Recording nylon string guitar

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Recording nylon string guitar

Post by sara_tonin » Tue Dec 26, 2006 9:54 am

Hello there (and happy belated holidays)
I'm going to be recording a friend of my doing fingerpicked nylon string guitar playing in a fairly decent room.

The mic choices I have are; 414s, 4033s, GT66s, NT5's, SM57s, NT1000 and 2000, and a few others.

I was thinking of just throwing up one 414 in omni where the neck meets the body.
He's a big "Nick drake sounding" fan, which is something I know is not easy to create but something I can definetly strive for.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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Post by Punkity » Tue Dec 26, 2006 1:21 pm

I'm in the middle of recording a project where a nylong strung guitar is the instrumental foundation. The style is lighter indi-pop, which may differ from what you are doing, but the following is guaranteed to give you what you want:

Take an hour or two before you start tracking for real, throw up whatever microphones in roughly whatever positions you will be using. Record all the mics in every postition. Listen to them in a way that you don't really know which mic is which (sort of hard to do, but the idea is to listen without any expectations like "I just know that the 414 will be perfect here"). Next, choose the mic or mics that sound best in whatever positions you will be using. While choosing pay attenetion to the 3-dimentional-ness of the sound, tonal qualities, sensitivity to finger sounds vs guitar body sounds, noisiness, etc.. I've found that different guitars, styles and players will need different mics, and preconceived notions will often get in the way of capturing the best sounds. Sure you have to have some ideas to bring to the table along with your gear, and often time dictates that you have to go with something you know will work, but I been suprised more often than not when I have time to try a bunch of combinations.

With this project the whole process above took an hour and a half and 7 takes to get all the combinations I needed. The ones I suspected would be the ones I would choose were all good performers, but only one made the final cut. I ended up using a Beyer M-88 at the 12th fret (the biggest surprise), 414 on the body in cardioid (the one I suspected would work there), and a pair of Oktava 012 with an omni caps in the room (edged out my Schoeps pair, go figure).

Don't forget DI as well.

Now that I've started mixing, I'm glad I have all the choices (12 fret, body, 2 room sounds, and DI). Each song has different instrumentation and requires a different mix for the guitar.
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Post by philbo » Tue Dec 26, 2006 4:15 pm

Punkity had good advice.

The only thing I'd add is that the brightness of the sound depends somewhat on picking style - - if it's picked with fingernails, thumb-and-3-fingers-classical style, the sound will be brighter than if picked with (skin) fingertips. This might have an affect on which mic would sound good on it.

Omni is great if you want a very flat natural sound (in a damped room). If the room is a bit live, you might want to watch the distance between the player and the nearest walls to avoid reflections that could comb filter the mic response.
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Post by DupleMeter » Wed Dec 27, 2006 9:58 pm

Answering as a recording guitarist I would use 2 mics: one at the neck/body joint & one just behind the bridge (where the meat of the sound will come from). Distance is dependent on how bright/present you want the recording to be.

Answering as a classical/audiophile recordist my suggestion would be to back up with a near coincident stereo pair (ORTF/NOS/DIN style). Have the pair at the players ear level aimed just ever so slightly down towards the body of the guitar. But that is assuming that this is a solo guitar piece - or a guitar & voice piece. If you're adding more instruments later you'll want to think about option 1.

As far as mics go - I'm not sure I would use any of the ones you mentioned. KM184s would be nice for a pleasantly brighter sound or for a more natural sound AKGC480s w/ CK61 caps or Schoeps CMC6 w/ MK4 or even MK21 caps.

If I had to choose from the list you gave, I'd try both 414s & the 4033s and see which I liked best. The others are bound to be too bright.


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Post by parlormusic » Thu Dec 28, 2006 9:50 am

I had great results from two different methods. One method was a ribbon pointed near the neck joint out about 18", and a C414 a few feet out from the bridge in cardioid. Panned, the combination gave a really sweet and spacious sound.

The other method was using the same two mics in mid/side setup. The ribbon facing the guitar somewhere around the top edge of the upper bout between the neck and sound hole, while the AKG was set in fig-8 facing parallel to the guitar. I think they were about 2' out from the instrument. This also provided a very nice sound with spaciousness.

In both of these sessions, the vocals were tracked seperately.
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Post by xSALx » Thu Dec 28, 2006 11:26 am

I?ve personally liked a spaced pair of LCDs about 3 ft away pointed at the body and 12th fret. I find it has a nice balance. But as someone mentioned earlier, playing style is essential to how the player is miced, in this case more so than a regular acoustic guitar.

Good luck, let us know what you go with.
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Post by sara_tonin » Thu Dec 28, 2006 9:01 pm

thanks a lot, I appreciate everyones input.
I'll definetly have to spend some time experimenting but thats half the fun right?

I'll have to post my results once it happens.
thanks again[/i]
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Post by 0xeneye » Mon Jan 08, 2007 10:35 pm

I?ve personally liked a spaced pair of LCDs about 3 ft away pointed at the body and 12th fret.
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