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  #1  
Old 03-04-2024, 07:37 AM
broy broy is offline
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Default What makes a good guitar for recording purposes

Hi All

This is out of curiosity only - but for a singer songwriter, what type of guitar makes for an easier job recording / mixing vs one that would make it more difficult?

Where would a Gibson Hummingbird fall in the mix?

Thanks for any input.

Rgds - Bill
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Old 03-04-2024, 08:00 AM
runamuck runamuck is offline
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It depends on the tone you want. I suggest you figure out what recordings you like by a couple of your favorite musicians, what kind of guitar they're using and let that be your guide.
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Old 03-04-2024, 08:22 AM
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keith.rogers keith.rogers is offline
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My short answer is that it's not that important in most recording setups these days. The setup with the mics (plural!) and how the guitar and singer are recorded will be more important in most cases.

Now, if you're recording a person playing a guitar while singing and using a single mic, then the performer's technique, both playing and singing, will be critical, I'd say, with the predominant range of the singer vs. the guitar, maybe, entering somewhat. Then, it can be some help if the guitar doesn't have any peaks or resonances that can mask the vocal, but this can all be tweaked a bit in the mix by simply having decent separation on the mic and guitar by using more than one mic, and optimizing placement.
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Last edited by keith.rogers; 03-04-2024 at 12:17 PM. Reason: fix typo
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Old 03-04-2024, 09:11 AM
broy broy is offline
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Thank you both, appreciate the replies. Good input!
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For attempting to learn how to record:
  • Interface: Presonus Audiobox 44VSL
  • DAW: Presonsus StudioOne Artist
  • Computer: Dell Inspiron 15 (windows 11)
  • Mics: Shure SM 57 and 58, Behringer C-2 pair
  • P'up: K&K (J45)
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Old 03-04-2024, 10:11 AM
Glennwillow Glennwillow is offline
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What makes a good guitar for recording purposes...

I would say a good room and good mics. I think any good sounding guitar can be recorded well with a good room and good mics, and of course, a good player. I think the only thing required of the guitar is that it sounds good and is appropriate for the particular song.

- Glenn
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Old 03-04-2024, 10:38 AM
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What’s that hierarchy? I get them kind of out of order sometimes, but in general I think it starts with these, in order of importance:

Player (performance)
Room
Mic placement
Mic quality
Gear (preamp, DAW or equivalent)
Instrument
Processing

…unless the guitar is so bad it prevents playing well.

I’d like to hear others step in and adjust my list, just so I keep it straight.

By the way, it seems a well set up Hummingbird should fit the bill just fine, once you fine-tune the EQ and such.
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Old 03-04-2024, 10:41 AM
Joseph Hanna Joseph Hanna is offline
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When I worked in Nashville, B. James Lowery almost always brought a Gibson Hummingbird. I think I saw him bring a Guild Jumbo one time. It kinda of defied conventional methods being a dreadnaught as many were using slightly smaller shapes.

In those types of session-calls, he (and all others) often had mere moments to set up and cut a track. I also think he “might” have brought his own mic’s but the memory there is not so great. Nevertheless, he set-up in a heartbeat, cut the track, and was out the door and on to another Studio all in a flash.

I was always, always amazed at the tone he got on those recordings. Many of the late 80’s early 90’s acoustic tracks you’ve heard were certainly B.James and I’m guessin’ many of those were actually the Hummingbird. I never had the guts to strike up a conversation. They were (are) the pros so I kept to my place but it would have been fun.

The guitar is perfect for recording. Getting things (mic’s, distances, room-antics) a much, much bigger and drawn-out task.
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Old 03-04-2024, 11:10 AM
catdaddy catdaddy is offline
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I have to do less messing around with EQ when I record my Hummingbird versus any of my other acoustics. It's soft voice and smooth, balanced bass response makes mic placements less fussy as well.
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Old 03-04-2024, 12:46 PM
Brent Hahn Brent Hahn is offline
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If you're a strummer and you want to record, you'll want a fairly big guitar that doesn't boom. Which will probably be a different guitar than the one you already have for general purposes.

When I decided I needed a "strummer," I started out looking for an older Guild D-55 dread, which was one of the main session-player strummers in the 70s and 80s. Or an older Gibson "bird." What I wound up with, for way cheaper, was a mid-70's "lawsuit" Ibanez copy of a Guild, which I adore. Ibanez also made Martin copies around that time, as did Takamine, and they're excellent recording strummers. The first Taylors came a bit later, and they're good strummers. A bit boring and overbuilt, but they work. And they're all more or less the same, which is both good and bad.
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Old 03-04-2024, 10:25 PM
DupleMeter DupleMeter is offline
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It really all depends on what you're after. A lot of good things have been said, to that I'll add:

there are 2 characteristics of acoustic guitars that don't get talked about much by players, but engineers notice. They are: immediacy & "wetness".

Immediacy is how quickly the overall sound develops once a string is plucked or strummed. In general smaller bodied guitars have more immediate sounds. Larger bodied guitars tend to take a little longer to bloom...but there are always exceptions.

Wetness/Dryness is a direct result of harmonics. A "wet" guitar produces a lot of complex harmonics, while a "dry" guitar is more fundamental focused. In general Rosewoods tend to be wetter than woods like mahogany, maple or koa. But the top can tip the scales a bit too. Softer tops tend to have more harmonics. In the spruce world you'll likely get more harmonics from Engelmann than from Sitka or Adirondack. Again, woods are organic so these are generalizations that are not always true.

Having said that - you also can't overthink things. If you have $100k advance from a label & everything riding on providing a hit record...then yeah. Otherwise, just use what you have & have fun.
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Old 03-05-2024, 04:16 PM
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SalFromChatham SalFromChatham is offline
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A good recording guitar is one with a flat EQ generally? Think Gibson Bird for sure, an 00-15, or even an old harmony. An HD28 or D35 would kind of be away from that.

My experience anyways.
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Old 03-05-2024, 04:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SalFromChatham View Post
A good recording guitar is one with a flat EQ generally? Think Gibson Bird for sure, an 00-15, or even an old harmony. An HD28 or D35 would kind of be away from that.

My experience anyways.
True about the HD-28. I have to roll off at 50 for starters, but in my untreated room there’s just too much boom unless I steer well clear of the soundhole. I’m hoping to set up the absorption gobos this weekend in a 19x16 room.
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Old 03-05-2024, 05:41 PM
Charlie Bernstein Charlie Bernstein is offline
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Some favor Taylors and Ovations for their brightness.

Personally, I don't think it matters at all. Just play a guitar you like playing, and let the person mastering fit it into the overall mix.
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Old 03-05-2024, 05:44 PM
Charlie Bernstein Charlie Bernstein is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SalFromChatham View Post
A good recording guitar is one with a flat EQ generally? Think Gibson Bird for sure, an 00-15, or even an old harmony. An HD28 or D35 would kind of be away from that.

My experience anyways.
My limited experience: I've recorded with a warm rosewood Martin D-28 and a bright mahogany Guild D-35. They both worked fine. They just had to be EQed differently when mastering.
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Old 03-11-2024, 03:26 PM
Gordon Currie Gordon Currie is online now
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When I would show up for a session in the Eighties with my Larrivee, quite a few engineers would express delight at the ease of getting a quick and great sound, compared with what they normally encountered (Martins, Gibsons and Guilds).

The most common explanations were even and balanced response, and controlled bass.

These days a lot of guitars fit that bill.
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