chunky, dry 60's/70's- style acoustic rhythm guitar sound

Get that song on tape! Errr... disk?
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marqueemoon
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chunky, dry 60's/70's- style acoustic rhythm guitar sound

Post by marqueemoon » Wed Sep 04, 2019 8:54 pm

This is the general kind of thing I'm talking about.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3IA6pIVank
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e40Yie77e7M

What are some other good examples?

Assuming the part was recorded with a pretty dry sounding instrument are there any specific compression/eq tricks for getting this kind of sound?

In Neil Young example it sound like it's being smashed in pleasingly musical way in the louder passages. It's clearly being crushed in the Ambulance Ltd track, but I love how honky it is and role it plays in the mix.

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Re: chunky, dry 60's/70's- style acoustic rhythm guitar sound

Post by øøøøøøø » Wed Sep 04, 2019 10:07 pm

Not compression or EQ "tricks" per se.

But one thing I will say... the influence of mic, preamp, and compressor selection can be fairly dramatic on acoustic. I remember when our studio got its first U67, and then also its first U47. And I remember when I tried my first KM56, and then my first KM86.

And in each case, it was a big "oh, that's that sound" moment.

I'm usually one to encourage people not to get too hung up on gear. But on acoustic guitar, it has to be said that if you're going for a certain specific period sound, it does matter, and using a similar chain can be the direct way to get there (assuming the instrument itself and the performance, etc. isn't holding you back.

You can get a good acoustic sound with many different types of microphone. But it won't be as easy to make it sound like that

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Re: chunky, dry 60's/70's- style acoustic rhythm guitar sound

Post by øøøøøøø » Thu Sep 05, 2019 12:13 pm

One more note-- the two examples you listed sound quite different, to me.

The Ambulance LTD track has a very stark, flat acoustic sound. It reminds me of the times I've used an inexpensive dynamic on acoustic specifically to get a narrower, starker, more one-dimensional thing (which can be cool sometimes).

The Neil Young is quite a bit different, to me (the right-speaker acoustic at least). More detailed, more space around the acoustic, more of the body of the guitar.

I can't speak to what was used on either track, of course.

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Re: chunky, dry 60's/70's- style acoustic rhythm guitar sound

Post by marqueemoon » Thu Sep 05, 2019 2:23 pm

øøøøøøø wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 12:13 pm
One more note-- the two examples you listed sound quite different, to me.

The Ambulance LTD track has a very stark, flat acoustic sound. It reminds me of the times I've used an inexpensive dynamic on acoustic specifically to get a narrower, starker, more one-dimensional thing (which can be cool sometimes).

The Neil Young is quite a bit different, to me (the right-speaker acoustic at least). More detailed, more space around the acoustic, more of the body of the guitar.

I can't speak to what was used on either track, of course.
I agree. They are very different sounds. The sound I’m shooting for is somewhere in the middle.

I should add that in my particular situation I’m playing the guitar (it’s already tracked) and someone else is mixing. I think it’s an appropriately dry, chunky sounding guitar but it could use a push to come across the right way in the mix.

I am open to re-recording with a different signal chain if needed.

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Re: chunky, dry 60's/70's- style acoustic rhythm guitar sound

Post by Larry Mal » Thu Sep 05, 2019 5:07 pm

Just curious about what kind of guitar you were recording with, which is probably the place to start. Neil Young probably used his Martin D-45 on that track, so you know that a dreadnaught will put you in the ballpark, you know that rosewood will get you a little closer- if you want to get more literal about it, I'm pretty sure that his D-45 would have been straight braced and not scalloped since it was made in 1968. This could be important since it means that the top vibrates a little less and you get a different sound than a scalloped braced guitar.

I don't think that phosphor bronze strings had came out when Neil Young recorded Harvest, so he likely used 80/20s, and from that point you might wonder what kind of pick was used since a thick pick sounds so much different from a light pick and the material used makes a pretty big difference too.

I'm not saying that I know the answers to your question or anything, I'm just throwing out there that there are a lot of things to consider and get out of the way before you even start thinking about compression or EQ and such. You likely knew all that but I thought I would throw it out there.
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Re: chunky, dry 60's/70's- style acoustic rhythm guitar sound

Post by marqueemoon » Thu Sep 05, 2019 7:33 pm

Larry Mal wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 5:07 pm
Just curious about what kind of guitar you were recording with, which is probably the place to start. Neil Young probably used his Martin D-45 on that track, so you know that a dreadnaught will put you in the ballpark, you know that rosewood will get you a little closer- if you want to get more literal about it, I'm pretty sure that his D-45 would have been straight braced and not scalloped since it was made in 1968. This could be important since it means that the top vibrates a little less and you get a different sound than a scalloped braced guitar.

I don't think that phosphor bronze strings had came out when Neil Young recorded Harvest, so he likely used 80/20s, and from that point you might wonder what kind of pick was used since a thick pick sounds so much different from a light pick and the material used makes a pretty big difference too.

I'm not saying that I know the answers to your question or anything, I'm just throwing out there that there are a lot of things to consider and get out of the way before you even start thinking about compression or EQ and such. You likely knew all that but I thought I would throw it out there.
1977 Takamine F-312. It’s a lawsuit 12 fretter with mahogany back and sides. It doesn’t have the complexity of the Neil guitar, but it’s also a denser mix and I want the acoustic to slot into a specific midrangey place.

My bandmate has a great 60’s Silvertone archtop that is as dry and chunkily percussive as a person could ever want. If what’s recorded already isn’t workable tonally will probably give that a shot.

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Re: chunky, dry 60's/70's- style acoustic rhythm guitar sound

Post by øøøøøøø » Fri Sep 06, 2019 2:24 am

I see!

At this point, I don't think we'll be able to help much in the abstract--You have a specific recording of a specific guitar that you wish to have do a specific thing in a specific mix.

I have no doubt that you can get there, but I feel like any suggestion I could make based on verbal description alone would just be stabbing in the dark.

It's at least equally-likely that the clearest path to making the acoustic do what you want is to change something about one of the other elements in the mix, for instance. Such is the nature of mixing.

Probably the best thing in this case--keep going 'round in circles with your mixer trying to home in on what you want, or choose a different mixer--one with whom you think you'll have an easier time communicating your intent.

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Re: chunky, dry 60's/70's- style acoustic rhythm guitar sound

Post by marqueemoon » Fri Sep 06, 2019 5:35 am

I think you are spot on that other things in the mix might have to change.

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Re: chunky, dry 60's/70's- style acoustic rhythm guitar sound

Post by Larry Mal » Fri Sep 06, 2019 5:42 am

Would you want to put up a link to the recording? No idea if I would have anything intelligent to say but you never know.

Funny, I would think that Takamine would have gotten you there on its own, it sounds like a pretty dry guitar that is strong on the fundamental as it is. No idea about that archtop.
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Re: chunky, dry 60's/70's- style acoustic rhythm guitar sound

Post by marqueemoon » Fri Sep 06, 2019 9:26 am

Larry Mal wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 5:42 am
Would you want to put up a link to the recording? No idea if I would have anything intelligent to say but you never know.

Funny, I would think that Takamine would have gotten you there on its own, it sounds like a pretty dry guitar that is strong on the fundamental as it is. No idea about that archtop.
I’d prefer not to, at least right now. There are a few other tweaks that need to happen with the mix, namely backing vocal stuff before we revisit the acoustic sound (if necessary at that point).

To the guy’s credit the first completed mix (of another song) from our recording sounds great, and there’s another that’s very close. I am just very opinionated about stuff.

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