1. #1

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    Hi all,

    I'm excited to learn more from this forum! I'd love to get feedback on this track I recorded:

    This is a rhythm track -- hoping to overlay vocals. Wondering if there's anything I can do to make this sound less like it's recorded in a small room in my house (which it is, ha). I'm trying to achieve the most natural, warm, round, woody guitar tone possible. When I listen back, I still feel like the tone is somewhat underwhelming and 'raw' for lack of a better word? In a word, how can I get this to it's fullest potential (playing aside! I'm clearly not a jazz player, ha.)

    My set-up is a smallish room (see below) which I've semi-treated with bass traps in two corners. I recorded this through a Silvertone 1481 amp set against one wall. I miked it with an SM57 and AT4033, pointed at the edges of the speaker cone, about 6-8 inches away. I only blended a little bit of the 4033 for a room sound. Unfortunately I did not think to mic the archtop itself -- a Gibson ES120T.

    Pre-amp is a black-lion auteur, which is run through Scarlett 4i4 and then into Reaper. I then added some plugins to shape tone: SSLChannel, EQ, CLA-76 compressor, and delay/reverb, pretty much in that order. Any help much appreciated!

    Looking for Feedback - Recording of solo archtop guitar-img_1994-jpeg


    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  3. #2

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    My two cents: Place your (excellent recording amp!) near the center of the back wall, and turn it until it faces the far corner. This will effectively enlarge the room sonically, allowing the sound waves from your amp a greater distance to travel before changing directions. Remember, angle of incidence is equal to angle of reflection, and what you want is multiple reflections traveling as many different directions. It may take a few tries to get it just right, but it will be worth it. Good luck!

  4. #3

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    My view on this generally is that picking technique (rather than gizmos etc) has a big effect on tone.

    For a fuller, rounder tone, pick the strings close to the neck. On my ES175 I tend to pick right over the gap between the end of the fingerboard and the neck pickup.

    Also consider the angle of attack of the pick as it passes through the string. If it hits the string all at once i.e. 90 degrees ‘flat on’ to the string, you get a thinner sound. If the pick goes through angled to the string, you get a rounder sound, because the profile of the picking tip is rounder and takes longer to pass through the string.

    Anyway that’s how I manage to get a good jazz sound. The amp, guitar etc. don’t seem to have as much effect on it, as far as I’m concerned.

  5. #4

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    Although I do LOVE your sound and your playing, crafting tone seems to be specific to each instrument.

    I think this Troy Grady craze has convinced everyone in the guitar playing community to approach the string with the edge of the pick shoulder, however you want to call it.

    I've had some exquisite teachers show me elsewise. I approach the string flat on, and I'm experimenting with NOT picking so close to the neck of the guitar. Actually, there's a certain member from around these PWC parts who plays closer to the bridge and his tone sounds pristine--in my opinion.

    Approaching the pick flat on with a slight downward angle (maybe Troy Grady made this pick business easier to talk about) and ensuring that the entire width surface of that part of the pick makes contact with the string has allowed me to get a way fuller and complex tone out of my guitar. That said, my guitar is strung with round wounds and is a thin carved top.

    That is to say, every guitar reacts different--so it's worth it to experiment until you get THAT sound on THAT guitar.

    Graham, not dismissing you at all. Love your playing. And the advice about the amp placement is something I might try myself. But each guitar is a different beast, even the same model and make.

  6. #5

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    If recording an acoustic archtop I would definitely mic the guitar as well. So maybe one mic on the guitar, one mic on the amp, and I would try to find the ideal distance and angle to make each mic sound the best on its own. (This is easy to do on the amp if you have a looper, have it play while you move the mic listening through headphones. With the guitar, you push the mic stand around).

    Then you mix the two channels in a daw, and you have a lot of possibilities without even touching eq or reverb yet.

    I don't think there can be any rule applied in a small room other than experimentation, because reflections, geometry, resident frequencies, player, gear, etc, create so many variables where anything can sound from mediocre to brilliant. Generally I go with a less is more approach. Also finding a proper reverb plugin you like is important..

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by PickingMyEars View Post

    Although I do LOVE your sound and your playing, crafting tone seems to be specific to each instrument.

    I think this Troy Grady craze has convinced everyone in the guitar playing community to approach the string with the edge of the pick shoulder, however you want to call it.
    Yes I can only say what worked for me and why it seemed to work, tone is a mysterious business really. I was not influenced by Troy Grady though, I made the changes I described to my picking technique about 30 years ago!

    Actually I think I was influenced by classical guitar technique, where I was using rounded nails and plucking the strings almost diagonally, which produced a good tone, it gave me the idea to try angling the pick a bit on the jazz guitar.

  8. #7

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    Truth be told, it sounds great to me. The sound is intimate rather than expansive - but that’s just right for accompanying a vocalist, unless he or she has a truly huge voice. I’m 3000 miles from home right now on our first trip since December 2019 because of Covid. So all I have with me is my iPad, and I might feel different using my home system. But I think the guitar (along with your playing) sounds quite fine -the tone is sweet and crisp. Experiment to your heart’s content - you’ll learn and have fun. But through my iPad, you’ve done a pretty fine job.

  9. #8

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    I'm probably wrong, as I am very much a recording noob, but do you need a preamp in front of the Scarlett? The shorter the chain the better I think.