Clip-on mic for acoustic instruments?

Jon

Member
Messages
1,568
I've got to use my banjo and bouzouki at a gig fairly soon - I haven't used either live before and they don't have any built-in pickups. Should I just use a standard mic on a boom stand or are there any small clip-on mics that I could use for both?
 

lamenlovinit

Member
Messages
3,822
I don't know what he uses but Bob Brozman uses a mic he clamps on to guitars at NAMM. It clamps on to the body (front and back) and has a flexible gooseneck so you can position it anywhere. He's pretty good about answering Emails. It was a cool setup!
 

mark norwine

Member
Messages
17,158
I'd use a mic on a boom.

My experience with clip-on mics is that all of the "mechanical impact" of your playing is transferred to the mic through resonant coupling, and all of that "thumping & thwacking" goes straight to the desk.

We recently drove ourselves crazy trying to find a decent clip-on for our sax player. All of the moving parts + pads opening / closing = Nightmare city! Now, he stands in front of a 57 on a boom & sounds great.
 
Messages
8,095
I regularly, use an A-T 831b, with great results. I fabricated an attachment with a short, flexible "gooseneck" for my mandolin, and have a similar set-up to switch the mic to my dobro. I have almost zero problems with any "mechanical impact" of your playing is transferred to the mic through resonant coupling, and all of that "thumping & thwacking".
My mileage varied!


I used a violin chinrest clamp for the mandolin attachment:

 

Latif

Member
Messages
149
K&K makes a clip on with gooseneck called the Meridian and Dtar makes a similar but more expensive model. I'm considering one of those for my Bourgeois OMC. I'm not sure if the attachment clamp would go down small enough for the thinner bodied instruments you are using.

Latif
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
38,228
i can see a setup like this for mandolin or other small-bodied instruments; they don't have much low-frequency content, so the mic can have the bass rolled off to clean up any handling noise without losing too much of the instrument's tone.

for acoustic guitar, though?

AT used to have a lav that came with a little clip to hook it over the edge of a flat-top's soundhole. that makes for a boomy location (especially if the mic capsule is in the air column created by the soundhole), so maybe the low end can again be rolled off the mic while keeping some of the character of the guitar.

this is not a very popular method, so i have to wonder how useful it ultimately is.
 

MikeVB

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,626
I've play guitar and clawhammer banjo in a number of bluegrass/old-time/hippiegrass bands over the past five years, and I tried every solution I could to mic my guitars (some quite expensive).

I liked this one the best BY FAR...Audio-Technica Pro 70
http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.co...270618&src=3WFRWXX&ZYXSEM=0&CAWELAID=26020721

Has a switch to cut the low frequencies if rumble is a problem, and just by sliding the clip to different parts of the soundhole you can control the frequency response also. I used it on the banjo a couple times by just wrapping the cable around the dowel rod as a temporary thing.
 

JSeth

Member
Messages
2,406
Saw James Taylor on some "special" show of his not too long ago... say what you will about JT, but he has ALWAYS had an amazing live acoustic guitar sound!

He had some kind of mic on a small gooseneck, clamped up near the area of the body where the neck joins... looked to have some black tape used to anchor the thing on his Olsen... and, as advertised, it sounded HEAVENLY, with only his fingers... I heard no sort of "transferring of playing technique" nonsense whatsoever...
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
38,228
AT used to have a lav that came with a little clip to hook it over the edge of a flat-top's soundhole...
that's exactly the one i was thinking of!

how did it do on banjo, and where did you mount it? (i have yet to hear a banjo pickup i really like, and that will get any kind of gain before feedback.)
 

Joseph Hanna

Member
Messages
466
Saw James Taylor on some "special" show of his not too long ago... say what you will about JT, but he has ALWAYS had an amazing live acoustic guitar sound!

He had some kind of mic on a small gooseneck, clamped up near the area of the body where the neck joins... looked to have some black tape used to anchor the thing on his Olsen... and, as advertised, it sounded HEAVENLY, with only his fingers... I heard no sort of "transferring of playing technique" nonsense whatsoever...
James Taylors "One Man Band" concert is often cited in discussions like this concerning mic's on acoustic guitars in live situations. That and Alison Krauss's recording out in Louisville KY some years back. One Man Band was a really great concert idea and the finished product was typical James Taylor HIGHLY polished but........

PRE-production for this show took months. I don't know the time frame for POST-production but since I make my living in post production I'm gonna guess at least 6 months. The physical PRE-production for the live sound alone took the better part of a week. The venue was as near perfect as one can get for acoustic instruments. The crowd (and their inevitable noise floor that goes with crowds) was not only controllable but highly coached. They of course had the luxury of re-takes and do-overs for all sorts of gremlins that indeed popped up including getting levels on the mic correct before it turned into feedback. I don't recall specifically but I believe they shot over the course of several days. That not to mention on the guitar side there is CLEARLY still a large presence of piezo. The guitar signal (piezo/mic) was split to the recording medium so that not only did they have a chance to re-eq during post production but they also were afforded the ability to split the piezo to a modeler...in this case I believe it was some sort of Fishman.

In the end it's a great DVD concert that allowed James Taylor to not only play great music but also have some extended "chat's" with his audience and in short......simply be James Taylor. It's a really enjoyable experience and highlights James Taylor's place in contemporary music. Worth checking out if anyone has yet to have a chance.

However a good example of a good mic'd guitar sound in a live environment it is definitively not. Highly produced both in pre and post production. Mic'ing an acoustic guitar in a live environment is still sadly one of THE most challenging endeavors in all of live entertainment and this pristine example sheds little light on the "real" world....... unless of course you're James.
 

MikeVB

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,626
that's exactly the one i was thinking of!

how did it do on banjo, and where did you mount it? (i have yet to hear a banjo pickup i really like, and that will get any kind of gain before feedback.)
Hey, sorry haven't checked back in for awhile. Did fine for my open back Enoch just wrapping it around the dowel rod. Probably could easily rig something up over the side of the pot but I just never got around to it.

I think they're cheap enough the easiest thing for me to do would be to buy a second one instead of switching it back and forth between banjo and guitar during a gig. But I'm a cheapskate.
 

chinstrap

Member
Messages
1,072
DPA has a lot of acoustic instrument options- Foldback however is typically done with a piezo pickup into the floor monitors for higher feedback stability.
 

JSeth

Member
Messages
2,406
James Taylors "One Man Band" concert is often cited in discussions like this concerning mic's on acoustic guitars in live situations. That and Alison Krauss's recording out in Louisville KY some years back. One Man Band was a really great concert idea and the finished product was typical James Taylor HIGHLY polished but........

PRE-production for this show took months. I don't know the time frame for POST-production but since I make my living in post production I'm gonna guess at least 6 months. The physical PRE-production for the live sound alone took the better part of a week. The venue was as near perfect as one can get for acoustic instruments. The crowd (and their inevitable noise floor that goes with crowds) was not only controllable but highly coached. They of course had the luxury of re-takes and do-overs for all sorts of gremlins that indeed popped up including getting levels on the mic correct before it turned into feedback. I don't recall specifically but I believe they shot over the course of several days. That not to mention on the guitar side there is CLEARLY still a large presence of piezo. The guitar signal (piezo/mic) was split to the recording medium so that not only did they have a chance to re-eq during post production but they also were afforded the ability to split the piezo to a modeler...in this case I believe it was some sort of Fishman.

In the end it's a great DVD concert that allowed James Taylor to not only play great music but also have some extended "chat's" with his audience and in short......simply be James Taylor. It's a really enjoyable experience and highlights James Taylor's place in contemporary music. Worth checking out if anyone has yet to have a chance.

However a good example of a good mic'd guitar sound in a live environment it is definitively not. Highly produced both in pre and post production. Mic'ing an acoustic guitar in a live environment is still sadly one of THE most challenging endeavors in all of live entertainment and this pristine example sheds little light on the "real" world....... unless of course you're James.
Thanks for the "inside poop", Joseph! I got sucked in by the magic of the medium, I guess... should've known there was a lot of work and "treatment" on the guitar...
 




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