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  •  The EvO:R-Pedia Musicians Tips Section

    Welcome to the EvO:R Tips Section. We call this section EvO:R-Pedia because it is like a complete reference library for Indie musicians...Just about every tip has been used so you won't find false promises and a series of books to buy after reading each tip. This section was put here by musicians so that people that followed can take this knowledge and use it's power.

    Recording Acoustic Instruments
    by Jeza

    Recording Acoustic Instruments!
    I will not be getting into MIDI recording, that is not my area of expertise. I am an acoustic guitar player and vocalist. Recording an acoustic guitar or any acoustic instrument well is notoriously difficult. The sound produced is different coming from the soundhole, the bridge, the strings themselves and the reflected sound from the wall of the room. Placing an industry standard SURE SM57 microphone 6 inches away from the soundhole does not quite do the overall sound justice and I am often disappointed with first takes, even though I gave my all in the performance. How do you achieve that Crosby Stills Nash and Young sparkling guitar sound with one microphone and a home recording set-up?

    On my CD 'jeza wined up' we were very aware of this problem and experimented in numerous ways. There is an amusing photo of me recording in the family bathroom - but the take will never be heard. We tried recording with a PZM mike in parallel. These are surprisingly cheap, wall mounted mikes (the type used in Police interview rooms (or so I've heard)) designed to capture an ambient room sound. Great for recording those bedroom jams or small gigs when you really wish you had a tape recorder going for that knockout jam session .. but we found there was a little too much low level hiss that required much filtering to leave a thin and unusable recording. At the end of the day, my original takes were only ever used as guide tracks and we approached a pro-studio nearby to hire a hyper sensitive Russian stereo mike for the weekend to make the finished recordings before mixing. Of course your primary aim is to capture a perfect performance. No amount of studio trickery will cover up a botch job in the first instance, so once you have that primary good take, what can you do with it?

    I record my music direct to PC using CoolEditPro software, a single industry standard mike, a mid-range soundcard, and no mixing desk .. On a recently released 'experimental' home recording called 'Darkness', I used a hardcore drum&bass techno rhythm track, but no other techno instruments .. with Santana-esque lead rock guitar, but the lead instrument was my acoustic guitar, I wanted it up-front in the mix with a big fat stereo sound so I could hear all the harmonics and open strings. To achieve this, once I had my primary 'perfect performance' mono take, I remixed it into stereo and entered each side of the track, treating left and right slightly differently. Tweaking the EQ to enhance either bass or treble strings and adding either room ambience or subtle echoes to each side of the track. I then added the original 'clean' recording to the centre of the stereo seperation, slightly higher in the mix, 'compressed' each recording to maximise the mid range sounds and remixed the three tracks together - result, a sparkling 3 dimensional ambient recording.

    Don't discard that first take if you are making post production changes. You never know when you might need to pull it out again.


    C. 2001, All rights Reserved

    Other Jeza Tips
    Recording Acoustic Instruments I  Tuning a Guitar (properly) I  Finding Unique Visitors I 


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