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How do you guys reduce acoustic guitar pick noise?


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I would like to do this on an M20d channel where I am using my Martin D-28 with under saddle piezos. There is no preamp onboard the guitar so I have had to do some pretty extreme EQing to get rid of the boominess of the raw piezos, but I am overall satisfied with that aspect.

 

But I would like to reduce the pick scraping noise in my strumming. I am experimenting with Dynamic EQ and the De-Esser but so far I'm not satisfied. Any hints?

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Initial instinct is that your two goals are fighting each other; by reducing the boominess you're freeing the frequency space for the pick noise to shine through.  If you really want to reduce the pick noise now, you'd want another set of EQs.  Maybe use the dynamic EQs in there to help?

 

What is the situation?  live on-stage with guitarist moving around, or static position?  If guitar is in a fairly static position, i'd recommend a mix of pickups for low-end and a mic pointed a bit up the neck for string brightness, mixing the two together.  

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Situation is live on a cramped stage but not static, and no practical way to mic the guitar. Direct to the M20d is all I've got to work with.

 

Can anyone suggest how to set the dynamic EQ or the De-Esser?

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Rather than trying to undo what's already been done, go to the source...the pick itself. Something with a more rounded tip will generally give a more muted attack. Experiment with different materials, thicknesses, etc...there are so many kinds of picks out there, it's almost comical.

 

You can probably find one made from Dodo feathers and unicorn hide that will give you the softest pick attack known to man...;). Seriously though, I use polished stone picks, in a variety of thicknesses. Some with very rounded bevels, others thinner and sharper. The material is all the same, but the way they're shaped makes a huge difference in the attack. It's readily obvious, even playing un-amplified. Switching to a different pick might be all you need.

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  • 2 months later...

I agree that the pick could play a role. Something with a smooth texture (not nylon) always seems to help me. Also, try using more mids in your EQ. I like to have a lot more mids that treble or bass. But this can be touchy with acoustic guitar. It's much less forgiving than an electric guitar. Those are just the things that I do to try and get a more warm and buttery tone. 

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The Blue Chip picks are expensive, but sound great and are very smooth with almost zero 'pick click'. A lower cost alternative is the Dunlop 'PRIMETONE' range.

 

Coated strings too can help. I agree with addressing this at source: picks, strings, technique.

 

If you have a passive under saddle in your D-28, I would highly recommend feeding this into a high quality active DI with at least a 1M input impedance and high headroom before sending to the M20D. That will also help -  a lot - and reduce the heavy EQ currently needed.

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