Music Player Network
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2
Little things that make a big difference #3025766 01/25/20 08:22 PM
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 822
KuruPrionz Offline OP
Gold Member
OP Offline
Gold Member
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 822
This thread is for everybody to contribute the little things they've discovered that made a big difference. FWIW, I have no affiliation with any company. I may mention a product, I bought it and it worked, it's that simple.

It can be about anything to do with your musical endeavors - playing, live music, recording, mixing etc.
Consider this to be a list of helpful suggestions, there is always more than one way to skin a cat and more than one cat that needs skinning.

I'll start, lifted from another thread. This is for recording bass guitar.

Rotosound Tru Bass 88 strings are smooth and eliminate the sounds made by sliding your fingers over roundwound strings.
They are not as bright as roundwounds but still have great definition, sustain and enough sparkle for most bass parts. The playing feel is more like a roundwound string, they don't have that "stiff feel" that flatwounds usually have.
WAY more to my liking than any other flatwound string I've tried.
I emulate Carol Kaye's timeless advice about a "25 cent piece of foam under the strings at the bridge" by using a pick and my palm on the strings for some parts. I use my fingers or thumb for other things.


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Re: Little things that make a big difference [Re: KuruPrionz] #3025784 01/25/20 10:26 PM
Joined: Jan 2000
Posts: 8,338
Anderton Offline
MPN Advisory Board
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MPN Advisory Board
MP Hall of Fame Member
Joined: Jan 2000
Posts: 8,338
Moving guitar pickups further away from the strings increases sustain and average level. You can compensate for the lower level easily - just turn up the gain on your audio interface, amp, or amp sim.

Re: Little things that make a big difference [Re: Anderton] #3025788 01/25/20 10:53 PM
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 312
Mike Rivers Offline
Senior Member
Offline
Senior Member
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 312
Originally Posted by Anderton
Moving guitar pickups further away from the strings increases sustain and average level. You can compensate for the lower level easily - just turn up the gain on your audio interface, amp, or amp sim.


Increases sustain and average level? Shouldn't that be ... reduces average level? Otherwise, why would you need to turn up the gain? And if you're in a place where you can't completely get rid of hum induced in the pickups, increasing the gain will increase the hum. I believe that Faraday's laws still apply, even to great guitarists.

Re: Little things that make a big difference [Re: Anderton] #3025813 01/26/20 02:31 AM
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 822
KuruPrionz Offline OP
Gold Member
OP Offline
Gold Member
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 822
Originally Posted by Anderton
Moving guitar pickups further away from the strings increases sustain and average level. You can compensate for the lower level easily - just turn up the gain on your audio interface, amp, or amp sim.


Lowering pickups can also solve intonation problems that cannot be solved any other way. Strats are notorious for this and the newer Fender Noiseless pickups have incredibly strong magnets. Having a strong magnetic field on one end of the string and not on the other causes a difference in frequency. At it's worst, I've heard it cause "wolf tones" as you play in the higher registers. Lowering the pickups will cure this condition, nothing else will help at all.

There will be better balance between the strings.
There will be less or no dropout when stretching strings.
The tone will be sweeter, with lower transient spikes, less harsh trebles and less excessive bass response.

The only downside is in using pickups that hum (passive single coils). You will need to turn up a bit to compensate and the hum will increase. I stopped using single coils decades ago.

There are many who dislike EMG pickups. I place considerable blame for that on the instructions, which used to suggest fretting at the highest fret on the two outside strings and then raising the pickup up as close as possible fro best "signal to noise ratio". I have no idea what they were thinking, the pickups are exceptionally quiet and raising them brings out their worst tonal qualities. Lowered, they can sound gorgeous and are still very quiet.


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Re: Little things that make a big difference [Re: KuruPrionz] #3025818 01/26/20 03:28 AM
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 822
KuruPrionz Offline OP
Gold Member
OP Offline
Gold Member
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 822
For your studio space.

Recently I bought a couple of these goodies. Different vendor, price was lower. Worth it either way. You can ignore the mic specfic title, that is just click bait. They are all the same. It is a double layer, metal and nylon mesh.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Rockville-Pop-Filter-Curved-Microphone-Windscreen-for-Audio-Technica-AT2020USBi/303245081712?hash=item469ad0bc70:g:~McAAOSwGOVd628A

I have one good pop filter, a Blue. Got it on sale. As nice as it is, I don't like the gooseneck style and I only have one but a few mics that benefit from it.
These are affordable and can be dedicated to your side address microphones (I have 2). If/when the rubber bands fail it looks like tie wraps will work.

Now I can leave them on, they are compact and not in the way at all. They are also effective at deflecting plosives and diffusing sibilence. The vocal tracks sound much better from one simple thing.
Worth the time saved not trying to fix stuff that shouldn't be there with just one track!


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Re: Little things that make a big difference [Re: KuruPrionz] #3025869 01/26/20 04:01 PM
Joined: Jul 2019
Posts: 143
Notes_Norton Offline
Senior Member
Offline
Senior Member
Joined: Jul 2019
Posts: 143
Doctor Slick Cork Grease. I gig for a living, and the cork on my sax is still almost as good as new. With regular cork grease I'd probably be on my second or third cork. (This is probably not much of interest here though).

Notes


Bob "Notes" Norton
Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com
Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box
The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<
Re: Little things that make a big difference [Re: Notes_Norton] #3025872 01/26/20 04:13 PM
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 822
KuruPrionz Offline OP
Gold Member
OP Offline
Gold Member
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 822
Originally Posted by Notes_Norton
Doctor Slick Cork Grease. I gig for a living, and the cork on my sax is still almost as good as new. With regular cork grease I'd probably be on my second or third cork. (This is probably not much of interest here though).

Notes


It's a good one, exactly the kind of info I am hoping to compile. I've not gotten much use out of them and the bass recorder needs a re-pad (working on it) but I have a complete set of recorders so this is useful to me.

I didn't make it specific for a reason. Thanks for posting!


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Re: Little things that make a big difference [Re: Mike Rivers] #3025906 01/26/20 08:05 PM
Joined: Jan 2000
Posts: 8,338
Anderton Offline
MPN Advisory Board
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MPN Advisory Board
MP Hall of Fame Member
Joined: Jan 2000
Posts: 8,338
Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
Originally Posted by Anderton
Moving guitar pickups further away from the strings increases sustain and average level. You can compensate for the lower level easily - just turn up the gain on your audio interface, amp, or amp sim.


Increases sustain and average level? Shouldn't that be ... reduces average level? Otherwise, why would you need to turn up the gain?
A better choice of words would have be "evens out the average level." When you turn up the gain to match peaks with the closer-to-pickups signal, the further-from-pickups signal has a higher average level, as well as more sustain.

Last edited by Anderton; 01/26/20 08:06 PM.
Re: Little things that make a big difference [Re: KuruPrionz] #3025911 01/26/20 08:14 PM
Joined: Jan 2000
Posts: 8,338
Anderton Offline
MPN Advisory Board
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MPN Advisory Board
MP Hall of Fame Member
Joined: Jan 2000
Posts: 8,338
Here's another tip: Take advantage of the note-taking options in DAW projects. Many of them let you fill in info about the take, gear used, etc., or even let you include a picture of control settings when using outboard gear. This is also good for clearly identifying alternate takes and such.

I also store lyrics in any notepad-like feature the program includes, and give tracks real names instead of "record 1," "record 2," etc. When you come back to a project after a few weeks, these little things do indeed make a big difference.

Re: Little things that make a big difference [Re: KuruPrionz] #3025912 01/26/20 08:14 PM
Joined: Jan 2000
Posts: 8,338
Anderton Offline
MPN Advisory Board
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MPN Advisory Board
MP Hall of Fame Member
Joined: Jan 2000
Posts: 8,338
When you have to replace a fuse that's internal to a piece of gear, buy a second fuse and tape it to the inside of the gear so you don't have to go looking for one next time it blows.

Re: Little things that make a big difference [Re: KuruPrionz] #3025941 01/26/20 11:07 PM
Joined: Jan 2000
Posts: 8,338
Anderton Offline
MPN Advisory Board
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MPN Advisory Board
MP Hall of Fame Member
Joined: Jan 2000
Posts: 8,338
rhymezone.com - online rhythming dictionary. Couldn't write lyrics without it smile

Re: Little things that make a big difference [Re: KuruPrionz] #3025970 01/27/20 02:12 AM
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 822
KuruPrionz Offline OP
Gold Member
OP Offline
Gold Member
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 822
Assuming the nut slots in your guitar are the correct width for the string guage you use and the height is to your liking, sharpen a pencil and draw a line in the bottom of the slots, starting at the first string (thinnest one). As you work towards the thicker strings the pencil will get duller - perfect. Get some pencil lead on those slots! It's graphite, an excellent lubricant. Your guitar will stay in tune better.


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Re: Little things that make a big difference [Re: Anderton] #3025971 01/27/20 02:15 AM
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 822
KuruPrionz Offline OP
Gold Member
OP Offline
Gold Member
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 822
Originally Posted by Anderton
rhymezone.com - online rhythming dictionary. Couldn't write lyrics without it smile


Good one!!!

Also https://www.thesaurus.com for when you are looking for a different word with a similar meaning.


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Re: Little things that make a big difference [Re: KuruPrionz] #3026012 01/27/20 04:42 AM
Joined: Aug 2019
Posts: 13
A
AlamoJoe Offline
Member
Offline
Member
A
Joined: Aug 2019
Posts: 13
Keep a aerosol can of electrical contact cleaner handy in your Home Studio/Practice place. Just a little on your cable plugs, and your jacks can keep residue from building up on them and assure you a better connection. Also can tame a scratchy pot on amps and guitars.

Dust is everywhere. Dust traps heat. Heat is your equipment's enemy.

Re: Little things that make a big difference [Re: AlamoJoe] #3026022 01/27/20 05:11 AM
Joined: Jan 2000
Posts: 8,338
Anderton Offline
MPN Advisory Board
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MPN Advisory Board
MP Hall of Fame Member
Joined: Jan 2000
Posts: 8,338
Originally Posted by AlamoJoe
Heat is your equipment's enemy.
ABSOLUTELY!!! Check all filters associated with fans, and clean them often.

Re: Little things that make a big difference [Re: AlamoJoe] #3026056 01/27/20 07:40 AM
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 437
Dr Mike Metlay Offline
Senior Member
Offline
Senior Member
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 437
Originally Posted by AlamoJoe
Keep a aerosol can of electrical contact cleaner handy in your Home Studio/Practice place. Just a little on your cable plugs, and your jacks can keep residue from building up on them and assure you a better connection. Also can tame a scratchy pot on amps and guitars.

My preference here is DeoxIT from Caig Laboratories, a miraculous red mist that does wonders for things that don't conduct or move the way they should. It used to be called Cramolin Red (vs. Cramolin Blue aka PreservIT which is more preventative/proactive than restorative/reactive). One of my colleagues is fond of saying, "Everyone needs something to believe in. I believe in Cramolin Red."

Other useful substances to have around: iKlear screen cleaning fluid (especially if you do a lot with touchscreens), combined with a stack of lint-free microfiber cloths (you can never have too many). Loctite for when the nuts holding your mod wheel loosen up and cause slippage. Canned air for hard-to-reach places that collect lint. And, if you're a player who tends to lose picks in the heat of the moment, get and use a jar of Gorilla Snot.

mike


Dr. Mike Metlay (PhD in nuclear physics, whoop de doo)
Wordsmith - Musician - Tech Freak - Amiable Zany
Everyone on this forum is a friend I haven't met yet
-- except for Bryce, who's, well, YOU know.
Re: Little things that make a big difference [Re: Anderton] #3026084 01/27/20 01:16 PM
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 312
Mike Rivers Offline
Senior Member
Offline
Senior Member
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 312
Originally Posted by Anderton
A better choice of words would have be "evens out the average level." When you turn up the gain to match peaks with the closer-to-pickups signal, the further-from-pickups signal has a higher average level, as well as more sustain.


Ah! So you're talking about the average of strings 1 through 6 for a given strength of pluck. OK.

It seems that would either be something that every guitar should be adjusted so the output of each string is equal OR provides equal volume for each string OR something that a player adjusts to suit his own playing style.

Little things can be big things.

Re: Little things that make a big difference [Re: Anderton] #3026110 01/27/20 04:08 PM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 5,991
T
The Real MC Offline
MPN Advisory Board
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MPN Advisory Board
MP Hall of Fame Member
T
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 5,991
Originally Posted by Anderton
rhymezone.com - online rhythming dictionary. Couldn't write lyrics without it smile


Can it find a rhyme with "orange"?

Re: Little things that make a big difference [Re: Mike Rivers] #3026113 01/27/20 04:18 PM
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 822
KuruPrionz Offline OP
Gold Member
OP Offline
Gold Member
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 822
Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
Originally Posted by Anderton
A better choice of words would have be "evens out the average level." When you turn up the gain to match peaks with the closer-to-pickups signal, the further-from-pickups signal has a higher average level, as well as more sustain.


Ah! So you're talking about the average of strings 1 through 6 for a given strength of pluck. OK.

It seems that would either be something that every guitar should be adjusted so the output of each string is equal OR provides equal volume for each string OR something that a player adjusts to suit his own playing style.

Little things can be big things.


I've been a guitar tech for over 4 decades (yeah, I'm old).

No, guitars don't come pre adjusted for optimum balance. There is a reason for that, guitarists use widely varying types of strings based on personal preference. It is truly where the rubber meets the road, the strings are where the music comes from and we can and must touch them. A wound G string has a different output than a plain wire G string, both are common. Flat wounds, round wounds, stainless steel wrap, nickel wrap, coated, uncoated etc., all are different.

It is impossible to make a set of strings with varying diameters produce equal current in the inductor (pickup is almost always wire wrapped around a magnet). Many favored pickups do not have adjustable pole pieces, compounding the problem. And many guitarists want the highest possible output and will raise their strings as close as possible, making even adjustable pole pieces inadequate for balancing the strings.

Add in the many differences in response delivered hundreds of different speakers, the different styles of picking (using different styles of picks!) and in the end, one of the best solutions by far is to simply lower the pickups.
If you ever wondered why all guitarists were insane, this should provide some insight!!! Cheers, Kuru.

Edited to add: Yet another factor is that most of us also stretch strings. If we are using the neck pickup (my preference for most things) we will stretch the string in between the pole pieces or over to the next pole piece - which is set for a different string and has a different output. Some pickups have a single continous "pole piece" to make string bends more even and individual string adjustment impossible. It is a never ending battle against truth and justice!!!

Last edited by KuruPrionz; 01/27/20 04:35 PM. Reason: Addition about stretching strings

There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Re: Little things that make a big difference [Re: KuruPrionz] #3026120 01/27/20 04:46 PM
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 312
Mike Rivers Offline
Senior Member
Offline
Senior Member
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 312
So, the real answer is to fool around with it until you get something that works. Science can predict what form of change you can expect, but in practice, there are too many variables for a general answer. You pick the compromise that works best for you.

Dick Rosmini had a MIDI guitar that he strung up with all six strings the same, and transposed every open string to the note he wanted for the tuning he was playing in. The guitar determined pitch by counting the time between zero crossings, which took longer for for the bass strings than the treble strings. With all the strings the same gauge, when playing a chord, the high and low notes started at the same time.

Re: Little things that make a big difference [Re: Mike Rivers] #3026123 01/27/20 05:00 PM
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 822
KuruPrionz Offline OP
Gold Member
OP Offline
Gold Member
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 822
Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
So, the real answer is to fool around with it until you get something that works. Science can predict what form of change you can expect, but in practice, there are too many variables for a general answer. You pick the compromise that works best for you.

Dick Rosmini had a MIDI guitar that he strung up with all six strings the same, and transposed every open string to the note he wanted for the tuning he was playing in. The guitar determined pitch by counting the time between zero crossings, which took longer for for the bass strings than the treble strings. With all the strings the same gauge, when playing a chord, the high and low notes started at the same time.


Essentially yes. For every exception, there is a rule.
MIDI guitars are a seperate animal. Strings are really the problem with most of them - see Craig's earlier thread about MIDI guitar and the obstacles to practicality.

My caveat a few posts above about noisy single coil pickups also applies. Lowering pickups provides a more even response but reduces the signal to noise ratio. With noisy pickups, that is a real problem.
For most guitars most of the time, Craig's post about lowering pickups applies. That is the best overall that we can do in this situation.


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Re: Little things that make a big difference [Re: Mike Rivers] #3026176 01/27/20 08:11 PM
Joined: Jan 2000
Posts: 8,338
Anderton Offline
MPN Advisory Board
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MPN Advisory Board
MP Hall of Fame Member
Joined: Jan 2000
Posts: 8,338
Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
Originally Posted by Anderton
A better choice of words would have be "evens out the average level." When you turn up the gain to match peaks with the closer-to-pickups signal, the further-from-pickups signal has a higher average level, as well as more sustain.


Ah! So you're talking about the average of strings 1 through 6 for a given strength of pluck. OK.


No, actually I'm talking about the average signal level for anything - single note, chord, whichever string. The reason why is that lowering the pickup reduces the level of the initial transient more drastically than the decay...it's almost like you're adding a bit of limiting.

Check out this article for screen shots that show normalized versions of waveforms with pickups close to, and farther away from, the strings. They're pretty revealing, and frankly, came as a major surprise to me.

Last edited by Anderton; 01/27/20 08:14 PM.
Re: Little things that make a big difference [Re: Notes_Norton] #3026223 01/28/20 12:32 AM
Joined: Jul 2019
Posts: 143
Notes_Norton Offline
Senior Member
Offline
Senior Member
Joined: Jul 2019
Posts: 143
Originally Posted by Notes_Norton
Doctor Slick Cork Grease. I gig for a living, and the cork on my sax is still almost as good as new. With regular cork grease I'd probably be on my second or third cork. (This is probably not much of interest here though).

Notes

The Doctor has passed on to the great gig in the sky but you can still get the cork grease here:
https://www.doctorsprod.com/product-page/doctor-slick-cork-grease

Notes


Bob "Notes" Norton
Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com
Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box
The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<
Re: Little things that make a big difference [Re: Dr Mike Metlay] #3026224 01/28/20 12:35 AM
Joined: Jul 2019
Posts: 143
Notes_Norton Offline
Senior Member
Offline
Senior Member
Joined: Jul 2019
Posts: 143
Originally Posted by Dr Mike Metlay
,,,snip...>
My preference here is DeoxIT from Caig Laboratories, a miraculous red mist that does wonders for things that don't conduct or move the way they should. It used to be called Cramolin Red (vs. Cramolin Blue aka PreservIT which is more preventative/proactive than restorative/reactive). One of my colleagues is fond of saying, "Everyone needs something to believe in. I believe in Cramolin Red."<...>
mike

I use DeoxIT red and gold. I get it in both liquid and the pen.

DeoxIT Red is the best contact cleaner I've ever found. And I live in the corrosion capital of the USA, Atlantic coastal Florida where salt is an ingredient in the air.

DeoxIT gold is the best corrosion inhibitor and contact enhancer I've found.

There used to be a product called Tweak, but it's been discontinued because at least one of the ingredients have been banned (probably for a good reason).

Notes


Bob "Notes" Norton
Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com
Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box
The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<
Re: Little things that make a big difference [Re: KuruPrionz] #3026225 01/28/20 12:36 AM
Joined: Jul 2019
Posts: 143
Notes_Norton Offline
Senior Member
Offline
Senior Member
Joined: Jul 2019
Posts: 143
Another little sax tip.

Teflon tape. The kind that plumbers use. If you ever get a cork failure, wrap it in this slick tape and you will get through the night - the show must go on.

Notes


Bob "Notes" Norton
Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com
Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box
The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<
Re: Little things that make a big difference [Re: KuruPrionz] #3026226 01/28/20 12:37 AM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 5,991
T
The Real MC Offline
MPN Advisory Board
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MPN Advisory Board
MP Hall of Fame Member
T
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 5,991
When you can't get the mix perfect, shut down for the day. Your ears are fatigued and they need a rest. So does your brain. Walking away from the problem can be good as your brain may think of a solution later.

Re: Little things that make a big difference [Re: Anderton] #3026300 01/28/20 12:27 PM
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 312
Mike Rivers Offline
Senior Member
Offline
Senior Member
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 312
Originally Posted by Anderton


No, actually I'm talking about the average signal level for anything - single note, chord, whichever string. The reason why is that lowering the pickup reduces the level of the initial transient more drastically than the decay...it's almost like you're adding a bit of limiting.

Check out this article for screen shots that show normalized versions of waveforms with pickups close to, and farther away from, the strings. They're pretty revealing, and frankly, came as a major surprise to me.


There's a lot going on between the string, the magnet, and the coil. You can't change one thing, even by a small amount, and get a single effect. But if you have a problem and you have something you can adjust, sometimes you can get the right balance of changes so that the new effect is what you want. And I expect that there are times when you can't. Ask anyone who's designed a transformer, or a phono cartridge. wink

I read the article. Your point is valid - for that particular pickup, moving the string a little further away keeps it in a more uniform magnetic field for a little longer, so the decay more accurately follows the decay of the string vibration. When you normalize the waveform, you're essentially adding gain, so, yeah, it works like a compressor when you make up for the gain reduction by bringing the peak level back to where it was using the compressor's output level control. So in theory it works. But you need to take into account the side effects. The most obvious one is a loss of level, as your un-normalized example shows. You have less signal and the same amount of noise, so when you make up for the level loss, you increase the noise. It might be acceptable, or not.

There's also how the change in the magnetic field changes the "feel" of the string - that's nothing I've ever felt in my immature dabbling with electric guitars, but I've heard famous and sensitive players talk a lot about it. I think this is really about "how I have to pick differently to get it to sound the same" that you get when you've moved along the linearity curve of the pickup.

Obviously I've been overthinking this. There's nothing wrong with suggesting an adjustment to see if it solves a problem or improves something. Just don't expect it to work the same way for every guitar and player.



Last edited by Mike Rivers; 01/28/20 12:46 PM.
Re: Little things that make a big difference [Re: Mike Rivers] #3026354 01/28/20 05:14 PM
Joined: Jan 2000
Posts: 8,338
Anderton Offline
MPN Advisory Board
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MPN Advisory Board
MP Hall of Fame Member
Joined: Jan 2000
Posts: 8,338
Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
The most obvious one is a loss of level, as your un-normalized example shows. You have less signal and the same amount of noise, so when you make up for the level loss, you increase the noise. It might be acceptable, or not.


Humbuckers definitely help, as does finding the optimum angle to hold your guitar vis-à-vis any EMI sources. As to noise in the audio interface, the level drop for the situation shown in the article was about 8 dB. A lot of people naturally record with peaks at -6 or so, so if you're willing to run the level up so peaks equal 0, you're kind of in the same ballpark.

And to get back on track, here's another guitar tip: assuming you have software with decent fidelity for transposition, copy a rhythm guitar track, transpose it up and octave, and mix it way back in a song. It adds an effect kind of like Nashville tuning. You may need to use a lowpass filter tuned fairly high to keep the high strings from sounding "artifacty."

Last edited by Anderton; 01/28/20 05:14 PM.
Re: Little things that make a big difference [Re: KuruPrionz] #3026374 01/28/20 07:17 PM
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 822
KuruPrionz Offline OP
Gold Member
OP Offline
Gold Member
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 822
Mike's and Craig's latest posts have given me another one.

Even with single coils, if you are recording guitar or bass tracks, put headphones on and turn it up a bit, you will find a quieter spot in the room. If you rotate slowly in that spot you can usually find a "null" spot where there is very little or no noise.
The trick is to play the track without moving from that position. An X on the floor using tape with the long end pointing where you should be positioned will help if you are both Artist and Engineer.


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Re: Little things that make a big difference [Re: Mike Rivers] #3026383 01/28/20 07:42 PM
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 822
KuruPrionz Offline OP
Gold Member
OP Offline
Gold Member
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 822
Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
Originally Posted by Anderton


No, actually I'm talking about the average signal level for anything - single note, chord, whichever string. The reason why is that lowering the pickup reduces the level of the initial transient more drastically than the decay...it's almost like you're adding a bit of limiting.

Check out this article for screen shots that show normalized versions of waveforms with pickups close to, and farther away from, the strings. They're pretty revealing, and frankly, came as a major surprise to me.


There's a lot going on between the string, the magnet, and the coil. You can't change one thing, even by a small amount, and get a single effect. But if you have a problem and you have something you can adjust, sometimes you can get the right balance of changes so that the new effect is what you want. And I expect that there are times when you can't. Ask anyone who's designed a transformer, or a phono cartridge. wink

I read the article. Your point is valid - for that particular pickup, moving the string a little further away keeps it in a more uniform magnetic field for a little longer, so the decay more accurately follows the decay of the string vibration. When you normalize the waveform, you're essentially adding gain, so, yeah, it works like a compressor when you make up for the gain reduction by bringing the peak level back to where it was using the compressor's output level control. So in theory it works. But you need to take into account the side effects. The most obvious one is a loss of level, as your un-normalized example shows. You have less signal and the same amount of noise, so when you make up for the level loss, you increase the noise. It might be acceptable, or not.

There's also how the change in the magnetic field changes the "feel" of the string - that's nothing I've ever felt in my immature dabbling with electric guitars, but I've heard famous and sensitive players talk a lot about it. I think this is really about "how I have to pick differently to get it to sound the same" that you get when you've moved along the linearity curve of the pickup.

Obviously I've been overthinking this. There's nothing wrong with suggesting an adjustment to see if it solves a problem or improves something. Just don't expect it to work the same way for every guitar and player.




We can get far more complicated with no real effort!!! :- D FWIW, I've been a guitar tech for well over 40 years. First of all, transformers and phono cartridges are not guitar pickups, they are doing a different job in a different way.
Picking up string vibration is it's own category. Signal to noise ratio is not everything by any means. Here is a fun experiment - assuming you are using the typical .010-.046 set of strings, adjust the pickups on a Strat (any model that does not have Lace Sensors or EMG active pickups) as close to the strings as possible allowing for clearance. To do this, fret the 1st and 6th strings at the highest fret and raise all three pickups so the pole pieces are 1/32" away from the string. The guitar should play without the strings touching the pickups at any time. Not only will you lose sustain, you will have intonation problems that you cannot adjust out using the saddles. As you play higher up the neck you will get "wolf tones" that sound horrible. None of this will go away until you lower the pickups back down again. Did I mention that the response will be very uneven? The low E string will be much louder because it is the biggest and closer to the pickups than any string except the tiny high E string. This is the optimum setting for signal to noise but it cannot be used to play music.

I excluded the Lace Sensors and EMG active pickups because they use very low magnetic fields. Different animal for intonation and sustain, same story as the other pickups for uneveness.
Fun stuff, eh? Cheers, Kuru

Edited to add. In the above example, the neck pickup will be by far the loudest until you get well up the neck, then the middle pickup will be closer to center of the arc of the vibrating string.
I usually start adjusting the pickups on a guitar by setting the bridge pickup up close and then lowering it a little, maybe 1/16". Then I compare the volume of the bridge pickup to other pickups in the set and lower them to match.
That is using similar pickups in all positions. If the bridge pickup is an overwound humbucker with ceramic magnets and the neck pickup is a single coil then I set the neck pickup at what I've learned to be a safe position for eveness, sustain and intonation, usually about an 1/8" below safe clearance on the treble side and 3/16" on the bass side. Then I adjust the bridge pickup to match output or maybe just a bit hotter.

Of course everybody is different, some just use the bridge pickup and want maximum output at the expense of even response. I do what they want, if they have been advised of the options and choose one I don't care for that is their business.

I will say that in my experience Craig is correct on all counts as to the lowering of pickups improving the tone by reducing the attack transients and increasing sustain and even response.

Last edited by KuruPrionz; 01/28/20 08:49 PM. Reason: Adding stuffs...

There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Page 1 of 2 1 2

Moderated by  Anderton 

Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.3