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Old 02-16-2015, 01:57 PM   #69
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Central US
Posts: 464

From what I can remember of recordings, and looking over dad's shoulder, there are some points to consider:
  • Acoustic pickup systems were in their infancy. Barcus-Berry had just carried over some of their technology from stand-up bass to the guitar; some were still using piezo elements with adhesive backing. For the most part, it was mic like a fiend, then pray for no leakage from the rest of the room.
  • Pencil-format condensers are your friend... or your enemy. Mic position has as much to do with staying out of the guitarist's way as getting good sound. One hand strumming madly like Richie Havens could smack it out of alignment.
  • So many good recordings used a dynamic mic with a little EQ. I was actually in the studio when dad whipped out an ElectroVoice RE-20. For those unfamiliar, it's a big fat dynamic developed for radio announcing, and jumped on in the recording world for kick drums and bass amps. I thought, "no way!", but it worked.
  • No one was afraid to use compression, but for different reasons than might be assumed. Many times it's to keep a loud instrument from overloading the inputs; for acoustic, it's to keep some of the string attack subtleties from washing out over a big dreadnought body "bloom". Try some multi-band compression, and see if the lower end response backs down a bit.

Other than that, you don't always need a big dreadnought body to get decent tone. Try a parlour-sized guitar, which is maybe a 3/4 size.

1970s production was not as romantic as some make it out to be. Most of the time, you were fighting against 1950's and 1960's equipment that was near the end of its' service life. You had to really have some big onions to get things to work, or get all McGuyver with stuff, and use them off-book for unintended purposes.

Acoustic guitars have not changed character over the years, except for the pickup systems that brought out more of the top end "sparkle". Some find pickups too 'brittle' sounding, but grin and bear it for a live gig.
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