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Thread: How to reduce bleed when singing with guitar?

  1. #1
    rgonzale is offline Newbie
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    How to reduce bleed when singing with guitar?

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    I'm trying to record a single take containing my vocal and electric guitar at once. Unfortunately, the vocal mic is picking up a lot of pick noise from the guitar. That's a problem if I try to pan the vocal away from the electric guitar!

    To try to reduce the amount of pick noise reaching the vocal mic, I got a Studio Projects B3 multipattern mic, and set it to figure 8. I aimed it so the voice was on the main axis and the guitar was at 90 degrees, to try to get it in the notch of the figure-8 pattern. I was disappointed to find that this was not very effective.

    Is there a technique I'm missing here, to try to reduce bleed?

    Thanks for any suggestions!
    Ralph

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    reshp1's Avatar
    reshp1 is offline 1K Silver Member
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    I've seen people put a music stand with the holder part horizontal, between the guitar and vocal mic. Auralux also makes a set of mic foam patches here:
    http://www.musiciansfriend.com/srs7/...se_pid/421198/

    Might help since the pick noise is mostly hi-freq.

  3. #3
    glynb is offline Balladeer
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    I'm sure people who know more than me would suggest experiment with mic placement is key.

    But really the ideal way out of this is to bite the bullet and record both separately.

    if it's that you can't play the guitar well enough without singing try singing it in your head or whispering. if its that you can't sing well without playing guitar, then record the guitar first and then overdub the vocal afterwards playing unplugged guitar again at the same time but close micing the voice to stop the clicks of the plectrum ending up on the vocal take.

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    rgonzale is offline Newbie
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    ----------------
    But really the ideal way out of this is to bite the bullet and record both separately.

    if it's that you can't play the guitar well enough without singing try singing it in your head or whispering. if its that you can't sing well without playing guitar, then record the guitar first and then overdub the vocal afterwards playing unplugged guitar again at the same time but close micing the voice to stop the clicks of the plectrum ending up on the vocal take.
    ----------------

    That's another, larger issue which has been really holding me back!

    I'm not quite a good enough guitar player to simultaneously play and sing expressively. However, in this song, sometimes the guitar keeps the beat and sometimes the vocal leads the guitar. I tried doing the guitar first and it was hard to sync the vocal when overdubbing, and same problem doing the vocal first and overdubbing the guitar. Plus it's just got a better "live" feeling if I do it in one take.

    The other alternative is recording the vocal and guitar separately using a metronome or click track to help sync, but that means a fixed tempo. (Or I can tediously put tempo changes into my sequencer, but once again it becomes hard to anticipate. With a "real" band, I could watch the drummer and he could watch me to anticipate the beat.)

    So for the time being the best solution I can come up with is to try to do a good "live" take. But like you say, maybe I should bite the bullet...

  5. #5
    BentRabbit's Avatar
    BentRabbit is offline Drumb & Drumber
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    Quote Originally Posted by rgonzale
    ----------------

    I'm not quite a good enough guitar player to simultaneously play and sing expressively. However, in this song, sometimes the guitar keeps the beat and sometimes the vocal leads the guitar. ...
    My singer feels most comfortable when she's strumming and singing as well... And she plays acoustic (talk about bleed over into a vocal mic.)

    One thing that we have done that works well for her is to do the 'one-take' recording to capture the chemistry, and then have her sing along with her self (with no guitar) a 2nd time to record a clean vocal track.

    Her acoustic has a direct line in, so we usually get a pretty clean guitar track to work with. Hearing herself in the headphones playing and singing lends itself to recreating the magic from the first take...

    Hope this helps...

  6. #6
    cstockdale's Avatar
    cstockdale is offline supafly killa homey
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    I use the same vocal mic:

    Try using it on cardiod, with the mic horizontal, with the active part of the mic point up at 45-60 degrees towards you (follow me?)...

    Ie. have the mic mounted horizontally, just below your lower lip, tilt it up so that you are singing into it at roughly 45 degrees, so the guitar is well below it and it should minimize the bleed.... however... I never use a pick, I am a finger guy all the way

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    chessrock's Avatar
    chessrock is offline Banned
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    I realize this is probably going to rub some people the wrong way.

    But then again, most of the things I say probably do that, so what's news there?

    ... Anyway, I belive that if you can't record a guitar and voice track separately, then you're really not a real musician to begin with, and therefore have nothing really to gain by recording in the first place.

    That's really how I feel about it. There are technological limitations that prevent getting an ideal recording while playing both live ... so I say it's the musician's responsibility to be a professional about it, adjust, and do what it takes to make it work. If that means you're brain is going to explode or something if you have to do each take separately, then tough. Learn to live with it. The world ain't perfect.

    If you're a real musician, you can play a guitar part with emotion; on it's own and unaccompanied by a voice. If you're a real musician, you can deliver a solid vocal performance without a crutch in your hands. Real musicians should be able to perform and "turn it on" under whatever conditions that are presented.

  8. #8
    Stefan Elmblad's Avatar
    Stefan Elmblad is offline Force of Nature
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    Try using 2 figure of 8 mics. Point one mic at guitar while aiming it's null response at mouth. Point other mic at mouth while aiming it's null response at guitar.

    Isolation of up to 20dB can easily be had. Problem is you have to have 2 fig-8 mics at hand.

  9. #9
    gullfo's Avatar
    gullfo is offline Dedicated Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by chessrock
    ... Anyway, I belive that if you can't record a guitar and voice track separately, then you're really not a real musician to begin with, and therefore have nothing really to gain by recording in the first place.
    I don't agree with the real/non-real musician bit but I completely agree with doing separate takes. You can often get a better performance on the guitar by playing it without singing along and focusing on the part. And if you need to, you can hold the guitar while doing your vocals (so you feel comfortable).

    Remember, the recording is lasting, so what you record you should try to get the best possible performance you can (it might not be "true" to the "live" performance, but it is a recording, you have to live with it. A live performance you can always play however you like later...).

    my 2...

  10. #10
    glynb is offline Balladeer
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    Well you don't need to be a 'real' musician in order to produce some interesting sounding music, especialy with today's technology.

    It's a bit fascistic to say that unless someone can play and sing to a certain standard (whose standard by the way?) they have no business in doing home recording!

    I have heard some very charming 'incompetent' recordings which have more artistic content than some big production jobs from top class techincal musicians who have little creativity left in them.

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