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Workflow recording acoustic guitar
Old 24th October 2020
  #1
Workflow recording acoustic guitar

This video shows my workflow for recording acoustic guitar in my home studio:

https://youtu.be/3w0Y3-wMEUU

Any tips for improvement ?

Regards,
Maarten
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Old 24th October 2020
  #2
Quote:
Originally Posted by maartenl945 View Post
This video shows my workflow for recording acoustic guitar in my home studio:

https://youtu.be/3w0Y3-wMEUU

Any tips for improvement ?

Regards,
Maarten
I find it interesting that you use a vocal booth for recording it in, instead of in a bigger area where you wouldn't have as much concern with reflections.
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Old 24th October 2020 | Show parent
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeInOttawa View Post
I find it interesting that you use a vocal booth for recording it in, instead of in a bigger area where you wouldn't have as much concern with reflections.
Thanks for your comment. Yes I do acoustic guitar recording like a vocal recording, in that I try to get as little of the room as possible by recording in an already dampened room. And add ambience later when mixing. Don’t really have a very nice sounding room. Do you think it might be still worthwhile recording this is a more open room/space even when the acoustics are not ideal ?
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Last edited by maartenl945; 24th October 2020 at 08:00 PM..
Old 25th October 2020 | Show parent
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by maartenl945 View Post
Do you think it might be still worthwhile recording this is a more open room/space even when the acoustics are not ideal ?

It's worth a try. With a vocal booth, might there be some reflections from the sides and behind the guitarist?

BTW- very nice mic!
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Old 25th October 2020 | Show parent
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeInOttawa View Post
It's worth a try. With a vocal booth, might there be some reflections from the sides and behind the guitarist?

BTW- very nice mic!
The vocal booth has treatment all around, and especially behind the artist with movable panels.
But I’ll experiment with recording in another room next time.

Yes that mic is sweet 😁😎.
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Old 25th October 2020
  #6
Lives for gear
 

The OP is part of the overwhelming project studio majority of recording occurring everywhere around the world today. It is important to clearly define basic differences in how those of us in the project camp approach the recordings we produce.

1) Huge differences exist between an acoustic capture as opposed to an amped project. Isolation and electronic manipulation is a predictable pre-requisite of most all bass/guitar amped processes. For a great acoustic project a tracking space that does not present "standing wave" issues is the first basic and beyond that are the most important issues pertaining to session ready performing skills and appropriate gear decisions.
2) In the Americana genre where I now spend most of my time a blend of E-drums and Yamaha CP5 stage piano with acoustic bass and and guitar along with a host of other acoustic instrumentation are deployed. The acoustic rules prevail in this scenario: maximize sonic quality in the front going in and maintain clear separation and depth at all times. This is how a clean sonic palette for vocals is produced and as we all should stipulate that this is the gold most of us should be seeking with our recording activities.

The OP's mix was a wall of sound that buried the acoustic guitar track: if this is to be the end result why waste time recording and comping it ?
Hugh
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Old 25th October 2020 | Show parent
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by hughshouse View Post
The OP is part of the overwhelming project studio majority of recording occurring everywhere around the world today. It is important to clearly define basic differences in how those of us in the project camp approach the recordings we produce.

1) Huge differences exist between an acoustic capture as opposed to an amped project. Isolation and electronic manipulation is a predictable pre-requisite of most all bass/guitar amped processes. For a great acoustic project a tracking space that does not present "standing wave" issues is the first basic and beyond that are the most important issues pertaining to session ready performing skills and appropriate gear decisions.
2) In the Americana genre where I now spend most of my time a blend of E-drums and Yamaha CP5 stage piano with acoustic bass and and guitar along with a host of other acoustic instrumentation are deployed. The acoustic rules prevail in this scenario: maximize sonic quality in the front going in and maintain clear separation and depth at all times. This is how a clean sonic palette for vocals is produced and as we all should stipulate that this is the gold most of us should be seeking with our recording activities.

The OP's mix was a wall of sound that buried the acoustic guitar track: if this is to be the end result why waste time recording and comping it ?
Hugh
So, what you're trying to say is that Maarten's music isn't Americana?

That kind of stuff exists. Lots of it, and lots of it is popular. The acoustic guitar is a small part of the whole sound, and OP is trying to make it sound great, which is cool. I just wouldn't want to do it in a vocal booth.

I agree that the Americana genre is a sparser, more acoustic-oriented genre, so good sonic capture is really important. Given what I consider to be Americana, I'm quite surprised that E-drums and stage pianos are part of the sound.
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Old 25th October 2020
  #8
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by maartenl945 View Post
Any tips for improvement ?
Given the role your guitar plays in the finished product, I might bring it out into the room when you track it, and maybe mic it from a bit further away.

Counterintuitive, I realize.

It might sound a little more trashy initially, but those early reflections could make it easier to hear and still sound "acoustic" as the density builds up.
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Old 25th October 2020 | Show parent
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by hughshouse View Post
The OP is part of the overwhelming project studio majority of recording occurring everywhere around the world today. It is important to clearly define basic differences in how those of us in the project camp approach the recordings we produce.

1) Huge differences exist between an acoustic capture as opposed to an amped project. Isolation and electronic manipulation is a predictable pre-requisite of most all bass/guitar amped processes. For a great acoustic project a tracking space that does not present "standing wave" issues is the first basic and beyond that are the most important issues pertaining to session ready performing skills and appropriate gear decisions.
2) In the Americana genre where I now spend most of my time a blend of E-drums and Yamaha CP5 stage piano with acoustic bass and and guitar along with a host of other acoustic instrumentation are deployed. The acoustic rules prevail in this scenario: maximize sonic quality in the front going in and maintain clear separation and depth at all times. This is how a clean sonic palette for vocals is produced and as we all should stipulate that this is the gold most of us should be seeking with our recording activities.

The OP's mix was a wall of sound that buried the acoustic guitar track: if this is to be the end result why waste time recording and comping it ?
Hugh
Thanks for your reply Hugh. You are very right in that I’m coming definitely from the home studio side of production and this track specifically is more in the pop/rock direction of music. Not really focused on acoustic sounds too much. The acoustic guitar is not the major focal point of the sound but I would still like to slot it in nicely in the mix.
For a different genre of music, and when you have a nice acoustic environment available I’m sure you would do things differently.

By the way, the track is not mixed at all yet, these are just the raw recordings. I like to treat mixing as a totally different stage in the production and start that from scratch (with all faders down) when I have most tracks recorded.
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Old 25th October 2020 | Show parent
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Given the role your guitar plays in the finished product, I might bring it out into the room when you track it, and maybe mic it from a bit further away.

Counterintuitive, I realize.

It might sound a little more trashy initially, but those early reflections could make it easier to hear and still sound "acoustic" as the density builds up.
Thanks for that suggestion Brent. I will try that next time despite not having a nice sounding recording space. See what it does 👍.
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Old 25th October 2020
  #11
Lives for gear
I do not have a real 84, and it is decades since I was fortunate enough to use one. So... my experience with the WA-84 may be relevant... or not so much.
I like your acoustic guitar recording. From my experience, the WA-84 picks up very little room when used as close as you picture your 84. Much, much less stray garbage than any of my LDCs on any pattern, and noticeably less than my Aston Starlights, which have very good pattern control up and down the frequency range.
I am curious how much or little your reflection filter is impacting your sound. I tried the original SE version for a few years, but it is gathering dust in my storage unit because I thought it altered the sound slightly in a way I didn’t like, even though it did cut down the room sound coming back to the mic. With the 84 at that distance in a space with some treatment I would not use it.
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Old 25th October 2020
  #12
Lives for gear
 

The OP's clarification pursuant to the rough mix sampled on his initial post does explain the wall of noise, however the point I was trying to make is the importance of track focus with all recording. This is the production element missing in most project studios. The good producers have a clear idea of the elements needed to sell a given selection. The rhythm section, back up and instrumental leads have specific depth and dynamic range placement that is usually subservient to the vocals that sell the lyric. Achieving this end in a cramped tracking space is usually the main reason many compromises occur in project studio recording but it is important to understand the best professional practices that are time proven to work well.

Today the Americana genre is a sampler of the best recordings tracked between 1930 to 1980. The Americana genre, in it's beginning in 1995, was an underground radio format that featured some of yesterdays "Great American Song Book" selections that were no longer played on top 40 country radio. 15 years earlier Dolly, Linda & Emmy Lou joined forces to deliver a pair of classic recording projects: one featured pop tunes and the other was direct from the old Carter family song book. These and some other out of favor treasures expanded the Americana genre to what is is today. What was the last new recording from Bob Seger or Hall & Oats? This is where the Americana genre is today, covering yesterday's greats.
My new show features selections from Don Gibson, Paul Anka & Jim Croce that features EZ drummer tracks. I also have several selections that feature a studio brushed snare but all of these tracks have some outstanding piano tracks. I used an up right bass, acoustic guitar along with dobro, fiddle and harmonica. The Ez drum tracks and piano were fed direct to my Digigrid/Waves system then on to my DAW. I never deploy amped instruments in my studio.
I am well aware of the compromises many home based studios have to make and also the fact that we are not all pulling in the same direction. However production clarity and planning is very important in every style of music production.
Hugh
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Old 25th October 2020 | Show parent
  #13
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by hughshouse View Post
The OP's clarification pursuant to the rough mix sampled on his initial post does explain the wall of noise...
No need to be rude.
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Old 25th October 2020
  #14
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by maartenl945 View Post
This video shows my workflow for recording acoustic guitar in my home studio:

https://youtu.be/3w0Y3-wMEUU

Any tips for improvement ?

Regards,
Maarten
a few pics would have been faster than an entire video... :-)

anyway: if recording an instrument on its own, i much prefer recording in a room with some 'atmosphere' and which is large enough for the sound to 'develop'.

as a musician, i hate playing in smallish booths (but then i'm a drummer so i NEED some space) and as a tech, i hate putting people into claustrophobic dungeons - in both cases, i hate if there's not daylight, no direct sightlines and no dedicated mics/intercom/speakers for two-way communication!

for guitars, i prefer using either two spaced mics (one up the neck) or then a single main (or m/s) mic plus a more distant ambient pair, even in small rooms. ambis which often get fed but to the efx; if they get fed to the mix bus, the main mic gets phase aligned.

if the guitar has a built-in pickup, i record the signal as well, using a di or channel strip. di signal gets aligned in (most) any case unless the di and main mic signals get fully panned for fake stereo - i mostly prefer a l/C/r approach though.

the km84 is nice - however, i prefer schoeps.

a single u67 in a nice room is hardly bad - but then, the gear doesn't matter much: musician, instrument, room and 'production' imo are much more important!

absolutely no love for 'reflection filters' here: imo they are pointless at best...

i do use processing on the way in: mostly a compressor though for the main mic and besides the hpf, i'm only using eq if i've exhausted all options in terms of mic positioning.

i never entirely cut out audio and rather do overdubs/punch ins than edit via mouse.

one eventide remains reserved for guitars but they also go to s/m/l room emulations, send/return levels depending on room (for tracking), mic setup, arrangement etc.
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Old 25th October 2020 | Show parent
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
I do not have a real 84, and it is decades since I was fortunate enough to use one. So... my experience with the WA-84 may be relevant... or not so much.
I like your acoustic guitar recording. From my experience, the WA-84 picks up very little room when used as close as you picture your 84. Much, much less stray garbage than any of my LDCs on any pattern, and noticeably less than my Aston Starlights, which have very good pattern control up and down the frequency range.
I am curious how much or little your reflection filter is impacting your sound. I tried the original SE version for a few years, but it is gathering dust in my storage unit because I thought it altered the sound slightly in a way I didn’t like, even though it did cut down the room sound coming back to the mic. With the 84 at that distance in a space with some treatment I would not use it.
Thanks for your comments Bushman. I have not tested yet how much the reflection filter alters the sound but it is definitely a test that I should do. My thinking was indeed that it should reduce the wall reflections coming from the rear of the microphone but hadn't realized it might also be changing the sound it picks up from the front, and maybe not for the better. Will definitely need to test that!
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Old 25th October 2020 | Show parent
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by hughshouse View Post
The OP's clarification pursuant to the rough mix sampled on his initial post does explain the wall of noise, however the point I was trying to make is the importance of track focus with all recording. This is the production element missing in most project studios. The good producers have a clear idea of the elements needed to sell a given selection. The rhythm section, back up and instrumental leads have specific depth and dynamic range placement that is usually subservient to the vocals that sell the lyric. Achieving this end in a cramped tracking space is usually the main reason many compromises occur in project studio recording but it is important to understand the best professional practices that are time proven to work well.

Today the Americana genre is a sampler of the best recordings tracked between 1930 to 1980. The Americana genre, in it's beginning in 1995, was an underground radio format that featured some of yesterdays "Great American Song Book" selections that were no longer played on top 40 country radio. 15 years earlier Dolly, Linda & Emmy Lou joined forces to deliver a pair of classic recording projects: one featured pop tunes and the other was direct from the old Carter family song book. These and some other out of favor treasures expanded the Americana genre to what is is today. What was the last new recording from Bob Seger or Hall & Oats? This is where the Americana genre is today, covering yesterday's greats.
My new show features selections from Don Gibson, Paul Anka & Jim Croce that features EZ drummer tracks. I also have several selections that feature a studio brushed snare but all of these tracks have some outstanding piano tracks. I used an up right bass, acoustic guitar along with dobro, fiddle and harmonica. The Ez drum tracks and piano were fed direct to my Digigrid/Waves system then on to my DAW. I never deploy amped instruments in my studio.
I am well aware of the compromises many home based studios have to make and also the fact that we are not all pulling in the same direction. However production clarity and planning is very important in every style of music production.
Hugh
Hi Hugh, I definitely enjoy all kinds of music and have heard many tracks of the artists you mention during my childhood as my mum was a big fan of the female singers, as well Bob Seger. You talk about your new show .... can I see/listen to that somewhere ? Sounds very interesting what you are trying to do with more modern production means combined with traditional instruments and recording techniques (if I understand you correctly).

Regards,
Maarten
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Old 25th October 2020 | Show parent
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
a few pics would have been faster than an entire video... :-)
Apart from recording, I also like making videos

Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
anyway: if recording an instrument on its own, i much prefer recording in a room with some 'atmosphere' and which is large enough for the sound to 'develop'.

as a musician, i hate playing in smallish booths (but then i'm a drummer so i NEED some space) and as a tech, i hate putting people into claustrophobic dungeons - in both cases, i hate if there's not daylight, no direct sightlines and no dedicated mics/intercom/speakers for two-way communication!
Yes that would be much better, but unfortunately it is no option for my home studio. It's not a commercial facility, and I use it mostly to record my own band.

Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
for guitars, i prefer using either two spaced mics (one up the neck) or then a single main (or m/s) mic plus a more distant ambient pair, even in small rooms. ambis which often get fed but to the efx; if they get fed to the mix bus, the main mic gets phase aligned.

if the guitar has a built-in pickup, i record the signal as well, using a di or channel strip. di signal gets aligned in (most) any case unless the di and main mic signals get fully panned for fake stereo - i mostly prefer a l/C/r approach though.
Thanks for those detailed suggestions. I have tried recording the pickup output at the same time, but mostly found that I liked the miked sound much better and then didn't use it. But maybe in combination with a spaced pair ....

Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
the km84 is nice - however, i prefer schoeps.

a single u67 in a nice room is hardly bad - but then, the gear doesn't matter much: musician, instrument, room and 'production' imo are much more important!

absolutely no love for 'reflection filters' here: imo they are pointless at best...

i do use processing on the way in: mostly a compressor though for the main mic and besides the hpf, i'm only using eq if i've exhausted all options in terms of mic positioning.

i never entirely cut out audio and rather do overdubs/punch ins than edit via mouse.

one eventide remains reserved for guitars but they also go to s/m/l room emulations, send/return levels depending on room (for tracking), mic setup, arrangement etc.
Nice microphones, but a bit out of my budget for now I think. Already very happy with the KM84 for the time being.

And yes ... I must test that reflection filter better to see what it does to the sound.

Thanks again for your extensive reply ....
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Old 25th October 2020
  #18
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vernier's Avatar
Regarding rooms and mic choice, it seems to usually work out.
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Old 25th October 2020 | Show parent
  #19
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plainofjars's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hughshouse View Post
The OP's clarification pursuant to the rough mix sampled on his initial post does explain the wall of noise
Nothing suits a musical discussion better than some good ole legalese
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Old 26th October 2020
  #20
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vernier's Avatar

Btw, a garage and dynamic mic can work, acoustic guitar,
AKG D19 ..like the one over Ringo's kit.
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Old 26th October 2020 | Show parent
  #21
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
No need to be rude.
How can he understand you through that wall of noise?
I thought the Wall of Voodoo was obnoxious, but this is like a thousand windmills going whoosh, whoosh, whoosh until you miss the soothing sound of nails on an old school chalkboard.
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Old 26th October 2020 | Show parent
  #22
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by plainofjars View Post
Nothing suits a musical discussion better than some good ole legalese
Lmfao..






(thanks)
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Old 26th October 2020 | Show parent
  #23
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iomegaman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by vernier View Post

Btw, a garage and dynamic mic can work, acoustic guitar,
AKG D19 ..like the one over Ringo's kit.
First off, liked the small sample of the tune, reminds me of the Progrock days, Renaissance comes to mind or some of the Irish types...

As far as the acoustic guitar in the mix, I barely could hear it, its barely even there...

Reminds me, Slipperman was an ACE at making things pop out of the mix when needed, he took my crappy recorded Martin and made it acceptable here:

https://soundcloud.com/iomegaman-1/grand-delusion


Scroll to 3:20 for the acoustic if you don't want to listen to proggy...

(This was from the very first "Cape" contest on PSW, Slippy played drums and sang I wrote the song, played acoustic, lots of players form all over...it was a tongue-in-cheek look at online forums...including Gearsluts/Massenburgs/PSW)
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Old 26th October 2020
  #24
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andychamp's Avatar
Not much to add...
Lose the reflection filter, get out of the booth (how about recording in your control room? It has size but isn‘t overly splashy.), add some distant mic (to blend and possibly stereo spread).
You seem pretty aware of many details and the importance of getting it right on input. The arrangement doesn‘t seem too cluttered.
It‘s mostly fine-tuning things from here.
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Old 26th October 2020 | Show parent
  #25
Lives for gear
 
vernier's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by iomegaman View Post
First off, liked the small sample of the tune, reminds me of the Progrock days, Renaissance comes to mind or some of the Irish types...

As far as the acoustic guitar in the mix, I barely could hear it, its barely even there...

Reminds me, Slipperman was an ACE at making things pop out of the mix when needed, he took my crappy recorded Martin and made it acceptable here:

https://soundcloud.com/iomegaman-1/grand-delusion


Scroll to 3:20 for the acoustic if you don't want to listen to proggy...

(This was from the very first "Cape" contest on PSW, Slippy played drums and sang I wrote the song, played acoustic, lots of players form all over...it was a tongue-in-cheek look at online forums...including Gearsluts/Massenburgs/PSW)
Ha! ..a real singer. I always appreciate good singers. As for the acoustic on my clip, with good headphones or beefy system, its the close thing on the right channel, almost intrusive, you can feel it.
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Old 26th October 2020 | Show parent
  #26
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iomegaman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by vernier View Post
Ha! ..a real singer. I always appreciate good singers. As for the acoustic on my clip, with good headphones or beefy system, its the close thing on the right channel, almost intrusive, you can feel it.
Singer was actually the incomparable Slipperman himself!
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Old 26th October 2020 | Show parent
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by andychamp View Post
Not much to add...
Lose the reflection filter, get out of the booth (how about recording in your control room? It has size but isn‘t overly splashy.), add some distant mic (to blend and possibly stereo spread).
You seem pretty aware of many details and the importance of getting it right on input. The arrangement doesn‘t seem too cluttered.
It‘s mostly fine-tuning things from here.
Thanks for commenting. I think your suggestions are indeed a summary of the comments so far. My control room has treatment for mixing, which doesn't give it a great recording ambience but it may be better than the vocal booth for acoustic guitar. What also kept me from recording in the control room however is street noise. Cars or kids passing by will be audible on the recording I'm afraid. The street is usually not terribly busy though so may give it a try anyway. Just to see what the difference in sound will be.

Regards,
Maarten
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Old 26th October 2020
  #28
Lives for gear
 

Thank you Maateen for requesting a sampler of my new show: unfortunately the first three performances of my new show (An Americana Review) were cancelled back in March so no video is available. However I do have a 5 cut sampler on bandcamp. <mountainmusicmachine.bandcamp.com/releases> "Dusty Dozen Sampler"

Here in North Carolina we are hopeful a return to normal gig activity will occur at some point in 2021. We all need to get back to work!
Hugh
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Old 26th October 2020 | Show parent
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by hughshouse View Post
Thank you Maateen for requesting a sampler of my new show: unfortunately the first three performances of my new show (An Americana Review) were cancelled back in March so no video is available. However I do have a 5 cut sampler on bandcamp. <mountainmusicmachine.bandcamp.com/releases> "Dusty Dozen Sampler"

Here in North Carolina we are hopeful a return to normal gig activity will occur at some point in 2021. We all need to get back to work!
Hugh
Thanks I will have a look for that on bandcamp. And yes, I have the same challenges here with my band .... fingers crossed for better times ahead!

Regards,
Maarten
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Old 26th October 2020 | Show parent
  #30
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by maartenl945 View Post
Thanks I will have a look for that on bandcamp.
It's nice to see that Hugh has crossed over to join the tiny GS minority who walk the talk and show their work.
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