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Thread: Any pointers on Tambourine recording?

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    Tim Julian's Avatar
    Tim Julian is offline Gold Club Member (1000+ posts)
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    Default Any pointers on Tambourine recording?

    Hi all,

    I have been doing this recording thing for a few years with good results on things - the only thing that has eluded me is a nice tambourine sound. I usually end up with them sounding "ssshhhicckkky" or 'thumpy' or a combination of both. I've tried a few different mics and placements but still have to happen on the right one. Mics have included SM81, AKG C4000B, SM57, Rode NT1000(bad choice I think...) and an AKG C430. That pretty much exhausts the mic cupboard, so I must be doing something intrinsically wrong. Any pointers anyone?

    Thanks

    Tim Julian
    The Colour Field Recording Studio
    www.fragilecolours.com

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    You know, you should also check out a number of different tambourines....
    Dave Martin
    Nashville, TN
    Java Jive Studio

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    Tim Julian's Avatar
    Tim Julian is offline Gold Club Member (1000+ posts)
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    Yes, I did try some different tambourines - some bright ones and some dark ones, all reasonably expensive ones.

    Tim

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    Guys...

    Mics and preamps have very little to do with obtaining a fantastic tambourine sound. It's the player that matters above all else. If the tambourine player does not know how to romance the music out of his or her instrument, all is lost.

    Read this, and be enlightened...

    http://www.theonion.com/content/node/33224
    Lee Blaske
    Excelsior, MN
    http://www.reverbnation.com/leeblaske

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    Tim Julian's Avatar
    Tim Julian is offline Gold Club Member (1000+ posts)
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    Default Romancing the Tambourine...

    Hi Lee,

    I've just read about romancing the tambourine. I've been married for 17 years, faithfully, and now here is an exhortation to begin flirting, no, becoming romantically entangled with a percussion instrument. I suppose if I keep the studio door locked and the curtains drawn...

    Seriously, I see the point, and I like the mans manic devotion to his instrument.

    Cheers,

    Tim

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Julian View Post
    Yes, I did try some different tambourines - some bright ones and some dark ones, all reasonably expensive ones.

    Tim

    Perhaps that's the problem When I recorded Jack Ashford ( the Motown guy who was in "Standing In The Shadows Of Motown"), he brought a cheap, non-tunable tambourine with him. And he sounded fabulous.
    Dave Martin
    Nashville, TN
    Java Jive Studio

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Julian View Post
    Hi all,

    I have been doing this recording thing for a few years with good results on things - the only thing that has eluded me is a nice tambourine sound. I usually end up with them sounding "ssshhhicckkky" or 'thumpy' or a combination of both. I've tried a few different mics and placements but still have to happen on the right one. Mics have included SM81, AKG C4000B, SM57, Rode NT1000(bad choice I think...) and an AKG C430. That pretty much exhausts the mic cupboard, so I must be doing something intrinsically wrong. Any pointers anyone?
    I used to have exactly the kind of problem you're talking about--"sshicckkky" hits the nail on the head.

    It turned out that the main problem was I was working too close to the mic. Moving back was the magic trick for me--I don't use a tape measure, but I think I'm usually at least 3 feet back, probably more like 4. I'm still not always thrilled with the sounds I get, but that nasty, peaky, plasticky sound is gone.

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    Scott Fraser is offline Gold Club Member (1000+ posts)
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    It's one of the few things I think the AKG C414B-ULS is really good on.

    Scott Fraser

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    I have some expensive tambourines, but one of the best tambourine tracks I ever got was with a cheap (free) tambourine that had "Laurie" written on the (non-tunable) head in glitter -- it was a Sweet 16 souvenir.

    tambourines and snares and the like are essentially focused noise, so 'quality' has a varied meaning in that context.


    I agree the AKG 414 is a good choice. Some distance from the mic is important.

    I liked that Onion article. Too many people approach the tambourine in a desultory way. Maybe its the nature of the instrument or maybe it's just a matter of 'fighting the tendency' but it almost seems as if you need to approach the tambourine with a greater intensity than most instruments.

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    I'll throw a vote in for more distance from mic. Let the air soften the sizzles and with enough distance you should get away from the thumps too. Be aware if you're gonna be close that the physical movement of a tambourine itself can create quite the breeze, and this breeze can be a problem for some mics. Also being too close can be a problem if the player is phycially moving the location of the tambourine over a distance which the mic pick-up pattern signicantly changes frequency pick-up. If the player swings the tamb horizontally you may wanna point the mic along a vertical axis, ie pointing down from above.

    my 2 cents.

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