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Oh Holy Night

Posted by Kevin McCabe on Monday, December 10, 2012

I recorded a version of Oh Holy night, and tried some new things in terms of both arranging and recording.

In terms of arranging, I had an inspiration to rewind the clock and think what it might be like to be sitting around a fire with a group of musician friends the night that Jesus was born. I looked up the types of instruments that were around in those days, and found that they had cymbols, drums, zithars, harps, guitars (played with plectrums), a type of bagpipe that I imagine sounded like an oboe, and voice to mention a few ( I wanted to use these types of instruments as a starting point to make an arrangement that was somewhat rooted in that period. The banjo is a type of zithar, and origniated in Africa, so I put that in the mix as well. Perhaps a traveler from a far was visiting like the wise men :-)

In terms of recording, I tried some new things. I used a stereo mic pair: one condenser, and one dynamic. I placed the microphones right next to my ears, figuring that that was the location I hear when I'm playing and probably was the sound I like. This placement also has the added benifit of putting my head in between the two mics, which applies a natural stereo filter to each signal. I also decided to remove the resonator to allow the sound to be less directional. In addition, I changed all the strings and switched from a 26 gauge Ernie Ball on the C string to a 24 gauge Elixer. I tightened the head about an 1/8 of a turn, and reset the bridge location for intonation. I tilted the bridge back slightly toward the tailpiece to make sure all the strings were seated on the leading edge of the bridge, and adjusted all the tension arms on the bridge to their maximum setting.

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