1. Register NOW and become part of this fantastic knowledge base forum! This message will go away once you have registered.

Acoustic Guitar- finger noise

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by Potts, Jun 12, 2011.

  1. Potts

    Potts Active Member

    I recorded some acoustic and got a great result other than that high pitched string noise while sliding between some chords. It only happens in a few spots and I'd hate to record the track again. Any quick fixes?
  2. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    If you are proud of your performance, live with it I say! Or try Pam, Finger Ease or practice your technique more before recording. Worse case, edit it out and patch a take in that is without the finger noise.

    Maybe not in your circumstance but I'm noticing this more and more:

    The older I get, the more I appreciate the sound of real, including some finger noise. Digital editing abilities is turning us all into plastic and unrealistic musicians that can't reproduce what we are doing in the studios, live. Everything has to be perfect. Humans aren't naturally perfect. 40 takes of a solo all patched together with crossfades and automation is not helping us, or is it?
    We are fixing our "real world" mistakes in each other more and more to a point that music and people in general are becoming insensitive and too critical.
  3. GZsound

    GZsound Active Member

    I normally use EQ to cut the high end of a string squeek and leave it in. It makes it less obvious, but retains the natural playing style.
  4. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    you could try a desser too.
  5. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Elixir strings. I hate them a lot but I use them in the studio and on my Taylor they simply sound 'right' for the guitar. Very little string noise. A new set doesnt have that new 'buzz' that a set of Martins or other non-coated strings have but they are still bright and full sounding. I still hate them but they work well.

    Here's why I hate them. I used to buy their strings in quantity. I have several acoustic guitars. I got a dozen pak several years back, and of the entire dozen sets, only three were fresh sounding and the others ALL had strings that broke either on the first night of playing them or even on installation. I emailed them continuously for two months and they never responded. (are you reading this Elixir??) So I only buy a set when I'm playing a lot of acoustic.

    But, they will solve the string squeaks in a recording. Its just that their product service department sucks.
  6. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    As I do a fair amount of singer/songwriter and acoustic material, this has been a big bugaboo for me.

    The longer I do this, the more I'm w/ audiokid, w/ one exception - it better not DISTRACT from the performance.
    Listen to stuff recorded in the 60s and 70s, especially things like CSNY and anything that has 12strings (Zepp comes to mind).
    Maybe you never noticed it, but you will now.
    Sometimes that extraneous "string-talk" is as much a character of the instrument as anything else...

    I've tried string-ease, w/ limited success. It seems it's all about the string and the technique, as Dave offered.
    And if I had my own acoustic for the studio, I'd buy a few packs of Elixirs to test his theory.
    As it is, I must just pass this info on to my clients.
  7. thatjeffguy

    thatjeffguy Active Member

    Plus one for Elixir strings. I have not had Davedog's experience, even though I too buy in dozen packs, I don't think I've had more than one or two strings break in the 12 years I've been using them, and I bang on my guitar pretty damn hard! And every set has sounded fresh from day 1 and stayed that way for way longer than any other brand.
  8. sdelsolray

    sdelsolray Active Member

    You can copy the portion of the track with the squeak, put it in a new track time synced with the original, and flip the polarity of the new track. On mix, that will null out the squeak, but leave no sound there at all for the duration of the null.
  9. took-the-red-pill

    took-the-red-pill Active Member

    True, that they don't need to completely go away, but sometimes they're so annoying that they get in the way of the music.

    I have had success using a Rennaissance de-esser. You can set it to either high pass or a kind of notch filtre/compressor. I think I had best results using it as a notch in the right spot. It doesn't kill it, just tames it.

    I've also automated the the EQ in the worst frequencies, so at the appropriate time the Eq kicks in for an 1/8th of a second or whatever to keep things in check. Both seem to work. The beauty of the automation is that there isn't a compressor being triggered from normal playing when you don't want it to, which can happen with the de-esser. EQ automation can get time consuming though.

    I too have had some successes with Elixers, but I find if I'm using one of the techiniques above I can tame other annoying noises as well. For example, I whack and smack and do a lot of right hand palm deadening on acoustic guitar. It's just how I play. Those can get out of hand pretty fast. One needs to be able to reign them in to pleasing levels so they enhance the music instead of getting in the way, and string changes won't do that.

    (I understand the OP asked only about string noise, so I've strayed a bit from the topic, but I think it's still relevant to the overall discussion of acoustic guitar noises.)

  10. Potts

    Potts Active Member

    Great replies! Thanks! I ended up re-recording the tracks.

    I love Elixers. That's all I ever use. I play about 12 gigs a month and only change my strings about every 4 shows. That's pretty good IMO. It's pretty expensive though. The issue is that the Guitar is tuned down to D-A-D-G-A-D with a capo at the 5th fret. So I'm already fighting an uphill battle before I even hit record ;)

    Ya wanna know the trick? Swear to God I just made sure I licked my fingers before the parts in question. I chalk it up to "whatever". It worked..lol
  11. Ripeart

    Ripeart Active Member

    Might be a little late to the party but you might consider flat or half wound strings to reduce finger noise in the future.
  12. Shanesaw

    Shanesaw Active Member

    Funny but not really, i strung a guitar last night with Elixir and one string broke when stringing, another broke a hour later while playing... Great sound with little slide noise, but a little fragile. Well maybe i was a little excited and heavy handed on the J.D., than on the guitar...
  13. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    They are sweet strings but prone to snapping for the heavy pickers. At least that's what I've experienced.
  14. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I have some advise for you. Rather than fight the finger noise, if its only in a few spots, use it to your advantage and give the slide some attitude! That's what I do without thinking anymore. When things are too difficult to achieve, find another way to say it with meat rather than squeaking by.
  15. Shanesaw

    Shanesaw Active Member

    I am diggin the sound. Also, playing with my new cascade fathead mic pair today pointing down at a 45 degree angle, and its sounding pretty sweet with very little slide and fretboard noise.

Share This Page