Recording Ukulele

Recording Your Ukulele

If you’ve been digging around this website you’ll know that I tinker around recording my ukulele now and again. At the moment I’m using trial and error on all the devices that I own and hoping that I’ll land on a winner.

EDIT: I’ve since bought a Blue Snowball Ice microphone that I’m using to record with

The trusty old iPhone

I’m not much of a gear head really, I don’t always feel like I need the best kit and to be honest that’s probably a good thing as I don’t have the money to burn. That doesn’t mean that I want to get the best out of my kit though. To date my old iPhone 4 tends to be my most used device. I’ve tried all my digital cameras (Nikon, Fuji and Samsung) and also using the built in camera on my mac. The results were pretty mixed and the iPhone seems to be the all round winner in terms of sound and video quality combined.

iPhone issues

The only real issue that I have with the iPhone at the moment is that when I’m recording videos it has to be quite far away from me to fit everything in and it doesn’t pick up the audio too well. I then have to take the video file and boost the sound in iMovie. It’s a bit of a pain in the ass to be honest. I even tried recording the audio and video separately but for some reason it seems to go out of sync towards the end by about half a second in editing.

I recently exchanged emails with luthier Rob Collins of Tin Guitar in Hebden Bridge after looking at some of his fantastic custom built ukes. I like the sound quality on his mp3 demos that he makes for his ukes. Rob told me that he uses a Tascam DR-05 to record the demos which cost around £75. It definitely does a good job of recording but it’s an audio only device and would leave me still having issues with getting the audio synced.

I spotted this post on Uke4U where 5 ukulele bloggers talk about their recording set up. There’s quite a lot of useful information in there although most of it goes way over my head – I just want the simplest possible solution. Pretty similar to John Bianchi (The Ukaholic) who just uses an iPhone like I currently do.

Still looking for a solution

So I guess you could say I haven’t found the solution yet. When I use one of my existing cameras the sound is never quite there and when I try and record the sound separately it never seems to edit quite right. Please drop me an email in the comments if you think you’ve got the answer!

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4 thoughts on “Recording Your Ukulele

  1. So that’s what you’re doing on Christmas, thinking about ukulele recording. Well, why not ?
    Thanks for the backlink. You might give the Tascam iM2 a try ( I think it’s shown in the picture on top). I used it once and was surprised by the good sound quality.
    http://tascam.com/product/im2/
    I’m still happy with my Zoom Q3HD. Of course you need enough light for a good video ( same with the iphone ).
    Best regards
    FriendlyFred ( uke4u.com ).

    1. Hi Fred, thanks for the comment. Yep that’s a pretty good assessment of my Christmas – a lot of ukulele!

      No worries at all, I thought it was a great article – packed full of good tips.

      I have to admit, the Zoom appeals to me because it’s self contained where the Tascam leaves me with that little bit more editing (and I’m lazy). I still haven’t decided which way to go yet but I hope to get something soon.

  2. you may want to check out iRig, there are a couple of models that let you plug a real microphone/XLR into your phone.

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