Reference recordings for acoustic guitar and vocals

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by BobRogers, Mar 24, 2007.

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  1. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA
    I've been recording a few singer/songwriter types recently. Mostly steel string acoustic guitar and vocals. What do you use for reference recordings for this type of music when trying to listen to monitors and get a fix on the sound of a room? I've found that I don't consider some of my favorites in this genre terribly well recorded. I'm getting set to shop for monitors and I'd like to have references for this type of music. I currently use Joe Pass's lovely Songs for Ellen, but it's nylon string guitar and no vocal.
  2. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    Jan 9, 2005
    Brisbane, Australia
    Home Page:
    The Opus 3 recordings are the best IMHO. Eric Bibb, Manolo Iglesias, Tiny Island is incredible. Eric Bibb's "Spirit & the Blues" has some solo guitar and singing recorded superbly, piedmont blues picking etc.

    I also like the Gold Master Edition of James Taylor's JT album. Val Gary did the engineering and its a superb example of singer songwriting recording.

    I also have nearly all of Loudon Wainwright III's recordings, and most of them are very well recorded after and including Fame and Wealth.
  3. runamuck

    runamuck Guest

    James Taylor's, "Hourglass".
  4. ptr

    ptr Active Member

    Nov 3, 2004
    Göteborg, Sweden
    Home Page:
    Most of the Windham Hill releases with Tuck & Patti would be high on my list, even if theres a spot of electricity involved...

  5. IainDearg

    IainDearg Guest

    I venture that it would be very useful to know who they admire as players and singers, and which recordings they like. It is likely that these artists recorded output would be a start as reference recordings. It is possible they would be aspiring to their sound, anyway.

    On the other hand, the artists may be as awkward as me. I thought long and hard about using a reference recording during my own recent DIY project - but after auditioning a few I found that while I enjoyed and admired many, there were none to which I aspired to, or whose recorded sound I wanted to aim for sonically. Singer / songwriter stuff, whatever its flaws, is a very personal and intimate soundworld, and It just felt wrong for me to try and sound like someone else's intimacy! So I ended up having to judge my own work from first principles on its own merits and not in comparison to a reference. This was not easy and I made many mistakes along the way. On reflection, I think it might have been easier to use many more than one reference to keep my ear fresh, objective and honest.

    In one way, the purpose was simple: to record my Martin OM-18V as faithfully as possible, and to sing in tune and with feeling. As it turned out, my biggest challenge was my room which was overcome to a large extent by the installation of bass traps.

    But, apropos your question: If someone, years ago, had thought to ask me who I admired and I had said John Renbourn and the recordist had made me sound a bit like Renbourn, then I can't see me having had any objections. :)

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