Bach’s Prelude No.1 For Cello ( Guitar Cover )

Recording and Mixing

bach prelude no1 guitar coverRecently I had to make a mono recording of an instrument for my study. The goal was to pick a good microphone and microphone position to make the best recording of the sound source and the room around it. I selected the DPA 4090 and the MXL 2006. The DPA 4090 is an omnidirectional condenser microphone which means that sound is recorded equally on every point on a circle around the mic.  The sound of the DPA is very natural whereas the MXL 2006, a large diaphragm condenser microphone, is characteristic. Due to the specific mechanism of transforming sound waves into alternating current some frequencies are boosted, and others are weakened.Here you can hear the sound of the different microphones with the DPA first.

I placed the two mics 70 cm apart and 30 cm away from my guitar. Despite of assignment to make a mono recording I used both recordings because they add up nicely. I tried to reproduce the positioning of the mics in my mix by panning. To keep it natural I added no reverb, compression or whatsoever. Just normalization and a bit of noise reduction.

The Practicing Process

I challenged myself to learn a song in two weeks and to document my playing in a video. Bach’s prelude no. 1 has been stuck in my head for a while and I attempted to learn it anyway, so why not now. I practiced nearly every day for 30 minutes. First by tabs with a metronome on every quarter note. Then with a metronome between every quarter note. You tell, “one, click two, click three, click four, click“. The thing is, that you have to know exactly where all the notes have to be place rhythmically. Your one is in your head and not on a click so you can’t orient so easily. If you make a mistake, you are out and that makes you more concentrated. Further you can also practice with a click on every half note. You have a longer gap between the clicks which means you have to hold the tempo and not the metronome.

After a while I stopped playing by metronome because in classical music there is no steady beat. It’s been sad that Mozart once played by a metronome and angrily threw away after a few minutes. I still have my metronome but I wanted to make my playing flowing and not beating. In classical music you have crescendo and de-crescendo, piano and forte, largo and allegro and not beats per minute. Additionally, I also started to play the song by head. That kind of messed it up for a while. I wanted it to flow but had to stop often to come up with the correct notes. That didn’t work. In the end I kept the tabs in my field of vision while recording, just to be on the safe side. I am still not satisfied with my expression and the flow of my phrases. Perhaps it is left or right hand technique or the lack of skill to let my insights in classical music affect my playing. If there is a classical guitar geek out there who knows how the ball rolls in classical guitar playing send me an email and give some advice. I am eager to learn.

The Result

I made a cut at two-thirds of the track to merge the two best takes I made. Hope you don’t mind.

Download the tabs here:

Download tabs (PDF)

Download tabs (GP5)

Thanks to Colin van der Lei who helped me recording and editing. He is a talented film score composer. Visit his website:


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