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Around what frequency is the pick noise occur on acoustic guitar?

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  • Around what frequency is the pick noise occur on acoustic guitar?

    I'm trying to remove some of the noise of the plectrum strumming the strings from my recordings, but I can't quite seem to find what frequency it's occurring at. Does anyone have a general figure for where this noise occurs? Any help would be appreciated!

  • #2
    It's going to be somewhat wide spectrum.

    Have you tried isolating a particularly loud pick sound, zooming in on it and taking a look at it? Depending on its complexity it will probably be quite difficult to attenuate.

    If you have a spectral display utility you could analyze such an isolated pick sound, taking note of where it spikes above the overall bed of sound.


    I've found it difficult removing sounds like that.


    music and social stuff

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    • #3
      A problem like this is usually better solved with micing technique.
      Listen...

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      • #4
        You are talking about an acoustic guitar, no?

        As always, it depends...

        Generally it consists of short impulses, of a "plop" in the low mid range (depending on the guitar, it's the resonance of the body) and a wideband noise in the high mid/treble range (depending on the strings, the pick, the pick angle etc.). So it's no wonder that you have trouble to find "the frequencies"

        This is all in the frequency ranges you don't want to change much since you don't want to add coloration. Due to the wideband nature, filtering narrow bands wouldn't help much. So an EQ is probably not sufficient, only the body resonance could be reduced in a somewhat surgical way and pulling down the treble range above 6k maybe will reduce the pick noise but you may end up as well just with a duller version of that noise. String brillliance and the noise share the same range and the dullness may affect the rest of the guitar sound.

        A deesser would be better, listen to the detector circuit to find the most prominent portion of the noise outside of the string sound harmonics in the treble range and let that trigger a fast gain reduction

        Isolating the pick noise and creating a noise footprint for spectral subtraction is also promising but like the other options, it's best applied only to the track portions with the noise - much work.

        My point is, "repairing" bad miking and playing technique afterwards using wonder-processors doesn't work very often and more a PITA than re-recording. YMMV and maybe you get good results if it's only a tad too much strumming noise (which would mostly disappear in a mix anyway).

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        • #5
          A problem like this is usually better solved with micing technique.


          Indeed, I am I bit limited at the moment with a single Rode NT-1 A. I've tried all various positions and run into the same problem which is leading me to believe my particular guitar doesn't like to be recorded.

          I'm considering ordering a couple of Sure sm81's and hoping they will fair better. I've also got a Taylor 355ce 12 string on the way so I'll see how the Rode handles her.

          If the Rode works with the Taylor then I may just get one of the Sure's (or another small diaphram condenser, suggestions?) I'm not diggin' recording acoustic with just the one mic anyhoo.


          EDIT: Yeah Straycatstrat, EQ'ing doesn't really seem that practical now. Cheers bud.

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          • #6
            Indeed, I am I bit limited at the moment with a single Rode NT-1 A. I've tried all various positions and run into the same problem which is leading me to believe my particular guitar doesn't like to be recorded.

            I'm considering ordering a couple of Sure sm81's and hoping they will fair better. I've also got a Taylor 355ce 12 string on the way so I'll see how the Rode handles her.

            If the Rode works with the Taylor then I may just get one of the Sure's (or another small diaphram condenser, suggestions?) I'm not diggin' recording acoustic with just the one mic anyhoo.


            EDIT: Yeah Straycatstrat, EQ'ing doesn't really seem that practical now. Cheers bud.


            Another thing you can do is use a different pick material. If you can find one, a leather pick will have less string noise. Dunlop nylon picks can soften the attack a little as well, and of course, there is always your fingers.
            Listen...

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            • #7
              Hi Fluff,

              I would try with a parametric eq. Set the "frequency" around 1000Hz, then set the "gain" at the maximum, and set the "Q" as tight as possible. Now put in solo the guitar track and play it (set the master volume not too loud). Try to find the plectrum frequency that you need to cut, moving the "frequency" parameter up or down. When you think to hit the plectrum frequency, move down the "gain" parameter until you hear the plectrum become lower, without affecting too much the whole guitar sound.

              You could also try to use the Rode NT1A pointinig it towards the guitar's hole rather than the guitar bridge. If you can make a try also with a Shure SM58 with the same position.
              <div class="signaturecontainer"><a href="http://www.evibeproductions.com" target="_blank">www.evibeproductions.com</a><br />
              <a href="http://www.myspace.com/evibeproductions" target="_blank">www.myspace.com/evibeproductions</a><br />
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              • #8
                Grab a parametric eq. Grab a peaking filter turn the Q all the way up, turn the gain all the way up and sweep till you find what your looking for. The widen the Q back up and lower that range.

                Edit: Sorry evibeproduction beat me to it.
                <div class="signaturecontainer"><a href="http://www.nerolstudio.com" target="_blank">www.nerolstudio.com</a></div>

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                • #9
                  Cheers fellas' I'll give that a whirl.

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                  • #10
                    Grab a parametric eq. Grab a peaking filter turn the Q all the way up, turn the gain all the way up and sweep till you find what your looking for. The widen the Q back up and lower that range.

                    Edit: Sorry evibeproduction beat me to it.


                    NO PROB... THE MORE, THE BETTER...
                    <div class="signaturecontainer"><a href="http://www.evibeproductions.com" target="_blank">www.evibeproductions.com</a><br />
                    <a href="http://www.myspace.com/evibeproductions" target="_blank">www.myspace.com/evibeproductions</a><br />
                    Professional Mixing &amp; Mastering Online Services &amp; Music Production</div>

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                    • #11
                      I'ld record again sound like bad playing technique . Try the mic placement a few feet back and in line with the bridge in a room that the guitar sound realy good in. If you could get a good pencil condenser put that at the 12-14 fret pointed up the neck.

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                      • #12
                        Another way to do it is with a compressor. The pick sound happens quickly at the start of the strum if you are really strumming and not doing a more arpeggiated type of thing where you drag the pick more slowly down the strings. You can use a fast attack and release and reduce the effect of the pick sound and leave the rest. Maybe try a limiter with a release in the 5 to 10 ms range to whack the initial pick down some.
                        <div class="signaturecontainer">Dean Roddey<br />
                        Chairman/CTO, Charmed Quark Systems, LTD</div>

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