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Acoustic guitar recording - Over shoulder + 12th Fret

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Acoustic guitar recording - Over shoulder + 12th Fret

Postby Fretz1 » Mon Oct 27, 2014 6:14 pm

Summary: Basically my question is i've been using this mic technique but can never get it sounding quite right.



Hi guys,

Wondering if anyone here can give me a little help, I've been trying a new technique to record acoustic guitar and I actually quite like it and realised it's a fairly obvious and well known stereo technique for acoustic guitar. I'm recording just the acoustic guitar on it's own. It will be mixed later with just vocals so it'll be a sparse mix (thought I better state that). So it won't be with a ton of other instruments or anything.

Basically you put 1 mic over the right shoulder at about ear height pointed down at between the sound hole / bridge and the other mic pointed at / around the 12th fret and pan the microphones hard left and right.

This is apparently a technique Boyce avenues producer likes to use and he pans the mics hard left and right http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhAlV...PvO_2AvqJZHXFg here is an example of their stuff. I do like the sound of their acoustic guitar even though some people may disagree.

Basically my question is I've been using this technique but can never get it sounding quite right.... if I pan it hard left and right it always sounds a little odd.... I think it's phase issues I guess (I Know all about phase just not had a lot of practise avoiding it). Tried a phase aligning plugin and that helps a bit but still sounds odd so I assume it's best to get mics properly in phase rather than trying to fake it. Also how do you deal with volume differences between the mics? do you just boost the quieter one with the preamp or move them closer / further till they are in balance?

Does anyone else use this technique and have any good tips on how to nail a good sound from it? how far do you like to place the mics etc? I assume moving the mics around while playing is best solution till it sounds "right" I may have to get my friend to play for me whilst I try it though. Also anyone feel free to give your overall opinion on this technique.


Any help is super appreciated!

Thanks!

Edit: I'm using oktava mk012 pair of sdcs
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Re: Acoustic guitar recording - Over shoulder + 12th Fret

Postby Sam Inglis » Mon Oct 27, 2014 6:33 pm

I find that with these sorts of multi-mic techniques it's really helpful to monitor in mono while you're setting them up to ensure that the two mics combine well. Trying to achieve good phase coherence after the fact never really works. And yes I think it's probably a good idea to set the gains to get roughly equal levels from each mic while you do so.

Don't restrict yourself to placing the second mic over the shoulder -- you can try moving it around anywhere to the player's right. I often find I prefer it pointing to a spot behind the bridge.
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Re: Acoustic guitar recording - Over shoulder + 12th Fret

Postby Bob Bickerton » Mon Oct 27, 2014 6:44 pm

I suspect one reason for trying this configuration is that the over the shoulder mic replicates what the player is hearing. I've certainly used this technique with violin, though it doesn't necessarily equate to the best sounding approach.

I'd imagine it will be very dependent on how good your room sounds, and how the guitar responds in the room.

Bob
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Re: Acoustic guitar recording - Over shoulder + 12th Fret

Postby Mike Stranks » Mon Oct 27, 2014 9:38 pm

I do quite a bit of guitar recording with some very good players both steel and nylon string.

I've never used the technique that you've been using as I - and more importantly my clients - have been happy with the approach I generally use...

... which is a matched-pair of cardioid SDCs equidistant from the sound-hole to minimise phasing issues, one in the region of fret 12 and the other around the lower quadrant behind the bridge. I find that I have to vary the distance in all three dimensions quite often as different instruments and rooms require very different positioning.

I have suggested other mic configs, but I'm usually told that what I'm doing is fine and to leave well-alone! Each mic is recorded to a separate channel - normally panned hard L & R, but sometimes with level differences in the mix. Again that can be very instrument dependent.

I'll be getting at least one 'warmer' mic soon which I'll hope to try as the body mic and continuing with an SDC on the neck.
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Re: Acoustic guitar recording - Over shoulder + 12th Fret

Postby The Elf » Mon Oct 27, 2014 11:18 pm

I also have tried and abandoned that technique long ago. I prefer spaced SDC omnis or mid/side LDCs.
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Re: Acoustic guitar recording - Over shoulder + 12th Fret

Postby Fretz1 » Wed Oct 29, 2014 6:01 pm

Thanks guys,

I really appreciate the suggestions very helpful!
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Re: Acoustic guitar recording - Over shoulder + 12th Fret

Postby dubbmann » Thu Oct 30, 2014 11:57 pm

Mike Stranks wrote:I do quite a bit of guitar recording with some very good players both steel and nylon string.

I've never used the technique that you've been using as I - and more importantly my clients - have been happy with the approach I generally use...

... which is a matched-pair of cardioid SDCs equidistant from the sound-hole to minimise phasing issues, one in the region of fret 12 and the other around the lower quadrant behind the bridge. I find that I have to vary the distance in all three dimensions quite often as different instruments and rooms require very different positioning.

I have suggested other mic configs, but I'm usually told that what I'm doing is fine and to leave well-alone! Each mic is recorded to a separate channel - normally panned hard L & R, but sometimes with level differences in the mix. Again that can be very instrument dependent.

I'll be getting at least one 'warmer' mic soon which I'll hope to try as the body mic and continuing with an SDC on the neck.

Hi Mike,

I know some of the players whom you record, and they're some of the best out there. I'm sure you're at the same level in your recording skills. Have you thought about doing a tutorial - either in print or a YouTube video of do's and don'ts on recording guitars? I for one would love to learn more from you!

Cheers,

d
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Re: Acoustic guitar recording - Over shoulder + 12th Fret

Postby DAGGILARR » Fri Oct 31, 2014 7:42 am

+1 :D
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Re: Acoustic guitar recording - Over shoulder + 12th Fret

Postby Mike Stranks » Fri Oct 31, 2014 1:39 pm

:blush:

That's very kind of you and I'm somewhat overwhelmed.

There are many here who use far-better kit than me - mics, preamps and recorders - and whose skills are far superior.

So I wouldn't presume to give any sort of instruction or advice, apart from the general 'this is what works for me' stuff such as presented above.

It's something that we've touched on many times here, but I think the reason I have found a niche in the world of acoustic guitar - both acoustic and steel-string - is because I strive to:

* get an authentic sound with the minimum of bells and whistles
* seek to build trust - and indeed friendship - with my regulars so that we can have a discussion about not only the 'sound', but what is going-on musically in an open and non-confrontational way.

Incidentally; some of you may have seen in Musicians' Lounge that I was 64 last weekend. I was honoured that one of my 'regulars' delighted us all with 30 minutes of classical guitar wonder during the festivities.
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Re: Acoustic guitar recording - Over shoulder + 12th Fret

Postby dubbmann » Sun Nov 02, 2014 9:20 pm

Mike Stranks wrote: :blush:

That's very kind of you and I'm somewhat overwhelmed.

There are many here who use far-better kit than me - mics, preamps and recorders - and whose skills are far superior.

So I wouldn't presume to give any sort of instruction or advice, apart from the general 'this is what works for me' stuff such as presented above.

It's something that we've touched on many times here, but I think the reason I have found a niche in the world of acoustic guitar - both acoustic and steel-string - is because I strive to:

* get an authentic sound with the minimum of bells and whistles
* seek to build trust - and indeed friendship - with my regulars so that we can have a discussion about not only the 'sound', but what is going-on musically in an open and non-confrontational way.

Incidentally; some of you may have seen in Musicians' Lounge that I was 64 last weekend. I was honoured that one of my 'regulars' delighted us all with 30 minutes of classical guitar wonder during the festivities.

Happy belated birthday! Was it GG who seranaded you? BTW, I watched his performance with Rick Wakeman on YT. Loved it. Were you involved w/that?

Cheers!

d

PS: I like you combination of hands-on and no-BS/no invocation of needlessly expensive/complicated recording rigs. Very much in the vein of some of my favorite recording engineers of yore....
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