recording help for amateur guitarist

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by jluecke, Oct 25, 2007.

  • AT5047

    The New AT5047 Premier Studio Microphone Purity Transformed

  1. jluecke

    jluecke Guest

    I've been writing and recording acoustic guitar songs for some time. However, I don't understand the technical points of recording and often find my songs sounding far from professional. I'm looking for suggestions.
    Here are two songs I recorded in the last few months:
    Controlling the transmission of Impact sound through floors
    Controlling the transmission of Impact sound through floors

    My problems with these recordings include:
    -The bass notes sometimes sound overpowering when not using headphones. The open A string is particularly strong.
    -You can hear me breathing in various places.
    -I find the sound quality to be generally muddier than other acoustic recordings I've heard.

    This is my rather simple setup:
    -Digidesign Mbox USB with Protools LE
    -Shure SM57, Studio Projects B1 condenser mic
    -Ibook G3 600 with an external firewire hard drive

    Any suggestions to improve the recording quality are greatly appreciated. I also welcome any comments on the songs themselves.

  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    What can I say?

    Most people know I say too much but in this case, I can't say enough. Those were a pair of lovely recordings of a beautiful acoustic guitar performance! Technically speaking, I thought your performance and Recording was superb. You said it sounded muddy? I listened to this through a pair of KRK Krockit's and headphones. No mud. It was lush, full, big and fat! I don't like bright crispy and thin especially on something like this.

    I did hear you breathe somewhere way in the background. That can be easily remedied. Stop breathing. See? Wasn't that easy? I could hear you breathe because it is most likely, that you are alive. That's generally a good thing for most guitarists and I wouldn't change that if I was you. You could MIDI your guitar and make it sound perfect and inhuman? But I probably wouldn't buy that Recording.

    If I were to recommend anything, I would stick and ever so tiny amount of plate like reverb on the recording to provide a little more ambience. That's all.

    Keep up the good work!
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  3. GentleG

    GentleG Guest

    a good recording of a good performance
    be proud
    and maybe add a touch of reverb
  4. jluecke

    jluecke Guest

    Thanks a lot for the kind comments! I'll experiment with adding a bit of reverb.
  5. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Oct 26, 2007
    Cocoa, FL
    Home Page:
    About the breathing on the tracks:

    "Wish You Were Here", by Pink Floyd - some breathing, sniffling and coughing in those tracks, too!
    That's what grabs the listener, in my opinion.
    Gives it a human touch.

    I dig songs where you can hear a little of what's going on during the session, talking at the end of tracks, drummers giving a count and such...
  6. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Jun 22, 2004
    Philadelphia, PA/ Greenville, DE
    Home Page:
    It's a lovely recording already, and some great playing. I thoroughtly enjoyed it, and for what it's worth, it sounds GREAT on my cheap laptop speakers. I too don't hear any bass buildup, but I doubt I would on this system. Your mics and equipment aren't necessarily the "problem" here anyway.

    If I'm not mistaken, it sounds like you've overdubbed some parts as well, so remember that that can exacerbate the boominess and bass buildup. You may be able to solve some of it with eq. If the overdubs are just upper notes on the high strings, you can start there with some bass rolloff.

    There's a lot of things you can try as well. Try standing up, if you've been sitting down, and vice versa. It may sound silly, but you're adding a third of the distance to the floor by simply standing up and trying to record that way. (assuming you can use a strap on your guitar.) By standing, you open up the space a bit more between the guitar, mics & floor. For the low freqs; even 2 feet can make a difference.

    Try moving the mics around as well, of course (although you've probably tried that already?) The SM57 has the infamous proximity effect which is GREAT for male voices, but not nec. so desirable when doing up-close instrument recording. Moving it back a few inches may make a world of difference, as well, provided your room isn't too noisy or reverberant. Take a look at the EQ curve for SM57's (available on the SHURE website, probably, or in the docs with the mic if you bought it new.) The curve should change for distane (more bass as you get in closer) so perhaps you want to play around with software EQ to get the inverse curve when you're using it that way.

    Sounds like you're playing a nylon string guitar as well. Have you experimented with different guage strings and such? What kind of guitar are you using? (Yours sounds very nice, but I've heard some GREAT players get great sounds out of so-so $150 student guitars. Sometimes a simply change of instrument or strings goes a long way...)

    Position in the room helps as well. Are you in a corner, against a wall, away from the wall? How high is your ceiling? All these things come into play as well, so experiment all you can, compare the results, and you may be in better shape than you realize. Keep up the good work. :cool:
  7. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2005
    Great tone! It reminds me of the Hungarian guitarist, Rita Honti. Keep it up!
  8. jluecke

    jluecke Guest

    Thanks for all the suggestions. Room positioning is something I had not considered. Right now, I'm set up in a small, carpeted attic bedroom with a low ceiling. The room has no echo, which I took to be a good thing. The way it is arranged, I'm playing directly into a corner just a few feet away.
    I'm thinking I'll have to move the mics back a bit. Right now I have them just inches from the guitar's sound hole. I've been keeping them that close to cut down on the breathing noises and computer clicks--my laptop and external hard-drive are right there next to me and both are somewhat noisy.
    My guitar is a Samick that I bought new about 10 years ago for about $300 when I started getting interested in classical playing. I also play an older Japanese-made Yamaha steel string guitar my dad bought before I was born--that guitar is not in either of the songs posted here though.
    I'll try some new things later this afternoon when I have time to mess around upstairs, but given the positive comments here, drastic changes don't seem necessary.
    You folks are great confidence boosters!

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