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Recording acoustic guitar to sound like a classical

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Recording acoustic guitar to sound like a classical

Postby Frank Rideau » Wed Jun 08, 2011 3:45 pm


This question may sounds strange but...

Is it possible to record an acoustic guitar (Steel strings) and to make it sound a bit softer like a nylon strings classical guitar. Is there some specific EQuing and/or mic placement that could help ?

Currently, my recording with an acoustic sounds like...an acoustic steel-strings guitar (part played with the fingers). I used my Audio-Technica T2020 near the body from under ( I thought that close-miking near the neck would give too much high frequencies from the steel strings).

Anyway, I know I should ask someone to lend me his classical :headbang:, but I was just asking for fun what would be possible to do during recording or with processing.
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Re: Recording acoustic guitar to sound like a classical

Postby zenguitar » Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:07 pm

The only thing I can think of that would even get slightly close would be the Fishman Aura 16. Dave Lockwood reviewed it for SOS in the Nov 07 issue.

When Dave reviewed it there were different versions loaded with suitable models for different types of acoustic, including nylon strings. It appears now it comes pre-loaded with 16 Dreadnought models and software that allows you to download alternative models. So that's how you get the nylon string models.

It works by creating a fingerprint EQ using two thousand EQ bands. Dave's review tells you a little more about how it works. But if you are thinking of 'emulating' a nylon stringer with EQ, this will work a lot better than desk EQ and any plugins you might have.

One thing is certain though, it won't sound remotely like a real nylon stringer. But it might have enough of that flavour to work in your mix.

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Re: Recording acoustic guitar to sound like a classical

Postby zenguitar » Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:13 pm

And as a quick second thought....

You can buy nylon strings with ball ends. So at a push you could try a set of those on your steel string. HOWEVER, the saddle compensation is different for nylon strings so it won't intonate perfectly. And you might need to reduce the tension on the truss rod to avoid a back bow on the neck with the nylon strings fitted.

It will sound better than my previous suggestion, but still not as good as a real classical guitar. You need to make some serious adjustments to the guitar, and you might need Melodyne DNA to sort out the tuning problems. So still not an easy or effective solution.

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Re: Recording acoustic guitar to sound like a classical

Postby DAGGILARR » Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:30 pm

I think depends on what you want. If you want the listener to truly believe it is a nylon strung classical guitar then It will probably be tricky, but if you just want it to sound a bit "classical like" then first look to your playing style strike the strings way towards the neck, and adjust the angle of attack. Using a pick up DI may give you more potential to mess with the sound, EQ, comp, you may get a version that works

OR get a midi set up and use a sampled classical. I have tried some samples and it not that great to be honest.
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Re: Recording acoustic guitar to sound like a classical

Postby grab » Wed Jun 08, 2011 7:28 pm

Re stringing a steel-string-designed guitar with nylons, you're also going to have problems with the string action. Nylon strings tend to travel further than steel strings, so your strings are likely to keep bashing and buzzing on the frets.

Cheap classicals are (by definition) inexpensive, and they're usually perfectly reasonable instruments. Check your local Gumtree or other free ads page - if you can't find something under £50, you really aren't looking. If you can play then you can rule out any complete dogs when you give them a quick try before buying. Sure it won't sound like a million bucks, but with new strings it'll still sound like a reasonable nylon-string guitar. And the player always makes more difference anyway.
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Re: Recording acoustic guitar to sound like a classical

Postby Dave B » Wed Jun 08, 2011 10:24 pm

I find myself smiling at Zen's solutions. Whilst completely fine and totally do-able, it could well be pointed out that a dedicated processor, strange strings and a huge amount of ITB processing might well be the definition of over-engineering a solution......

;)

Just borrow a classical!!!

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Re: Recording acoustic guitar to sound like a classical

Postby zenguitar » Thu Jun 09, 2011 12:06 am

Yes Dave, I agree, borrow (or even buy a cheap) classical, the OP mentioned it himself

But in the spirit of answering the original question I thought it might be informative to look at the alternatives. Partly because it shows the extent of the compromise required and makes the argument to use the real thing perfectly. But also because it does open the door for happy accidents.

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Re: Recording acoustic guitar to sound like a classical

Postby Dynamic Mike » Thu Jun 09, 2011 12:34 am

In Cubase6 you can record an audio track as usual from your steel strung guitar, then using Variaudio enable pitch-to-midi & play it back using a classical guitar sample in Halion. However your playing style needs to be very clean otherwise you can lose a day cleaning up the midi-track. Actually it might be quicker to dispense with the guitar altogether & just whistle it into pitch-to-midi. :)
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Re: Recording acoustic guitar to sound like a classical

Postby Jack Ruston » Thu Jun 09, 2011 3:45 am

As suggested, buy or borrow a classical guitar. You can get something decent for very little money. There is honestly no other way to do this properly. All digital mucking about with acoustic stringed instruments sounds deeply unconvincing. You could spend hundreds of quid and hours of time with midi pickups, samplers, sound shaping this and that and will sound absolutely rubbish compared with a cheap classical. The tension, action and spacing change the way you play too.

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Re: Recording acoustic guitar to sound like a classical

Postby djangodeadman » Thu Jun 09, 2011 12:39 pm

Dynamic Mike wrote:In Cubase6 you can record an audio track as usual from your steel strung guitar, then using Variaudio enable pitch-to-midi & play it back using a classical guitar sample in Halion. However your playing style needs to be very clean otherwise you can lose a day cleaning up the midi-track. Actually it might be quicker to dispense with the guitar altogether & just whistle it into pitch-to-midi. :)
Variaudio only works on monophonic sources, though, so it would depend on what you were playing.
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Re: Recording acoustic guitar to sound like a classical

Postby Dynamic Mike » Fri Jun 10, 2011 12:29 am

djangodeadman wrote:
Dynamic Mike wrote:In Cubase6 you can record an audio track as usual from your steel strung guitar, then using Variaudio enable pitch-to-midi & play it back using a classical guitar sample in Halion. However your playing style needs to be very clean otherwise you can lose a day cleaning up the midi-track. Actually it might be quicker to dispense with the guitar altogether & just whistle it into pitch-to-midi. :)
Variaudio only works on monophonic sources, though, so it would depend on what you were playing.

True, although I suppose you could just play the root & insert the rest of the chord if you wanted. And I defy anyone to whistle a chord!
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Re: Recording acoustic guitar to sound like a classical

Postby Richie Royale » Fri Jun 10, 2011 7:55 am

Dynamic Mike wrote:And I defy anyone to whistle a chord!

Tuvan throat singing is essentially multiple tones.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTCJ5hedcVA (Not sure if this is a good example, I'm at work)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuvan_throat_singing
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