You are here

New strings or not for recording acoustic guitar

All about the tools and techniques involved in capturing sound, in the studio or on location.

New strings or not for recording acoustic guitar

Postby DAGGILARR » Sun Dec 16, 2012 9:37 am

I have had conflicting advice on this. I wonder what the prevailing opinion is ? The strings on my Guild GAD40c are a bit tired and my ear is saying time for a fresh set of D'Ads, but then then a voice, I think from here, says noooo not if you want to record.. fresh string are a nightmare.
User avatar
DAGGILARR
Frequent Poster
Posts: 711
Joined: Tue Sep 21, 2010 11:00 pm
Location: Exeter, Devon.

iMac 27" i7 2.9gh 2010 12GB ram, Focusrite Pro24DSP.


Re: New strings or not for recording acoustic guitar

Postby Shambolic Charm » Sun Dec 16, 2012 9:45 am

Depends whether you want that new string 'zing', personally I'm not keen on it.
User avatar
Shambolic Charm
Frequent Poster
Posts: 674
Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2005 11:00 pm

Re: New strings or not for recording acoustic guitar

Postby Jack Ruston » Sun Dec 16, 2012 9:56 am

Might have been me...New strings are almost always too bright, zingy and rattly. This goes away as the strings are played in...I think it may be because the windings flatten slightly onto the frets. I thought it might be oxidisation but I have tried leaving new strings out of the their packets for weeks, pulling them through my palms etc to try to prevent this problem. It didn't work. There's a window after the strings have been played for a few days and before the intonation goes off when they tend to be best for recording. It's the same on electrics and terrible on bass. All that said, a picking part will be less obviously problematic than strumming, some guitars will be worse than others, and of course it very much depends on your aesthetic. If you're after a very bright, shimmery sound, rather than a woody tone, then it may work fine.

J
Jack Ruston
Frequent Poster
Posts: 3477
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2005 12:00 am

Re: New strings or not for recording acoustic guitar

Postby Dynamic Mike » Sun Dec 16, 2012 12:21 pm

I actually quite like the tone of fresh strings, but I find it increases finger noise too much for recording. I generally try and change a couple of days before recording to reduce the amount of squeak & to allow the tuning to settle. But my main problem recording with older strings is that it's difficult to match the tone if I want to drop in any changes later.
Dynamic Mike
Frequent Poster
Posts: 2041
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2006 12:00 am
Location: Deep in the rabbithole

What's a park if you can't see a linnet? A time-table if your journey's infinte?


Re: New strings or not for recording acoustic guitar

Postby caveman82 » Sun Dec 16, 2012 12:21 pm

I've done quite a few recordings with solo acoustic guitar, and the age of strings is massively important.

If they are brand new, they sound too bright and zingy. Also for new strings they can take a bit more time to settle in for staying in tune too.

If they are too old then they can have problems with tuning (I use a lot of open tunings, string lifespans consequently are a lot shorter).

What I found is that at times when new strings are mandatory, some brands of strings are better than others. I find some D'addario strings (80/20 EJ12,36 & PB 26/38) last a longish time but sound too bright to begin with. I've found some Martin Guitar strings although M175 80/20's to be dull in the long run but sound better at 6-48 hours old than D'Addario strings. I've tried many other brands though, but these are two

My general observation of sorts, is that cheaper strings sound 'fresh' for less time and consequently are often better for recording than more expensive strings than often last for longer. It's a generalisation of the strings which I have tried and due to the almost infinite number of different brands of strings, I can't account for all strings; they might be some brands which sound perfect for recording straight away....
caveman82
Frequent Poster
Posts: 740
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2006 12:00 am

Re: New strings or not for recording acoustic guitar

Postby Herman Grimme » Mon Dec 17, 2012 4:21 pm

Maybe the dilemma can be solved by using coated strings; they cost a little more, but last much longer. More importantly: even when they're brand-new they don't have the ultra-bright, 'zingy', rattly quality of regular, uncoated strings. i.e. the difference between old and new strings is less big. Works for me.
Herman Grimme
Poster
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2003 12:00 am

Re: New strings or not for recording acoustic guitar

Postby DAGGILARR » Mon Dec 17, 2012 4:40 pm

I have never got on with coated strings, though to fair have only tried them once, Elixir I think they were. Took them straight off they sounded to me ....well.. coated... I use D,Addario EJ19's.

It will be a couple of weeks before I have another bash at recording properly again so I think a re-string an play em in is what I will do. (may do a quick experimental track or two with the fresh sound for comparison)

Though I may just try a set of coated at some point, any recommendations ... The EJ19's are 12<>56 so fairly weighty
User avatar
DAGGILARR
Frequent Poster
Posts: 711
Joined: Tue Sep 21, 2010 11:00 pm
Location: Exeter, Devon.

iMac 27" i7 2.9gh 2010 12GB ram, Focusrite Pro24DSP.


Re: New strings or not for recording acoustic guitar

Postby darrylonguitar » Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:02 pm

The D'Addario coated strings have more of a traditional string sound than the Elixer in my experience. The D'Addario coated also seem to have the most consistent tone across their life span of all the strings I've tried over the years and are now my string of choice both acoustic and electric. Still, they too suffer from new string thwack. Don't know that there's any way around it.

I prefer to record with stings at least a couple days old and really only change the strings once intonation and tuning problems set in. With the coated strings that happens before the tone is dull, especially if the guitar is stored in a hard shell case between sessions.
darrylonguitar
Poster
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Dec 13, 2006 12:00 am

Re: New strings or not for recording acoustic guitar

Postby Magic Matt » Tue Dec 18, 2012 1:30 am

DAGGILARR wrote:I have had conflicting advice on this. I wonder what the prevailing opinion is ?


Recording is as much about capturing the sound you like as anything else. Do whatever gives you the sound you like. When you get down to it, it's your sound, your playing, your material, so play it the way you want it to sound. If that means replacing the strings with elstic bands then so be it. What other people like is their sound, not yours!

Personally I prefer the sound and feel of strings once they've been played for a good few hours... but that's just my preference.
Magic Matt
Regular
Posts: 99
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:00 pm

Re: New strings or not for recording acoustic guitar

Postby Davedave93 » Tue Dec 18, 2012 1:56 pm

I love new strings, but yes, they do increase string noise and are perhaps over-bright for recording. I like to put new strings on a day before I record, provided I play a decent amount in that time.
Davedave93
Regular
Posts: 98
Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2010 11:00 pm

Re: New strings or not for recording acoustic guitar

Postby Johnny Stecchino » Thu Dec 20, 2012 12:53 pm

I know better the violin than the guitar, but the issue is similar.
In your case, I would put new strings, play them for few days and then record. You get the best of the two worlds combination...that's my 2 cents on the topic.
Best of luck!

I just notice you actually wrote a second time, and mention:

DAGGILARR wrote:It will be a couple of weeks before I have another bash at recording properly again so I think a re-string an play em in is what I will do. (may do a quick experimental track or two with the fresh sound for comparison)

Good. so in case you didn't do it already yourself just play the strings for 3-4 days and only then record for compare.
Always wish you best of luck!

User avatar
Johnny Stecchino
Regular
Posts: 284
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2007 12:00 am
Pro. violinist who likes some experiments...

Re: New strings or not for recording acoustic guitar

Postby Bossman » Thu Dec 20, 2012 2:09 pm

Magic Matt wrote:...replacing the strings with elstic bands...

might have to try that..
User avatar
Bossman
Frequent Poster
Posts: 707
Joined: Sun Sep 29, 2002 11:00 pm
Location: UK

Re: New strings or not for recording acoustic guitar

Postby DC-Choppah » Fri Dec 21, 2012 10:37 pm

For acoustic guitar, the strings are a key part of the sound. Personally, I always want fresh strings that have been broken in. Guitarists get used to the sound of their old strings, but are always pleasantly surprised how much they like the sound and feel of new strings, even if the old ones are relatively fresh.

If you record the same acoustic instrument and player with a fresh set of the same strings, the sound will match. Not so with older strings.

Some players don't know how to stretch their strings to get them to stay in tune right away.

If the instrument sounds too bright with new, stretched strings, it may be that the strings should be changed to a mellower set and the instrument setup changed. Again, I think players get used to the sound of their worn strings, so by comparison think the new strings are too bright. When in fact, the way the instrument sounds with fresh, broken in strings is its natural voice that you can record consistently. Just MHO.
User avatar
DC-Choppah
Frequent Poster
Posts: 662
Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2012 11:00 pm
Location: MD, USA

 


Re: New strings or not for recording acoustic guitar

Postby Tartaruga » Mon Dec 24, 2012 9:35 am

Hi Daggilarr

I’m with ‘DC Choppah’ here…Usually,what can the ‘most',can the ‘less’ but not the other way around.
New strings are more stable,fuller,and richer in harmonics.If the ‘zing’ from it’s ‘newness’ annoys you,you can just cut it with an EQ.On the other side,you can’t had something to a sound that wasn’t there in the first place.Tuning stability shouldn’t be a problem 'at all',just set your strings correctly and you’re good to go.
When I can,every time I record or have a recording session,I put new strings.’On tour’,usually,for each concert=new set of strings.
For me,new strings are always,always,a real a joy,be it for guitar or bass.
Cheers!
(And Merry Christmas to all of you!)

Pedro
Tartaruga
Regular
Posts: 209
Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2010 11:00 pm

Re: New strings or not for recording acoustic guitar

Postby Shambolic Charm » Mon Dec 24, 2012 10:32 am

....but if your guitar doesn't sound the way you like it, your performance may be compromised. Bear in mind it's a two way experience. Your guitar inspires you as well as you bringing inspiration to the guitar.
User avatar
Shambolic Charm
Frequent Poster
Posts: 674
Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2005 11:00 pm

Re: New strings or not for recording acoustic guitar

Postby Jack Ruston » Mon Dec 24, 2012 10:38 am

Tartaruga wrote:
If the ‘zing’ from it’s ‘newness’ annoys you,you can just cut it with an EQ.

Pedro

Not possible sadly. Unfortunately the 'zing' is a sort of shimmery rattle of the strings against the fret. If you cut top end you're just cutting wanted brightness. The nasty stuff exists in the same space as the nice. I thing that what may happen is that as you play the guitar the strings, especially the wound strings, deform against the frets. It's as if they become almost like a flat wound at those contact points, but less extreme. It may be that there are several effects occurring at once, of which that is one element. I've tried all sorts of things, uncluding going up and down the guitar, fret by fret, string by string and pressing the new strings against the frets. It seems to help but it's hard to keep perspective on how zingy they really are.

Certainly for me, the best sounds are always the ones where the guitar and the string are both reasonably woody sounding, and not too bright...And I'm adding top end with eq rather than taking it away.

J
Jack Ruston
Frequent Poster
Posts: 3477
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2005 12:00 am

Re: New strings or not for recording acoustic guitar

Postby Tartaruga » Tue Dec 25, 2012 9:15 am

Hi Jack

Never had the problem you mentioned…Only when the guitar is not good shape or bad set-up.
Maybe Zen Guitar could suggest some advices…

Cheers!
Tartaruga
Regular
Posts: 209
Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2010 11:00 pm

Re: New strings or not for recording acoustic guitar

Postby matt keen » Sat Jan 12, 2013 4:46 pm

Tartaruga wrote:Hi Jack

Never had the problem you mentioned…Only when the guitar is not good shape or bad set-up.
Maybe Zen Guitar could suggest some advices…

Cheers!


Excuse me???
matt keen
Frequent Poster
Posts: 870
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2006 12:00 am

Re: New strings or not for recording acoustic guitar

Postby Sam Spoons » Sat Jan 12, 2013 9:49 pm

I remember reading an article (in SOS, I think but can't find it) interviewing a Nashville producer and he said "if the guitar player hasn't fitted new strings for the session, I give him a set and deduct the cost from his session fee". Personally I prefer brand new strings, if the guitar buzz's or rattles it ain't set up right :-) but I find D'Addario coated strings a good compromise for gigs (I find Elixir's less when bright box fresh and I had a few problems with wound thirds breaking). Each to his own I guess
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Frequent Poster
Posts: 3902
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Manchester UK

Mr G J Guitarist


Re: New strings or not for recording acoustic guitar

Postby Scouser » Mon Jan 14, 2013 3:09 pm

Depends what kind of sound you want to capture, I guess. New strings for me are a little too bright. A couple of weeks old = mellow
Scouser
Regular
Posts: 486
Joined: Sun Oct 03, 2004 11:00 pm

Re: New strings or not for recording acoustic guitar

Postby Kaw-Liga » Tue Jan 22, 2013 7:25 am

If the guitar doesn't sound good or doesn't tune well anymore, the first thing to do is to change strings. There are different kinds of strings, and you should ask for strings that don't sound very fresh.

As for me, I like the changes in guitar sound, and rarely revisit recordings. Know exactly enough what you want to do, write it down, rehearse it well, – then record it correctly and quickly, would be my advice. If you split up writing, arranging, rehearsing and going for the sublime recording into four different modes, the last mode shouldn't take forever. Use the DAW or whatever throughout all these phases as you like, but know when you go for the ultimate take.
Kaw-Liga
Regular
Posts: 186
Joined: Tue Oct 14, 2003 11:00 pm


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Kwackman and 5 guests