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recording a classical guitar performance

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Nelson May
recording a classical guitar performance
on Jun 9, 2010 at 6:40:56 pm

I was approached by a professional musician that wants to video a few promo pieces to send out for consideration for concert venues. He is a classical guitarist that wants one take and it has to be "live", so I can't use a click track. I am not going to do any heavy cuts or fades, but I am not sure about getting this guy good audio without seeing a mic. I have a TLM103, but I don't think that will work because we need to see a wide shot. I have a Rode NTG2 shotgun, but fear the distance on that. If he has an internal pickup would that be the best way to go?

Here is a video he sent me of what he would like.





Any ideas?

MBP 2.4GHz 4MB RAM, 30"cine, MAC PRO 2.6 8 core 6GB RAM, Mbox, Neumann TLM-103, FCP HD 7. Pro Tools 8, Adobe Creative Suite, Reason 3.0, Macromedia Studio, ProAnimator, HVX200 with Firestore v4.0


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Peter Groom
Re: recording a classical guitar performance
on Jun 9, 2010 at 8:50:37 pm

id go for his pick up and a rifle as close as you can get. mix the 2 for clarity and a little air.
peter



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Bill Davis
Re: recording a classical guitar performance
on Jun 10, 2010 at 12:11:24 am


Why in heaven's name would you need to hide the mic? These are Concert Venues. Do you think they don't know that recording requires microphones?

He's AUDITIONING for gigs. They want to HEAR as clearly as possible how he plays. Period. They'd also, I'm sure, like to watch his hands and playing technique. Nothing else really matters.

I'd take the TLM-103 and mount it on a mic stand with boom arm and place it about 10 inches out from his forearm and facing directly at the sound hole.

Listen and adjust. Particularly the lower registers. You want rich, warm bass notes - something that too much distance from guitar to mic will fight.

The TLM 103 should have no problem with that or with reproducing a guitar with both clarity and a nice "live" sound with lovely spacial sense of the room.

Maybe a little more angle to to the players body so that the people judging the effort can easily see both his right and left hand movements.

But that's it. You should get an EXCELLENT recording of the guitar. And in this situation, that's what really matters.





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Ty Ford
Re: recording a classical guitar performance
on Jun 10, 2010 at 2:58:07 am

Hello Nelson and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

I'm with Bill, you see mics all the time in live classical guitar performances.

The TLM 103 is a dandy mic. I have two of 'em. You might feel the guy out about sound. Some classical guys really hate mics with an elevated HF response because it makes their 1st and 2nd strings sound plasticky. The TLM 103 can sound overly bright when plugged into the wrong preamp. That would accentuate the plasticky sound.

OTOH, it worked quite well for me here .

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Jordan Wolf
Re: recording a classical guitar performance
on Jun 10, 2010 at 6:30:31 am

I say mic the guitar no matter what. Unless he has a custom-installed pickup system that has both a pickup AND a mic, it's not going to sound very good.

If sightlines are a problem, I'd go for a Countryman ISOMAX 2 with the appropriate clip. Move the mic around until you get the desired tone.

If he does have a nice pickup/mic system installed, you'll probably need one or two DI boxes to interface properly. Make them active, as the input impedance should be nice and high to keep the tone of the guitar accurate from the pickup.

Wolf
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Fernando Mol
Re: recording a classical guitar performance
on Jun 10, 2010 at 1:59:38 pm

I, guys

I was considering buying an electro-acoustic guitar for recording in my home studio. I was wondering how this kind of output can be different from having a mic?

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Ty Ford
Re: recording a classical guitar performance
on Jun 10, 2010 at 2:17:17 pm

Buenos Dias Fernando and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

LOTS of things to consider. Buying a guitar, itself, is a big deal. Do you play now? If you already have an acoustic guitar, you can have it rigged with internal pickups. You need to be very choosey because some pickups don't sound very good.

I like the K&K Pure Western Mini system. I had it installed in my Martin a few years back. Here's a clip with those pickups: http://gallery.me.com/tyreeford#100183

You can see the video of me playing the instrumental while sitting on the couch. That was using a Schoeps cmc641 mic. You can see the tip of it on the couch arm.

You usually get the best results from going to a direct box and then to a mic input. The direct box converts the normally very high impedance of the pickups to balanced mic level. You'll get sound even of you don't use a direct box, but it won't sound as good.

There are a few guitars with electronics that make a direct box unnecessary, but none come to mind at the moment.

Regards,

Ty Ford


Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Jordan Wolf
Re: recording a classical guitar performance
on Jun 11, 2010 at 2:33:13 am

Fernando,

Here is my recommendation for buying an acoustic guitar (or any, for that matter): buy it for the tone. Find one that has a sound that you like. Don't worry about how it really feels when you play it, or the response of the strings, fret buzzing, etc. Those are all things that a session with a professional luthier can fix (and it will be money well-spent).

Let the luthier see how you play and they'll make adjustments to the guitar's neck, frets, strings, etc. so that it will work with you and you won't have to fight it.

Oh, and Ty, Washburn makes some guitars that have XLR outputs, as does Taylor and Macpherson. If anyone is looking for a simple, passive DI, check out this one - no unnecessary buttons and it's a nice size. Plus, the Jensen transformer is nice and imparts no color to the signal. For active, I prefer Countryman, Radial, and Whirlwind.

Wolf
<><


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Fernando Mol
Re: recording a classical guitar performance
on Jun 11, 2010 at 2:45:01 am


I do play guitar and since now I record only with an external mic and I was considering a plug-in guitar because it seems more practical, but I wasn't sure about the final sound.

Thank for the advice, Ty and Jordan. It's very useful.

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Alf Hanna
Re: recording a classical guitar performance
on Jun 18, 2010 at 7:52:08 am

The question of what guitar to buy means you have to clearly understand what music you are playing. Classical is a totally different bag than bluegrass or swing, and there is no one right answer. It's been my impression that you will never get *real* acoustic sound once you put on a pickup. But what you do get might be just fine (listen to Willie Nelson, for example). It's just that the style you play may work just fine with a pickup.

I was recorded for our band in the leading acoustic recording studio in the Pacific NW, http://www.davidlangestudios.com/

David is considered the premier recording studio engineer up here for acoustic recording. He mic'ed me with dual Sennheiser 914's coming at the sound hole from two directions. The sound, coupled with my very expensive custom mandolin, made my talent the only limiting factor. I would say that it wouldn't / shouldn't matter whether the mics are in the video, if the quality of the sound is the goal. Especially given that a decent classical guitar (or any really high end guitar) will likely be made of something like Rosewood, Mahogany or Koa, and it seems to me that you want to capture that *tone* coming out of the hole as quickly as possible. Post processing is likely to make the sound better. On the other hand, I've captured excellent audio with a Zoom on a stage stand about 3 feet away. Again, the instrument in the hands of a master in the right hall/room will allow you a bit of latitude. Worth investigating, FWIW...best of luck!

Alf


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