The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
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  1. #1

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    I have a little recording set up at home that I use for making videos etc mostly. I've been thinking of recording a solo jazz guitar album, and rather than go to a studio it would be nice to do it in the comfort of my home. I can get a good sound that I like but I've never recorded something that is album quality before. My hope would be to record it and then send it to a pro for mastering.

    Has anyone ever done it?

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    I bet several here have done this. I have a few times.

  4. #3

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    If you pay attention to the details, it can work out fine. As an example, I have 2 multi-part tracks on the 2019 Philadephia Blues Society CD of originals by members. I recorded both in Audacity on my Windows 10 PC through a $150 M-audio DAI, going direct with the flattop (Ibanez AEL-207 - that's not a bass, it's the 7th string). I mic'ed my National tricone, harmonica, and vocals with an old Sony electret into the M-audio. Joe DeFeo engineered and mastered the album from tracks made in different ways by each artist (some were done at home and some were done in studios). I think the sound quality is excellent. Yes, that's exactly what my voice sounds like - I readily admit that I'm not a vocalist....

    Here's one of my two:


  5. #4

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    Not solo jazz album but all kinds of other stuff.

    The main thing for me was to not even think about mixing/mastering myself.
    Well, I suck at that. But it took quite a few attempts to really acknowledge that sad fact.
    But to record at home - so doable these days. Absolutely!

  6. #5

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    I've recorded all of my albums at home (links below). If you take your time and learn how to record a clean signal that you like the tone of, a skilled mixing and mastering engineer would have no problem making it sound like a finished product. The things to be aware of in an untreated environment would be unwanted noises (fridge, ac, heater, traffic, pets, neighbors, computer fans).

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    Daniel Delorenzo on Apple Music
    Music | Daniel DeLorenzo
    Daniel DeLorenzo - YouTube


    I work as a mix/mastering engineer, if there's anything I can help you with feel free to reach out via my website:
    www.danieldelorenzo.com

  7. #6

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    You can try recording a couple of tunes just to give them to a mixing/mastering engineer to get an opinion on the sound quality or on possible problems with the recording. Once they give you the ok, you can then concentrate on the musical aspect.

  8. #7
    I’ve always preferred recording at home with solo stuff, I wouldn’t call it jazz, but lots of elements of it interspersed through. I tend to not worry too much about the quality in a conventional sense kinda, I like to sometimes record onto my phone, etc, it’s about expressing myself more than anything when I’m making music. I’m relatively new to jazz music, again in a conventional sense, finding my way in via Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass, Tal Farlow Quartet, Kenny Burrell - what I’ve heard is really informing my own musical output, it’s great. The song ‘while we’re young’ by Wes, I love that it sounds like he’s just sat in front of a room mic, very hissy, etc. Sounds so human, with honesty all over it.

  9. #8

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    I've recorded a lot here in my music room as well. Everything from a song with the kids using armpit farts and burps as drums to stuff that has been played on the radio (which was send to the pros for a touch up).

    In the medium term I want to record a solo fingerstyle album (or EP) and have started experimenting with gear etc

    Observations so far;

    For me recording direct sounds better than using the mic.

    The solid body Tele sounds better recorded than the Ibanez semihollow and hollow bodies.

    I use an amp simulator in Reaper.

    Although I can get a good sound I can't get the sound that I want so my next decision, I think, is whether or not to buy something likec EZ Mix 2/Amplitube.

    This is the sound that I want, dark and mysterious (obviously recorded in a pro studio. Two amps with mics).



    I still have a lot of writing to do so am in no hurry but it's good to start experimenting now.
    Last edited by Liarspoker; 09-23-2023 at 12:33 PM.

  10. #9

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    I've done a bunch of tracks that went into larger projects. Not solo guitar.

    Focusrite two channel interface into Reaper. I tried mic'ing an amp but it didn't sound better than direct -- and direct solves the extraneous noise problem.

    Recording engineers should stop reading now to avoid agita.

    I went from my ME80 with a little reverb into the Focusrite with one output and into my Little Jazz with the other. I tried then going from the LJ to the Focusrite, so that I'd have a choice of guitar signal, but it didn't matter much. I ended up using the LJ as a monitor.

    So, I ended up with a direct signal with permanent reverb. I used Reaper features to EQ it and add any FX (not much).

    My hearing is too asymmetrical and impaired for me to mix. I had a friend and my wife help with that.

    I was happy with the result. Several tracks have been played on the radio. And, several went into my website and I'd like to think have helped the band get hired.

    Sound quality as good as a pro studio? I doubt it.
    Good enough for my purposes? Yes.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Liarspoker View Post
    I've recorded a lot here in my music room as well. Everything from a song with the kids using armpit farts and burps as drums to stuff that has been played on the radio (which was send to the pros for a touch up).

    In the medium term I want to record a solo fingerstyle album (or EP) and have started experimenting with gear etc

    Observations so far;

    For me recording direct sounds better than using the mic.

    The solid body Tele sounds better recorded than the Ibanez semihollow and hollow bodies.

    I use an amp simulator in Reaper.

    Although I can get a good sound I can't get the sound that I want so my next decision, I think, is whether or not to buy something likec EZ Mix 2/Amplitube.

    This is the sound that I want, dark and mysterious (obviously recorded in a pro studio. Two amps with mics).



    I still have a lot of writing to do so am in no hurry but it's good to start experimenting now.
    In general, I agree that for a home studio project direct works much better than mic'ing an amp. If nothing else, it's simpler; one thing fewer to worry about when you're trying to play and engineer/produce at the same time. I use GarageBand and the amp sims it comes with. I mostly use GB's Super Reverb model combined with a 2x12 cabinet model, and usually the ribbon mic model. I can get pretty close that Ben Monder tone using my D'Angelico Semi-hollow and that combination of models.



    Aside from his touch and articulation (big factors in how he sounds), I think a lot of that dark/moody vibe comes from the way Monder uses reverb and delay. On that cut, I hear a large hall reverb, and I'm pretty sure I hear stereo delay (or maybe different mono delays on the two different amps?), but it's really subtle (the reverb is definitely not subtle).

    The amp(s?) sounds very 6V6 BF Fender-y to me (e.g., Princeton o Deluxe Reverb), with the treble rolled pretty far down, mids pushed way up, and just a tiny bit of warmth/break up (so volume in the 3-4 neighborhood). I've never used Reaper, so I can't speak to what you could tease out of its amp models. But I have used GB/Logic (which have the same amp plugins), S-Gear, and Amplitube. They all can get that edge-of-break-up Fender sound. I also think that his guitar tone is quintessential semi-hollow. So I suspect that if you dive a little deeper tweaking your semi and amp tones and into tweaking delay and reverb you can get pretty close.
    Last edited by John A.; 09-25-2023 at 12:41 PM.

  12. #11
    I use Logic exclusively to record man, and mortifyingly I’ve never explored the amp sims. I’ve always just mic’ed my amp, or since I got a Tonemaster Twin, the inbuilt impulse responses which I’ve found to be very impressive - the ribbon one I’ve found great for jazzy type stuff. I’ll definitely have to look into these amp sims included on Logic, I’ve just been so busy actually recording so once I found a method that works I kinda just get on with it, you’ll know the score I’m sure. Any tips or inside track info on them let me know man!

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by mondaysoutar View Post
    I use Logic exclusively to record man, and mortifyingly I’ve never explored the amp sims. I’ve always just mic’ed my amp, or since I got a Tonemaster Twin, the inbuilt impulse responses which I’ve found to be very impressive - the ribbon one I’ve found great for jazzy type stuff. I’ll definitely have to look into these amp sims included on Logic, I’ve just been so busy actually recording so once I found a method that works I kinda just get on with it, you’ll know the score I’m sure. Any tips or inside track info on them let me know man!
    The only tip I can really think of is that the presets tend to have extreme settings, and the pairings of amp & speaker are not always great. It's worth spending some time going through settings with several combinations of head and cabinet, with the effects and/or pedalboard turned off in order to find something you like. Once you've got that, save it as a preset and use it as a starting point with new projects.

  14. #13

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    I use Amplitube. I did this demo of a "jazz tone" with the Dual Rectifier and a tele. This is a bit bright for a traditional jazz tone but to each their own, right. Still, this gives an example using DI with Reaper and Amplitube. If you tell me what type of tone you are after, I'll give it a try.



    And here's an older one I did with a more traditional jazz tone:


  15. #14
    Thanks John, you’re a gentleman. I’ll have a look on YouTube, etc, I’m not even really certain how to access them haha. If I can get a good Blackface sound, it’ll defo be useful for the music I make. Thanks again man

  16. #15

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    IIRC, both Ben Monder and Jonathan Kriesberg (who often have a similar tonal quality to my ears.) use obsolete reverb technology: Lexicon LXP-1 and Alesis Microverb, respectively if I am remembering correctly. These are both half rack units and sound similar to my ears in that they can provide this very rounded strong fundamental. Both players have referred to the importance of these devices in their signal chain in interviews.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara View Post
    IIRC, both Ben Monder and Jonathan Kriesberg (who often have a similar tonal quality to my ears.) use obsolete reverb technology: Lexicon LXP-1 and Alesis Microverb, respectively if I am remembering correctly. These are both half rack units and sound similar to my ears in that they can provide this very rounded strong fundamental. Both players have referred to the importance of these devices in their signal chain in interviews.
    Thanks Cunamara. I actually have an LXP-1. I think that I ran it into the Focusrite interface some time ago and it didn't sound great.
    I'll try again

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara View Post
    IIRC, both Ben Monder and Jonathan Kriesberg (who often have a similar tonal quality to my ears.) use obsolete reverb technology: Lexicon LXP-1 and Alesis Microverb, respectively if I am remembering correctly. These are both half rack units and sound similar to my ears in that they can provide this very rounded strong fundamental. Both players have referred to the importance of these devices in their signal chain in interviews.
    Ben has recorded to reel to reel for past releases. His LXP-1 was modded from a company on the west coast who re-chipped it. His ear is inhuman and he's extremely meticulous about his sound. Which is all to say, for him at least, know what you want, more than what you like about other people's sound. Know the sound in your head and you'll know it when you've got it. When Excavation came out, the label had messed with the mastering and he had the run stopped, paid for everything to be recalled and had it re-released the way he wanted. I'm kind of embarassed to say it didn't sound bad to me. That's why he has his sound: he has his ears.

  19. #18

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    Recording, mixing and mastering from home is just TOO MUCH FUN!!!
    For reasonable cash output you can learn lots from sites like “Home Recording Made Easy” and “Home Studio Corner”. Both of these guys have great YouTube channels with free advice but the purchased lessons seem to guide you to a better outcome. (No affiliation with either.) So many hours, so much fun.