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Acoustic Guitar Pick Noise

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by Doublehelix, Apr 6, 2002.

  1. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Distinguished Member

    Oct 7, 2001
    Pick noise is a problem that I have been dealing with off and on for a long time. I realize that some pick noise adds character and realism to the sound, but I am talking about *excessive* pick noise here.

    There are several things that can contribute to the amount of pick noise I get, the player's technique...the type of guitar...the thickness of the pick (I notice that thinner picks seem to produce more pick noise)...and obviously, mic'ing technique.

    We have all read the many, many threads here and elsewhere on mic'ing acoustic guitars, (which is an art in of itself), and I am currently using a new technique that is producing some really beautiful recordings! The problem is the excessive pick noise...Grrrr...never fails...something has to screw up!

    I am placing a Rode NT2 in front of the player pointed at the neck/body junction, and then (don't laugh!) a Behringer reference mic on a boom stand over the player's shoulder also pointed at the neck/body junction. This reference mic is the one that comes with the Behringer Ultra-Curve graphic EQ that is used for room optimization (Real Time Analyzer). I read somewhere about this technique, and lo and behold, I had one of those Behringer mics collecting dust with some of my "live rig" stuff, and hadn't used it in about 2-3 years. Boy it sounds sweet on tape when used together with the NT2!!!

    But, how to get rid of the pick noise???

    I have tried EQ'ing the mix a bit, but I am worried about messing up the beautiful sound that I have discovered. I am gating the tracks already to get rid of some heavy breathing! :) I am going to try messing with the gate a bit more to see if I can get rid of a bit of the pick noise...

    Any other ideas??? Any optimal EQ bands to try and notch out? Help please!!!
  2. SonOfSmawg

    SonOfSmawg Well-Known Member

    Sep 10, 2000
    Well, you could start at the source. There are picks that are made of polished stone ... hard to get used-to, but very nice sound. Felt autoharp picks ... great for bass, good for background acoustic strumming. Yngwie Malmstein uses a metal pick with a special end, and swears by them, but I can't remember what they're called. Brian May uses a British sixpence, but an American dime does, basically, the same thing ... I use a dime sometimes, for a certain lead tone that I occasionally want ... very kewl.
    What kind of pick do you use? A standard, glossy pick has a lot of picknoise. I use Tortex picks, which have considerably less picknoise, and wear-down rather than break. The more they wear down, the better they are for strumming (less pick noise).
  3. Markd102

    Markd102 Well-Known Member

    Apr 24, 2001

    You haven't mentioned the age of the string. I've found that the older the stings, the more pic noise you get. While new strings won't eliminate the problem, it will deffinately reduce it.


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