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Two Tips Probably Everyone Knew about, Except Me


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Tip #1: I often record vocals with one headphone off so I can hear my voice through the air, but sometimes the mic picks up sound from the other earcup. I thought about building a simple adapter that would remove one of the connections from the stereo cable going to the headphones, but then it hit me: Why not just plug the headphone plug halfway into the stereo jack? Doh. Things like this make me feel kinda stupid, y'know?

 

Tip #2: When trying to make an electric guitar sound like an acoustic guitar, I was getting excellent results from a combination of EQ, and convolution with an impulse response of an acoustic guitar body. But it still wasn't right... So I stuck a mic in front of the electric guitar to record the sound of the pick hitting the strings. Bingo!! Some EQ on the mic to pull back the highs, dip the mids, and boost the bass completed the emulation...and it really did sound very much like an acoustic guitar.

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Tip #1: I often record vocals with one headphone off so I can hear my voice through the air, but sometimes the mic picks up sound from the other earcup. I thought about building a simple adapter that would remove one of the connections from the stereo cable going to the headphones, but then it hit me: Why not just plug the headphone plug halfway into the stereo jack?

 

Remember that it's likely a TRS jack so you'll be connecting the right channel headphone to the left channel signal. It won't make much difference if the headphone mix is mostly mono but if you're feeding stereo to the headphones you may need to diddle with the headphone mix to get everything you want in the headphone that you're using.

 

I made a few boxes that would let me select left to both ears, right to both ears, sum to both ears, and I suppose you could go a little crazy (I didn't) and add a one channel off position. But thanks for reminding us of how important getting the headphone mix that makes both the artist and engineer happy, even if it's a little goofy.

 

Tip #2: When trying to make an electric guitar sound like an acoustic guitar, I was getting excellent results from a combination of EQ, and convolution with an impulse response of an acoustic guitar body. But it still wasn't right... So I stuck a mic in front of the electric guitar to record the sound of the pick hitting the strings. Bingo!! Some EQ on the mic to pull back the highs, dip the mids, and boost the bass completed the emulation...and it really did sound very much like an acoustic guitar.

 

I'm not sure what he was attempting to do - whether it was to add to the illusion of an acoustic guitar or something else, but I recall Steve St. Croix describing just that in one of his monthly columns in Mix. Darn, I miss those articles and that guy.

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I think I saw you post on the Line 6 forum and recall you mentioning using the Helix software.

 

I take it you like your Trick #2 over the acoustic guitar simulator in Helix?

 

Yeah, I love the Helix :) That simulator is basically just a BOSS AC-3.

 

I have a beautiful J45, so that cares care of my "acoustic guitar of the gods" need. When I need different acoustic emulations, I have the Variax, and the Gibson FBX (laugh all you want, the acoustic emulations were great).

 

But of course, I'm a "what if" kind of guy more than a "how to" kind of guy, and I wanted to find a sound that wasn't like anything else. So, I use mastering-oriented, "curve-stealing" software to grab the EQ profile of an acoustic guitar (I'm borrowing a Breedlove tonight for that purpose), then run it through a convolution engine with an acoustic guitar impulse. The final touch is the string miking. The composite sound is like an acoustic guitar, but not like an acoustic guitar. When it's on a track, you think "Oh, that's an interesting acoustic guitar sound...except I don't think it's an acoustic guitar...it's not a sampler...hmmm..."

 

I'll be writing this up as an article for Sweetwater's inSync, along with four other ways to get an electric guitar to sound "acoustic." Should be fun :)

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Tip #2: When trying to make an electric guitar sound like an acoustic guitar

 

This is perhaps the opposite of what is probably the well known story where Keith Richards used an acoustic through some sort of tape recorder preamp to get kind of an electric guitar sound on Jumping Jack Flash and a number of other songs.

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Tip #2: When trying to make an electric guitar sound like an acoustic guitar

 

This is perhaps the opposite of what is probably the well known story where Keith Richards used an acoustic through some sort of tape recorder preamp to get kind of an electric guitar sound on Jumping Jack Flash and a number of other songs.

 

 

The version of that story that I read a long time ago was that Keith and Charlie laid down the basic tracks for Street Fighting Man using an acoustic guitar and a small suitcase drum set playing through an overdriven cassette recorder. I guess they got up close and turned the record volume way up.

It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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