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Need some advice on acoustic/electric guitars

Anything about hardware musical instruments.

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cryophonik
KVRAF
 
4019 posts since 6 Sep, 2006, from Elk Grove, CA

Postby cryophonik; Sat Feb 23, 2013 1:46 pm Need some advice on acoustic/electric guitars

Hey guitarists, I'm looking for some advice on getting a better guitar tone, and probably buying a new guitar. I've currently got an Ibanez AEG20E acoustic/electric that I like to keep around the studio. I'm a bassist/keyboardist who also happens to be a complete hack on guitar, but I work with several singers/songwriters who do a lot of their songwriting on guitar, so I like to have a guitar around for recording scratch tracks, layering into some songs, etc. The problem, though, is that this Ibanez sounds pretty horrid when recording - it's just brittle and harsh sounding. I've tried all sorts of combinations of mic'ing it with several different mics (AKG C414, GrooveTubes G66, Rode, etc), recording it direct, different preamps, changing the strings, etc. and just can't seem to get a usable tone out of it.

I want something that sounds warmer, fuller, and mellower, particularly in the mids/highs. So, I'm considering buying a new acoustic/electric in the $400-700 range. I've checked out a few Breedloves and Takamines in that price range and they seem decent, but I'm looking for suggestions for specific guitars to check out. Again, this will be primarily for recording, so I'm mostly interested in tone and playability (e.g., don't care too much about fancy inlays, etc.). Also, most of the singers that will use it when they come to my studio are females, so I'm thinking something that isn't too beefy. And, finally, I should mention that it may be used occasionally for live gigs, so something with decent electronics is a big plus.
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Hink
Rad Grandad
 
24640 posts since 5 Sep, 2003, from New England U.S.A.

Postby Hink; Sat Feb 23, 2013 1:56 pm

have you looked at Seagulls? Great guitars at a great price :)
Thank cod I love fish
Wormhelmet
KVRian
 
1058 posts since 20 Dec, 2004

Postby Wormhelmet; Sat Feb 23, 2013 2:33 pm

Have you considered dedicated acoustic and electric guitars? What type of pickup is in the current guitar and can it be upgraded?
"I am a meat popsicle"
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Soundclick Wormhelmet
jcrisman
KVRist
 
357 posts since 15 Aug, 2009

Postby jcrisman; Sat Feb 23, 2013 3:11 pm

Have you tried different EQs and EQ settings? Or possibly even a touch of saturation?
Wormhelmet
KVRian
 
1058 posts since 20 Dec, 2004

Postby Wormhelmet; Sat Feb 23, 2013 3:35 pm

jcrisman wrote:Have you tried different EQs and EQ settings? Or possibly even a touch of saturation?


This first!

Then if you still aren't satisfied, try a nice clip in the sound hole pickup on one of those seagull's as was suggested. I've never been a big fan of acoustic/electrics until you start getting in the $1000 plus range. Would rather have a $500 dreadnought and $500 electric or replace with pickups of my choice on lower cost guitar. Just my own experience and preference.

That said, the Ibanez you linked to shouldn't be sounding horrible. It's not a bad guitar.
"I am a meat popsicle"
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Mister Natural
KVRian
 
1301 posts since 28 Oct, 2007, from michigan

Postby Mister Natural; Sat Feb 23, 2013 4:15 pm

sorry Cryo, but that's a pretty weak guitar for what it is

for acoustic work - which is what I think I read you saying that you are looking for, recco you test out either Yamaha or Alvarez within whatever price-range you're wanting to hit - really can't go wrong

examples :
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/ ... ric-guitar

or

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/ ... way-guitar

the female of the species will prefer the smaller-bodied 000 or concert to the traditional dreadnaught or jumbo size

The real trick(after a proper professional set-up of the instrument) is the recording technique used. Most success is reported with a mic pointed at the 12th fret(NOT the soundhole) at about 12" away from the instrument. I've also found it helpful to use a pop-filter pointing at my face to reduce the sound of my breathing :=)

regarding the "plugged-in" tone of these instrument, it's essential to have a quality preamp/DI for them to approximate the "miced-up" tone. This model comes highly recommended :
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/accessor ... coustic-di

peace
an expert on what it feels like to be me
& you are who you google

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User avatar
cryophonik
KVRAF
 
4019 posts since 6 Sep, 2006, from Elk Grove, CA

Postby cryophonik; Sat Feb 23, 2013 4:41 pm

Wow, thanks for all the replies, guys!

Hink wrote:have you looked at Seagulls? Great guitars at a great price :)


I remember looking at these years ago when I first bought my Ibanez. I'll definitely check out the new models in my price range - thanks Hink!

Wormhelmet wrote:Have you considered dedicated acoustic and electric guitars? What type of pickup is in the current guitar and can it be upgraded?


Maybe I need to clarify - I'm actually only interested in a hollow-body acoustic guitar, but with a built-in pickup/preamp - not an electric guitar. Sorry for the confusion.

jcrisman wrote:Have you tried different EQs and EQ settings? Or possibly even a touch of saturation?


Oh yeah - I've EQ'ed it six ways from Sunday and can't get rid of the harshness. It seems to have no natural mids, just this annoying scooped-mid tone with very harsh highs and any attempts to boost the mids with the onboard or other plugin brings out this nasty nasal tone. Saturation is a very good suggestion, although, I'm pretty much convinced that I just need to quit trying to fix a bad tone and just start with a better source (i.e., better guitar) instead.

Mister Natural wrote:sorry Cryo, but that's a pretty weak guitar for what it is for acoustic work - which is what I think I read you saying that you are looking for,


Thanks, now you tell me - where were you when I bought this thing?! :hihi:

Mister Natural wrote:recco you test out either Yamaha or Alvarez within whatever price-range you're wanting to hit - really can't go wrong

examples :
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/ ... ric-guitar

or

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/ ... way-guitar

the female of the species will prefer the smaller-bodied 000 or concert to the traditional dreadnaught or jumbo size


Thanks - will definitely check those ones out!

Mister Natural wrote:The real trick(after a proper professional set-up of the instrument) is the recording technique used. Most success is reported with a mic pointed at the 12th fret(NOT the soundhole) at about 12" away from the instrument.


Yup, that's the way I usually record it. Although, I also will record the direct line out at the same time and blend the two, which does help, but it's still not that great.

Mister Natural wrote:regarding the "plugged-in" tone of these instrument, it's essential to have a quality preamp/DI for them to approximate the "miced-up" tone. This model comes highly recommended :
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/accessor ... coustic-di

peace


Thanks - I'll definitely check that out as well. If my local stores have it, maybe I'll just buy it and try it with my Ibanez before buying something else. Maybe even bring it along when test-driving other guitars.
Space Coyote
KVRer
 
19 posts since 26 Nov, 2012, from Tampa, FL

Postby Space Coyote; Sat Feb 23, 2013 5:02 pm

I agree that the Seagull's are great guitars. They make a nice Mini-Jumbo body size. As far as the plugged-in sound I've never been a huge fan of the bridge/piezo sound and prefer using a mag soundhole pup. The LR Baggs M1 has served me well.
tapper mike
KVRAF
 
3612 posts since 19 Jan, 2008

Postby tapper mike; Sat Feb 23, 2013 6:09 pm

segull's are too dark, not warm.

Honestly... I'd get a godin freeway classic. Then run it through something like a pandora mini

Listen to it clean... wait a few seconds...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlPyYd9kuTQ
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cryophonik
KVRAF
 
4019 posts since 6 Sep, 2006, from Elk Grove, CA

Postby cryophonik; Sat Feb 23, 2013 8:12 pm

OK, I checked out a bunch of guitars this evening and I think my mind is made up: Taylor 214ce. It's a bit above my stated budget, but Guitar Center currently has a great deal on it and it plays/sounds heads above anything else that I tried in the $400-800 range. I'm gonna sleep on it, and check out a few more tomorrow, but that guitar is pretty much perfect for my needs and worth the extra $$$ IMO. Anybody have any experience or opinions on this guitar?
tapper mike
KVRAF
 
3612 posts since 19 Jan, 2008

Postby tapper mike; Sat Feb 23, 2013 11:40 pm

Taylors are great guitars. I think you'll enjoy it.
User avatar
cryophonik
KVRAF
 
4019 posts since 6 Sep, 2006, from Elk Grove, CA

Postby cryophonik; Mon Feb 25, 2013 10:24 am

Mister Natural wrote:regarding the "plugged-in" tone of these instrument, it's essential to have a quality preamp/DI for them to approximate the "miced-up" tone. This model comes highly recommended :
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/accessor ... coustic-di


I spent a few hours in GC again yesterday trying out guitars with and without the LR Baggs unit and it really extended the tonal palette of every guitar that I plugged into it. I even ran a few basses through it and it sounded great, so, I ended up buying one. I figure that, whichever guitar I end up going with, this DI/pre will be very handy. I haven't had a chance to try it out with my own Ibanez yet, but I used it with a similar (newer) model in the store and it did improve the sound, but the better guitars still sounded much better (not to mention that they played better).

Anyway, I thought I was set on the Taylor, but after spending more time with other guitars, reading reviews/specs, listening to online demos, etc., I've found myself pretty enamored with the Martin GPCPA4. It's waaaayyyy more money than I was planning on spending, so I'll probably be auctioning off some non-vital organs to fund it - watch eBay, if interested. :help:
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robojam
KVRAF
 
20614 posts since 26 Jul, 2005, from Inside Schroedinger's Cat...or am I...

Postby robojam; Mon Feb 25, 2013 10:31 am

You might also want to look at some of the mid to high range Yamahas - I kind of think of them in the middle of the dark/bright range of sounds, so you shouldn't have too many complaints about one being to far to either extreme.
CapnLockheed
KVRAF
 
2058 posts since 11 Mar, 2002, from Central NY

Postby CapnLockheed; Mon Feb 25, 2013 10:36 am

Another cheap way to get a warmer fuller sound with ANY acoustic is to use
a magnetic sound hole pickup....like this one:

http://www.guitarcenter.com/Dean-Markley-Pro-Mag-SC-1-Acoustic-Guitar-Pickup-100026558-i1127971.gc?source=4WWRWXGP&kpid=100026558

Built in under saddle piezo pickups tend to be very bright and brittle sounding....by combining them with a magnetic pickup you can get a very
full range of tone....I would also suggest trying to record with a decent
condenser mic.
"Transition to Amplitude Death in Coupled System with Small Number of Nonlinear Oscillators" - Chen Hai-Ling

www.myspace.com/cristofe
User avatar
robojam
KVRAF
 
20614 posts since 26 Jul, 2005, from Inside Schroedinger's Cat...or am I...

Postby robojam; Mon Feb 25, 2013 10:38 am

Or there's a DI box that Tech 21 makes that helps out a lot when you are plugged in with an acoustic-electric.
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