I very carefully scored each side of the fret with the point of a small knife. Then I scraped each fret very lightly with the blade and finally rubbed each with a scotch bright pad. I then freshened up the fretboard with walnut oil or mineral oil. I don't remember which.
After carefully removing the lacquer from the frets it plays well again. It seems that pressing on the strings broke up some of the lacquer causing a slight buzz. For this reason I always use an oil finish on my fretboards.
Joe, I'm curious, how did you remove the lacquer from the frets without damaging the fretboard?
This has nothing to do with recording but a few years ago I bought a McSpadden that played well for a while . It developed an odd sound similar to what you describe. Upon close examination, I found that lacquer on the frets was the culprit. After carefully removing the lacquer from the frets it plays well again. It seems that pressing on the strings broke up some of the lacquer causing a slight buzz. For this reason I always use an oil finish on my fretboards.
Hey folks. Since this discussion is heading in that direction, let me just point out that we have a whole group at FOTMD devoted to home recording.
Dusty T., Northern California
As a musician, you have to keep one foot back in the past and one foot forward into the future.
-- Dizzy Gillespie
@marymacgowan I only wear headphones if I'm multi-tracking. Otherwise if I was listening to the previous track through a speaker while I was overdubbing then I would be recording the original trackl again onto the new track and I wouldn't be able to isolate them.
[quote="Guy Babusek"]Guy, could you describe what you use to simulateneously film and record? I have microphones and preamps and headphones (and a Bose songwriter amp system, which would be good for filming - I think - ?), but just don't know how to put it all together for a live recording. thx![/quote]
Sure Mary! I've used several different methods through the years. Lately I find I get the best results by simultaneously recording the video and the audio from two separate sources . I have mostly just been using my iPhone to record the video and I record the audio right through the iPhone microphone. I simultaneously record the audio using a decent microphone right into the computer using a program like Logic. Once I have finished recording, then I import the audio and video into a video editing program such as Adobe Premiere. I sync the audio of the decent recording up with the iPhone video and then delete the audio recorded on the IPhone. I've also experimented with filming directly using a WebCam while I'm recording into Logic but I find that sometimes is less than satisfactory Hope that helps!
Thanks everyone for taking your valuable time to respond to my past. Seriously. Hopefully, with the help of my son, your advice, and a little money, I'll get something decent together.
Meanwhile, I'll probably quit recording with my smart phone.
Before I upgraded my studio, I got some decent recordings with an inexpensive Shure SM-58 mic plugged into a small Mackie mixer which I got for very little money. Before I got a decent sound interface, I did what no one said was possible, and that's use an adapter from the outs on my mixer to a mini in on the mic input on my computer. It was definitely not perfect, but I was able to record with a decent sound until I could afford to upgrade to some more "proper" equipment.
Thanks for taking your time to provide me with this information, of what works for you. Your Sound Cloud recording is very pure, just absolutely beautiful. And that's not lip service, just the truth.
While you seem to have a superior grasp on this sound thing, I am just the opposite. I'll have to ask my son to take a look at what works for you, I know he can help me out. He is really into pedals and sound, as he has played guitar almost all of his 42 years. I'm sure he'll help old dad.
Meanwhile, I'll be surfing through the pages of the group you suggested.
Getting natural sounding recordings is not easy and, unfortunately, it seems to be that we have to spend some money to do so. It has taken me a few years of trying out (and wasting cash!) on different systems to get something that I'm reasonably happy with. My system will not suit everyone because I wanted something portable that gave a clean, clear, strong initial WAV track that was warm and not too coloured by the initial recording chain. The goal for me was to get a perfectly natural initial recording that then required just minimal mixing/mastering.
The system I use at present is a Rode NT1a mic through an in-line Phantom Fethead pre-amp (20db of ultra clean lift) into a Zoom H5 Handy recorder in mono WAV that also supplies the 48v phantom power for the mic and pre-amp. I mount the mic' at roughly the same position my ears are so what I'm hearing and the mic is hearing is the same. I have the Zoom H5 pre-amp turned down to around 3 or 4 on the dial and never above 5 - that way I don't introduce any noise floor. I process the track in audacity on my laptop which usually involves normalising the level, splitting the mono track into stereo (or using a pseudo stereo plug-in) and adding a little compression (saving as a .mp3 for upload to SoundCloud also adds compression). The only e/q I tend to do is to roll a little off the top but I actually think that the headphones I'm using at present for mastering are a little top sensitive so they are the next item due for replacement! Ideally I'd use monitor speakers for mastering but I need to have the kit portable so it has to be headphones. Unlike the recording of 'Clocks' above where I really played around with the sound during mixing, the end result I'm usually looking for is as natural a sound as possible that's good and strong but with a very low noise floor (no hiss or rumble at all in the background). Here is a track I recorded in my lounge using exactly this process a couple of days ago.
Like I said, what I use is not going to suit everyone, and I am constantly looking for ways to improve the quality of the recordings I produce so it is an on-going project. There is a group here on FOTMD concerning home recording and it is worth looking through that to see what other folks have used and had success with:
Hi Robin, and @object Lesson,
I believe ya'll are right, it's my recording device. I use my phone, which is a smart phone. My wife reminded me that I am having the same problem with a harmonica. She will tell me that a harp song is very pretty, but when I record it on my phone it sounds horrible, almost nothing like the real thing.
So, if I am to do much more recording, I really need a better recording device.
I want to thank you guys for your advice and suggestions. By the way Robin, your Sound Cloud recording was very nice. Thank you.
Hello, I am hoping someone can offer me some help on this subject, a tinny sound or perhaps a ringing sound, on the middle and melody string on my McSpadden dulcimer. I've tried different tunings, strumming and picking up and down the fret board, and not stroking the strings (or string) as hard. I just made a video this morning that I am waiting to finish posting on You Tube, then I plan to post it on the forum under videos. The song is Shenandoah. The chords are so pretty, but the tinny or ringing sound of the strings mentioned ruins the whole process. It's kind of funny, when I play this song I don't hear the bad sounds, and my wife says the same thing. But when I record, it's very obvious. Perhaps I should change strings? Strings are about a year old, with lots of playing. If it makes a difference, the strings are the same kind that McSpadden installed when new. I would appreciate any suggestions. Maybe when the video posts this will help. Merry Christmas, Terry
I've just listened to your video Terry. Lovely playing!!!
...The chords are so pretty, but the tinny or ringing sound of the strings mentioned ruins the whole process. It's kind of funny, when I play this song I don't hear the bad sounds, and my wife says the same thing. But when I record, it's very obvious....
What I hear Terry is a awful lot of compression on your recording and a loss of highs and lows - plus some unintended reverb. It sounds like your mic'/camera has an automatic volume system that is levelling off all the dynamics and perhaps messing up the timing between the channels. So basically the little noises the strings make are being amplified and the loud noises squashed. If the instrument sounds OK to you when you are playing it then the problem lays with your recording system. All sound recording systems have their own 'voice' as do all playback systems (headphones or speakers). Add to that the fact that the dulcimer is very difficult to record due to its timbre and lack of acoustic volume and you have quite a few problems to overcome. It just isn't that easy to get good recordings of a dulcimer - and when you do you have to make choices about how you want it to sound. For example: Here is a recording of a McSpadden that's pretty much the same as yours. I actually recorded it on a small hand held recorder balanced on the end of my bed - but then mastered it afterwards in audacity.
Now that McSpadden doesn't sound like the recording and if you were sitting next to me when I recorded that track what you hear in the recording is not what you'd have heard live.
When we hear a dulcimer played live it will sound a certain way but as soon as that instrument is recorded the sound we hear is coloured by the recording device, the processing and the playback device. Basically it is your recording device and (unwanted) processing of the recording that is effecting what you hear when you record your instrument. The instrument itself, when listened to live and acoustically, may be perfectly OK.
updated by @robin-clark: 12/14/15 06:47:29PM
Since you are hearing something in the recording that you can't hear live, it's definitely possible that the issue is with on the recording side rather than the acoustic side. Mic placement can drastically influence the sound, as can mic choice. And the acoustics of the room and background noise can also make a big difference since those things are more noticeable in a recording than live. The speakers you use to play back the recording can make a difference, too. If possible, you might want to EQ your recording afterwards. You can try lowering the very high frequencies and see if that makes a difference.
But you might also want to adjust how you play when you are recording. Things like pick noise, fretting noise, and stray notes can be much more noticeable in a recording. If possible, you can try to monitor what you're recording through headphones. It's a little awkward, but that can give you much quicker feedback so you can narrow down what is bothering you in the recording.
About the strings, a new set of strings will probably sound different, possibly very different since a year is a pretty long time. It might not fix your problem, but I don't think it'd hurt to try.
I am hoping someone can offer me some help on this subject, a tinny sound or perhaps a ringing sound, on the middle and melody string on my McSpadden dulcimer. I've tried different tunings, strumming and picking up and down the fret board, and not stroking the strings (or string) as hard.
I just made a video this morning that I am waiting to finish posting on You Tube, then I plan to post it on the forum under videos. The song is Shenandoah. The chords are so pretty, but the tinny or ringing sound of the strings mentioned ruins the whole process. It's kind of funny, when I play this song I don't hear the bad sounds, and my wife says the same thing. But when I record, it's very obvious.
Perhaps I should change strings? Strings are about a year old, with lots of playing. If it makes a difference, the strings are the same kind that McSpadden installed when new.
I would appreciate any suggestions. Maybe when the video posts this will help.
updated by @terry-wilson: 10/09/16 09:56:56AM