F holes and mics

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Steve Killingsworth, Oct 15, 2003.

  1. I have been wondering about something and hope someone can shed some light on it. I have noticed that at every bluegrass festival I play, the sound man always mics the left F-hole of my bass--not just mine but virtually every other one as well. Is there a particular reason for this or is it just a quirky thing?
  2. JJBluegrasser

    JJBluegrasser Wannabe Snazzy Dresser

    Apr 17, 2003
    USA, Raleigh, NC
    I think it is just a kwirk...I've seen it everywhere I've been as well (bluegrass). Most of them also take more of the treble and mids out and make your bass boom until you straighten it out.

    My solution...learn to play louder. Mike Bub from Del and the boys plays into the single (or double) mike just like the rest of the band...doing that in all situations is my goal one day... Then the soundman will never be my nemesis again:)

  3. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    I do a variation of this sometimes (usually smaller gigs where we don't have a sound person). I play through my Contra and turn it up just enough to get my bass into the single condenser mic. When my wife runs sound for us, I'll send a line to the board also, but she rarely has to use much of the direct signal. The little added volume from the amp is enough most of the time and it sounds much more natural.
  4. Mic-ing hte f hole can be a recipe for boominess no matter what the mic and rig. My local luthier tells me his professional clients mic with mics suspended on elastic on a line between the tail piece and the fingerboard. My SD Systems LCL 100 mic designed for bass clips to the middle of the bridge, the mic picking up from the table just ahead of the bridge. Taking sound from the table does seem to give the best results. I've never seen pro jazz players using elsatic but have seen them use high end mics on goosenecks positioned at various points. One maker (can't remember which) gave the obvious advice that the best positioning will only be found by experimenting. My set-up at present doesn't allow this much but works fine. However, a set up that does has to be ideal.
  5. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    Mic'ing at the f-hole is the best way to get maximum volume with minimal feedback and bleed. Of course the tone will be crap but you will get a big booming sound of some sort.

    I use an AMT mic with the tailpiece gooseneck and I have it mounted over the table of the bass about 1/2" above, centered on the bass between the end of the fingerboard and the bridge. Marty Paglione, the designer of the AMT mic once told me that the AMT ads that show the mic capsule positioned over the f-hole were setup by some marketing guy and that he would never recommend that if you want to get a natural reproduction.

    I think a lot of sound people figure that the f-hole is where all the sound is coming out so that's the best place to capture it.
  6. Here's a solution that works well for me. I've heard recordings using a similar set up and they've always sounded great:


    Of course YMMV -

    - Wil
  7. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    I tried that using a Rode NT3 and also with a Oktava MC-10. The major problem I found was that it's just too open to bleed and feedback.
  8. The rubber band mount reminded me of one that I used when I was playing in the showroom at the old KC Playboy Club in the late 1960s. It is simply a small plywood plate with a mic holder attached to it. The back is foam rubber and a elastic cord wraped around the tailpiece. I haven't used it in years, but it did work well since you could point the mic up through the middle strings. There is nothing touching the bridge or the top to dampen the sound of the bass. I dug it out to show you.
  9. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    I always thought that they miced the left side so the mic would be more out of the way of your feet.
  10. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    I use the gooseneck clip mounted Audio Technica ATM35 and have gotten good results with it. It comes stock with a directional microphone element which can be easily replaced with others which include a unidirectional one which I use when I use the mic for recording things other than my bass.

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