Take It to the Bridge
Another place only lav mics can go is beneath bridge hardware. For Ex. 3 I slid the mic under the metal hardware of the Trini’s tailpiece, securing it with tape (Photo 4). (Use painter’s tape, which leaves no sticky residue.)
Yow—that vibrating metal is super-bright! Yet it sounds cool combined with two amp simulators panned left and right. The right-channel amp has delay, also panned right, while the other amp is dry. The mic sound is panned center, but its delay is panned hard left, opposite the amp delay. It’s a compelling sonic soup.
A Bigsby tailpiece sounds quite different. For Ex. 4 I switched to a homemade Bigsby-equipped “parts” guitar, aiming the mic toward the strings behind the tension bar (Photo 5).
Here the mic tone meshes nicely with a pawnshop combo simulation. I’ve processed the amp tone with stereo chorus/vibrato (from Universal Audio’s Boss CE-1 plug-in) for a fun “rubber band” tone. The mic adds a hard percussive edge to a rather soft amp sound.
Nuts to You
For Ex. 5 I inserted the lav mic under the strings behind the nut (Photo 6). It was a tight fit on this guitar—some strings lightly touch the mic, creating a hard thwap that reminds me of an aggressively plucked upright bass (minus any actual bass frequencies).
For the composite sound, I sent the mic signal to a short plate reverb, choosing the pre-fader send option so the reverb overshadows the dry signal. The amp tone is warm and dry. Result: a clip-clopping, horse’s hooves effect. Both mic and amp are panned dead center, but the mic’s reverb provides stereo animation. Only the highest highs get reverb—another surreal effect.
Sounds like these aren’t for all occasions—god forbid! But the extended treble and snappy attack of mic tones sometimes add welcome edge, animation, and just plain weirdness. These composite sounds won’t disappear in a mix—or a listener’s memory.