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How to Composite Record Acoustic Guitar

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by golfmax13, May 15, 2012.

  1. golfmax13

    golfmax13 Active Member

    I've been recording vocals for a few years now but (i'm embarrassed to say) I've never recorded a guitar in my home. Well tomorrow I get to, or have to do it.

    I usually have a few takes on vocals and then cut them up and use the best ones. Was wondering if you can do the same on the acoustic guitar? I'm sure I'll find out tomorrow, but I thought I'd ask tonight so I'd know what to expect. I guess my concern is that there might not be any silence on the take and how I'd cut it up - and match it up.

    Hope that makes sense.

    Thanks Much,
  2. DrGonz

    DrGonz Active Member

    If the guitarist can't make it through a single take then yeah you'll want to "cut it up." That is not really a good thing w/ guitars like it is a good thing w/ vocals but it can be done. I would try to make the guitarist record the track at least 5-10 times if not more, hence he might actually get it right after that point. Then you will have to just decide if there is a clear concise point that you can make a cut and then join tracks together.

    However, if the guitarist is fairly decent then just strive to get it as a one take. There have been many times that I will do this to my songs but I always try to play the song as perfect as possible. There are problems that will arise when you try to mend two takes together so fine position the pointer to a point in the wave form where the two tracks sync up visually. Don't cut wave forms in the middle of their passage. Instead look for wave forms, on both tracks, that sync well in respect to the zero crossings. By far the best would be to get the guitarist to do the track right, and then think more about layering additional tracks to create two or three of the same parts together. That is more productive and all that fiddling around is a headache waiting to happen in your editing stage.
  3. golfmax13

    golfmax13 Active Member

    Ahhhh, thanks Doc - that really makes sense. We'll strive for a one take. I like the fact that you mentioned layering in some additional guitar - I that's going to be an idea we'll have to implement for sure. Thanks a bunch bud - really appreciate you taking the time - I'm flying by the seat of my pants on this one.
  4. thatjeffguy

    thatjeffguy Active Member

    I do this all the time, really no big deal. Just be sure to get takes that are consistent sonically. e.g. make sure the position of the guitar relative to the mic(s) doesn't change between takes and that the guitar player plays at a consistent intensity. Record to a click track so that each take has a consistent tempo and lines up to the 'grid' in your DAW. Splices are easiest on the downbeat, so try that first. In certain instances, a short crossfade at a splice can clean up an otherwise problematic splice.

    Good luck!

  5. golfmax13

    golfmax13 Active Member

    I wondered about the click track - and the downbeat splices...great advice. We're on in 10 minutes - thank you Jeff, really appreciate you helping out such a noob!
  6. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    All great advice and last but not least.... , sometimes NOT perfect is perfect! Often tracks sound great with subtle mistakes that have a vibe to them over a perfect track that sounds like its been boiled to death, all in the name of being perfect. The older and wiser I get, the more I embrace vibe over perfection and that is often the first take right after everything has been lined up and the excitement is in the air!
  7. golfmax13

    golfmax13 Active Member

    I hear ya BT...My musician did an admirable job today - and I won't have to splice any - so that's good I guess. There are places I might have redone if I were making the call but he liked what he laid down - so I did too. Once we get the voices over it I'm hoping those little glitches will just turn into a soulful performance - as you've said. Heck, I've learned more this day alone about guitar recording than my sum total knowledge of 58 years.

    Thanks BT, and thanks to All!

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