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Solo jazz guitar recording - criticism required!

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by guitarjazzman, Jun 29, 2007.

  1. guitarjazzman

    guitarjazzman Active Member

    Hi all. I would like your opinions on what to do next with this recording.

    I have recorded a load of short excerpts for a demo CD to get some solo gigs. If I can be totally happy with this test, I am aiming to record a solo album. I have uploaded an example as a wav file at http://paulhill.biz/html/recording_test.html which I presume is a good way for you guys to hear it.

    I recorded the guitar direct into an Avalon U5 using both outputs. I have different reverbs on each track. I also mixed in a bit of miced guitar from a Rode NTK directly in front of the guitar body with a reflextion filter. I have left this track dry. I have not eq'd anything yet but have a Vintage Warmer on each track and also on the master channel.

    I am reasonably pleased with the sound although think that there might be a bit of 'fullness' or middly area that needs a helping hand. I thought I would ask opinions from people who know what they are doing to get some advise or at worst - be laughed at!

    If I am on the right track, what can I do to improve the overall sound? Would plugins like Ozone help me or is not even worth considering?

    Thank you for your criticisms in advance.
  2. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    I'm at work listening on computer speakers, but from what I can hear you are getting a lovely sound. It's mostly an electric jazz guitar sound, but there is enough "wood" there to give the archtop feel.

    As far as where you go from here, there are a couple of possibilities:

    You could certainly just "stand pat" on the recording and just practice your guitar. You are getting a nice clean recording that I expect accurately represents your playing and the sound of the guitar. (Do you agree?) The most effective way to improve the recording is to improve your playing. (That's not a knock on your playing.) Of course, you can probably learn to use the basic tools you have more effectively, and maybe some people with more experience and better speakers can give you some ideas. But I'd consider that part of "standing pat."

    You could also make another stab at recording the guitar acoustically. This means room acoustics, mic, pre - an expensive proposition. it's really an artistic choice. The sound you are getting now is a good sound, but is it what you are looking for? Is it what you sound like when playing live?

    You could get into mastering by buying ozone, etc., etc. This makes the least sense to me. It doesn't make sense economically to do it yourself. And its not as close to your artistic process as recording your own tracks.
  3. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Nice playing, Paul!

    Do you normally use a guitar amplifier for stage or live work? I think you may need to lay down another track from a microphone capturing the amplifier output, and blend that in to reduce the slightly "clinical" sound you have at the moment.

    The jazz guitarists I have recorded almost all wanted to start with an acoustic recording of their stage sound and then add some. This has meant miking cabinets (often placed in another room or isolation chamber), taking pickup feeds, and then experimenting with multiple microphones to pick up the acoustic sound. I frequently use M-S miking to give some width to the recorded sound. I some cases I re-amp the pickup track in post-production using different amplifier cabinets to achieve various tones to suit individual pieces.
  4. guitarjazzman

    guitarjazzman Active Member

    Thanks for taking the time to evaluate my recording. It is certainly not my best playing as I am trying to get a setup to get good recorded sound before I spend time with the playing side of things.

    I do play through an amp when playing live - a Polytone minibrute. I have experimented micing the speaker although did not get the sound I was looking for. This is obviously down to me so further experimentation is required. I had thought about reamping, then I could fiddle around with mic types (I have SM57, Rode NT1000 and Rode NTK) and positioning after the event. Is there any way that I can use the Avalon U5 to reamp or would I need to purchase a seperate reamp box?
  5. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Thanks I enjoyed that, great job! IT sounds good to me. I was thinking of picking up a U5 for a bass DI. I gather your happy with it?
  6. guitarjazzman

    guitarjazzman Active Member

    Yes, I am very pleased with the U5. They are quite pricey for a DI box but it sounds good to my ears. The recording that I posted was mainly the sound coming from the U5 with only a bit of mic. I thought I had a problem with the U5 when I first started to us it as it was very noisy and even picked up radio stations slightly. It wasn't the U5 at all in the end but my Monster jazz cable. The signal was virtually noise free with a George L cable and various others including cheap leads, wirlwinds, etc. The interesting thing was that it was noisy with 3 different Monster cables, one of which was virtually brand new. As you can guess, I now do not use Monster cables!
  7. gdoubleyou

    gdoubleyou Well-Known Member

    Sounds good to me, even from my Powerbook speakers.

    :cool: 8)
  8. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    What were you doing wrong with the monster cable?
  9. guitarjazzman

    guitarjazzman Active Member

    I don't think I could have done anything wrong with the Monster cables. As I said previously, the first Monster cable I tried was really noisy and even picked up the radio. I had the guitar plugged into the U5 with the Monster cable, U5 into my Firepod and headphones from the U5. A second Monster cable was not quite as bad but was still quite noisy. I then tried a Whirlwind that I have had for about 15 years and this was silent. I didn't change the setup at all. I tried a second Whirlwind cable then a £10 cheapo lead and these were both silent. I orded a George L cable after reading reviews and this was also silent. I then borrowed a reasonably new, hardly used Monster jazz cable from someone and this too was noisy.

    I did numerous tests with the leads so came to the conclusion that I wouldn't use the Monster cables for recording. Perhaps it's coincidence and all three Monster cables were faulty?
  10. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Huh....interesting maybe I am incorrect in my assumption, but I though monster cables gimmick was thicker finely stranded copper with lower impedance. I am not one for the cable war thing; I really think it is a perfect example of marketing gone wild. The whole low oxygen copper thing makes me laugh. But my personal biases aside there are a few things that can make a cable noisy-
    1) The cable is intermittent
    2) The connector is not properly attached (i.e. cold solder joint, or a detached wire etc)
    3) There is an impedance problem; i.e.. the input impedance of the amplifier is not quite high enough for a lower output impedance of the guitar, which can cause loading of the input. This rare but it does happen..

    What you have here could be any of those. Anyway glad to hear you got it working.

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