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Amplifying Classical Guitar

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Amplifying Classical Guitar

PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 4:59 pm
by twotoedsloth
Bit of an emergency here...

I have to amplify a solo classical guitarist in a medium size 500 seat venue. It last minute so I don't have a huge amount of choices for mics.

I have a Shure SM58, Rode NT5, Neumann KM184, AKG c451 and that's about it.

Which mic is most suitable? AND - where should I set the highpass filter? 110hz?

Thanks kindly,

peter

Re: Amplifying Classical Guitar

PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 5:09 pm
by Wonks
I'd suggest the Neumann or AKG. Or both, one for the neck/body join area and one for the rear of the soundboard.

Bottom E on a guitar is round about 82Hz, so you'll miss out on some of the fullness with a 110Hz high pass, (remembering that it's already 3dB down at the selected frequency). If you can set it lower, then I'd suggest 80Hz.

Re: Amplifying Classical Guitar

PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 6:43 pm
by twotoedsloth
Thanks for your response. I will go with the Neumanns for no other reason than that they were the most expensive.

I will set the high pass filter to 80hz. Thank you. Classical guitarists love to play scordatura, so he might tune down to D or even lower...

Of course the guitarist did not allow time for a proper sound check... all we have is 15 minutes, and then the audience will need to file in, the concert starts at 7:30pm, and we can't get into the hall until 7pm.

I really wish people would plan ahead and provide more than 7 hours notice, even with a day's notice I could have rented a more suitable microphone.

Again, many thanks for your reply.

Peter

Re: Amplifying Classical Guitar

PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 6:52 pm
by OneWorld
I'm no engineer, but have played classical guitar back in the day and mic'ing one is one of the black arts.

Even though it won't give you much extra time, would it be possible to take someone else in at 7:00 to get levels and such?

I do remember being recorded at one studio and they had 2 neumanns, quite high quality as were the results

Re: Amplifying Classical Guitar

PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 1:24 am
by Sam Spoons
I guess you've finished now :clap: how did it go?

I recorded a series of concerts of international classical guitarists a fair few years ago (on DAT, to give you an idea how long ago) and, based on that, I'd suggest one good SDC (I used C451s but the Neumanns will certainly not be inferior) pointed at the 12th fret and an other on a short stand to the players right pointing at a point below the bridge (angled up and to the his right at around 45º) then move them around until each gives the best sound. For recording I had them a couple of feet from the guitar but for live you may need them cloase though this rarely sounds as good.

Re: Amplifying Classical Guitar

PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 5:23 pm
by twotoedsloth
Hello and thanks for your replies.

The concert went surprisingly well. The guitarist didn't show up until 7:20pm - for a 7:30pm show. I was tempted to put out the SM58 just to spite him, as I was annoyed that he didn't arrive at 7pm as arranged.

I used a single KM 184 aimed at the 12th fret as advised here. It worked well enough that we didn't try anything else in our very limited sound check.

I appreciate the advice you gave me,

Peter

Re: Amplifying Classical Guitar

PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 5:28 pm
by Wonks
Glad it worked out OK!

And a curse on late musicians. There are simply no excuses (apart from "I ran out of gas! I got a flat tire! I didn’t have change for cab fare! I lost my tux at the cleaners! I locked my keys in the car! An old friend came in from out of town! Someone stole my car! There was an earthquake! A terrible flood! Locusts!").

Re: Amplifying Classical Guitar

PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 3:50 pm
by Martin Walker
Wonks wrote:Glad it worked out OK!

And a curse on late musicians. There are simply no excuses (apart from "I ran out of gas! I got a flat tire! I didn’t have change for cab fare! I lost my tux at the cleaners! I locked my keys in the car! An old friend came in from out of town! Someone stole my car! There was an earthquake! A terrible flood! Locusts!").

A curse indeed, although in the case of classical guitarists you have to try not to fret about them too much.

:beamup:


Martin

Re: Amplifying Classical Guitar

PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 5:20 pm
by blinddrew
Your coat, sir, is by the door...

Re: Amplifying Classical Guitar

PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 5:56 pm
by Sam Spoons
If it's like mine it'll be the one with the overlong sleeves which strap up the back I imagine :D

Re: Amplifying Classical Guitar

PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 8:42 pm
by Martin Walker
Are you being straight with me Sam? ;)


Martin

Re: Amplifying Classical Guitar

PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 9:55 pm
by blinddrew
This isn't helping your case you know...

:)

Re: Amplifying Classical Guitar

PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2018 12:55 am
by Martin Walker
But I hang mine on a wall-mounted stand! :tongue:


Martin

Re: Amplifying Classical Guitar

PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2018 5:11 pm
by twotoedsloth
It looks like I am amplifying classical guitar again today. I guess the last time was a success...

I have more time today, so is there another technique I might try other than a KM184 pointed at the 12th fret.

To me, this is tantamount to heresy. Guitarists practice on their own for years, and then they want to turn their tone production, timbre and dynamics over to me? I guess whatever makes them happy.

Any advice here would be much appreciated.

Kind regards,
Peter

Re: Amplifying Classical Guitar

PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2018 5:47 pm
by Hugh Robjohns
twotoedsloth wrote:I have more time today, so is there another technique I might try other than a KM184 pointed at the 12th fret.

SM58 right in front of the soundhole....

...and then everyone will appreciate the KM184 at the 12th fret so much more! :lol:

H

Re: Amplifying Classical Guitar

PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2018 5:54 pm
by twotoedsloth
If this guitarist is as late as the one last week I might put out an SM58 due to sheer annoyance.

Realistically, what would you think of using a Beta 57? Or a DPA 4011? Obviously the DPA is going to sound better but it might be more prone to feedback?

Thanks for your reply, sarcastic though it may be!

Re: Amplifying Classical Guitar

PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2018 6:16 pm
by ef37a
I have a dim recollection of a visiting sitar virtuoso (Ravi?) being amplified at my technical college in the main hall at St Georges Ave Northampton.
Must have been 1962/3 . Cannot remember the mics used but I am sure the speakers were stacked Quad ESLs (the original bronze ones) each side of the stage each stack driven by two Quad 2s.

The kit was probably loaned by the local hi fi dealer Audiocraft who still have a shop in the town. Ah! I will email them and ask!

Dave.

Re: Amplifying Classical Guitar

PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2018 6:22 pm
by Hugh Robjohns
twotoedsloth wrote:Realistically, what would you think of using a Beta 57? Or a DPA 4011? Obviously the DPA is going to sound better but it might be more prone to feedback?

I think you probably already know what to expect from those choices.

I don't know what the genre is, or the room acoustics, or the PA, or your/their expectations, so I can only talk in generalities. But as you're going to have to close-mic to get sufficient gain before feedback you'll need a mic with a flat response and a tight-ish polar pattern. A DPA4011 is a very expensive mic to have on a live sound stage, but then so is a KM184 -- I wouldn't usually get mine out for a job like that (I tend to use a Sennheiser K6/ME64 combo or my lovely AKG D224Es! ;-)

I have miked acoustic guitar on stage with a Beta57 in the past and it worked fine in context with some EQ-ing -- but I kept the mic well upwind of the sound-hole! However, if you're happy to use the KM184 and liked the sound it gave the last time, I'd do the same again because it's going to be very hard to beat.

H

Re: Amplifying Classical Guitar

PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2018 6:24 pm
by twotoedsloth
Thanks for your reply Dave.

I'm obviously not going to be able to make it to Northampton before tonight's concert (I live in Canada).

I'm going to be using Tannoy speakers without a subwoofer. I can add a subwoofer if you think it is necessary, but guitars only go down to 80hz so there is no point... if I'm wrong please correct me. The Tannoys are 12 inch dual concentric speakers, and the amp is a Yorkville CR5 (300 watts per channel).

It is not possible to swap out the PA gear, aside from adding the sub that is. However I can put out different mics in different configurations.

Your thoughts would be much appreciated.

Peter

Re: Amplifying Classical Guitar

PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2018 6:31 pm
by twotoedsloth
Thanks Hugh.

Since I have time I will put out three mics and pick which one sounds best. The KM184 since it made the guitarist (and the guitarists in the hall) so happy (I believe you would say "chuffed"), and a Beta 57, and I have a pair of AKG D224es, so I'll put one of these out as well.

Many thanks,

Peter