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Thread: Tonare at 90 Days -- The Wood Doesn't Lie

  1. #1

    The Wood Don't Lie.

    Today marks 90 days with my maple Tonare Grand acoustic. I didn't have a chance to go out and buy us little party hats and a cake, but...you know...shoulda, woulda, coulda...

    What's that, you say? Big deal? Who cares? Just another guitar?

    OK, but that's so wrong.

    The guitar is starting to really open up. I've been playing it quite a lot, and there's no question that the tone is becoming more open, woodier, and maybe a little warmer. I know. It's all anecdotal, this opening-up stuff as you play in a guitar. Can't prove it really happens. And so on. I'm no scientist. But I play it every day. I hear it. Subtle picking details are just so easy to pull off. It sounds less tight, even more responsive, and it's still sustaining for seemingly ever. Every note is so clear, strummed chords have amazing string to string definition, and the articulation is really something special. It also stays in tune incredibly well. And there is no mistaking that light picks and strums are a bit louder now. The tone is becoming more complex.

    The wood don't lie. The build don't lie. And I don't lie.

    This guitar is becoming more wonderful every day. This wood was hand picked by Jack Gretz and Paul R. Smith, and you can hear the results.

    Postscript - forgot to mention that as it's opening up, it's becoming more responsive to fingerstyle playing. In other words, this guitar is doing what it's supposed to do, what they tell you in guitar shops, "Just wait and see how it sounds in a few years!" Well, it sounded great out of the box, and after only a few months, it's even better.

    I will record something else and post it soon. Meantime, have another look:

    Last edited by LSchefman; 09-21-2013 at 02:55 PM.
    If something is too hard to do, then it's not worth doing. You just stick that guitar in the closet next to your short-wave radio, your karate outfit and your unicycle and we'll go inside and watch TV.
    -- Homer J. Simpson

  2. #2
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    Sweet! Glad to hear you are still digging the guitar. I look forward to the clips.
    PRS electrics and bass, Taylor BTO GS Cocobolo, K26e Koa, 2012 FLTD 412ce-N and GS mini mahogany acoustic guitars; Bad Cat Cub IIR, Carr Rambler, Fender Supersonic 22, Univox, Fishman Loudbox 100, Loudbox Mini and Mark Bass amps
    In music, one must think with his heart and feel with his brain.
    I was joeprs on BAM

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by pondsnorkeler View Post
    Sweet! Glad to hear you are still digging the guitar. I look forward to the clips.
    Working on an ad project this week, but I promise I'll get to them right after.

    To really pick up the subtlety, I want to use the Royer 121. I'll have to EQ it of course, but it seems to pick up detail in a natural way that condensers sometimes transduce in a way that I think makes the results too electronic sounding.

    So...experimentation is in order for a few hours as to placement, etc. But I will get to it.

    And yeah, I am really enjoying what this thing does.
    Last edited by LSchefman; 09-22-2013 at 07:53 PM.
    If something is too hard to do, then it's not worth doing. You just stick that guitar in the closet next to your short-wave radio, your karate outfit and your unicycle and we'll go inside and watch TV.
    -- Homer J. Simpson

  4. #4
    Rigid Member Sekunda's Avatar
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    I think an acoustic may be my next purchase... hopefully I can save up enough to grab a stock version... without selling my car
    ~ Matt

    PRS HX/DA | 2x12 Stealth Cab | 2011 Stripped 58 - Angry Larry | 2000 Custom 22 - Dark Cherry Burst
    1985 Takamine GX-100 | 1993 Jackson Soloist XL Pro |Martin Acoustic | Ibanez Acoustic

  5. #5
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    I play, practice, exercise with my acoustics daily. That way, when I pick up my electrics, they are even easier to play.
    PRS electrics and bass, Taylor BTO GS Cocobolo, K26e Koa, 2012 FLTD 412ce-N and GS mini mahogany acoustic guitars; Bad Cat Cub IIR, Carr Rambler, Fender Supersonic 22, Univox, Fishman Loudbox 100, Loudbox Mini and Mark Bass amps
    In music, one must think with his heart and feel with his brain.
    I was joeprs on BAM

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Sekunda View Post
    I think an acoustic may be my next purchase... hopefully I can save up enough to grab a stock version... without selling my car
    Well, heck, who needs a car?
    If something is too hard to do, then it's not worth doing. You just stick that guitar in the closet next to your short-wave radio, your karate outfit and your unicycle and we'll go inside and watch TV.
    -- Homer J. Simpson

  7. #7
    Rigid Member Sekunda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LSchefman View Post
    Well, heck, who needs a car?
    I guess I could take the bus to Eddie's to pick up the guitar...
    ~ Matt

    PRS HX/DA | 2x12 Stealth Cab | 2011 Stripped 58 - Angry Larry | 2000 Custom 22 - Dark Cherry Burst
    1985 Takamine GX-100 | 1993 Jackson Soloist XL Pro |Martin Acoustic | Ibanez Acoustic

  8. #8
    Senior Member jfb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sekunda View Post
    I guess I could take the bus to Eddie's to pick up the guitar...
    I'll take you. And after I'll even shout Bottle Works.
    Plank Owner

  9. #9
    The combination of playing this Tonare every day, plus having it bloom in the way it sounds...I can't seem to put it down. I play it to work out ideas for a project, and an hour later I'm still...um...working out ideas.

    Plus I've been experimenting a bit with recording it with a ribbon mic, the Royer R121, though I am really still in the "not sure which placement sounds best" mode. The nice thing about the Royer as opposed to a condenser is that with a ribbon the recording sounds less electronic. It's a very natural sound that seems to breathe.

    Of course, it's not what one is used to after years of recording acoustic guitars with condenser mics. Ah well, it's all in fun and quite interesting!
    If something is too hard to do, then it's not worth doing. You just stick that guitar in the closet next to your short-wave radio, your karate outfit and your unicycle and we'll go inside and watch TV.
    -- Homer J. Simpson

  10. #10
    Working with the ribbon on the acoustic (I've used condensers to record acoustics for many years), I'm finding that the mic "reaches" more into the woody sound of the guitar, where a condenser tends to accentuate the metallic sound of the strings.

    Ideally, a blend would be very nice here. And I'm going to try that next. I think it'll be a very balanced sound.
    If something is too hard to do, then it's not worth doing. You just stick that guitar in the closet next to your short-wave radio, your karate outfit and your unicycle and we'll go inside and watch TV.
    -- Homer J. Simpson

  11. #11
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    Looking forward to the clips.
    PRS electrics and bass, Taylor BTO GS Cocobolo, K26e Koa, 2012 FLTD 412ce-N and GS mini mahogany acoustic guitars; Bad Cat Cub IIR, Carr Rambler, Fender Supersonic 22, Univox, Fishman Loudbox 100, Loudbox Mini and Mark Bass amps
    In music, one must think with his heart and feel with his brain.
    I was joeprs on BAM

  12. #12
    Name Manglin' Putz alantig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LSchefman View Post
    Working with the ribbon on the acoustic (I've used condensers to record acoustics for many years), I'm finding that the mic "reaches" more into the woody sound of the guitar, where a condenser tends to accentuate the metallic sound of the strings.

    Ideally, a blend would be very nice here. And I'm going to try that next. I think it'll be a very balanced sound.
    I'll be interested to hear how you place the mics. I tried this combination with the ribbon aimed behind the bridge and the condenser towards the fretboard. I think it still needs some work.
    Alan

    "I watched approximately 45 seconds of 'Rock Of Ages'. It was like getting punched in the soul." - Abby Krizner

  13. #13
    Alan, a ribbon mic is very sensitive to bass, sort of the opposite of the way a condenser works. A condenser's resonances are in the high frequencies, it's like a very tiny drum head. That's one reason they tend to accentuate high frequencies. A ribbon is a piece of corrugated aluminum hanging between two magnets, and it's very responsive to low frequencies because it's not stretched tightly.

    So you're sort of playing to the inherent weaknesses of both mics' designs by putting the condenser at the neck and the ribbon at the bridge. Try swapping the placement to get a more natural sounding result. Also, if you have someone else who could strum the guitar while you move the mics around, you can find the sweet spot for each placement more easily. I literally put on headphones and move mic stands to find good spots. If I'm alone, the process takes a lot longer. But in any case, there is a spot at which the instrument really comes into focus, almost like depth of field on a camera.

    I'm going to go for what the guitar sounds like from the player's perspective with the ribbon, and put the condenser in front. So I'm going to put the ribbon on a large boom and literally place it like a drum overhead, a couple of feet over the guitar body aimed at the the guitar, so the mic hears what I hear when I play. Might work, might not. I will definitely need an assistant for this.

    The mics I use are a Royer R-121, with the back of the mic facing the instrument because the Royer design is unusual and the mic is brighter in the rear. I'll use a Neumann condenser in front.
    Last edited by LSchefman; 10-08-2013 at 09:51 PM.
    If something is too hard to do, then it's not worth doing. You just stick that guitar in the closet next to your short-wave radio, your karate outfit and your unicycle and we'll go inside and watch TV.
    -- Homer J. Simpson

  14. #14
    Name Manglin' Putz alantig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LSchefman View Post
    Alan, a ribbon mic is very sensitive to bass, sort of the opposite of the way a condenser works. A condenser's resonances are in the high frequencies, it's like a very tiny drum head. That's one reason they tend to accentuate high frequencies. A ribbon is a piece of corrugated aluminum hanging between two magnets, and it's very responsive to low frequencies because it's not stretched tightly.

    So you're sort of playing to the inherent weaknesses of both mics' designs by putting the condenser at the neck and the ribbon at the bridge. Try swapping the placement to get a more natural sounding result. Also, if you have someone else who could strum the guitar while you move the mics around, you can find the sweet spot for each placement more easily. I literally put on headphones and move mic stands to find good spots. If I'm alone, the process takes a lot longer. But in any case, there is a spot at which the instrument really comes into focus, almost like depth of field on a camera.

    I'm going to go for what the guitar sounds like from the player's perspective with the ribbon, and put the condenser in front. So I'm going to put the ribbon on a large boom and literally place it like a drum overhead, a couple of feet over the guitar body aimed at the the guitar, so the mic hears what I hear when I play. Might work, might not. I will definitely need an assistant for this.

    The mics I use are a Royer R-121, with the back of the mic facing the instrument because the Royer design is unusual and the mic is brighter in the rear. I'll use a Neumann condenser in front.
    Thanks, Les - I'll keep that in mind the next time I mic up the acoustic.

    FYI, your idea of using the ribbon from the player's perspective is a good idea. I remember reading that they once did that on some Rush tracks, with mics placed by Neil Peart's ears to get the drum sounds more like the way he heard them. Can't remember which album or tracks. But a neat idea.
    Alan

    "I watched approximately 45 seconds of 'Rock Of Ages'. It was like getting punched in the soul." - Abby Krizner

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by alantig View Post
    FYI, your idea of using the ribbon from the player's perspective is a good idea.
    I wish I could take credit for the idea. A lot of engineers will mic up a guitar overhead or over the player's shoulder, with a variety of mic types. It's been done with ribbons that way for a long time, too.

    The problem is, if you're the player and the engineer, it's time-consuming to get the placement right. So being the lazy lout I am, and considering that my overhead mic boom is very heavy, I simply place the mic at the prescribed height, and move my chair around until it sounds good. An inch can make a big difference!

    (don't say it, we all know an inch makes a difference to our significant others, right?)
    If something is too hard to do, then it's not worth doing. You just stick that guitar in the closet next to your short-wave radio, your karate outfit and your unicycle and we'll go inside and watch TV.
    -- Homer J. Simpson

  16. #16
    Name Manglin' Putz alantig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LSchefman View Post
    I wish I could take credit for the idea. A lot of engineers will mic up a guitar overhead or over the player's shoulder, with a variety of mic types. It's been done with ribbons that way for a long time, too.

    The problem is, if you're the player and the engineer, it's time-consuming to get the placement right. So being the lazy lout I am, and considering that my overhead mic boom is very heavy, I simply place the mic at the prescribed height, and move my chair around until it sounds good. An inch can make a big difference!

    (don't say it, we all know an inch makes a difference to our significant others, right?)
    My stands aren't that heavy, and I still move the chair around!

    An inch? Oh, to give an inch!
    Alan

    "I watched approximately 45 seconds of 'Rock Of Ages'. It was like getting punched in the soul." - Abby Krizner

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by alantig View Post
    My stands aren't that heavy
    Good mics are often heavy. So a studio needs a mic stand that will hold them securely, not let the mic droop, etc. Most stands and booms are more suited to very lightweight mics, and will droop with a heavy one.

    And most are also cheap junk compared to a great mic stand.

    After many years of struggling with my "every studio has one" wheeled Atlas stand and boom, that was sturdy, but also had very cheaply made hardware so that every adjustment became a chore, I found the Latch Lake Mic King stands.

    The parts on the Atlas simply fail, one by one. First the gas shock in the stand (that usually goes after a couple of months with these 1950s designs), then the boom adjustment knob, and finally the part that you attach the mic to and the height adjustment collar after a few years. You'd think Atlas would be in a position to redesign their bread and butter stuff to compete with new offerings on the market, but no.

    There is also a new maker of smaller mic stands; Access makes something called the triad-orbit system, that is awesome, and for smaller miking chores, I'm going to replace all of my studio's inexpensive folding K&M and Atlas stands, too. The triad-orbits are that much better, and some models even have two adjustable arms on one pivot point. Very cool.

    Not only is the Latch Lake hardware world-class wonderful and easy to use, the guy who owns the company demos the stands by doing chin-ups on the fully extended boom. No matter which mic I put up, whether for a vocalist or instrumental track, everything is very solid. It has a heavy base, so it's awkward to move the stand once I've got the headphones on, the guitar in my hands, etc. But you're right Alan, it's actually hard to move any stand around once you're all set to record, unless you have someone helping.

    And as it's plain to see, I'm SO into hardware. LOL!
    Last edited by LSchefman; 10-11-2013 at 11:04 AM.
    If something is too hard to do, then it's not worth doing. You just stick that guitar in the closet next to your short-wave radio, your karate outfit and your unicycle and we'll go inside and watch TV.
    -- Homer J. Simpson

  18. #18
    Name Manglin' Putz alantig's Avatar
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    Wait - are you dissing my sawed-off broomstick/masking tape/wire hangar in a five-gallon bucket mic stand????
    Alan

    "I watched approximately 45 seconds of 'Rock Of Ages'. It was like getting punched in the soul." - Abby Krizner

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by alantig View Post
    Wait - are you dissing my sawed-off broomstick/masking tape/wire hangar in a five-gallon bucket mic stand????
    Nope. Just rationalizing spending $450 on mine.
    Last edited by LSchefman; 10-11-2013 at 07:19 PM.
    If something is too hard to do, then it's not worth doing. You just stick that guitar in the closet next to your short-wave radio, your karate outfit and your unicycle and we'll go inside and watch TV.
    -- Homer J. Simpson

  20. #20
    Name Manglin' Putz alantig's Avatar
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    Way back when, we were auditioning a female singer who suddenly didn't want to sing so she said one of us should sing. I said I would sing but she'd have to hold the mic because I didn't have a stand. So she did.

    We played "Wipe Out".
    Alan

    "I watched approximately 45 seconds of 'Rock Of Ages'. It was like getting punched in the soul." - Abby Krizner

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