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ZoneIII 11-09-2014 09:12 AM

Apologies for a dumb newbie question.
I'm just getting back into playing guitar. I've had a Guild 12-string that sat in the closet since the 1970s which I completely restored a few years ago and I recently bought an Eastman 20D. I suck as a player but it's fun and I want to get down to practicing and learning more seriously in the coming months. I wanted to give this background so anyone who responds keeps it simple.

I've had some fun recording my guitar and my harmonica and I've really had fun dubbing over songs by others to be a virtual member of the band. With harmonica, which I can play pretty well, I got pretty good results by recording through my harp mic into a little Cube 30 amplifier and have the output go to my PC. I use the free Audacity program and add my part to existing songs while wearing headphones. I only mention this because I want to be able to do something similar with my acoustic guitars.

I don't have any recording equipment. My guitars don't have pickups and I really would prefer not to get them. Instead, decent microphones would probably be my choice. But what I really need to get advice about is what equipment I should get to record my guitar. I don't want to get fancy and expensive because I suck as a guitar player and I can't justify spending a lot. A few hundred bucks would be fine.

A guitar player friend of mine recommended a Zoom H4 recorder. He doesn't own one himself but he says that people he knows who do have them like them. Reviews I've read are mixed but most people seem to like this device. They also make an H5 and H6 version and those are within my spending range. I would be willing to by a decent but not insanely expensive mic too, if necessary.

I would also like to record myself soloing but I mentioned the overdubbing because that's a feature I want. For example, I would like to add myself playing harp over my guitar playing, etc.

With those limitations in mind, I would like to get some recommendations for how I should go. Please keep it simple and not too technical because I am totally new to this and I don't understand some of the technical stuff I've read that I found. I'm not a serious player and I have no illusions about every being very good. I just want enjoy myself with my limited skills.

Winter is almost here and I will have a lot of time in the coming months to have fun with this stuff.

BTW, I would be willing to buy new audio software too if it's not too expensive. Audacity seems to have done what I need it to do so far, though.

Kilgore Trout 11-09-2014 10:08 AM

I bought a Yamaha tr7 recorder about a month ago for $50 on eBay. It works for what I need. I just needed something better than my cell phone (which it definitely is) for playing back my practice sessions. It has an overdub feature but I've never used it. It also comes with software that looks really complicated so I haven't messed with it much.
Just a suggestion for cheap stereo recordings that sound pretty decent.

ZoneIII 11-09-2014 11:32 AM

Thanks, Kilgore. I'll check that out. For my guitar, I've just been using the tiny little button microphone that came with my PC. It probably cost about $1. :-) It's time to get something better.

Joseph Hanna 11-09-2014 12:04 PM

I know of nothing quite so complete as the Zoom R16. It may or may not be above your budget but consider; It has two decent mic's. It has 16 channels of [email protected]/44.1. I believe it has 8 XLR inputs with on-board pre's for each. It has a great reverb (as well as a host of other FX's). It has electric guitar amp simulation on board. Storage is cheap (and silent). It can serve as a control surface to almost any major DAW and even comes with a version of Cubase should you want to jump into computer editing. It uses standard flash memory and files are time stamped so they can easily be moved and read by other DAW's and can easily run on batteries should you need to move the R16 somewhere without AC. Batteries will also allow you to move to a room that's particularly great for using mic's, (say a bathroom).

It's a single piece of hardware that conceivably can cover all the bases of a home project studio

Kilgore Trout 11-09-2014 12:11 PM

I was pleasantly surprised by that little Yamaha recorder, as was my wife. I mean, for under $100 new at most places, I don't think you can go wrong. Very portable, and has a tuner/metronome built in. At first I was looking at the tascam, but now I'm glad I got the yamaha.
I was worried about the battery life because it takes a single aaa, but I still haven't changed the battery yet after a ton of recordings.

Wow, I just realized I sound like I'm channeling Billy Mays. Lol...

But if you need a little recorder for decent unplugged recording, it will do it for you.

Rudy4 11-09-2014 12:31 PM

No need to spend a bunch of money for what you're trying to do. You might be interested in my "Simple Home-style Recording" page; it addresses many of your questions.

MikeBmusic 11-10-2014 10:13 AM

You haven't mentioned an exact budget, but I'd recommend a half-decent 2-input USB audio interface (Steinberg UR22, Scarlett 2i2 as examples) and an all-purpose mic. The Zooms with built-in mics will serve the same purpose - either record direct to them or use as an interface to your computer.

ZoneIII 11-10-2014 11:09 AM

Thanks, everyone, for your very helpful replies. I really appreciate it. After a little research, I ended up ordering a Zoom H6. It's probably more than I need but I hope that being able to get good recordings will encourage me to learn more techniques and songs.

I checked out the Zoom R6 after ordering the H6. It's really neat. However, I don't have second thoughts because I like the fact that the H6 has it's own high-quality microphones so I don't have to buy anything else right away. Of courses, I can record into four additional channels (six with an optional attachment) but I doubt I will ever do that. The other thing is the portability of the R6. I can think of some uses in the field that makes that a good plus. I read various reviews about the H6 and watched a bunch of YouTube reviews of it and the reviewers were almost universally very impressed with it.

Thanks again! As I get back into playing guitar, I know I'll have more questions for you folks.

cotten 11-11-2014 01:39 AM

One thing you'll enjoy about the AGF: apologies for "dumb, newbie" questions are not needed. You are not looked down on because you're not already an expert on something. We're all newbies, just at different things, and the chance to help someone is one of the best reasons to hang out here. Ask away!


DavidWhitehurst 11-11-2014 06:06 PM

I have a Tascam DR-05 and I love it. I haven't tried it but I also have a Tascam recorder just my little DR-05 on my iPhone. It's free. What's nice is the ability to immediately have a respectable acoustic guitar recording (if you make no mistakes). I read everything that says don't put anything on SoundCloud that's not perfect. I think it comes down to what you are doing with the audio files or LINKS. The key is the LINK. Usually we record something because we want others to listen to it. We live in a world now where I could call my grandma and send her a link to my latest song. P.S. Grandma was my biggest fan.

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