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Thread: Recording Stringed instruments

  1. #1
    Session Musician Pipikins321's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Birmingham UK

    Default Recording Stringed instruments

    I've recently started recording some covers of various songs, and a few of these covers involved using a guitar or a ukulele that arn't fitted with pickups. So I recorded them via a studio microphone. However I think the sound quality is a little inconsistent both tonally and in volume. Also on a few covers my office chair decided to accompany me with its loud creaking which the microphone picked up.

    Any ideas on a better system? Both the guitar and ukulele arn't worth getting internal pickups fitted, so is an external one better? Or can anyone recommend a proper instrument microphone? Or are piezo pickups the way to go?

    Oh and before its suggested, the office chair has been removed :]
    Listen to the wind blow,
    Watch the sun rise,
    Runnin' in the shadows.
    Damn your love, Damn your lies,

  2. #2
    a restless spirit Jerome's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    From Cape Town, South Africa


    Piezo electric pickups seldom bring out the true sound of the instrument. A shure SM57 is a good all-purpose microphone. An AKG Perception 120 is another good mic for acoustic instruments. You can use a compressor to even out any variation in volume levels although you have to use it sparingly. A transient designer (SPL for example) will bring out the attack of plucked instruments. You can now get this in plug-in format from various sources. The most important thing however is the room you are recording the instruments in. Try recording in different locations if you can. You will be surprised at the results. A touch of artificial reverb might help and experiment with the 'early reflections' setting if you do use reverb. You can also use a gate to remove low levels of background noise but I find this tends to 'dumb down' the dynamics around the instrument - the harmonics generated by the notes you are playing. It's fine to use a gate when there are several instruments playing together but with a solo acoustic for example I would avoid it. Hope this helps!
    Last edited by Jerome; 27-08-2011 at 04:54.

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