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Acoustic Guitar Recording Nightmare!!!

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by rmusgrove, Apr 5, 2012.

  1. rmusgrove

    rmusgrove Active Member

    I am trying to record my Martin D28 through a Mackie 1604 VLZ mixer into an M-Audio Delta 44 PC interface and onto Sonar X1. Until now (Midi and other audio sources) I have had ZERO problems. That is, until I tried recording an acoustic song that I've been working on. My low "C" on my guitar (Finger picking) fills the mix with a "BONG" sound. It's the worst acoustic rumble I've ever heard! I tried just EQ'ing it out but to do so takes so much EQ that it buries the acoustic track making my beautiful D28 sound like a Ukelele. confused.png confused.png confused.png

    I've tried everything imaginable by means of Mic placement and techniques. I've done HOURS of research on the net but STILL!!!

    My low "C" on my Martin seems to be it's resonate frequency. I've tried different mics (Dynamic, condenser, MXL 990 to Rode NT-1a) Both single and double micing, I've tried different room configurations (Damper panels, reflectors, etc.) every mic placement and arrangement that I can dream up, anything I can think of; yet when I hit my low "C" (Finger picking) I get a frequency hogging, muddy, gong-sounding, blaring, BONG! I've tried near micing, far micing, off axis micing, dual micing, micing up and down the neck, micing the nut, micing the saddle, small condenser, large condenser... etc. WHEW! AHHHHHHHHH!!!! mad.png mad.png mad.png The frustration is raising my blood pressure!!!!!

    Please help!!

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    At this point, NO TIP WOULD BE DISMISSED!

    Is there a technique that I could try? Am I just going to have to smother the acoustic track with EQ?

    I am open to ANY suggestions or ideas.
  2. GZsound

    GZsound Active Member

    If you have tried everything, including changing the room, changing the mics, etc. and nothing works than your problem is fairly obvious.. It's your guitar.

    I had the same problem with an upright bass one time. No matter what I did, it still had a particular note that stuck out. The only solution was to replace the instrument.

    I record a lot of Martin acoustic guitars and they can be boomy, but I haven't had one with a particular note sticking out.

    I would take the guitar to a good luthier and get it set up properly. If the note sticks out with or without mics, again...it's your guitar.
  3. sachit

    sachit Active Member


    I recently had problems recording my acoustic guitar and buying a new one helped eventually. If you've got a boomy low C then it's either your mic's proximity effect(which you've ruled out by changing mics and positions) or the guitar itself. I was recording a song with drop c tuning and every time I finger picked the low C it would sound like 2012(the movie).

    Try changing your acoustic. Another idea is to try tuning down a few Hertz(or a half-step). If that note is your guitar's resonant note, then changing the tuning frequency will move the pitch of the C down, so that the problem note will be C# which is rare in a piece with in it. You'll have to tune the rest of your song down too, but depending on the song, that shouldn't be impossible.

    Also, thumbstroking the string often makes the resonance worse. Try stroking the string with your fingernail to get more high frequency information instead of using the full thumb.

    I hope that helps.
  4. rmusgrove

    rmusgrove Active Member

    Thank you so much for the input fellas! I was leaning toward the instrument being the problem, but didn't want to admit that my darling baby would do me wrong... <sniffle sniffle> I wanted my D28 since I was 14 (Now 40) and finally got her six months ago. <Sniffle again> I'm going to visit my local luthier but before I do I'm going to try a string change to a thicker gauge. I doubt that it will solve the issue, but it's worth a shot. I found from working on cars that you should try the least expensive approach FIRST. : )

    Thanks again I appreciate the help, GREATLY.

  5. gdoubleyou

    gdoubleyou Well-Known Member

    Also, do you have room treatment?
  6. GZsound

    GZsound Active Member

    He already stated that he has tried different room configurations, etc.

    Sounds to me like just about every possible variable has been tried and eliminated as the cause of the problem with the exception of changing guitars.

    And the room would need to be really, really bad to have one note stand out like that.
  7. gehauser

    gehauser Active Member

    Exact same thing happens to me with my HD28 - hits a kind of resonant frequency on one note (D string, low D note, in my case was much louder than all the other notes). I figured out it was caused by where I was located within the room, and it was not the guitar, mic choice or placement, etc. It was especially bad in my bonus room where the ceiling slopes down to a knee wall on either side of the room, focusing the sound. However, if I spin my chair around and aim the other direction, or move my chair a couple feet one way or the other down the length of the room, the sound went back to normal, such that no note resonated louder than the others. FYI, my room is treated with 12 bass traps and some other things, but I still have the resonating D problem in that part of my room.

    Take your guitar outside and play it where there are no reflections - do you hear the resonance in this case? If not, you can be pretty sure it is your playing location within the room, and not the guitar.

    So try playing at a different location in the room, because you may be at a place in your room that is really boosting that low C.
  8. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    I play (and record with) a D18 rather than a D28, and don't have any particular acoustic problems on the bottom string, but I rarely tune it down to C. Getting a decent balanced output from a pickup is a different matter.

    Have you got the whole instrument tuned down a couple of tones, or is it just the bottom string? Is it only the open string that causes the boom, so that (for example) two frets up (D) does not give the problem? Does it boom when tuned so that the open string is D? Have you tried recording when sitting in a doorway that faces the open air?

    A good luthier could probably help here. One I know near me has a special hand-held pressure loudspeaker unit that he drives from a signal generator. He sets it up either to generate specific tones or to sweep over a narrow range, and he then slowly moves the loudspeaker around over the guitar's sound hole to check for unwelcome resonances.

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