You are here

Help me nail this acoustic guitar tone

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

Help me nail this acoustic guitar tone

Postby gdgross » Thu Jun 04, 2020 2:50 pm

Hi guys, wondering if anyone can give me some opinions/sanity checks on getting a little closer to a reference tone for an acoustic song I'm working on.

Here's the reference: https://www.dropbox.com/s/b5febsaxsbbjc ... 6.mp3?dl=0

And here's my second attempt: https://www.dropbox.com/s/9epjxwkky1uot ... 1.mp3?dl=0

What i hear in the ref:
small bodied acoustic, capo'd it sounds to me
plunky sound
maybe a *very* tight double, or some subtle chorusing or something
tone wise it's deeper than my attempt
sounds like a close mic

My first attempt was too mellow sounding to my ears, so I gave it another run. moved the mic closer, and played pretty hard. (actually gave myself the beginnings of a blister that thankfully didn't develop into one. )

I'm micing around the 12th fret, pointing down at about a 45degree angle or so. mic is lewitt 640 (poor man's 414) and the pre is an apa juggernaut.

Any ideas to help me get closer? I'm wondering if I should tune the guitar down a half step or more. the ref just seems meatier to my ears. The guitar is an alvarez parlor 12 fret, strung up with mediums, so the tension is a bit on the heavy side.
gdgross
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:20 am

Re: Help me nail this acoustic guitar tone

Postby Sam Inglis » Thu Jun 04, 2020 5:22 pm

Well there are a few differences here.

One that leaps out at me is that you're picking quite a bit harder than the reference. As a result it sounds percussive and a bit choked. That may also be down to your capo, if you're using one. If you look at some of the live videos of Luca Fogale's playing you'll see that he doesn't pick at all hard.

Another is that I think you're miking too close, or at least close to the wrong place. The sound you're capturing is the sound of the bit of the guitar where the neck meets the body -- not that of the guitar as a whole. Try a few different placements. One that often works is low down, below the lower bout, looking up towards the soundhole area. Out by the bridge can also give you a bit more body.

Finally, I don't think the reference is doubled, but it is stereo. That might just be a stereo reverb, but it probably means that two mics were involved in the recording. Possibly those are also combined with the output of a pickup in the guitar.
Sam Inglis
Moderator
Posts: 2649
Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2000 1:00 am

Re: Help me nail this acoustic guitar tone

Postby CS70 » Thu Jun 04, 2020 9:10 pm

Absolutely what Sam says - in particular the playing is everything, the one in the second sample is simply not yet there.

I think also it's the guitar itself, there's probably some additional reverb but the one thing that really differs from one acoustic guitar to the other is their natural reverberation. Last year when I bought my OM28 I was trying various nice guitars, and there was a Collings that was a bloody cathedral!
User avatar
CS70
Jedi Poster
Posts: 5558
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:00 am
Location: Oslo, Norway
Silver Spoon - Check out our latest video and the FB page

Re: Help me nail this acoustic guitar tone

Postby gdgross » Thu Jun 04, 2020 9:42 pm

Thanks guys, really appreciate the thoughts. I've been recording for a while, but this is really one of the first times I've tried to achieve a particular reference tone.

Will give your suggestions a try!
gdgross
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:20 am

Re: Help me nail this acoustic guitar tone

Postby Sam Inglis » Thu Jun 04, 2020 9:59 pm

Having listened again on a system with a mono button, I'm certain that the reference here was miked in stereo using a spaced pair -- it changes a lot in mono. So, probably one mic at the neck/body join and the other behind the bridge, though there are many ways to skin that particular cat.
Sam Inglis
Moderator
Posts: 2649
Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2000 1:00 am