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Finger picking guitar production
Old 3rd October 2010 | Show parent
Gear Head
Tokamak's Avatar

Just read through the first section of John Strope's Michael Hedges transcription book. Here are some quotes from Hedges in the book:

For picking up the guitar's natural voice, there is no substitute for well-placed, high-quality external microphones. Although I usually augment it with a magnetic (pickup) for the low end, I'll almost always record with at least one good mic.
On my Martin D-28 I use a FRAP (Flat Response Audio Pickup) and a Sunrise, which go out as two separate signals. The FRAP handles the highs and high mids, as well as the percussive sounds resulting from pounds and slaps to the guitar's top and sides. The Sunrise picks up the lows that the D-28 doesn't have acoustically.
All of my pickups go through equalizers before they go to the PA or recording console. The one EQ I use almost exclusively is the T. C. Electronic 1140 rackmount parametric equalizer/preamplifier.
I always use some kind of chorus, but only on the magnetic pickup. This is because I don't want to goof with the clarity of the highs. Also, I never leave it on for long. I like to use the chorus compositionally, Only a few tunes need it on all the way through.
The Lexicon PCM 60 is a very simple, good-sounding reverb to use. I also use Yamaha's REV7 on the road and in the studio. It's nice to change reverb settings to fit the tune. I use giant spaces on "Aerial Boundaries" and moderate ones for "Rickover's Dream."
Old 3rd October 2010 | Show parent
Lives for gear
vernier's Avatar
Make it . .


. . . Finger Pickin' Good
Old 31st October 2010 | Show parent
Lives for gear


I decided to revisit this topic. I had some revelations over the last few weeks in regards to this subject matter. First, I realised that my hand made, super nice sounding guitars were not all that suitable for the sound I was looking for. Kind of totally counterintuitive but I went to a local guitar shop and tried some low end 000 Martin guitars which were very flat sounding and just based on my gut feeling decided to give them a try in my my surprise, almost right away I heard much more defined recording. I also, tried MC 930 with (2)Focusrite Red6 and that was another move in the right direction compare to KM186 and Great Rivers.
Now my question is about strings. What are the most regarded strings for fingerstyles? I was trying Martin SP bronze (light) which were OK, then Martin FX phosphor bronze(light)great feel but too bright. Unfortunately couldn’t find MartinFX Bronze and I’m thinking of trying Martin Clapton’s choice strings.
I know that my original intent here was to explore post production tricks but since then I decided to go back to the drawing board and rerecord my tracks.
Old 31st October 2010 | Show parent
Lives for gear
Teddy Ray's Avatar

Martin Silk and Steel.

a perfect combination of "warmth" and response.

now mind you they don't last as long as traditional formulas... but the SOUND..
Old 1st November 2010 | Show parent
Lives for gear
Scott Whigham's Avatar

Originally Posted by Sonic_Beast View Post
What are the most regarded strings for fingerstyles?
I'm new at doing acoustics but I asked the same question of a few fingerstyle gurus and string salesfolk. The majority recommended the Thomastik-Infeld strings for fingerstyle and either 13 or 14 gauge so that they really vibrate and pop. I bought three different sets to test them out and Saturday I put my first set on. I haven't had enough time with them to make any comments except that they ring and sound good. I'll spend about 10 hours or so w/ each set to just get a feel for them. Here's a link:

Guitar Strings and Beyond - Buy Thomastik-Infeld Strings now!

The guy at StringsAndBeyond said that all the fingerstyle guys are using the TI George Benson flatwounds which surprised me. He said why but TBH I can't remember. I bought a set to test them out though based on his recommendations. He's made a lot of "that was a good idea" recommendations to me before so I figured I would try.
Old 1st November 2010 | Show parent
Originally Posted by doorknocker View Post
Look here: First Listen: Neil Young, 'Le Noise' : NPR

It may not involve fingerpicking but I think it's tremendously inspiring as Lanois found a way to incorporate his production aesthetics into a solo Neil Young performance.

Another tip would be Nick Drake's records, particularily 'Five Leaves Left'. Hearing Drake's vocals and fingerpicked guitar on 'River Man' against a backdrop of some incredibly moving string arrangment is almost too much to bear.

In other words, I would seek out the path less traveled and NOT do the usual pristine and glossy 'did you know how expensive my Taylor guitar was?'-type of acoustic production. But that's just me...

EDIT: Upon re-reading your post I guess you would want a pretty 'natural' sounding guitar sound. One tip would be to treat the reverb/delays with Distortion. Not necessarily to make them grungy or LoFi but rather to create a foreground-backkdrop feel. I had good results with using the Sans Amp PSA-1 (hardware or plug-in) for this as it provides wide control over the frequency bands that make up 'distortion'.

Another way to make it sound 'like nothing has been done to it' would indeed be to do nothing to it. Find a good sounding room, spend a few hours on mix placement and don't use any reverb and as liitle EQ as possible in the mix.
Where's that coffe-spew spit take smilie when you need it. heh

Of course, doorknocker goes on to redirect his or her comments (and, of course, we all have different tastes, perfectly reasonably).

But I was excited by that album -- until I heard it. OMG. What an annoying trainwreck. As I said at the time, I'm waiting for the Rick Rubin remix -- because Rubin showed with his work for Johnny Cash that he knows how to get out of the way and let the artist and the music do its thing.

I'm seldom offended by production choices -- I might not like or agree with them, but they don't usually make me mad -- but Rubin's heavy handed and thoroughly sophomoric mash of his own ego with NY's music really, really rubbed me wrong.
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