An acoustic guitar is a complex thing to record and there's so many things that can go wrong.
The instrument, the strings, the performance, the room, the microphones and placement, noise issues and finally the question:
How do I get this to work in the context of my song?
Most of the time the acoustic guitar serves a specific purpose. Either on its own, or in a dense, full rock band arrangement.
In this episode we'll walk you through the process of recording an acoustic guitar and cover all the details, as well as different methods and approaches, so that you can start your next session with confidence.
TSRB Podcast 020 - Acoustic Guitar
[00:00:00] Malcom: [00:00:00] There's no moving on until I know that it's not going to have to get redundant, you know? Cause that's what happens if you get it wrong, they'll have to redo it. It just can't be used. In my opinion,
Benedikt: [00:00:16] this is the self recording band podcast. The show where we help you make exciting records on your own.
Wherever you are. DIY style. Let's go.
Hello and welcome. To the self recording band podcast. I am. Benedick tine your host and I'm here today with my cohost Malcolm own flood. How are you?
Malcom: [00:00:39] Hello? I'm great, man. Thank you for asking. And how are you?
Benedikt: [00:00:42] I'm doing fine, especially because we are on episode 20 today. Yes. A milestone. Yeah, absolutely. So cool.
I can't believe it's been that many episodes. It's like, feels like we just started. That is almost half a year in, right?
Malcom: [00:00:58] Yeah. I [00:01:00] think maybe part of that is like the lockdown period of the podcast where it's like, time just moved in a different way. It felt like a week, but it was actually two months, but
Benedikt: [00:01:11] yeah.
Yeah, for sure, totally lost track of everything basically. Like it, it just, it feels like there was no spring. I feel like we were jumping from winter's Dre to summer or something like as if I missed, missed a, like a season or so.
Malcom: [00:01:27] Yeah. Yeah. It's weird.
Benedikt: [00:01:30] Silly, weird.
Malcom: [00:01:31] Yeah. Just got out to, uh, my family's summer cabin over the weekend and it was so nice.
Just like getting away from where I've been. Hold up. I'm in a new place. I can't believe it. It was awesome.
Benedikt: [00:01:45] Yeah. Like that. If you can do this. Things like that during this time. It's like, that's the best. Yeah. Yeah. Episode 20. Like it's, it's crazy now up until now, we've almost exclusively talked about loud band.
So [00:02:00] drums, guitars, um, okay. Vocals, but mostly it's about loud rock band stuff. Um, and today we're going to talk about something a little different, and that is acoustic guitars. I mean, acoustic guitars are part of rock arrangements often, but I mean maybe some of you are singer songwriters or, um, yeah. Do folk or whatever other genres with acoustic guitars.
So we thought that would be a good idea to, to do an episode like that. And I gotta be honest that I haven't recorded an acoustic guitar in awhile, but I used to do it a lot. And I'm curious to. To have this conversation and to hear what you are doing, uh, in that regard. Yeah. Um,
Malcom: [00:02:47] I do a bit of acoustic guitars, um, but it is this weird thing where it is different every single time.
How, how I ended up getting the result. Um, there's a whole lot of trial and error, trial and error, and it's usually dependent [00:03:00] on, uh, on the song as well. So there's really no one size fits all technique for this. In my mind. Um, there there's some quicker ways to get on, to get like a result pretty fast. But in that, like when you're really trying to like hone in on a very specific, great acoustic guitar sound, it does take quite a bit of time usually.
Benedikt: [00:03:21] Yeah, I think so. At the same time, I think you got to sometimes move quickly because. I find that after a certain amount of takes, it's just not the same vibe anymore. Or like some people, especially those people who sing and play at the same time. I don't know. It's like the first couple of takes until they are like warmed up.
And then soon after I think that takes don't get better anymore. So it takes a lot of time to get it right. And you have to take care of a lot of things and make sure it's right. But at the same time, you don't want to wear out the I'm the musician. And it's, I don't know. It's like, I've always been pretty fast with that stuff most of the [00:04:00] time, because it's such an organic, natural way of making music often.
Malcom: [00:04:05] yeah, you do have to balance it because acoustic guitars can be hard to play even, you know, like sometimes like the best sounding one in the room has a super high action strings, generally a little bigger, so like people can wear out. Uh, so you do have a time limit sometimes.
Benedikt: [00:04:19] Yeah, I think so. Like, I'm curious, do you often.
Um, include acoustic guitars and like rock and full band rock arrangements. Do you often do that or do the bands you worked with or have worked with, um, know they do that often? Is that a thing? Because in my word, like it's more of the heavier stuff. Sometimes the occasional punk band. Does like a song with an acoustic guitar in the background or with a part with an acoustic guitar.
But most of the heavier bands typically don't do it as often. It's more like there's sometimes this one acoustic song on the record that happens, or, or someone in the band does an acoustic side project or something like that. That happens a lot. But like in the whole, like our whole [00:05:00] record as part of the arrangements, is that something you do often.
Malcom: [00:05:03] I would say often. Yeah, most like the majority of the time it's electric guitars, but there's a lot of people in Canada that write their songs on acoustic guitars and then just kind of have a band built around that. Um, and sometimes that's my, like, my job, like has been in the past if, uh, if that came across was just like, okay, here's the singer song writer.
We have to turn this into a full band song kind of thing. Um, so the acoustic kind of still lives there, but it might not be the main instrument anymore. Um, so yeah, I'd say it happens pretty often out here. It's pretty popular in the music around here. Uh, especially having like that full band with an acoustic guitar thing definitely does happen.
Benedikt: [00:05:42] Okay. That actually brings us to one of the. The bullet points here on our, and our list that we prepared. Um, and that is like, it totally depends like how to make an acoustic guitar, how to record it totally depends on the goal of that. Like [00:06:00] off the, off the sound that you capturing, like what, what the purpose of it is and the arrangement, because when you say it's not much left of the guitar sometimes, and it's, it becomes part of the arrangement sometimes.
It might not even sound like a full acoustic guitar, but it's more like a progressive elements perhaps. And in other, and other times, it's, it's more about the full body and, um, sound of that guitar. And so that's two totally different approaches.
Malcom: [00:06:27] Right? Very, uh, This is actually an important thing to try with any instrument you're doing, but whenever possible, listen to the instrument you're trying to record in context with everything else you already have.
Cause it's totally natural and common just to like try and choose an acoustic guitar sound just by listening to just that guitar. But in reality, it has to fit in with all of the other, pieces of the arrangement. And the thing about acoustic guitars in particular is that they really have this like [00:07:00] unruly low end, that's not very solid or defined in most cases. And once you have a bass guitar or even electric guitars or drums in there that essentially becomes like worthless. All of that, like, bottom end on it, if it's a guitar, just like can't really exist effectively. So there's a limited amount of space with acoustic guitars.
They take up a lot of space and you have to carve that out in a lot of situations to make it fit with everything else that's going on. So, yeah, like Danny was just saying. There's times when you have a very percussive instrument that instead of like a full acoustic sound where it may be was big sound in, but you've actually kind of carved out that low end, low mids, maybe.
And it's more of like, it's doing the job of a shaker almost, you know, it's the sound of the pic attack. Um, that's really doing the job and I bet if you are listening to this and you're kind of like, huh, that sounds weird. But if you go pull up some full band mixes with acoustic guitar, you're going to be like, Oh, [00:08:00] okay.
Right. Like it's not, it's not there to provide the root note. Like the, like the bass guitar is it's just really like a movement.
Benedikt: [00:08:09] Yeah, for sure. Absolutely. Sometimes don't even know what to do with that low, mid and a low star off with the acoustic guitar, because it's also so. And even often it's hard to control and it conflicts with so many other things.
So, yeah, you're totally right. But on the other hand, sometimes you probably still want to capture like the full guitar tone in case that you need to automate it. So there might be, be a guitar intro or a bridge or outro or whatever where the guitar is. And then if you just go with that progressive sound, it could end up sounding thin those parts,
Malcom: [00:08:46] right?
Benedikt: [00:08:48] So maybe it totally depends what you do with it, but if there is the, the, the, like, there's the chance that you might want to use it in a kind of solo part where the guitar is on its own, [00:09:00] it's probably a good idea to capture, to still capture the full, the full body of it. So how would you approach that?
How would you avoid this? Like uncontrolled. Low end stuff. And how would you capture like the passive, um, bright and defined, precise part of it? Right.
Malcom: [00:09:21] Well, maybe we should start by talking about the kind of common. Starting points of making an acoustic guitar, like the things that everybody usually does or should probably start at, you know, like try this and then adjust.
Um, and that's usually starting with a mic around the neck joint, um, or like the body joining this where. The, I kind of define that as the fret that is closest to the bodies, um, like to the body, you know, it's normally the 12th thread or around there. Uh, but that's where like the neck meets the body. And that is where I would normally start making an acoustic guitar.
And let's just say you had a 57, that's kind of our trusty [00:10:00] GoTo on this podcast. Isn't that some 57 can't really go wrong. It'll work great on it acoustic guitar to grab that find that, uh, 12th Fred or, or, uh, neck joint. And I normally start like pretty far off, like 10 to 12 inches, like a foot maybe even, um, well is 12 inches, but like around there kind of thing and see what that does.
Um, the make choice to answer your question, Benny, um, the make choice is going to do a lot of that controlling of like what, what you're going to be capturing an SM 57 is going to have a much more controlled, low end then like a large diaphragm condenser will on an acoustic. Um, just like a more focused pattern on that microphone and, and, uh, and frequency response.
So that'll, that'll solve that problem quite a bit. Like a 57 is actually super common for me to grab a, if it's going to be a full band, acoustic guitar situation where it is going to be progressive.
Benedikt: [00:10:57] Yeah. But I was going to say it has to be [00:11:00] pretty loud and progressive though. And it has to be probably in a mix and an arrangement because of 57 with like a very quiet.
Type of acoustic guitar can be, can be noisy. So yeah. Drums pretty hard. Yeah. And you need to get a good preempt probably. So, because if you have the typical home recording interface to channel interface with like the built in preamps, if the, if you crank them and you probably will need to, with an acoustic guitar, like this can get really noisy.
So one recommendation and this situation would maybe be something like a fat hat or. Uh, the, the, what is called the M one, I think the se electronics one is also really great. I just recently tried it
Malcom: [00:11:40] and there's a, the cloud lifter.
Benedikt: [00:11:43] Yeah, exactly. So some sort of, uh, inline, some sort of inland preamp, um, is what it's called.
Um, yeah, the, the S S E electronics DM one. Yeah, that's it. Or the cloud lifter or the fat head, some sort of inline preempt that you just plug [00:12:00] between the mic and the, the, the actual mic preamp that will help a lot in that situation, I guess. And it will give you more clean gain and less noise, but it doesn't matter as much if you like, like Malcolm just said, if you put it in a band arrangement and if it's progressive and loud, like 57 will definitely do, and it will give you that.
Aggressive progressive upper mid range, which is very nice compared to the large diaphragm condenser or something.
Malcom: [00:12:23] Yeah. So we're kind of skirting around it, but what we're really saying is that it does just come down to the arrangement, um, yeah. And, and experience. So you've got to experiment with what your mix that you have.
Uh, because if you're looking for that, like full, pretty, uh, acoustic guitar sound, then I would probably reach for a condenser first. Um, and start there, you know, alternatively, you know, um, It's not to say that you can't get a nice, pretty acoustic sound with this as a 57. You definitely can. But that, like, it really does change depending what you're looking for.
Um, [00:13:00] another thing I know we want you to talk about was like stereo versus mano miking, um, or multimedia and, and mano as well. And that is kind of part of the same conversation. Because those are choices I would make based on the arrangement again.
Benedikt: [00:13:15] Yeah, sure. Absolutely. I mean, let's start maybe with the conversation of stereo versus mono.
So that basically means a motto means that on both speakers, there's the same signal. So one microphone is a mano signal and if you played back, it comes out and it's an impact in the middle. It comes out of both speakers. Um, if you have, if you record something in stereo, just like with overheads or anything, where you use two mikes and you pan them left and right.
There's different stuff coming out of the left and right speaker and you get an, an image. So there are real stereo making techniques, quote, unquote, real like the proper stereo miking techniques, like an X, Y, or, or, or RTF or, uh, stuff like that that you can use. So you [00:14:00] can place two microphones in front of the guitar.
Uh, or the player and you can put them in an X, Y pattern. That's the 90 degree, uh, angle with the capsules as close together as possible, just as we explained as well with the, with the drum overheads. And, um, you can do that and you can kind of point the, the whole like X, Y thing that you, that you set up, you can point it at different spots on the, on the guitar and just create an image.
That sounds good. It won't sound as direct and not as percussive, depending on how, how close you get it will, it can sound nice, but it's probably a little more ambient and not as direct. Um, but it's, it's totally a totally cool thing to do either in addition to a single mic or just to make the whole thing.
What I like to do is that's, that's probably really the only stereo miking technique that I use a lot with acoustics that I really like is a bloom line, which is two figure, great microphones, like two ribbons in front of the guitar. And I [00:15:00] get pretty close actually with those ribbons, like that will give you a lot of low end.
So you have to filter some of that out probably, but I just liked the image. I like the ambience that I get from the back of the microphones. And generally, depending on which microphones are used, but ribbons give you that nice high-frequency roll-off so the fret noise and depending on how the player is performing and like the technique and everything, uh, you have less of that, of that noise and less of that rattling and buzz and more of the, the actual guitar.
So I really liked the ribbons bloom line thing, but you don't have to do it in stereo. You can use a single mic and it will work well. And. Then there's this multi making thing. And I wonder how you would go about this usually like that you would probably still start with, at least I do it that way. I still start with the one, like somewhere around the 12th threat or the joint, um, of the neck and body.
And then I would put the second one, wherever I think I can pick up stuff that [00:16:00] is lacking. So. The first one might sound a little thin or progressive around the neck. Actually I can say it looks pretty stupid, but I really do that when they, whenever I have a guitarist here, I just walk around the guitar or I get on, like, I sit next to the guitar and just move my head around that guitar and listen.
For where certain frequencies are and where the guitar sounds a certain way. And then when I, once I found it with my ears, I just placed the microphone there. So it looks kind of weird when you crawl around the guitarists, look for spots where it sounds nice, but that's actually what I do too. But maybe you have a different approach.
Malcom: [00:16:34] I do that too. yours are great microphones. Yeah. Trust them. You can find good spots. Um, that totally works it. And it's really the same kind of methodology for me. I'm. Uh, getting the first mic placed. There's almost always one around that neck joint for me. Um, that's doing a lot of it and then I'm trying to fill the hole and kind of figure out what's lacking and just make up the difference.
Benedikt: [00:16:59] Do you [00:17:00] find yourself placing microphones a lot then? Or what are you looking for most of the time? What is lacking?
Malcom: [00:17:06] Uh, you know, what I like to do is use the figure eight as well, um, for the second mic. Um, so say I had a 57 on the, on the neck. I like to use a figure eight because then I can kind of come at it from all sorts of angles and either like Nall, the picking hand or accent, the picking hand and all like the sliding fingers on the other hand.
Um, so that's just kind of like a fun, you know, Some things you just do for fun guys. It's just more interesting as an engineer to get to play with these things, but I've definitely gotten good results there. Um, uh, another fun one can be. This isn't really the same thing, but it can be, is like, kind of by over the shoulder of the player, um, by their ear.
So it's kind of, you're trying to grab what they're hearing as the player. Um, I've had good results with that. There's kind of no rules, you know, just move until you're happy for [00:18:00] it. Never stop until you're happy. Cause, uh, I don't know if we already said that, but you can't fix these things in the mix, especially with acoustic guitars.
It's they're really. Really bad when they're bad.
Benedikt: [00:18:12] Yes, absolutely. Yeah, I think acoustic guitar actually take ACU not so well. Like you can, I mean, you can, you can do, obviously you can do a lot, but compared to other sources, they quickly sound fake or hollow or weird when you cue them too much. So you're absolutely right.
Like I always try to get acoustics as good as possible at the source. It's very important. Same with compression, like very uneven performances or. I'm like that uneven and consistent low ends, that type of stuff. You can only do so much, even with compression. They, they still, like, they just don't sound good anymore.
They sound, they pump real quick and they get weird, weird attack. And, um, yeah, so I like to keep them as natural as possible and therefore [00:19:00] you need to get them right at the source. So what I find is that around the. The very, like sometimes not the back of the guitar, but I don't, I don't like all the spots around the, the, the whole very much, I don't like that as much because it's sounds boomy.
And at the same time, there's a lot of string noise, so that's always a weird spot for me, but like, um, next to the. Picking hand like the, at the back of the guitar, but still in the front there is where I'm mostly like looking for cool focal spots. And there I get a lot of body and wood. Sometimes it can sound a little boxy, but you'd have to look for the places where it sounds good.
And I'm mostly going for the body and the, the wood and the foundation of the tone rather than attack or progressiveness, because you will get that from the first mic. I think.
Malcom: [00:19:53] Do you mean like behind the bridge?
Benedikt: [00:19:55] Yeah, somewhere around there. Sometimes I even go behind the guitar or from the [00:20:00] side or something, but usually usually like, like looking down if you are the player to the right side of the bridge somewhere there, um, I serve sometimes a little below that also that's where I'm looking for.
You gotta be careful because at the same time it can sound a little boxy sometimes. Yeah. But yeah. But somewhere around that, and I. Often like to pull that mic a little back, just because just to reduce the proximity effect and to get a full, um, picture rather than a very close, like resonant Tapper sound.
So the, the SM 57 might be pretty close, but the other one I might pull back a bit and then I play with the phase, obviously until it works. But usually that Mike is either a ribbon or a large time from condenser or something like that. And that's a little further away from the guitar. Usually for me.
Malcom: [00:20:50] Yeah. And we're still talking about multimedia, but in mano at this case, I guess, right? Yeah. Do you find yourself normally using [00:21:00] two mikes or more often? Just one.
Benedikt: [00:21:03] I think most of the time I'm used, I used to, but yeah, most of the times actually, But most, I rely on the first one heavily and the other, I blend in sometimes just a little bit, sometimes more, but mostly just a little bit and not in every part.
Um, but I, I must always set up two microphones often more than that. I always, I almost always set up a plume line pair in addition to that, just because I like it. I don't use it all the time, but I just want to have it there. The Mike over the shoulder thing is something I really like because. Guitar players like it a lot.
It's just what they are used to hearing. And that can be, that can be nice as well. I mean, the more mikes you use, the more careful you need to be with phase and stuff, same as with the drum kit. So you need to know what you're doing and really listen carefully because otherwise you find yourself queuing and like messing around with stuff and you don't know why it just doesn't sound great.
And it might just be the microbiota phase.
[00:22:00] Malcom: [00:21:59] Yeah, it is funny now that you said that I'm my well. Acoustic guitars might be like the second, most complex recording thing that we'd normally are doing, you know, there's drums and then there's acoustic guitar. Um,
Benedikt: [00:22:10] yeah, absolutely. And do you pan those mikes sometimes because you sat at multimedia and mano and that's how I think about it, but sometimes I even, and that's not a real stereo setup, but you can still do it.
Of course, sometimes to just create a little image. I pan those Mike still, I will pan the 57, like to the right a bit and the other one to the left or whatever. And sometimes that sounds cool. Sometimes it's also, it also sounds a little weirdo, sorry, but there's no rules. So do you
Malcom: [00:22:36] think that sometimes it definitely can work?
Um, normally when I'm wanting a stereo image on a guitar, I kind of purposely set up a stereo image, you know? Well, I guess you're, you're using the bloom line, so that would. Yeah, a stereo image, but, um, for me, my like go to stereo guitar is like a space Omni pair, uh, pretty close. Um, couple actually I want to mention there's a couple tube condensers.
Two [00:23:00] condensers are a great acoustic mix. They just do wicked things to the transients. They're so awesome. So to mix around, I'm reaching for those pretty quick. Uh, but yeah, space Omni pair, um, like probably 12 inches off and 12 inches apart. Um, I kind of try and keep an equal out of triangle as a starting point.
Can be awesome and super wide it's super huge sounding. Um, but that doesn't really work well in a full mix kind of thing. That's like more so something I'll do for like an acoustic only song. Uh, I think of an, uh, arrangement and panning kind of in where our vocal is going to go. So if it's an acoustic guitar with a vocal and were overdubbing the vocal, I would probably start.
Thinking. Okay. Well, if I record like this wide stereo guitar, it kind of creates more space in the middle for the vocal. Whereas if. I'm going to be doing an acoustic guitar in a full band mix. I'm probably not going to want the guitar up the [00:24:00] middle because I want the vocal there. So I'm always trying to avoid the vocal in a way, so I would want to go mano so I can pan it over to the side and then, you know, I might even double it.
So I've got, I left in a right kind of thing, but kind of trying to avoid everything else and create as much space as possible. So for stereo though, I'm normally doing something like that. Uh, something wide. And, uh, I forgot to mention this earlier, but we were kind of talking about how, what, how you would cover your bases and get both, um, like if you're going for this percussive guitar, but there's a part where it needs to be full.
Don't be afraid to set up two rigs and just record it separately. You know, you can just have a track that is for the percussive stuff, and then you fully strip and even use a different guitar for the intro of the song that is just acoustic or something, you know, you can get away with that.
Benedikt: [00:24:45] Oh, yeah, absolutely.
Yeah, you absolutely can do that. And that was, I don't know why that is, but that was something that I didn't do when I was starting out. I, most of the time just set up one rig. And actually, even when I was doing, when I was mixed, starting mixing. I [00:25:00] just dialed in a sound for this, for a certain track. And then that was what it is and what it was.
And I didn't automate much. And then sometimes people would be like, Hey, sounds cool in the mix. But in the beginning of the intro, it's so thin or whatever. And I was like, yeah, well, but otherwise it doesn't work in the mix. And I didn't even think of like doing two separate rigs or separate tracks or automating or whatever.
I don't know whether this, because now it's so logical to do that. But, uh, in case. You're like me when I was starting out, try doing that. And it's totally common to split things up over the course of a song and do different things in different parts.
Malcom: [00:25:34] Yes. Yeah. The, the guitar is such a huge decision. It, it, uh, like if you have a couple acoustics around, that's awesome because it's tricky when you only have one, cause you kind of have to make it work.
Um, but the chances of it being the perfect guitar are pretty slim, you know? So.
Benedikt: [00:25:53] Yeah. I don't know.
Malcom: [00:25:54] There's not really much more to say on that, but if you have the options great, that that's wicked. Um, and [00:26:00] then the other, of course it really important thing is the player, the player makes a huge impact on the sound of the guitar.
Um, so you know, like we've said before on the electric tarp, so don't be afraid to shoot audition players. You know, if somebody else has just got a better grasp on playing acoustic guitar, that might be a great thing. Um, but also just on the engineering front, you have to coach the player to stay really still and like on axis with how you set it up.
Because if they're moving, like just like a Swayne, a couple inches kind of thing, your tone is going to be all over the place. They really have to just lock in and, and stay there. Cause like an inch makes a huge difference. Oh, yeah,
Benedikt: [00:26:39] totally. This is, this is, can be very hard for, for many people when they are not used to that.
Also, there are so many things you need to be aware of because an acoustic guitar is probably, it's usually, it's a pretty quiet instrument, except for when you're like really hit hard and it's very percussive, but usually it's pretty quiet. So. The squeaking [00:27:00] chair or your clothes that might make noise or the breathing, or sometimes, yeah.
People tend to, without even noticing, sing along with what they play or they hum or they stomp on the floor with the feet or whatever. So all of that will, will be pretty noticeable, pretty audible in a, in an acoustic guitar track. And if people are not used to that, uh, this can be very, very hard to sit still.
It don't make any noise and try to record that. Or you make it part of the performance it'll give you really can't help it. And if you just have to move, sometimes that can be really cool. And then you just embrace it and a recorded. That's the other thing, but it shouldn't sound like a, like a mistake. So, um, yeah, but the, the sitting still.
As not only to do with the noise that the clothes make or something. So, but it's also that the frequencies that you capture from a guitar like that, they are very different and they're in different spots on the guitar. And so it's very directional. So when a guitar player moves a lot, [00:28:00] the sound and the microphone changes and like the proximity effect, the low end, everything changes.
And it has. Can have like a weird filtering effect. And, uh, so that's also part of why you need to sit still and keep the mix on the same distance, because otherwise it can sound really weird and that you can get this kind of movement and filtering stuff that you don't want. And also if you punch in, if you like do a part of a song, then you make it, do a break and then you continue and you're not sitting in the exact same spot.
It just doesn't go together anymore. And. That's really, that's really crucial with all acoustic instruments and with guitar to that can, that can really ruin the performance. If there's too much movement.
Malcom: [00:28:43] Yeah, definitely. I, uh, normally tell the player to like sight down the neck, like look down the neck.
Like it was a where you have it, you know, not moving it to keep the guitar where it is, and then kind of tilt your head so you can look down the neck and see what it's pointing out. Exactly. And just like Mark a place in the wall and that's where you have [00:29:00] to keep it. And then, uh, it's not a bad idea even to put like a little tape Mark, uh, for the chair legs or their feet or something, you know, just so they put their legs in the same spot again.
And get their guitar, you know, hopefully in the same spot. Yeah. And save you a headache.
Benedikt: [00:29:14] I still looked great idea with like the pointing the neck at something. I had never done that, but that's cool. Yeah, totally. I'm having a hard time myself sometimes like remembering where exactly the, like how exactly they were sitting and stuff.
So that's a good idea.
Malcom: [00:29:29] Yeah. Even, uh, even with those measures, it's still goes wrong. So that's the thing. Once you have the tone track the song, get it done. Yeah,
Benedikt: [00:29:39] exactly. Um, speaking about the tone, uh, do you think that recording the pickup in addition to the microphone is a good idea with an a, like a guitar that has a pickup.
Malcom: [00:29:54] do. Yeah. I definitely think it's a great idea. Um, you can often acoustic guitar, [00:30:00] our pickups sound just bloody terrible, just like dippers being open. It's so weird how they haven't got like good, but there are a few good ones out there and occasionally it just like works really well with the signal.
You're a recording. You can kind of use it to reinforce. What you've got going on with the mix. I'm not, not something I normally do. My, my default is actually not using the dr, but it's a good backup just in case. And then, you know, occasionally you want to do something weird, like distort something in the background.
So you distort the DEI or whatever, you know, there's, it can be cool. Absolutely.
Benedikt: [00:30:36] It can even be very cool. That's a different topic, but I want to mention that, but because he said it, it can even be cool and very heavy songs. So. Uh, even bands like converge, like the, one of the heaviest, or like not the heaviest bands, but, but very, very heavy band.
Uh, the, you know, Kirpalu uses very chaotic, sounding acoustics into high gain, distorted amps sometimes and [00:31:00] blends that because it sounds ugly and annoying. And. Are not beautiful and very aggressive, but super cool and resonant and lively. Yeah. So even on heavy songs, you can experiment with that. But, uh, yeah, in a classic scenario, of course you can do all sorts of things with it.
You can use things like delay pedals, or cool effects to blend with it. Um, but I totally agree that most pickups on their own just sound terrible. I've very rarely heard a good one. I actually have. A half decent one. I have a fender acoustic guitar with a Fishman pickup in it. And that fishermen sounds really good, actually.
Malcom: [00:31:39] Yeah. Yeah. Some fishermen have good ones for sure.
Benedikt: [00:31:41] Yeah. Yeah. So that's, that's a decent one, but still, I, I would never just rely on the pickup. I think.
Malcom: [00:31:48] No, I always make it. I always make it, um, for sure. But yeah. Can we hand you another useful. A kind of crutch that a I can be is if you're in like a really bad environment, noisy environment, [00:32:00] and you kind of need to shift that ratio from noise to guitar, you can kind of sneak the DEI and the mic down without changing too much, just to get a more guitar to noise ratio, say like your mic track has a bunch of metronome in it, but you still want some of that in that, you know, you can just lean towards the DEI more than the mic.
Benedikt: [00:32:21] Yeah. Agreed. Absolutely. Also the inconsistency. Sometimes you can compensate a little for that. So you could. Roll off the highs, if they're too annoying, but you can compress it a little and get like a solid, more solid, mid range that you can blend with the mix. So, so say the guitar has moved a bit too much or, um, the low end is just, or the mid range is just a little inconsistent, then you can kind of compensate a bit with the DIY.
So that's, that's also one use of it and yeah. So yeah, definitely track it with the mix, but if you can. Use a mic and not only track the D the, yeah.
Malcom: [00:32:58] Yeah. So question [00:33:00] for you, uh, tracks that you get from bands that have recorded themselves with acoustic guitars. What's, what's a common mistake that you've encountered
Benedikt: [00:33:08] most of the time.
It's completely uncontrolled noise, like threatened noise, buzz, finger noise, all that stuff is like, because that, but that's more of a guitar. They're going to instrument problem because many people just don't use great instruments. I feel like at least many of the bands that I work with, they use just some cheap acoustic guitar, or they borrow one from a friend or whatever, and they don't really take the time to.
Um, go through a couple of guitars, as you mentioned like that, I would totally recommend that I would totally recommend borrowing a couple of guitars and then using the one that works best, but they sometimes use whatever they have and then it it's, there's a lot of buzz and noise and stuff. So that's, that's probably problem the most annoying thing.
And one of the most common things, also the techniques, many of those people are used to playing electric guitars and they are not really. Listening to like [00:34:00] for Fred bus and proper technique, often stuff. And when you play on an acoustic, then that gets really obvious and also an acoustic place, really different compared to an electrical guitar.
So, um, yeah, that's, that's one issue that I hear a lot. And other than that, I think it's. Like weird resonant frequencies that I keep hunting during the mix. So I just, things pop up and I just hear something that annoys me and I not shit out. So that means I take a very narrow Q band and I try to find the annoying frequency and get rid of it.
And once I have done that, the next one pops up and then it's, it's uh, yeah, it's very hard to get that, right. Yeah. If it's just unbalanced from in the beginning and that's also pretty. Pretty common scenario, actually, part of it is the room. Part of it is the instrument part of it. This just placement of the mix, I guess.
Um, but that's why Malcolm at the beginning said, you need to take time to get that, right, because there's only so much you can do about that. And the inconsistency and then paired with the noise. Maybe can [00:35:00] create a real like nightmare scenario, what you want mixing.
Malcom: [00:35:03] I think the most common thing I've encountered.
His Mike's being way too close to me to guitars. Cause people just think, okay, well, when I make up my electric guitar, I just shoved the speaker or shoved this mic right into the speaker, you know? Uh, but with acoustic guitars that just really that you just get this proximity effect, which is this huge amount of low end being added him that, uh, just overwhelms the tone of what's going on and becomes really unruly.
So. Err on the side of fire with acoustic guitars, I think in most cases, uh, depending on your environment, like, like Benny mentioned, if you're in like a loud environment or you don't have preamp with much gain, you kind of have to get closer to, to make that, uh, noise ratio workout, but too close to something.
I hear a lot.
Benedikt: [00:35:48] Oh yeah. Yeah. And I think I get it because people are afraid that there is tremendous sounds to sin when people hear, uh, like what an acoustic guitar sounds like when it's properly recorded or mixed. They often [00:36:00] think it sounds a little thin maybe. And like they often don't have the monitoring situation to really judge it properly.
And then when in doubt you think more bass is good and it sounds full. And I think it's just the, yeah. They'd rather have it full sounding than, and then to send that might be part of the reason for it, but I wouldn't mind. And if it's a little too, too boomy, maybe, or too full, if it was consistent, the weird thing about getting so closest that you to fight certain frequencies in certain courts, therefore, but not the whole like low end.
It's not that it's an overall like full of low energy. Just you can just filter it, but it's a certain. A certain area off the low end, certain frequencies, and therefore certain chords that get louder and uncontrolled. And it's so hard to really control to really control that then. And that's the main problem because as again, acoustic instruments are so directional and wherever you like, depending on where you put the mic, you only [00:37:00] capture a very small part of the spectrum and.
Yeah, that gets really amplified then. And it's very hard to get. Right. And if you back it off a bit, if you go, if you keep a little distance to the guitar, you're capturing the instrument as a whole much, much more. And then if it's still too much bass or whatever, or if the room is problematic, you can, you can much more easily filter and control that compared to a very close miked guitar.
So, yeah, you're totally right. That's, that's part of the issue for sure.
Malcom: [00:37:28] Yeah. Yeah. Now we wouldn't be the self-regarding band podcast. If we didn't say. New strings are a good thing. I
Benedikt: [00:37:36] definitely want to bring it up because we are talking about that so much, but yeah,
Malcom: [00:37:41] but I was going to say, this is kind of the one time, the one instrument or one guitar where I'm like, sometimes you can get away with less than fresh strings.
Benedikt: [00:37:53] I actually agree. I hate to say it, but I need to agree. So, um, I don't even want to say, [00:38:00] I know, I know,
Malcom: [00:38:00] but still start with new strings. Like new strings should be the status quo. You know, most of the time that still will be the case, but for whatever reason, more often than other guitars. Yeah. Dead strings can sound cool on acoustic
Benedikt: [00:38:13] guitars.
Yeah. And it depends on how old they are, like new, like new compared to. Maybe two weeks old, that's a, like, we can have that conversation, but if you have the same strings on for like the last five years, then you should probably change them. And if they're too bright, then you should play a little with them until they feel right.
But like, um, yeah, they, it doesn't mean very, very old, dirty strings. It just doesn't mean not brand new. So, and I totally agree because brand new things, they can sound cool and even more progressive if you want that, but they also can sound a little. By key and like too, too clear sometimes too progressive, even more noisy.
So, yeah, I agree. And it depends on the, on the [00:39:00] style and the sound that you're going for. But sometimes it's just a little, it just sits better in the arrangement, the song they're not brand new. Yeah.
Malcom: [00:39:07] We're more so talking about worn in then than used is like just they've been played for three hours.
They're in the sweet spot. This is kind of where I find something like that. Um, it's just a little less than new. Uh, actually the, the fellows at Cohen who I interned under when I first got my first studio gig. Uh, but the, which up recording studio, he did a lot of acoustic bands. Um, that was like, wow, almost every project I had some of the acoustic guitars going on.
So he was pretty excited and he would actually get strings, take them out of the package, put them on a window sale just to like sit there. And oxidate before he strung them up for he'd leave him for like a week and then throw them on and they would just be like, he'd be like, all right. We're good to go right away.
Pre aging, his strings. Yeah.
Benedikt: [00:39:50] That, but that sounds like a good idea because then you don't. Bentham. And did they, they don't get dirty from your fingers, but they just age, like I figured the age, like more, [00:40:00] um, controlled.
Malcom: [00:40:01] Yeah. I have no idea if it worked, but that's what he did.
Benedikt: [00:40:07] It seems like a logical thing to do because when you play it, only certain spots in the strings get dirty and it's not like consistent.
And so then
Malcom: [00:40:15] them. The tone, isn't the only reason to use new strings. Right. Cause it's, they, they don't stay in tune as well. They don't intinate as well. Um, and you know, you, you also need a certain amount of consistency when you're playing. So if you've got some dead strings, they sound fine, but when you break one, you're screwed, you have to start all over.
Benedikt: [00:40:32] Yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So, and that's also a thing we should mention. Maybe I think we have never talked about that. If the string breaks most often, it's a good idea to change the whole, almost always. It's a good idea to change all of the strings and not just that one string. Um, so yeah, that's, that's the thing too, that people might not be aware of because if, depending on how long you've played with that set of strings, but if you then put one brand new string in there, it can sound a little [00:41:00] off.
It's just different.
Malcom: [00:41:02] Yeah. So all the different,
Benedikt: [00:41:03] yeah. Yeah. Um, but that, what, what do you think of other ways to mitigate that? And that'd be being like, um, flat wound strings or a polished string stuff like that.
Malcom: [00:41:15] Yeah, definitely. Uh, yeah, I, I don't really have much experience with like the flat round kind of thing or, or like, I mean, nylon strings have been brought in occasionally like classical guitars.
Um, but that's, I mean, that seems a great way if you're looking for like a round, no top end kind of tone, those seem like a great place to start. Um, and different guitars, like, uh, I have a Martin, I got a super old Martin that I just door. And it's just sounds like what, you know, it's just like this Woody old.
Yeah. I can, that's all I can describe it as it sounds like, would where a lot of new guitars don't, they sound like shimmer. Like they sound like strings really, you know? Um, and that's a hugely different tone and sometimes that might be the right thing. You know, like if it's the dense rock arrangement [00:42:00] where I'm looking for a super Uber progressive thing, grabbing a brand new, Taylor's gonna really do the job.
Um, but if I want like a cowboy. Would Saudi tone, I'm going to grab my Martin for sure.
Benedikt: [00:42:12] Yep. I totally agree with those categories. I would describe, I would have described the Martin guitars. I don't know yours, but I would have described them. Similarly. I also find that the tailors, the more modern ones sounded a little scoop, so they are very, very progressive and shimmery, but they also have a full low end to me.
So they, if you get rid of that low end, they can be great in a dance mix for the progressiveness. Um, and then there's another category that I've just recently discovered in a friend of mine recommended to me. And that is that fender that I was talking about. I didn't, I was, I wasn't aware of great fender acoustic guitar so far.
So because most of what I knew was there very cheap, um, guitars that they have that didn't sound particularly great. But now they have. Um, some instruments they're still very affordable. It's like, I [00:43:00] dunno, around the 500 bucks, something like that, like under, below a thousand. And, um, they are not as expensive as like, uh, most of the really great guitars, but it sounds so great.
And I immediately got one because it plays almost like an electric guitar and it sounds very mid rangy. Very solid. It, it almost sounds also like an electric in a way. It's very loud, but now it has a very controlled, low end. It's not very noisy. So it's very, mid-range focused actually and focused. And I like that a lot in, in many, um, especially in Zac band arrangements.
And also it's just a great guitar to take chairman, sing loud to it. It's a fun guitar to play. It's just loud and it's like fun to play with it. It's not that fine shimmery thing. It's just loud. And it sounds great in a way. So I've never heard something like that before. And I. So I got one of these and I really love it.
And that's kind of in between, for me, it's like what the tailors are missing. That one has all of that, but it has no full low-end and no [00:44:00] shimmer.
Malcom: [00:44:00] Right. Yeah. It's a different tool.
Benedikt: [00:44:02] Yeah,
Malcom: [00:44:02] exactly. Have you, uh, had the pleasure of having a old Gibson, J 45 in the studio?
Benedikt: [00:44:07] Nope.
Malcom: [00:44:08] Never. That's just really, that's the answer guys?
Yeah. The old Gibson, J 45. That's the best acoustic guitar can sound recorded. That's the one. All right.
Benedikt: [00:44:18] Yeah. I need to, I need to do that then. So that sounds great
Malcom: [00:44:22] for a cool $8,000, you can find one,
Benedikt: [00:44:25] but that goes to show how. How much of a difference the actual guitar makes compared to like electric guitars.
Like you could in an electric guitar, if you change the pickups, if you use different strings, a different page, if you play differently, you can do so much. It's not so much about the wood a little bit as well, but not so much, but with an acoustic guitar, they are so like vastly different. And, um, yeah, so that's, that's, that's really, it's a, it's a beautiful instrument and it's.
It makes all the difference, what instrument you use. So don't just grab the one you have, but if, if at [00:45:00] all possible compared to the three guitars and choose to best. Yeah.
Malcom: [00:45:02] Yeah. Because if you've got the wrong one, it doesn't matter where you put the mic. It's not gonna work. Yeah, for sure. It must be wasting time.
Benedikt: [00:45:10] So, um, we've been, especially myself, I've been talking a lot about noise and stuff, so because that's just something that annoys me with acoustic guitar size. Sometimes I embrace it. But most of the time, especially if it's uncontrolled. It annoys me. Um, is there, like we've already talked about, like, you should try this and avoid all the noise that you can't avoid.
But there's one thing. And that is like string and fret noises, like squeaking, um, noises from your fingers from the left hand. Uh, mostly. So do you ever find that a problem as well? Or is it, is it, does it, doesn't it annoy you as much as it does me so
Malcom: [00:45:50] well, I, I, it definitely has been a problem. It doesn't tend to annoy me that much.
Um, because I find that by the time I like am not obsessing over the [00:46:00] guitar where we're recording it. Doesn't, it's not actually that bad. It's just like, you know, the Uber sensitive engineer in me, that's freaking out. Um, it's like, this is how it's kind of how they sound, you know? But sometimes it is like being brought out from like compression or whatever we're doing and it's worse than it should be.
Um, so yeah, sometimes it bothers me. Yeah, but, uh, I didn't really know. Well,
Benedikt: [00:46:21] yeah, no, go ahead.
Malcom: [00:46:22] Sorry, go ahead. I don't, I, uh, like other, LHINs just trying to like coach them a little bit. That was really my only solution. Right. It was just, uh, like his left hand technique to a certain extent.
Benedikt: [00:46:35] Okay. But, uh, did you find that people come to you after you've mixed it and say that they want to get rid of it?
Because that's actually, I think that's what got my attention on it. Like in what. What led to me being so annoyed by it. I th I don't think I would bother as much myself, but a lot of the people that I've recorded, they come to me afterwards when they listened back and they want to get rid of all the squeaks and all the noise, [00:47:00] because they don't realize that it's part of it.
And they think it's a mistake and it shouldn't be there. And then they asked me to remove it from the recording, which you can not really do. So, um, I don't know if you have, if you've got that a lot, but I think that that was what. Um, cost me to pay as much attention to this, I think. Right.
Malcom: [00:47:17] Well, I wonder cause you do have your music than I generally do.
So I wonder if it's like, because of the treatment that, that has to get to like work in a heavier. Kind of arrangement, um, versus like, I don't normally have to do much to an acoustic guitar when, uh, like if it's, you know, like I said, if it was like a stereo wide kind of solo, acoustic guitar song, it's really just like getting the performance.
There's, there's not really much happening to it after that's going to bring out squeaks or anything like that. Um, yeah. But yeah, I don't, I don't know. Uh, But that's interesting and makes sense why you'd want to focus on it. Cause like that request is impossible, you know, like, can we get rid of these?
Well, if you let somebody else play the guitar, [00:48:00] maybe.
Benedikt: [00:48:00] Exactly, exactly what I got that so often. So I looked into what you could do about it. And one solution was the flat wound or a polished strengths thing. If you can compensate and still get some hot, some top end in, or if you want that mellow type of sound and that works great.
And the other thing is I got it. I saw a trick that apparently classical guitar players use and they, and it works really well with most people. So they would soak their left hand in warm water for a couple of seconds or minutes until the fingers get soft. And then dry her fingers and then you play, it doesn't squeak as much anymore, or sometimes it's even gone completely.
So that's really a weird and, but it works. So if you find, I just wanted to add that. So if you find that to be a problem, and if it annoys you and you don't want that, those noises in there. When you slide around the strings, then just dry that, um, soften up your left hand and then play the downside to that is you will probably, [00:49:00] your hand will hurt a little more after that, or you'll get blisters or whatever, because of the soft skin.
So that's. Well, everything has a trade off.
Malcom: [00:49:09] It's worth it. So you either
Benedikt: [00:49:11] get the squeaks or the blisters you can choose, but that's one solution that I really found helpful. Um, yeah. So that's basically it. I mean, I dunno why I'm, I'm focusing so much on the noise. Maybe if I've just had a lot of.
Problematics, um, material to deal with. I don't know, but that's just something I want to, I'm very, very careful.
Malcom: [00:49:35] I really dig that tip though. That that's great. I'll, I'll definitely be trying that. Um, I think for me, what I mainly have just been doing is, is getting them to do it again and just hoping for a better result.
You know, sometimes it's just a little smoother. I was like, okay, that one sounded musical. We'll use it kind of thing. Um, so. But if you can, it'll just be, it'll save a lot of time if you can just avoid that right. At the source. And so, cause they're handed some water, [00:50:00] I guess we should clarify. You probably want to dry your hand before you play the guitar though, right?
Like don't just slap water all over your guitar, neck and your guitar strings will definitely Russ pretty quick.
Benedikt: [00:50:13] Yeah, definitely. Yeah, absolutely. You should do that. Um, So, yeah, but it works. Try it out. So I think so for the clothes sound, we we've pretty much got it covered. So to sum it up, we, you can use one mic.
You can use multiple mikes and use them in mano and just blend them. You can use a stereo setup. To get an, a stereo image to make them wider, make space for vocals, or just create a beautiful wide image. You should be careful with for like unbalanced, low end and resonance resonant frequency. So not don't get too close.
Um, start off at the neck body joint around the 12th. Fret start with that microphone. It will probably give you a balanced, but rather percussive [00:51:00] sound. So if you feel like this lacking something you can put in second mic. On the body somewhere and get some, some body, um, shouldn't mention on
Malcom: [00:51:08] that, I guess the 12th threat thing that, or the, the neck joint, uh, normally I'm angling that in a little bit kind of shooting towards the sound hole a little bit, not actually not anywhere near the sandal, but in that direction.
Um, like you don't want to be pointing up the, up the neck or anything like that, you know? Uh, but so you can kind of play with the angle there and get dramatically different results as well.
Benedikt: [00:51:31] Oh, yeah, that's a good one. So if you pointed up words like up the neck, it will get even more progressive and you get less tone, less body, more noise.
Um, but very progressive. And if you pointed towards the, the whole more, you, it's also progressive, but in a different way, you get more of the pic or finger noise, but also more of the fullness of the guitar. So yeah, definitely play with the angle. That's a good one. Yeah. Yeah,
Malcom: [00:51:54] sure. You can also play with, uh, like upper down, you know, like towards the top half of the guitar or bottom half and, [00:52:00] uh, Either angling it that way, or actually just raising or lowering the overall height of the microphone.
Um, it's this kind of, but that, that, that joint is kind of the starting point for sure. And then tweak
Benedikt: [00:52:13] for sure. And then, uh, you would, you will, uh, want to grab a D I along with a microphone just in case, or if you can, if you can. Yeah, by the way, if you only have a typical, like two channel. Home recording interface, which you, and say the first mic that is like, it's good, but like something's lacking.
Would you then grab a second mic or would you use the pickup? Uh,
Malcom: [00:52:39] uh, so this is like, assuming that we definitely would need two sources. Uh, I would go to Mike's probably, um, I see more value in getting the right mic set up then than just having a safety Dai. Cause it's not like electric guitar where that DEI is like a crucial safety measure.
Um, yeah, it's not really that. So I would, [00:53:00] I would. A favor to microphones.
Benedikt: [00:53:02] Okay, cool. Good to know. So, but it always depends. Um, but yeah, sometimes you might be in the situation where you need to decide if you only have two inputs. So I would
Malcom: [00:53:11] also say, cause I, I usually do have two inputs and uh, uh, like these days, am I in my mix and master suite, like if there's an acoustic guitar and the little booth next door, I'm normally got two inputs here.
So I'll, uh, End up doing just one mic and one die, but that's not because of that. What you just think the situation you put out is because I normally just get the result I want with one mic. That's, I'm more prone to just ending up with one, at least in, in that environment.
Benedikt: [00:53:37] Yeah. And that will be the ideal thing, right?
Because less microphones means less phase issues and you will always have face issues by the way, you cannot get to maximum acoustic guitar perfectly in phase. It's just not possible. There's a time difference there and something will cancel. And there will be a mix of those signals. So the cleanest, most consistent fullest, like, [00:54:00] um, signal you will get out of one microphone.
So, um, yeah, that, that would be the ideal situation. Just getting it right with one mic, but it depends on the instrument, as I said, and sometimes it's just sound, it's just really sounds a little thin with one mic maybe. And then you would probably go for another mic and get it right at the source. Um, rather than.
Going for the safety measure with the DEI. That is not really a safety measure because it just sounds like crap most of the time. Yeah. So, okay, cool. So, um, yeah then, um, news drinks. Yes. But. A little different than with the electric guitars. They can be a little, um, they played for a couple of hours and then they work pretty well usually.
And then there is one last thing that, and then of course get rid of all the noise and what we just said. And then there's one last thing that I want to bring up. And that is the room sound. So let's say usually we want to get rid of early reflections and it's just like blank walls, blank surfaces around the source that we're [00:55:00] recording, like with the drums or whatever.
And there are a few exceptions there as well, but usually I say that's what I always recommend people to do the doing is that they get rid of all the early reflections and try to capture a dry direct signal and then blend whatever they have available, like as roommates further away or leave the opposite walls untreated or something like that.
With acoustic guitars. I sometimes find that early reflections and some room ambience actually pretty cool, even in the close mics. So if you find that your acoustic guitar, when it's very dry, it sounds a little weird or a little unnatural. And I often find that this is the case, then you could absolutely try and.
Put your guitar player on a wooden floor instead of carpet, for example, or close to a wall, or you can set up a pair of mikes in addition to the close mix. And they play with a position with that, just to grab some ambiance. And I don't mean to reverb or big room, but just some [00:56:00] reflections from the room.
I just find that this, it makes it a little more exciting, lively, not as doll and like really. Up front, very close and dry sounding acoustics. Almost always sound a little weird to me. Do you feel the same way here?
Malcom: [00:56:15] I do. Yeah. It's, it's like a, kind of like a slap is not really the right word, but it's like a Slappy shimmer to just the high end.
Like kinda, this is what I hear when, when I've got like the perfect little room balance in there. And it just is, like you said, it's a little more lively. It sounds a little more real as well. That's the thing that, uh, We've kind of been talking about is it's so hard to get because we could tire to sound like what you hear when you're just in the room with one.
Um, and this little bit of perspective of how it actually sounds in the room, I think gets us closer to that is just as like a more complete picture of what's going on and acoustic guitars to sound best in, in rooms that are live, you know, so it's, it's it's that happening, but now it's sneaking into our close mic.
Benedikt: [00:56:54] Do you also feel that it's very hard to get that after the fact like with we were plugins and [00:57:00] everything, you can be pretty close with with like impulse responses and stuff, but I, I, I think acoustic guitars. Don't really take that very well. Like it's, it's hard to get, right?
Malcom: [00:57:12] Yeah. I don't know what that is.
I think it's just like, is it like the pokey transients or something, but it like, it just sets river plugins off and they do these squirly unreal sounding things. Um, which unfortunately isn't what we were generally looking for with acoustic guitars. We wanted to sound very real. Um, Yeah, I've got some secret weapons for that because like the vocal booth that I was just mentioning is this tiny little dead vocal booth, you know, so acoustic guitar in there is very dead.
So I've kind of had to find some workarounds, but, uh, but whenever possible, yeah, using. A room with a little bit of life in it is awesome. I find that with vocals sometimes too, I don't always default to the dentist vocal room possible at all. I'm just a little bit of life too. It creates something magical.
Benedikt: [00:57:56] Meet you. That's why I've never really liked, um, [00:58:00] like the very tiny. Multiples is booths, especially if they are treated too, so that they sound really muffled and boomy and like uncomfortable when you're in them. So those kinds of boosts, I never really liked them as much. And that's also a reason I've already said it in another episode that I don't like these Mac screens, it's the same thing.
Like I don't want the reflections behind the source as much, but in the back of the microphone, if there is a little bit of room and ambience and reflections that you can actually perceive as room sound. Um, I find that very pleasing with most vocals actually. Yeah. And with acoustics. Absolutely. But it's just that there are, of course, some things you can do, if you, if you don't have that room available, it's not that you are lost, then you shouldn't record a guitar.
If your room is dead. So you can't do that. But if you can, you can also go to a, like an acoustic guitar is not that loud. So you probably won't annoy neighbors or anybody. Like if. So you could probably just go out and find cool spots to play the acoustic and [00:59:00] like, it could be a big living room or it could be a, I don't know what you, what you have in like in your, in your house or garage or wherever.
It could be a cool spot where it just sounds great. And you could experiment with that. It's pretty easy because like it's portable. Right. And not too loud.
Malcom: [00:59:14] Yeah. Yeah. Experiment for sure.
Benedikt: [00:59:17] Yeah. All right. Anything to add to that? It's like you have more experience with that. Um, so maybe, maybe there's something that I totally missed here.
Malcom: [00:59:26] I think we did a good job. I think really the point I just want to drive home is that if it takes me like a full hour to dial in just the tone for one acoustic guitar, I like it. There's no moving on until. I know that it's not going to have to get redone, you know? Cause that's what happens if you get it wrong, you'll have it to redo it.
Um, it, it just can't be used in, in my opinion. Uh, so really. Take the time and just get it right. Um, and you can, you don't have to have, we talked about like vintage guitars and stuff like that, but you can like, [01:00:00] I, I didn't always have things like that available to me. So I just had to make whatever I had worked and you can get there.
It just will take a lot of experimenting, um, you know, listen to it in context with whatever you're recording too and make some decisions and you'll get quicker at it. As you kind of learn your instruments and your, and your room and your gear. Word. So I think that's it.
Benedikt: [01:00:19] That's it awesome. So again, uh, if you are not part of our Facebook community, go there and join that community because I know for a fact that there are a couple of people in there who are pretty good with their acoustic guitars.
So record a lot of acoustic guitar songs to do videos. Um, and who ha I had a lot of great discussions already in our, uh, in the community with my beta testers of the online course of the Academy, but also in the Facebook group. Um, so we have had a lot of cool discussions about this already. And, um, I know for a fact that there are, um, like minded people that love and record acoustic guitars a [01:01:00] lot.
And it was kind of surprising because I, I thought I would only get like band people, like loud rock band people in there, but there are actually some people who mainly record acoustic guitar. So if you want to chat with those and if you want to exchange ideas and maybe. Uh, create recordings or mixes or whatever, and talk about acoustics, go there.
Um, it's a great place to be, and you'll find it. When you go to the self recording band.com/community, it will forward you to the Facebook group. And yeah, there you go. Maybe why don't we ask the audience, like, if you want to hear an episode about singer songwriter or more on acoustics on that topic and that side of things.
Then just let us know, because I'm always living in this band world and more than that heavy music and stuff. So acoustics are kind of an afterthought for me, but if we are alive, if you have a lot of listeners who are interested in this, then we will definitely do more on that. And, um, yeah. So, if you, if you would be interested in a singer song [01:02:00] writer episode, let us know, and maybe even let us know more specific problems or things you find difficult with that.
And we come up with a way of solving that for you and explaining it to you.
Malcom: [01:02:11] Definitely, definitely it's really relevant right now because people are taking to online streaming and stuff like that, like crazy. So, uh, there's lots of people trying to. Perform, uh, acoustic and guitar performances live on YouTube or whatever.
And some could do a considerably better job with a little effort.
Benedikt: [01:02:30] Absolutely. Yeah, you're totally right. And especially even even many of the heavy events that I mix or produce, they do that as well. Now, oftentimes the singer or somebody like grabs a guitar and does the acoustic version of those songs.
So yeah, that's definitely a thing now. So yeah. Let's do that. If you want to learn more about that, let us know. And we'll do an episode on singer songwriter because there's a lot of things you can do that we've not covered in this episode. Definitely. [01:03:00] Alright, then see you next week for sure. Bye guys.
Malcom: [01:03:04] Thanks guys.
TSRB Academy Waiting List:
TSRB Free Facebook Community:
Malcom's and Benedikt's websites:
Outback Recordings (Benedikt's Mixing Studio and personal website)
Outback Recordings Podcast - Benedikt's other podcast
Stone Mastering (Malcom's Mastering Company)
Your Band Sucks (at business) - Malcom's other podcast
Gimme The Beat (The Netflix Documentary Malcom is involved with)
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