Advice On Recording Nylon String Guitar

Britishampfan

Member
Messages
3,034
Hi again, Need some advice on how to get better results on recording a nylon string classical guitar.

I used a Vocal condenser mic fairly close to the sound hole and got ok results but some problems.

Tried mic pre- seemed to boost sensitivity but change the sound. I tried without and it seems more natural but only seems to record the note pics louder and buries the drone sounds and natural resonance.

What do you guys do to keep unwanted sounds of the track? I hear my breathing through the whole thing.

I eq`d the track a bit and added a wide stereo field and tried some different reverbs and space designer in Logic 9 but it always seems like a trade off.

Any good rule of thumb creating space in the sound?

The song is simple me playing guitar on one track trying to capture the actual sound of the guitar. (It is a nice tone)

I am going to re-cut the track, I can upload to sound cloud later. I`m kind of spinning my wheels on this one.

Thanks in advance!
 

kenneth

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
933
So...I have been using a single LDC for a year or so, AT4050. (You can see in my other threads I am planning on moving to SDC stereo setup.) So I can make a couple comments,

1. The breathing. I have the same problem, the best solution I have found is either live with it (which I don't really mind if it is a single track), or control your breathing. It takes practice, but I have reduced it A LOT be being conscious of it. I tried different mic placements, and never liked the tradeoff of less breathing sounds compared to the non-optimal placement of the mic.

2. For placement, the best I have found for my case, is 20" or so, in front of the 12 or 10 fret, angled in towards the soundhole. That may or may not work for you, but your description of "fairly close to the soundhole", for my case would have a boomy very mid heavy sound. So I would recommend experimenting with mic placement.

3. For creating space, I generally like to get it from the room I'm recording in, I know this is not possible if you don't like how the room sounds, but I have achieved better results in my cases, by using the room rather than more plug-ins later.

I'm recording steel string, so i can't comment how that transfers to nylon string, but I think the above generally would still be valid.

I hope that helps some.
 

barhrecords

Member
Messages
1,523
I like to record nylon guitar in mono with a single small diaphram condenser microphone, like an Shure SM81.

I aim the mic at the neck body joint directly facing the guitar. I find the neck body joint is a great area to mic all sorts of plectrum instruments (nylon guitar would not be played with a pick per se, but I use plectrum to distinguish from bowed :)).

The mic distance depends on the recording space: closer to remove the room sound, farther if the room sounds good.

I find it rare, even with a treated space, to use the room sound. So I would typically end up with the microphone 1-2 ft from the guitar with gobos all around.

I use a convolution reverb plug in post to give it a sense of space. For nylon guitar, these reverbs really shine. They give a nice richness to the tone.

Richard
 

Rex Anderson

Member
Messages
5,414
If you have 2 mics, a bit of stereo micing helps (ORTF or X/Y). About 18"-20" away from the guitar, aimed at bridge and 12th fret-not at sound hole. Pan slight L/R. If the mics are too bright, roll off some of where the peaks are (look at the mics frequency response charts) and even roll off the top end or low pass filter at 12KHz. Because the instrument has low output level, you have to bring up mic pre gain to get decent recording level. Do not try to record at even -6 dB full scale. Peak at -12 or so to help keep mic preamp gain down. You must be in a quiet room. Breathing noise can only be controlled by you trying to not breathe so loud.

Good reverb is essential. Are you doing classical music? What era? Baroque reverb times are shorter than romantic era. Try 1.2 seconds up to 2.0 seconds and don't use too much. It must sound natural (which is why you need high quality reverb plug ins). Waves IR-1 worked for me.
 

loudboy

Member
Messages
27,311
I had really good luck w/a BLUE Mouse off the neck joint and a Royer R-121 (flipped) on the lower bout.
 
Messages
1,120
If it's classical/flamenco in nature, I like a spaced pair out a few feet (at least). Picks up the balanced range of the instrument, and reduces nail noise and other mechanical sounds.

For nylon leads or melodic lines, a single SDC 2-3 feet from the instrument, angled wherever it sounds best.

But there's lots of ways. :)
 

barhrecords

Member
Messages
1,523
If the recording space is sounding good, a spaced pair of Neuman KM84's, is really sweet sounding.

But for someone new to it, without a treated space, or a natural space like a cathedral or concert hall, I tend to recommend one mic.

Richard
 

Britishampfan

Member
Messages
3,034
Well, the music I have right now is a jam loosely based on a song I wrote that actually got some local air play so I heard, I personally never heard it on the radio. Whatever.


Anyway played it live on electric with a band more than a few times but the song was actually written on my old old Guild classical guitar.

I felt the song was never done and really enjoyed the original tone of the guitar and the song.

The song is kinda folk- classical with Page and John Paul Jones vibe with a bit of other riffs.

I was trying for the layered two and three guitar parts played at the same time on a single guitar sort of thing. If I get the timing right it`s pretty cool.

Anyway I want to finish it (for now) and keep on with a project I`m writing for with a violinist that plays for the Minnesota Orchestra. I have one song I wrote that I am working on releasing, but I need to re-cut that track with my classical guitar and up-right bass instead of a Les Paul marshall, electric bass and no drums but maybe get a classical percussion team in here. Edit- I am going to have to re-cut the guitar part just listening to the violin track.


It`s very hard because the recording and and the tech end totally kills off my desire to play and my desire to play kills of any desire of recording I want capture.
 
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Flogger59

Member
Messages
12,065
It depends on the situation, I'll use SDC, LDC, dynamic or ribbon.
For your breathing problem, I'd suggest a figure 8 pattern (LDC or ribbon) looking over your right shoulder looking down at the bridge, and with the null at mouth level. A wooden floor helps with this method.
 

Britishampfan

Member
Messages
3,034
Thanks again guys, I am going to try to hang a soundproof divider from the celing somehow to get a sound absorber between my face and the mic.

I have a good sounding room going to go SDC on the neck and LDC`s in the room see how it sounds.

The mic placement is huge, if I just move a little bit the sound changes in the headphones.
 

Britishampfan

Member
Messages
3,034
Ok, well I got a track up on sound cloud.

Is it not ok to press and limit acoustic instruments to make them louder? And it did something weird to the 11ms of reverb.

I heard it in the studio, sounded ok uploaded and had to run. Got a few texts that it sounded good. ok cool

Listened to it when I got home on small speakers, What the hell happened???


Here at BAF`s do it yourself recording we burn a lot of drink coasters.

In a perfect world I would write and play and pay real studio engineers big money to handle all this stuff.

Not a big deal I am going to re-cut and finalize the song anyway but not really confident on any consistency.

I really like learning this stuff but does it always have to be so hard and time consuming?
 

Flogger59

Member
Messages
12,065
Here's a tip, set up your mic about 2/3 of the way down the length of the room, and 2/3 of the way widthwise. You'll be out of most standing waves there.
 

Britishampfan

Member
Messages
3,034
Thanks I appreciate the advice.

Well I re adjusted the eq, no compression and axed the reverb and did something a little different and reposted.

Going to re-record tomorrow and make sure it`s right from the start.
 




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