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Thread: Singer + Acoustic Guitar: How to comp/correct voice and guitar tracks afterward?

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    Singer + Acoustic Guitar: How to comp/correct voice and guitar tracks afterward?

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    Primarily I write and record as a singer/guitarist.

    I sing best while playing acoustic guitar, but I play the guitar better when not singing. So I need to go back and comp/correct both parts.

    I record voice and guitar simultaneously onto separate tracks using two mics, but of course, each mic hears both sources, and that makes it impossible to comp/correct segments of either the voice or the guitar track. So I try recording the guitar part first and sing later with the guitar track, but then my vocal performance lacks intensity and immediacy.

    Is there some better way of approaching this? Or is it just impossible and my only recourse is to learn to sing when not playing guitar?

    Thanks
    Last edited by Tom Overthere; 04-01-2016 at 09:26.

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    Distance is a critical factor. You can keep the guitar pretty much out of the vocal mic if you use a mic designed for close use. Any of the handheld vocal type mics are possibilities, including some that are condensers. With lips on the grill you should get pretty good isolation. You may have to work on technique to minimize plosives and/or use a pop screen right up on the grill of the mic.

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    Other than what was suggested above, you could lay down your base guitar track until it is a keeper (record it with two mics for separation). Once you have the base, then while playing and singing, bring in the vocals. You will get some bleed from your playing, but your correction will only be required when you screw up that part.

    You could take the first guitar session and pan each track slightly left and right (or if you use stereo, just get plug in that will let you determine the spread), then your vocal and guitar session can go up the middle. Could fatten the guitar up, give you options on how close you want vocals/guitar.

    My two cents.
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    Thanks for the suggestions.

    I want to avoid close-micing vocals, and even if I did, there's no way for me to mic acoustic guitar that would afford the kind of separation (vocal/guitar) to enable comping in bits and pieces of either the guitar or the vocal. There would always be obvious out-of-place sounds. So what I'll try next is:

    1. Sing-and-play to a click track, two mics recording to two separate tracks - guitar and vocal.

    2. Using those first tracks as a reference in my headphones, I'll play guitar along with the reference material. I'll mute the reference guitar track to minimize the guitar's presence in the headphone mix.

    3. Using those first tracks as a reference in my headphones, I'll LEARN HOW TO sing with the reference material. I'll mute the reference voice track to minimize its presence in the headphone mix.

    Who knows, it might work better than expected once I get the hang of it.

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    If you do live takes of both you could still fix a guitar part by replacing both tracks, as long as the vocal was good on the replacement. Any part of a take that has good guitar and vocals together is potentially usable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bouldersoundguy View Post
    If you do live takes of both you could still fix a guitar part by replacing both tracks, as long as the vocal was good on the replacement. Any part of a take that has good guitar and vocals together is potentially usable.
    Point taken and thanks for following up, but "a good man knows his limitations." ~ Dirty Harry

    I think I would play hell trying to work around the limitations. For now I've decided to try to learn to sing without the visceral/rhythmic aid of playing the guitar. And who knows, I might sing better as a result...

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    It is a hard transition, but be patient and I think you will like the results.
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    Thanks, and I am up for trying.

    I thought of one other possible approach: Maybe when I'm tracking the vocal (listening to the initial reference tracks in head phones) I'll try playing a solid-body electric guitar, unplugged.

    That might give me the "feel" I'm used to with almost no sound at all to be captured by the vocal mic... IN FACT, I THINK THAT MIGHT WORK WELL!

    Thank you, guys. 'Funny how a little discussion can loosen up one's thinking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Overthere View Post
    Thanks, and I am up for trying.

    I thought of one other possible approach: Maybe when I'm tracking the vocal (listening to the initial reference tracks in head phones) I'll try playing a solid-body electric guitar, unplugged.

    That might give me the "feel" I'm used to with almost no sound at all to be captured by the vocal mic... IN FACT, I THINK THAT MIGHT WORK WELL!

    Thank you, guys. 'Funny how a little discussion can loosen up one's thinking.
    I'm afraid it probably won't work as well as you hope. Especially if you're going to be compressing that vocal much, you may be surprised at just how loud that electric guitar is going to come through.

    You had it right the first time. Record scratch tracks with both at the same time, replace each separately. Get over the hang ups and get better at what you do.

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    Learn the skills is my advice. You might not want to, you might rationalise around it, it might feel uncomfortable for a while.

    Do it anyway.

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