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Minimizing string/fret noise?

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by seventhwave99, Apr 4, 2006.

  1. One of my biggest problems with getting a good electric or accoustic guitar sound is the abundance of string and fret noise. I'll touch on the accoustic side of things first.

    I have a fairly nice new Takamine accoustic which sounds incredible. I find I get the best sound about 10 inches from between the soundhole and fretboard, pointed slightly inward. I seem to pick up alot more noise from my fingers moving along the strings than I'd like to. Is this a common issue with accoustic guitars? Could it be my technique that needs adressing? Is my guitar just particularily noisy? Or is this something that anyone else finds they need to account for in mic positioning or in some other way?

    Also in my electric guitar recordings I find that I get alot of noise when I down pick along the strings, usually when palm muting. I do use a heavier pick and somewhat heavy gauge strings.

    I would really appreciate any comments or advice anyone could dish out to minimize my guitary troubles as much as possible. Have a great day!
     
  2. Ringuz

    Ringuz Guest

    Try Elixir strings:they rule!! Go on their site and u'll discover why!! :cool:
     
  3. Hmm, I think I'll buy some of their polyweb accoustic strings next time I get a new pair. Now if I could control what strings everyone geared up with, that might work. But when dealing with a guitarist who has a less than perfect setup, any advice on minimizing the string sound?

    Still though, thanks for pointing me in that direction! :p
     
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    You're upset about one of the inherent qualities and sounds that guitars produce. Your dilemma is one of 3 postings I have seen regarding this condition in the past six months. You should either get used to it or pick up the piano but then you may hear the dampers on the strings. Best to pick up a kazoo instead?

    Do dee doodly doo
    Ms. Remy Ann David
     
  5. Thomaster

    Thomaster Guest

    remyrad put it quite well, although a little harsh on you.

    anyway, you got to experiment with the micplacement
    try adding other microphones so you can kinda balance with multiple mictracks. or try a different position.
    i once miced from the back of the body which gave a nice full sound when combined with a front mic.

    couple other things
    try not to point at the playing hand
    also try older strings, different gauges.
    also check to see if there aint any highfrequency reflections

    goodluck
     
  6. Well RemyRAD, Ringuz offered me the helpful suggestion of switching to strings that are designed to minimize just such problems. You offered me sarcasm. Yes I realize that these are sounds that guitars inherently produce, but when comparing my recordings to almost any other, the string noise seems to be accentuated quite a bit. Which is why I ask if anyone has any suggestions to minimize this if possible. However sarcastic, you do make a good point. Although I make the point that whatever instrument I pic up myself doesn't help me in getting a good sound for anyone else I'm recording.

    Thanks Thomaster.. combining mics might do just the trick. I really love the sound I get where I'm placing it at the moment, but I'm sure I could compromise with another mic placed somewhere else. thanks!
     
  7. nehpyh

    nehpyh Active Member

    Hi seventhwave99,

    Just in case you wish to control the amount of squeeks and string noise, try a little talcum powder (on your fretting fingers, that is!!!)



    nehpyh
     
  8. Sanity Inn

    Sanity Inn Guest

    2 other ideas

    either try "fastfret" spray OR try "flatwound" strings,

    just my two cents less thoughts lol

    SI
     
  9. Sanity Inn

    Sanity Inn Guest

    2 other ideas

    either try "fastfret" spray OR try "flatwound" strings,

    just my two cents less thoughts lol

    SI
     
  10. restashured

    restashured Guest

    Mic Positions

    It seems to me that you just need to point the mic a little more towards the soundhole. You're never going to fully eliminate fret noise, but that should help.

    You also might try a room mic as well as a close mic. Or use a large diaphragm(if you're using a small diaphragm, that is) for the close mic.

    It really depends on your personal taste, but these things may help.
     
  11. restashured

    restashured Guest

    Mic Positions

    It seems to me that you just need to point the mic a little more towards the soundhole. You're never going to fully eliminate fret noise, but that should help.

    You also might try a room mic as well as a close mic. Or use a large diaphragm(if you're using a small diaphragm, that is) for the close mic.

    It really depends on your personal taste, but these things may help.
     
  12. Thanks for your input everyone! I'll try some of these suggestions next time.
     
  13. CoyoteTrax

    CoyoteTrax Well-Known Member

    While it does help to point the neck-mic a little more toward the soundhole when necessary and use things like talcum powder and fast fret Remy does actually have a very valid point that isn't harsh at all.

    Technique is key when tracking any instrument and the only way to reduce fret noise is to pick your finger up off the fretboard and improve your fretting and fingering techniques as a guitarist.

    Some fret noise is of course expected. It reminds the listener there is an exciting, living and breathing relationship between the artist and the instrument. It lends a particular warmth to the song and at times is a purposeful expression on the part of the artist/composer themselves.

    If you feel the fretnoise you're hearing is excessive after you've adjusted your mics, then consider taking a few extra days to try to improve your technique. It's worth it, trust me. You've probably already played the tune 50 million times getting comfortable enough to record it. Another 30-50 times will be a walk in the park.

    I would say, however, that you absolutely should not sacrifice tone by over-compensating via mic technique or overloading on fast fret or playing lighter strings. The sacrifice of a little more practice and a little pain in the process will make you a better musician and that confidence and hard work will show up in the track in the form of tonal quality, clarity in your chords and notes, and overall harmonic excitement captured to tape/DAW. Just my opinion.
     
  14. timblaze

    timblaze Guest

    Coyote trax is correct... there are some tricks to minimizing the fret noise, but a lot of it is the playing!
     
  15. therecordingart

    therecordingart Well-Known Member

    To minimize the fret noise take a piece of cardboard and put it between your strings and fretboard. Then take a piece of fine steel wool and go over the strings with it.

    I know it sounds stupid, but that is what one of my clients does.

    Fast fret works as well.
     
  16. Tom Fodor

    Tom Fodor Active Member

    Check the action of your instrument is not to high, this can make a big difference. Even a business card thickness can kill your fingers. Coated strings etc can make a big difference as well. I also know a few guitarists that use bee's wax moisturisers for a few days before a session and all swear it works miracles.
     

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