I miss my old 12-string

March 2, 2008 7:12 PM

A fingerpicking tune I four-tracked way back when (1990).

Inspired by not_on_display's rummaging through his old four-track cassettes, I decided to do the same. I found some songs that I wrote and played in high school. I can't remember the name of this one, which is probably for the best considering how embarrassingly bad my titles were then.

At the time, I was into using alternate tunings and recording with the mic placed too close to make the sound as mammoth as possible.

posted by umbú (10 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

This is really cool, umbu. A very nice tune, and the recording sounds great. How difficult is it to record using tapes? I really like the recordings using them I've heard here on MeMu.
posted by Corduroy at 7:32 PM on March 2, 2008

Thanks, Corduroy. Four-track tape recorders are fun to play with mainly because limiting yourself can be a good thing creatively.

Recording to cassette is like playing back your stuff through a megaphone, almost--the frequency response is very squished, and certain mid-to-high frequencies dominate. It's comparable to doing visual art with an early-generation xerox machine. I had to play with the mix a fair amount after I digitized this recording so that it wouldn't have too much annoying hiss.

I say, if you can get an old four-track for cheap, buy it to have in your bag-of-tricks, but it's too unwieldy to use all the time, especially when their are DAW plug-ins out there that will digitally simulate the cassette frequency response on the computer.

That's my take on it. Four-tracks were the only way I could multitrack at home up until after college, so now that I have so much more control over the process on my laptop, I still get exciting about new capabilities. Of course, sometimes the results are over-the-top, and not in a good way, when you have too many choices.

An old reel-to-reel might be a better option. Some of those sound amazing.
posted by umbú at 7:24 AM on March 3, 2008

'excited', I mean, not 'exciting.'
posted by umbú at 7:26 AM on March 3, 2008

This is really cool, umbú. It came as a great listen after Corduroy's most recent one (I'm listening from the top down). Great texture and great sound overall.
posted by micayetoca at 8:26 AM on March 3, 2008

Thanks, all these guitar tracks are real nice.
posted by nicolin at 11:30 AM on March 3, 2008

This is so rich, like comfort food. I wish I had a 12-string!

Ahhh, the titles of songs written during sweet youth. I'm finding the process of rediscovering my own old songs is now causing me to build up steam toward recording new ones. It's also like seeing an album of old photos of yourself in which some, you look so cool, and others, you think, "I didn't really wear that outside, did I?"

Thanks, umbu! Post more!!
posted by not_on_display at 2:11 PM on March 3, 2008

This is beautiful. Man, I was at Guitar Center playing around with some 12-strings recently... they just sound so amazing. Such a full, vibrant sound.
posted by ORthey at 6:53 PM on March 3, 2008

ORthey, I know what you're saying about 12-string lust. I've always wanted the Taylor Leo Kottke signature model. It has such a huge sound. It was made for standard tuning on it to start a full step and a half below E.

The problem is that the Taylor is too expensive to be anything but a main instrument, and I don't always play fingerstyle anymore. So I'll just keep going to the store and playing it in the corner until I get crusty looks from the sales guys.
posted by umbú at 10:01 AM on March 4, 2008

Or, you can go to the store, play it in the corner and record yourself with one of these. Extra points if the hand-recorder was loaned from another department in the same store.
posted by micayetoca at 1:52 PM on March 4, 2008

Nice. I love the Zoom H4. The H2 sounds great as well, especially for the price. Someday I want one of those ridiculous high-end Sony flash recorders that look like a Sci-Fi weapon, though. A boy can dream.
posted by umbú at 8:25 PM on March 5, 2008

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