Using your Acoustic-Electric as a resonating Mic

I bought a game called Rocksmith a few months back, I didn’t crack it open until a few days ago, was thinking it was going to be like Guitar Hero or Rockband - something fun to help me blow off steam between work, music etc. Well, I’m not as enamored with the game as I am with the cable. I own an Ibanez acoustic-electric “jack strap” and while I was thumping the body of the guitar, i-sound recorder was picking up the thumps - I played them back to see how high/low the resonation was, decent pickup. That got me thinking, out of all the equipment I have, garbage, stripped, parts and whatnot; I don’t have a mic. I’d thought about buying one but, life, money, work etc., keep interfering.

So, I hefted up my guitar, hit record and started making noises into the porthole in the body of the guitar - and in the course of making various bizarre noises that my neighbors will interpret as me losing my marbles; between my voice, the body of the guitar and the strings resonance - I was getting some good .wav samples out of it. That got me going again, I have a didjeridoo that I hadn’t taken samples from yet… picks up the resonance of the body & undertones of the steel strings (very subtle).

Now, if for some reason, you’re in a pickle like me and can’t nab a mic due to finances (or your significant other has threatened you with pain/death if you get anymore equipment) but you DO have an acoustic electric guitar with a 1/4" jack to USB cable - you now have a resonating “frequency” mic.

The important part of getting all this to work is to go into your sound settings and make certain that your OS’s audio hardware recognizes the cable - if it’s Win7, it will identify the cable and automatically (at least for me) set it as a default “microphone”. Go figure. :dribble:

I do not fully understand what you write here, but you gave me an excellent idea - use an optional microphone on the body of the guitar as an additional resonator strings in sitar. I’ve done a video on my channel how to use Renoise as a sitar emulator.

I still need to more think about how to use it in my tracks.Thanks for idea!!)

I’ll post a few stills later (on a time crunch for work) - I will say this, the resonating effect of the strings overlaps any vocals I’ve attempted with a high pitch hum, making the samples ridiculously “dirty” and not in a good way; using the didjeridoo though, the hard, deep resonance, covers up the subtle tone of the strings. I may just make a sample pack out of the didjeridoo takes, once I’ve verified their levels etc.

I really, really dig what you’ve done here, creating the sitar tones!

If you have tiny things that produces sound, like crappy handheld video games and such, then you can salvage the piezo element, connect it to a jack and tape it on the body of the guitar and it will pick up sound very good. It gives a whole new dimension to the tone of the guitar.

Thank you, somewhere I had such a piezo element, it will be necessary to do :rolleyes:

Yes, piezos are great. They don’t pick up so much noise and are dirt cheap.
However, they have an extremely limited frequency range (not always a bad thing)

I’ve experimented with different sizes on my kalimba (thumb piano). IMHO, recordings sound better with such an instrument when using piezo mics.

A quick google search revealed this site:

For some it’s a ridiculous idea and I understand where the “what the hell is he doing again?!” comes into play but, in lieu of an actual mic; I did hold the guitar up to my face and belt phrases into the porthole, while watching my audio recording meters spike depending on the amount of reverberation it was able to pick up - I tried my best Nathan Explosion “Coffee!” impression and it does respond to lower/louder resonance than say, if I was talking in my normal volume voice. After 8 minutes of recording, I thought I could taste blood at the back of my throat. :yeah:

After that, I grabbed my didjeridoo and the low reverberations sealed the deal. I made 10 didjeridoo samples and they all came out relatively well, without much tweaking, though I am going to go back over and check all the levels again before I upload a didj sample pack. The vocal samples - not so much, just too dirty from the string interference/resonance. I might be able to eek out some of the string interference later.

You could try tuning your acoustic guitar to an open tuning so that the strings resonate in harmony with each other.
It might take experimenting with the tunings to match the tone of what you’re speaking/singing, but this might give less dirty results?

Good idea!

Or you can make a new microphone out of some wire, a matchbox and a pencil:

Thanks for the idea sFox ;)

I think I’m due to swap strings, it’s been a few months, do some intonation and bridge work etc; that’ll give me the opportunity to test out the internal acoustics of the body without the strings and do as you suggested with some open tuning. :yeah: