gear
A couple or three things to add to what's been said:

How far away are your mics? I don't think you said.

Some people love omni mode for acoustic guitars, pretty close in with no proximity effect.

Another recommendation is to play close to something reflective (door, solid furniture). That's from a SOS article.
Old 3rd May 2012
  #14
Lives for gear
 

I could swear that on many of JT's albums say in the last 10 years, they are also using a piezo type pickup with a mic.
Old 3rd May 2012
  #15
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John N View Post
I could swear that on many of JT's albums say in the last 10 years, they are also using a piezo type pickup with a mic.
you beat me to it - i've definitely read somewhere, apparently reliable, that he used a contact pickup in conjunction with an sdc on the sound hole.
just went to watch a live performance of fire and rain from the 70s. what can you say?
Old 3rd May 2012
  #16
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guitarmax_99's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John N View Post
I could swear that on many of JT's albums say in the last 10 years, they are also using a piezo type pickup with a mic.
I agree. His recent recordings absolutely sound like he's using a piezo pickup with a mic.

To the OP - I can't imagine that you couldn't get a good sound with your gear. Just curious if you have experimented with Hi Pass Filtering on your tracks? In my experience, a GENTLE low shelf starting around 120 Hz can really clean up the mud.

For my last solo CD I used a close miking technique involving two SDC's pointing at the upper bout. You can hear a sample of that sound (and a description of the technique) at the following link:

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/5439390-post6.html
Old 3rd May 2012
  #17
Lives for gear
Ask Richard Orshofff. He engineered Mudslide Jim and he just joined our forum.

He was answering questions about Jackson Browne here:

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/so-mu...wne-album.html
Old 3rd May 2012
  #18
mds
Lives for gear
 

Not sure if this was mentioned, but playing fingerstyle with nails is a big part of his sound, imo. He plays with almost classical technique and uses acrylic nails. A natural nail works too, but you need pretty strong nails to take the abuse steel strings deliver.
Old 3rd May 2012
  #19
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guitarmax_99's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by yotonic View Post
Ask Richard Orshofff. He engineered Mudslide Jim and he just joined our forum.
Did you mean "Mudslide Slim" (as in "Mudslide Slim and the Blue Horizon")?

Or is there a JT record out there that I have yet to buy?

:-)
Old 3rd May 2012
  #20
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The dman's Avatar
 

I wouldn't underestimate the most important part of his AG recording chain...JT
Old 28th January 2016
  #21
Here for the gear
 

Hi. I've heard that James used a kind of "sound shelf" while recording. I believe it was made of plexi glass. I'd love to find one of these or have one made. Anybody know about this? I'm looking to record while playing and singing, and this would be great for me.
Thanks,
Steve
Santa Cruz, CA
Old 28th January 2016
  #22
Here for the gear
 

Hi friends.
I'm looking for a "recording shelf" that I heard James Taylor used. It was plexi glass and allowed him to play and sing at the same time without bleading through either mic. Anybody know about this? and where I could get one? I imagine I'll have to have it made, but thought I'd check here first. Thanks for any and all help.
Steve
Santa Cruz, CA
Old 28th January 2016
  #23
RTG
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by mds View Post
Not sure if this was mentioned, but playing fingerstyle with nails is a big part of his sound, imo. He plays with almost classical technique and uses acrylic nails. A natural nail works too, but you need pretty strong nails to take the abuse steel strings deliver.
I think the nails, the guitar and the man maketh the sound!

This video is proof enough:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXj9DcjjWZE

He discusses his (Bionic?) nails in the Youtube link. Particularly for stopping notes. Looks like a TLM67 to me in the clip. The sound is lovely.
Old 28th January 2016
  #24
Lives for gear
 

Here's a good article on James recording..
Inside Track: James Taylor's Before This World
Old 28th January 2016
  #25
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Lance Lawson's Avatar
 

You mention James Taylor's guitar sound but he's used several different guitars throughout his career. Very early on he played a big Gibson Dread and I've seen him with little Martins and he's got an Olsen that he's used a lot His sound may be more his technique than his specific guitar.
Old 28th January 2016
  #26
Mic'ing James Taylor is discussed in this great interview; apologies but cannot remember exact time:

Old 29th January 2016
  #27
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john caldwell's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by RTG View Post
I think the nails, the guitar and the man maketh the sound!
Not what you're looking for perhaps, but this is the truth as I see it.

John-
Old 29th January 2016
  #28
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mbvoxx's Avatar
Question: obviously so much of his sound comes from him....are you picking with fingernails?
you may want to check out JT's videos
he has one on his fingernail maintenance. and another where he goes into nice detail about how he picks, forms his open chords to set up his particular pull offs and hammer ons, etc. They should be on YTube maybe even on his website. ALso watch the video of the making of his new album...he is in his home studio and there are some great shots of him while recording his guitar with mic & placement, control room gear, etc.
Old 29th January 2016
  #29
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Oldone's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Stone View Post
Mic'ing James Taylor is discussed in this great interview; apologies but cannot remember exact time:
I just got the Sony mic mentioned in this video. Arrived today. Anxious to see what it brings.
Old 30th January 2016
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldone View Post
I just got the Sony mic mentioned in this video. Arrived today. Anxious to see what it brings.
Where did you wind up getting it from?

I looked around a bit, and didn't find much.
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