FAQ Friday is our weekly roundup of YOUR questions! If you have any questions you’d like to ask, simply leave them in the comments below (or on YouTube), and I’ll do my best to answer them!
Here’s a big question!
What influences the final sound? Playing skills vs. Instrument Quality vs. Mic position vs. Mic?
First of all, it’s performance.
For me the number one most important thing with a guitar is the performer, especially an acoustic guitar.
Good performance, good left hand technique, good right hand technique, pick or fingers, whatever it might be, on a great instrument is going to be a huge deal. The most important thing is definitely the player then the instrument – in that order.
A good instrument is good, but only in the hands of a good player!
I recently got a Baxendale guitar. Scott Baxendale is a craftsman who makes it own acoustic guitars but also does conversions of ’40s, ‘50s, and ‘60s guitars. The guitar I’m using in the video is a relatively inexpensive guitar; a Harmony Stella. I have a lot of these kind of guitars, all of which sound really really good. However, this one has had new struts put into it, the neck has been beautifully straightened, there’s new frets on it, and it plays like a brand new guitar.
We’ve had it here for a couple of days, it’s a huge hit with the artists that we’re working with- everybody’s been tracking with it and loving it!
What Baxendale has done is taken an old guitar and given it a new lease on life. This one sounds so much better than my original ones.
Next after player/performance and the instrument comes miking.
We recently did a video called Recording Acoustic Guitar 101, where we tried out a bunch of different microphones on an acoustic guitar, one of which was a $99 SM57 going in through an Audient ID14. As long as you’re not clipping the input stage (you can keep it down to about 50% of the gain, you’re not driving it too hard) you will get a good result.
With under $350 of gear ($99 mic, $200 interface, $30 cable), you can get great sounding acoustic guitars as long as you have a great player delivering a good performance with a great instrument.
When it comes to mixing, there are a ton of stock plugins that you can use as well!
To sum this question up, the most important thing is the player, the performance, the instrument, and then the mics, in that order!
During this episode of FAQ Friday I answer the following questions:
• What influences the final sound? Playing skills vs. Instrument Quality vs. Mic position vs. Mic?
• I’d like to know your thoughts on playing without picks. I prefer the sound of an acoustic using my fingers. Do you always play with a pick or do you use a combination?
• At home I always seem to lose track of my picks. I’ll buy like 20 at a time and eventually they all get lost to, what seems, another dimension. Do you have a similar experience in the studio??
• You got some new small monitors. What are they?
• When do you sleep?
• Would use the same technique for micing an acoustic when the player is playing using his fingers in a song like “Dust In The Wind”, Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide” or Beatles “Blackbird”?