Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thomas Arthur was visiting earlier this month and he took this photo about a mile east of here just before the Idaho border. His inspiration is infectious, and after a few days of hanging out with him, I found myself in the studio to start recording my gourd banjo, and came up with this version of "Cluck Old Hen".

I have a little AKG (C411) mic that is stuck with some odd black goop on the head of the banjo and I ran that into a simple ART tube preamp and set it up to give me just a little warm distortion at the high points. That signal is sent to an "acoustic" amplifier (I have a Centaur amp) to give it some volume. Then I put a ribbon mic near the amplifier and a large diaphragm condenser mic in front of the banjo itself to record the actual sound in stereo. I think I will try a Sennheiser 421 on the amplifier next time, but this gave me just the hint of an electric guitar sound.

The other parts I just played in. A shaker made out of a little can (with rice inside, I think--it was given to me by a student and I've never opened it up, but it has a wonderful sound), my djembe (made by Jim Trivelpiece, who took most of the photos on my recent CDs), piano, and the acoustic bass sound on my Kurzweil.