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Old 01-20-2022, 01:23 AM
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Default Down a Rabbit Hole - Schoeps mics with different guitars

I was browsing the internet when I stumbled across Carl Miner playing a Greenfield for a TNAG demo, and was struck with a case of GAS based on the recorded sound. Fortunately, the guitar was already sold... I think I was also taken with Carl's demo piece, sometimes its hard to separate things.

I noticed it was recorded with Schoeps CMC6/MK41s, which I have and often use, so I decided to see how a few of my guitars faired compared to the sound that caught my ear and see if I could get a result I was as happy with. I worked out the first few bars of his demo, (tho I play fingerstyle, while he uses a pick, so in the ballpark, but not exact), and started exploring. I ended up trying nearly every guitar I have, including some that are totally different from the Greenfield, with the Schoeps set up about the way he appears to have them.

Of the guitars I tried, I was happiest (for this example, and so on) with 3 of them. I'd be curious how others hear these three guitars compared to the Greenfield and to each other and how the Schoeps come across.

Here's Carl's video that caught my ear:



And here's my 3 guitars and recordings, in order, Claxton EM, Traughott BK, and Lowden F (Bensusan model)



I usually learn something from trying to mimic a recording I like. Not exactly what I've learned in this case, but it was a fun exercise.
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Old 01-20-2022, 07:34 AM
AndreF AndreF is online now
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Interesting experiment.
After hearing the Miner clip I had to listen to all 3 of your clips quite a few times to perceive noted differences. Interestingly, the more I listened the more differentiated they got. I also changed my mind from the first listen.
There are no losers here. They all sound nice, and more than acceptable replicas of the original.
Here is my order, (if I were to place them on an Olympic podium. )
Bronze medal: Lowden. It sounded nice on its own for sure, but was the furthest to my ear in capturing the fatness or roundness of the Carl Miner picked tone. It was more "treble infused" and slightly less warm.
Silver medal: Claxton. That was my favorite in the initial run through. Maybe because it was first in line. It duplicated very well the warmth and roundness that I found appealing in the Miner clip.
Gold medal: Traughott, but by a nose only. Very close to the Claxton, and maybe you just happened to nail that one slightly better playing wise, but the overall balance and roundness of the sound across all strings was the sweetest imo, and came closest to the target.
All very subjective of course. But as I mentioned earlier, it's really splitting hairs. You could certainly get away with any of them, and I wouldn't be surprised to hear a variety of responses.
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Old 01-20-2022, 07:53 AM
jim1960 jim1960 is offline
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That Greenfield really does have a tone that demands attention.

I don't think any of your guitars match the mid-range focus of the Greenfield. That's not a criticism of your guitars; they simply sound different. Also, I'm hearing some reverb on the Greenfield that isn't on your tracks. I'm not sure if that's the room they were in or something added but it's there.

I think the Traughott was furthest from the Greenfield and sounds a little choked compared to your other two guitars (again, not a criticism but we have to use words, right?).

I thought the Lowden had more mid-range focus than the other two but it's not quite as lush as the Greenfield ...but that may be the reverb influencing my opinion. I suspect the difference would be less if they were both recorded under the same conditions.

The Claxton might be the one I'd put closest to the Greenfield. Not quite as much mid-range focus as the Lowden but it's not entirely lacking in that area. However, there's a quality to the sound that makes it rise above the other two in a way similar to the Greenfield.
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Old 01-20-2022, 07:58 AM
jklotz jklotz is offline
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Nice! Man, that Carl Miner has some chops! It's always fun to hear him play, regardless of the guitar.

Sure, all of the guitars sound different, but the biggest thing I hear is a lot more of that big open room with Carl's. Doug, yours sound like they were done in a smaller space. And, of course, the pick vs fingers thing. Yours sounded maybe a tad closer miked? Honestly I though each one sounded really good though.

That was a fun experiment.
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Old 01-20-2022, 08:41 AM
tdlwhite tdlwhite is offline
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love this!

My first thought was that the Lowden was a better match because it seemed to have a more similar mid-range. But then I listened harder to the Greenfield and, what do you know, I heard more bass!

My other thoughts:

- TNAG's mic placement/panning doesn't feel to me as hard left/right as yours. You have the bridge/body mic on the left and the neck/join mic on the right - I'm guessing 100% panned. So the string-slide noise is mainly on the right. With Carl's mix, his left hand playing noise is more evenly distributed, much harder to tell which mic was left and which was right. Leading me to:

- I *think* that TNAG's mics are further away than 10 inches. I reckon they've got them more like 2 feet back. It's really hard to tell from the videos. I'd love to have a 'behind the scenes' look at their placement (and the rest of the signal chain and production!).

- You did a great job arranging for fingers, but Carl's pick attack produces such clean tones that affect the sound, so hard to get close to it.

- I think the 'reverb' mentioned by jklotz could well be reverberations from all those hanging guitars. And I guess adding a bit to your recordings could thicken the sound a little.

Thanks for this - it'll help with my next Carl piece (plus I did a test recording using another tip of yours, and liked the result - so I'll try it for real in the next few days)

Tom
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Old 01-20-2022, 11:54 AM
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Jumpin' Jack Flash --- that's some GAS GAS GAS
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Old 01-20-2022, 12:39 PM
Knives&Guitars Knives&Guitars is offline
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Really Looking forward to really listening-evaluating these examples. Won't be able to do this till later this evening as I am in the middle of making a new nut and saddle for one of my older guitars.
So many of us are enthralled with the Tone Carl Miner gets on what ever he plays.
*In particular, It should be noted that he gets a fatter trebles (especially on 2nd and 1st strings) because he mostly plays with a pick. So many of us fingerstylist have poised this question before--How do I get Carl's Tone?
I play with a special modified BlueChip Thumbpick that uses a flat pick on it. Yet, I still mostly use my fingers on 1st & 2nd string. So I am also still lacking in those fat trebles as well. The Pick makes a defining difference in tone between Flatpickers and fingerstylists.
Which sometimes makes it hard for us to judge via videos which guitar will sound best in our hands.
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Old 01-20-2022, 12:53 PM
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To me, the biggest difference between the Greenfield's sound and your guitars may be due to the Greenfield's back and sides tonewood. Being Sapele, it has the characteristics of a dense Mahogany. I think that contributes much to the Greenfield's mid focus and its top end that is less airy/crystalline than your Claxton and Lowden.

I think your Lowden's top end is more like the Greenfield, and your Traugott's mids a bit more like the Greenfield (your Traugott seems to have more focus on the onset set of the notes than your other guitars).

As always, it may be my expectation bias.

Very nice recordings, and all spectacular guitars.
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Old 01-20-2022, 01:35 PM
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Not to mention the added variables of 2 different rooms, different preamps, 4 different performances, and Youtube vs SC streaming .
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Old 01-20-2022, 03:45 PM
Knives&Guitars Knives&Guitars is offline
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I am going to step out on a limb and say that I don't think that Greenfield had anything over any of your three guitars= for your playing style. I actually do not think it would have suited you very well.
In each of your three guitars there was more bloom, more openness than in the Greenfield. The Greenfield was very fundamental oriented. And again for your playing style, I love to hear the bloom & the sweetness in which you guitars project.
In a recent interview with Carl I was surprised to hear that his own personal guitars his favorites are seemingly more fundamental orientated. Surprised cause I have heard some beautiful demos on Rosewoods from him.
With that being said. The Lowden's fat 1st and 2nd string trebles came the closest to the fat trebles of pick with the Greenfield.
I also tend to prefer fundamentals for my playing style. But Fundamentals with fast attack times, that still blend into roundness and still bloom at the same time. On the Greenfield? I heard fat, round with shortened bloom.
Sometimes it is all about playing style in what works best for each of us in the End. Michael Watts plays both Mahogany and Maple and yet...they work perfectly for his playing style.
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Old 01-20-2022, 05:38 PM
Glennwillow Glennwillow is offline
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I thought all of the recordings sounded wonderful, not only Carl Miner's playing, but Doug's, too.

I thought the Lowden F came closest to the Greenfield sound, but in some ways the Traughott was pretty close, too. That reverb that Jim mentioned, could be from the other other guitars in the room where Carl Miner was recording as Tom suggested.

The big thing to my ears is the difference in sound between the hard flat pick that Carl Miner is using verses finger picking the strings. (I bought some of the flat picks that Carl uses to experiment with them, so I know how much harder the sound is coming off the strings.)

I actually like the phrasing and sweetness of Doug's finger picking a little more than Carl's flat picking -- not that Carl does a bad job on that Greenfield.

When I tried in the past to duplicate a Carl Miner demo using my fingers rather than a flat pick, I had to pick the strings considerably harder than I would normally play. I also filed my nails a little shorter than normal to stiffen them up so that I could increase and fatten up the attack on the strings. I am guessing here, but I don't think that I hear Doug picking harder on the strings than he would normally play. Doug always has such a light touch on the strings, and I don't hear that in Carl's playing with a flat pick.

Based on what I hear and on my own experiences, I really think a huge difference in the recorded sound comes from the differences in attack from a flat pick and from finger picking.

That Greenfield does sound outstanding. But then all three of Doug's guitars sound excellent, too. Sort of a bounty of riches...

What a fun experiment. Thanks for sharing this Doug.

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Old 01-20-2022, 07:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevWind View Post
Not to mention the added variables of 2 different rooms, different preamps, 4 different performances, and Youtube vs SC streaming .
Yep, really a stretch to try to compare when there are so many variables. Note that my track can be downloaded to avoid the SC streaming. Unfortunately, we're stuck with you tube resolution for Carl's.
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Old 01-20-2022, 08:11 PM
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Thanks for all the thoughts, some interesting observations. I was hoping for a few different ears to point things out, as I'd gotten a bit numb to it. It is a futile exercise :-) with so many variables. My guess is that fingerstyle vs pick is the biggest one. I thought about using a pick, but that's not really what I'd be interested in anyway, and since it's something I rarely use these days, I'd be at a serious disadvantage right off the bat!

The resonance/reverberation of the Greenfield is part of what grabbed me. I didn't consider all the guitars on the wall in that room, I wonder if that's playing a role. He probably is in a more lively room, seems like TNAG's showroom, and it may not be as dead as my studio space. Likely also bigger - I definitely don't have room for 20 guitars on my wall. This problem often hits even in person. When you stop at Eric Schoenbergs and play a guitar, you never know how many vintage guitars you're really hearing, since you're surrounded by them in a wooden room. You go, wow, this budget guitar sounds just like a pre-war martin! Oh wait, I am hearing 10 pre-war martins all ringing along...

I also had a hard time seeing how far away his mics were, he may have been back further than me. Tho I suspect that alone wouldn't make a huge difference given different rooms.

One thing I noticed as I posted it and listened one last time, is what I often learn in these exercises. I think the little sparse arpeggios are what grabbed me in this, where you really hear the Greenfield ringing. Carl is milking those notes, and after me playing this thing 20 times, I think I was getting impatient, and am not letting those notes bloom the way he is. So performance and phrasing differences come into play.

I was surprised by the Lowden, it sounds much better on the recording thanit sounds to me in person. I haven't recorded much (maybe not anything) with that guitar. It really needs 10 years of hard playing on it, but it comes across pretty competitively on the recording, I think.

Overall, I'm feeling like I didn't hit the mark on sounding exactly like Carl, but I'm not unhappy with the sound of these 3 on this example, even if they're a bit different.
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Old 01-20-2022, 09:44 PM
jklotz jklotz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Young View Post
Overall, I'm feeling like I didn't hit the mark on sounding exactly like Carl, but I'm not unhappy with the sound of these 3 on this example, even if they're a bit different.
Doug, you are a great player. You have some amazing guitars and the chops to go along. Your recording equipment is top notch. Carl is an amazing player. He has different guitars and a different recording environment and a pick. I think the only way to achieve your goal would be to to go to that shop and record with a pick from the same place he was. I find both of you guys inspirational in different ways. I really like listening to Carl's videos and I like hearing the ones you post. From where I'm sitting, I'm going to listen, from start to end, to anything either of you post. But I get it, inspiration that hits needs to be explored.
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Old 01-20-2022, 10:26 PM
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The biggest difference I hear is there's more of the room (and maybe what's in it) coming through in his recording.
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