No announcement yet.

An acoustic guitar broke my heart

  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • An acoustic guitar broke my heart

    I've finally scraped together enough money to buy a really nice acoustic guitar--one that I will keep forever, hand down to my kids, etc. After playing every high-end acoustic guitar in GC and a local luthier shop twice on separate days, I thought I had found my winner, a Larivee SD-50. It had a warm, full mid-range that nothing else really came close to, but without sacrificing brightness or being too bassy. I thought I had found my dream guitar, but I wanted to be sure so I convinced the store to let me borrow it so I could take it to the recording studio where I work and put it through its paces.

    Here's where it gets sad. We just couldn't get a sound we were really happy with, and after trying a Neumann U67, AKG C3000, and AKG 414 and micing it from every angle in two separate rooms, I was forced to the conclusion that I could not in good conscience buy it. All that wonderful warm midrange that sounds so nice to the ear became out of control overtones when mic'd. If we moved the mic around to get rid of them, the guitar sounded thin.

    So the question is: what guitars in the $1500-$2500 range record really well? Are there certain types of wood combinations that are notoriously hard to record, brands that are tough, etc? I play rock/folk/pop with a mix of fingerstyle, strumming, and picked arpeggiation. I found I tended to favor guitars with vintage style bracing and mahogany backs and sides, but maybe that's where I went wrong. Any ideas?
    Music Television! MTV is to music what KFC is to chicken. -Lewis Black

  • #2
    Gibson J45.


    Or, if you want to try rosewood, seek ye a Guild DV-52. I've heard nothing but raves about 'em, and there's a few out there.


    • #3
      The best sounding acoustic we ever had in was an early 90's Gibson J-100 Xtra, the one with the maple back and sides, crown inlays and the moustache bridge.

      Jaw-droppingly good, immediately apparent to everyone. We've had old Martins, Gibsons, Santa Cruz, Collings, Taylors, etc. in, and this smoked 'em all.

      I've heard several others, and they are very consistent.

      "Thank You, NASA!"


      • #4
        Before you ditch the Larivee I would suggest trying some nice small diaphragm condensers on it, maybe LDC's just don't work well on this guitar.


        • #5
          Thanks for the suggestions. That's very interesting about the Gibsons. It's funny because the head engineer at our studio also said his favorite guitar he ever recorded was a Gibson. I played on a couple at GC, but maybe the setups were just bad.

          Any of you guys ever tried recording a Breedlove? My runner-up guitar after the in-store shoot-out was a revival series (forget the model number).

          There was a girl who records with us who just got a Guild too that sounds really nice and records pretty well, though I don't know the model number. I didn't run across any of those locally, and my experience with those is different guitars of the same modeal can vary drastically in tone quality so I didn't want to buy one I hadn't played.
          Music Television! MTV is to music what KFC is to chicken. -Lewis Black


          • #6
            I don't have any expensive acoustics so I probably shouldn't even be in this thread. But I've certainly noticed when miking others' nice guitars that a guitar can sound great in a room and be very difficult to capture properly.

            My usual dread is a well-aged Norman (part of the Seagull family) and I like it for its mid-range warmth and relative lack of boom. It's my usual accompaniment guitar for the vocal/guitar tracks I do for my folkie blog/podcast.

            But every now and then I'll listen to some of my recordings and be momentarily knocked out by the clarity and distinct tone of the guitar in the track and for a moment I'll wonder, Wow... how'd I get that?

            And then I remember...

            It was recorded, not with my nice big dread -- but rather with the shallow, plastic backed Ovation/Citation cutaway I picked up back around 90 for acoustic/folkie gigging.

            I bought it for the built in transducer but I quickly found out I needed to do some serious tonal shaping of that to get anything usable on stage... adding a $175 Passac passive 'pre' to my $300 guitar just to get something passable...

            But, of course, I don't use the built in transducer for recording, I simply mic the thing.

            Plastic abomination or not, it can give some clear, distinctive and very tonally balanced sound when miked.


            music and social links | recent listening


            • #7
              Gibson "Hummingbird"s are usually a no-brainer... haven't checked prices on them but it should be in your price range.

              Best of luck with it!!
              CN Fletcher

              Professional affiliations:

              R/E/P -- professional Recording Engineer and Producer forums... serious hobbyists welcome

              mwagener wrote on Sat, 11 September 2004 14:33
              We are selling emotions, there are no emotions in a grid

              "I'm not a vegetarian because I love animals. I'm a vegetarian because I hate plants." -A. Whitney Brown


              • #8
                I have two 1960's Gibsons, a J-50 and an F-25...the J-50 records amazingly...

                As far as the J-100 recommended above, I'd be very cautious of a maple acoustic, they tend to be extremely bright sounding...

                If you're interested, my myspace has the J-50 recorded through a pair of Royer's on all but one song:

                The song 'Love Poem' starts off with just acoustic and voice, so you can get a clear picture of the acoustic...


                • #9
                  Did you try any OM Martins? I have an Om-28V that records amazingly on cheap, expensive, whatever mics (almost every time), it's a bit odd. They're perfect for pop/folk/acoustic/finger-style. I also have some older OMs (a 35 and a pre-war) but they don't do it quite like the 28V. I have a D-35 Shenandoah as well that matches up with the two aforementioned in recording quality. So try an OM body!

                  Lurking for life.


                  • #10
                    Thanks for the suggestions. That's very interesting about the Gibsons. It's funny because the head engineer at our studio also said his favorite guitar he ever recorded was a Gibson. I played on a couple at GC, but maybe the setups were just bad.

                    On the whole, Gibsons have a very distinctive, midrangey tone.

                    OTOH, the J-100, due to the maple back/sides and bigger bouts, sounds like a friggin' grand piano.

                    Here's a sample:


                    2 KM-184s, one on the ower bout, the other at the 12th fret.
                    "Thank You, NASA!"


                    • #11
                      I have had excellent results with Taylor.
                      Monthly Podcast:

                      Or Quixotic Rage myspace info here

                      Band web page:

                      Studio web page:

                      Great trades with: Stazinish, Silverring233, sirkonks, Facing Failure, yuantian, simplestargazer, Juan M, jcloud, and you can check my ebay account for more!