This article continues the story of my pursuit of the best possible sound that can be achieved in recording classical guitar at home. Like the last time, I’ve also made a comparison video.
Quick recap: In the first part of the story, Microphones for Guitar (link), I compared different types of microphones ranging from several condenser mics to an active ribbon microphone. I arrived at the conclusion that a ribbon mic was clearly the best for my purposes, and very probably worth looking into, if you’re recording your classical guitar at home. You should check that first article out, if you haven’t already—at least see the videos!
But there were some questions left over for this second part:
As good as my sE Electronics VR2 Voodoo ribbon microphone is, maybe there is something better for me out there?
Is quality dependent on price in ribbon microphones? Can a relatively cheap ribbon mic be any good?
How could I gain the ability to record in stereo—I was not ready to pay the new asking price for another sE VR2 (900€) just to be able to record in stereo.
Maybe I could get another, cheaper ribbon microphone to complement the one I already had?
Reading James Herriot’s wonderful stories about his life as a vet, I came across an interesting phrase, hybrid vigor. In short, hybrid vigor means “the improved…quality in a hybrid offspring (Wikipedia)“. For example, a mixed breed dog is usually healthier than purebred dogs. But how does all this relate to music?
Let’s face it: guitarists often play out of tune. There are many reasons for this, from forgetful or uninformed players to bad strings and, unfortunately, faulty guitars. I’ve learned about these things the hard way; I’ve been uninformed myself, I’ve had plenty of bad strings and also a bad guitar or two!
I’m not sure if anyone’s noticed, but I keep fiddling with every aspect of newcenturyguitar.com to make this site better.
Most of the work is behind the scenes, but this morning, I rewrote the page About me and music. I realized that I had failed to include some key bits of info, like my guitar teachers. I had in fact left the names out on purpose, mistaking the usual mention of past teachers is resumes as bragging, when in fact it is a form of thanking your teachers for their contribution to your growth.
I also included a bit about my parents. I cannot adequately thank them, of course, not anymore; but a mention of them is very necessary, to me especially.
It’s fiendishly difficult to engage website visitors in a conversation, as I’ve found out, or to get any kind of direct feedback. It would be extremely helpful, indeed essential, for the betterment of newcenturyguitar. So, if you read this, please, comment or send a message:
I’ll have to write this up properly sometime, but it’s sunday night. I’ll just say that starting to make videos has driven home some facts that have, until now, remained in the background in my thoughts.
One is how difficult it can be to record classical guitar at home and get an acceptable sound. Another is the realization that sound really is paramount in a video like this.
Few of us have good sounding halls in our homes, I suppose. And guitar is an instrument that absolutely would need one: I guess that’s why many people who post their videos on YouTube use some sort of artificial reverb in them. The dry, unaltered sound just does not sound right. Continue reading But does it sound right?→
Recently, I’ve been transitioning from paper to electronic sheet music.
The compositions on this site are obviously electronic PDFs, and I of course use them when I shoot videos for YouTube, but that’s not all. It’s also very handy to have all my teaching material available to me all the time on my tablet, wherever I am. For example, when a guitar student forgets to bring his or her sheet music to a lesson (not an uncommon occurrence), that doesn’t cause a problem. The lesson can go on normally, because I’ve got the necessary sheet music with me.
The most natural way to read PDF sheet music is a tablet computer, and so I need to have a device to hold my tablet. Fortunately, many others have adapted to this new technology before me, and there are many kinds of tablet holders available for me to choose from. Continue reading Review: K&M Tablet holders→
Many classical guitar players shun TABs – except when it comes to lute music. On the other hand, many guitarists find it much easier to read TAB than normal notation.
I guess I’m in the former camp, because I started with notation in the beginning and also because I teach classical guitar. That’s probably why all the compositions on newcenturyguitar.com are currently only available in normal notation, not TAB.
I’m a bit ambivalent on TABs, to be honest. If it makes it easier for someone to get into playing guitar, I’m all for it, how could I not be? I know that it can be difficult enough as it is to learn a complex new skill, without any further complication caused by the necessity of learning to read a cryptic code such as musical notation. Continue reading How do you feel about TABs?→
The first one of the new educational compositions is now online! You can find out more about it on its own page, Desert Snow. Starting with this one, I’ll try to make a video of each new piece, and, time permitting, the old ones, too.
Another new composition, Paper Plane, is now also on YouTube.
By the way, the name of this post is a quote – do you recognize where it is from? 🙂
In addition to the new compositions that I already wrote a little bit about, I also updated the website logo on the front page and my About Me page. I decided to include a bit more about my musical past – things that might seem a bit baffling to most readers.
I really did play the bass drum in a marching band! It was an experience, I can tell you. In Finland, we have conscription, a mandatory military service, during which I served in a Finnish Navy band. There were – maybe surprisingly – quite a few gigs there for a guitarist, but sometimes I had to join the full band, and the guitar doesn’t really fit in marching band music – so I had to grab a bass drum instead 🙂