No announcement yet.

Recording guitar: strange squeek at ~35khz?

  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Recording guitar: strange squeek at ~35khz?

    Hi all,


    I'm working on recording electric guitar in my home studio-- I've been at it for a while but am still a novice for all intents and purposes.  I've been having a strange issue with a squeek (I'm sure there's a proper term for this) around 35khz, and it's driving me nuts.  A quick rundown of my setup:



    I have a Gretsch Electromatic Double Jet, which I have had for about 5 months and absolutely love.  Really bright, a pleasure to play.  Here's a link to a couple images showing the pickup heights.

    The pickup switch is set to the middle, and the bridge pickup level has been lowered just a touch.



    I have a Roland JC-120, a really bright solid state amp with which I'm sure many of you are familiar.  One of the best-sounding solid state amps I've ever encountered.  Here's a link to an album with the amp settings.



    I'm using the pedals below, listed in chain order.  Here's a link to the album so you can see the settings:

    Behringer Ultra Shifter/Harmonist on the trem bar setting, keeping my foot on the pedal and briefly letting go every now and then to get that MBV-style pitch bending effect.

    Ibanez Turbo Tube Screamer

    MXR 10-band EQ



    I'm using two SM57's, about an 1.5 inches off the grill, one on the cone, one on the edge.  Images for reference.

    The mics go to a MOTU 828 firewire interface into my Macbook Pro, using Logic Pro 9.



    Here's a (very short) clip so you can hopefully hear the squeek I'm talking about.

    I've tried turning the amp volume down and the pedal volumes up (individually and altogether).  I've tried taking pedals out of the setup.  I've tried lowering the pickups as well as the individual screws under the strings (again, I'm sure there's a proper term).  Nothing seemed to help.  


     At the end of the day, if I can't overcome this issue I realize I can address it with EQ, but I consider that a last resort.  As they say, **** in, **** out.  Any advice or ideas you guys might possibly have would mean a lot to me and would be greatly appreciated.


    Thank you so much!


  • #2

    It cannot possibly be 35khz. 3.5 maybe?


    • #3

      why not EQ?


      also check the set up of your guitar (nut, high fret,etc.)

      __________________________________________________ ___________________

      Yamaholic --- PpP --- Old geezer with a grey beard


      • WRGKMC
        WRGKMC commented
        Editing a comment

        Yes, 20K is the maximum heatring range. 3.5K is is in the guitar frequency range. Squeaks with guitars are usually string related. You get squeaks when you slide your fingers up the strings. The fixes are, string lubricants, different brands of strings, half wound strings that don't have the ridges, notching out the offending frequency with an EQ, developing major calluses on the finger tips, lifting the fingers switching positions. Any or all may be needed, but the best method is to train your ear to hear that noise when you're playing and dial up tone so its minimal.

        Many great recordings have string squeak. Its a tone you dial up for acoustic guitars mostly to get high definition of the notes being played. Most get around it by careful mic placement on the body more and less on the neck. On an electric, the pickups pickup the strings directly so its a matter of EQing and minimizing it to begin with. In a mix, those string squeak tones are in the range of other instruments like snare and vocals. Rolling them off does cut some guitar tone, but in a mix they are rarely missed.   

        If the squeak is not caused by fingers dragging on the strings, then lubing all string contacts with graphite grease, the nut and saddles, making sure the spring isn't making noise when being compressed are things done to quiet strings movements using a whammy bar.

        Feedback is another thing that can be mislabeled as a squeak. Again microphonic pickups can be potted with wax to minimize that. Gretch have filtron type pups. I believe they are potted already, but simple tapping on them while facing an amp, should reveal their microphonics acting like an actual microphone. Semihollow body guitars are noted for their sustain when the body chamber is resonated by the amp and when gained up can feed back more than a solid body. This is a good resonation that is a useful tool for a guitar master sustaining notes. Its something an artist must harness and make it work in his favor like Hendrix did sustaining notes. Main thing is to keep the amp in back of you striking the back of the body and neck and not have the speaker facing the pickups or direct microphonic feedback can occur. 

    • #4

      Well, this shows you guys how little I know.  


      I do know as much as to say that the source is not my fingers moving down the strings, as I mostly hear it while strumming open chords.  


      I'm not sure if you hear what I'm talking about in the clip I posted.  At the beginning of the short clip, it starts with a few strums followed by a rest.  On the two strums immediately following the rest, if you're wearing headphones, on those two particular strums, you should hear the grating, high pitched ring I'm talking about. 


      Thanks again for the help!


      • WRGKMC
        WRGKMC commented
        Editing a comment

        To be honest, All I'm hearing is crappy transistor tone dialed up on an amp, possibly recorded with the line out jack which makes the problem even worse. Your ringing is bad restoration from the settings you have dialed up. Anything else is likely string slap off the frets from the strings being too close to the frets or the pickups.

        My suggestion is set the amp up high at ear level and dial up the sound you want listening to the speakers and them mic the amp. Second don't use headphones to dial up the amps tone. Headphones color the sound and the tracks you play back wont have the same tone the amp is actually producing. Once you have a good live tone you can use the headphones for multitracking but you just ignore the headphones coloration of the sound. You have enough to deal with from the mic coloring the sound no less compounding the problem with the headphones.

        If you are using the line out, you are bypassing the coloration and saturation the speakers give you. You have to take appropriate action using EQ a line level out by rolling off the highs and lows to mimics the speakers effects on the tone. Rolling off all frequencies above 5K and below 150hz is a start. Some amps have speaker emulated line outs which are much better for direct recording. Yours doesn't so using an EQ between the line out and recording interface would give much better results. Watch your gain too. Sounds like you have unnatural clipping going on.

        Try backing off your pickups. I suggest holding the highest fret down then be sure between the bottom of the string and the top of the pickup pole pieces. I usually use 3~4mm clearance with P90s because the magnets are strong and they will pull down on the strings making low action strings slap the frets more than they should. Guitar amplifiers have plenty of gain and any gain lost can be made up by running the guitar amp louder. You may loose a little presence but you gain clarity of the string tones.

        Other than they you are using a Jazz guitar rig, not a rock rig. The amp is designed to drive clean jazz tones with bottom end. The guitar has P90's in a hollowbody and the guitar will easily feedback when cranked.  That rig would probably be great dialing up clean George Benson type tone, but it will create a nasty grating when cranked with allot of treble boost which is exactly the problem you're having.

        Boosting midrange tones is the key to getting that guitar to sound good. Loose the highs and lows and boost the mids in the 3~5K range and you'll do much better. Also remember, a guitar is a midrange instrument. A guitar being recorded only uses up part of the frequency spectrum, usually between 160~6Khz max. There is absolutely no reason to push the upper frequencies to fill out the entire frequency spectrum up to 20K hz or sown to 20hz. Those frequencies are reserved for instruments that produce those frequencies. If you were playing an acoustic guitar solo, the range of frequency is wider, but most electric guitars don't produce much over 6K.

        All you get by trying to boost those higher frequencies is nasty noise and feedback, especially with single coils which produce allot more high end then humbuckers do. When you multitrack instruments and have cymbals from drums and bass and kick filling the lower frequencies the guitar fits into a much narrower range. Ear training is essential for dialing up the proper frequencies you need to target. You can download a frequency analyzer like Voxengo Span and take a look at your guitar clip. You can then use it as a visual aid in getting a good frequency response curve till you know the best ranges your gear can produce.  

        If you want driven guitar tone, try getting a drive pedal. I doubt that amp is going to do very well being a jazz amp. Jazz amps usually have scooped mids, and the speaker choices lack the kind of mids a rock amp uses.

         One of these will do wonders for getting some tube tone happening and then you can run the amp clean like it was designed to be run.^32411920121-sku^104082557@ADL4gc-adType^PLA-device^c-adid^13625724281

        The circuit in that pedal uses the same chips the original Ibanez has. I have both and find the Behringer does a good job on single coil pickups. You can even use it recording direct with some decent results.