Lack of audio/video recordings with guitars for sale

Talk about things that are not necessarily related to music or the guitar.
wombosi
Amateur luthier
Posts: 138
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2018 10:00 pm
Location: Great Barrington, MA

Lack of audio/video recordings with guitars for sale

Post by wombosi » Wed Feb 06, 2019 12:45 am

This might be a mini rant, but:

I find it really crazy and frustrating that the vast majority of sellers of classical guitars on this forum, and everywhere else guitars are sold, do not provide a simple recording of the instrument they are selling.

I know they say that recordings are not reliable, that you have to take into account the acoustics of the room, the microphone used, the player's technique, old strings, etc... But it has to be better than nothing and at least let you know if you definitely don't want to buy it. Without the recording, there is absolutely no way to know anything about the sound except by vague association to the builder, and the typical sound descriptions are almost worse than nothing, as they are totally open to interpretation.

I just went through buying a guitar on 'the bay' with a trial period. The seller couldn't/wouldn't provide an audio sample. I was intrigued by the guitar and it was a good deal, so I took a chance. But I wound up returning it as it wasn't quite the sound I was after and it had some buzzing issues.
Now I'm out more $ than I care to admit with shipping, and the seller is stuck with an almost unsellable guitar again (it had been on the market for literally several years).

If I were selling a guitar and didn't already own a nice mic (Blue Yeti, only $100 or something, nothing compared to the cost of a guitar and shipping, insurance, etc...), I'd buy a high quality mic and make a raw, unedited recording myself. Even just playing open strings and chromatic scales, rest and free strokes. If for some reason I couldn't record it myself - arthritis, no nails, etc... I'd hire a player for an hour.
These are serious investments, lots of money for most people. And it seems like very little on the market is selling.
For sure the market is glutted, but the lack of recording I think is also a real factor.

I really appreciate it when I see high quality videos in these classifieds.

My two cents...

riffmeister
Posts: 4564
Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 9:15 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA, USA

Re: Lack of audio/video recordings with guitars for sale

Post by riffmeister » Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:14 am

When I get home, I will post recordings of my two Velazquez guitars listed in the emporium. Audio only.

REHII
Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2019 8:11 am
Location: Memphis Tn

Re: Lack of audio/video recordings with guitars for sale

Post by REHII » Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:19 am

I usually can’t rely on recordings.
If I can’t afford the cost of a trial offer I pass on that instrument.
Really I like to get such a good deal that I can live with a little range of tone.
But I am a collector not a performer.

wombosi
Amateur luthier
Posts: 138
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2018 10:00 pm
Location: Great Barrington, MA

Re: Lack of audio/video recordings with guitars for sale

Post by wombosi » Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:32 am

riffmeister wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:14 am
When I get home, I will post recordings of my two Velazquez guitars listed in the emporium. Audio only.
Nice! Your Velazquez will be way out my league, but I think that will be appreciated by many and help the sale.

User avatar
CarbonElitist
Posts: 430
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:51 pm

Re: Lack of audio/video recordings with guitars for sale

Post by CarbonElitist » Wed Feb 06, 2019 7:22 pm

I made a similar thread not too long ago and quite a few people got very uppity about it. But I agree, sound samples would be great. There are a whole bunch of arguments against them but they don't hold much water when it comes to a good recording. In fact, listening to recordings and reading reviews is how I made my decision to purchase my guitar.
"If at first you don't succeed, don't go skydiving."
"When I want expert advice, I look at the comment sections on DIY videos."

User avatar
Stephen Kenyon
Teacher
Posts: 2799
Joined: Sun Aug 04, 2013 11:26 am
Location: Dorchester, Dorset, England

Re: Lack of audio/video recordings with guitars for sale

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Wed Feb 06, 2019 9:14 pm

I would agree entirely. In fact I put in a lot of effort making videos to sell a guitar and in the end it wasn't necessary - you'll see them creep out in the next while. But I guess some folks just aren't comfortable with doing it
Simon Ambridge Series 40 (2005)
Trevor Semple Series 88 (1992)
Louis Panormo (1838)
Alexander Batov Baroque Guitar (2013)
Simon Ambridge 'Hauser' (2018)

User avatar
Ken Whisler
Luthier
Posts: 313
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 4:33 pm
Location: Parkville, MO

Re: Lack of audio/video recordings with guitars for sale

Post by Ken Whisler » Fri Feb 15, 2019 9:55 pm

I have a bit of experience with this.

Probably the first thing that I learned was that the quality/pedigree of the mic's and preamps is secondary to the treatment and/or acoustics of the room being recorded in. It is very possible to make a quality recording using a $100 mic and an off the shelf USB pre if mic is well placed and weird room deflections are accounted for, and no amount of money spent on mic's and pre's will make up for sound deflections and/or bad mic placement.

I have recorded samples in my living room before. Close mic'ing is necessary, and I still have to throw a blanket over the tv or those deflections will translate into an unpleasant warble effect on playback. I do have access to a cathedral locally. In that case, one is just as much recording the room as the guitar itself. In this case, putting some distance between the mics and guitar is desirable, but it takes some experimenting; both finding the sweet spot in the room and then getting a good mic placement.

Here's a recording I made in a controlled, studio environment with close micing and reverb added in post:

http://www.kenwhisler.com/wp-content/up ... rgigue.mp3

Here's a recording made with the mics @6 feet away in an old and reverberant midtown parish:

https://soundcloud.com/ken-whisler/ave-maria-1

I like both recordings, but they are different.

Here's a recording I slapped together in my basement with the same guitar......threw a mic in front, hit "record", added some reverb, done:

https://soundcloud.com/ken-whisler/o-sa ... ow-wounded

That recording is not bad, it achieved it's purpose in the time I had to work with. If I were using that same recording to help -sell- the guitar, I would have spent some time putting up sound treatment and placing the mic, and I'd have left the recording bone dry. Which I have done before.

Yeah, I am a proponent of providing sound samples, but if all one does is slap a mic in front and go, that's not good for either the luthier or the customer.
Ken Whisler, guitarist and luthier

DLQ
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Feb 21, 2016 3:11 am

Re: Lack of audio/video recordings with guitars for sale

Post by DLQ » Mon Feb 25, 2019 10:19 pm

I think even a quick, casual video with an iPhone is helpful, just with the onboard hardware. I don't necessarily try to determine if I like the sound of a guitar based on these types of recordings, but I think it reveals a certain amount about the kind of use the guitar was getting and also lends some credibility (or not) to any comments made by the seller of its sound or playability. Just to say I agree, anything that makes it more real is better than nothing and it's usually quick to do. I have to say though I wonder if in the past when I made videos of guitars I was selling, if my playing was a turn-off to interest in the guitar! :D

Return to “The Café”