Session Guitar: Demos of Three Common Studio Microphone Varieties —Large Diaphragm Condenser, Dynamic and Ribbon

Hello again!

Well, here's my 50th blog post!

I thought I would keep this short and do something special. Since this is a "session guitar" column, I figured it would be fun to demonstrate using audio samples of some commonly used microphones sound like — things you might not have in your arsenal!

For this demo I chose a Shure SM57. This is a dynamic mic, one that's very common in the music world. I also chose a large diaphragm condenser mic; one of my favorites is the Neumann TLM193. Finally, I went with a ribbon mic, the Royer R-121.

I mic'd up a Marshall 1960B cabinet. The head used is a Line 6 DT25. The guitar is a Line 6 JTV-89.

Allow me at this time to state that this is all relative. The point here is not to concentrate on my guitar playing, or the actual guitar, amp or cabinet used! Please pay attention to the characteristics of each mic!

Certain things will be obvious. One mic may sound darker than the others. Another may sound a bit more brittle. One may be more balanced. I use these mics daily. I usually blend at least two mics to capture all of the sound I'm seeking. This is a common practice. I also move the microphones sometimes a great distance — maybe putting two up against the cab and one or more to capture the room sound.

However, due to the point of this column, no EQ was used; no compression, either. I could easily have dialed in a better sound out of each of these mics, but that would be a disservice to the whole point of this demonstration!

On the YouTube notes, I have included some reference times; this way you can jump around a bit easier.

Thanks for sticking with me for these 50 blog posts! I appreciate it more than you know.

Ron Zabrocki on Ron Zabrocki: I’m a session guitarist from New York, now living in Connecticut. I started playing at age 6, sight reading right off the bat. That’s how I was taught, so I just believed everyone started that way! I could pretty much sight read anything within a few years, and that aided me in becoming a session guy later in life. I took lessons from anyone I could and was fortunate enough to have some wonderful instructors, including John Scofield, Joe Pass and Alan DeMausse. I’ve played many jingle sessions, and even now I not only play them but have written a few. I’ve “ghosted” for a few people that shall remain nameless, but they get the credit and I got the money! I’ve played sessions in every style, from pop to jazz.

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