For this original piece, I planned to give my new microphone a serious workout. It’s a KSM137 pencil condenser with a bright quality and plenty of detail. My excitement from Long & McQuade’s Attic Sale where I found this microphone for half-price carried through to this recording session, and I was determined to give it the gears. We placed the new microphone on Jarrett’s ride cymbal for its first true test.
We tracked the rhythm section: Jarrett’s cajon drum with percussions and my acoustic guitar. I was fortunate to use my father’s beautiful Taylor 813-CE, known for its richness and extreme playability. It felt surreal to play this axe after so much time on my woody Seagull which is even tougher on my fingers than my 10-year-old Jazz Bass. No pain, no gain.
Once we had ‘The Take” after about 4 passes, we tore down to prepare for recording viola. Thomas found an unusual spot in the hallway where the sound seemed to carry a lot better than the room in which we had recorded the drums, so I moved the portable recording rig to his ‘sweet spot’ and we prepped for tracking.
We setup the KSM137 alongside the trusty TLM103 to have a quick microphone shootout. Very quickly, Thomas decided he preferred “Option A” in the double-blind test: the new mic! I was quite thrilled to discover that this $170 mic could out-class a workhorse that goes for $1,200. The brightness of the KSM137 gave it more excitement, so I moved the TLM103 up the staircase to use as an ‘ambient’ mic.
After tracking the viola parts, Jarrett pulled out his secret weapon: the WaveDrum. It contains all kinds of percussive instruments and ambient swells, perfect for enhancing our acoustic-only bed tracks. By the time we compiled all of Jarrett’s auxiliary concepts, all that was needed was the cherry on top: I pulled out my father’s Precision Bass, and recorded over the bridge section and final chorus.