I recorded something using very high gain and my guitar makes these high-pitched squeaks when I shift chord shapes. Is there a way I can edit out this very detailed sound from the wave file?
By “squeaks” do you mean feedback? Or finger noise?
Either way, the answer is really no, unless you can zoom in and use the volume evolution bit by bit - but then you’ll lose any good noises at the muted points, e.g., you might lose amp reverb tails.
Finger squeak is very difficult to edit and you cannot remove it entirely, neither should you remove it entirely. It gives a great “live” feel to a recording in my opinion.
However, if it is really overpowering you can reduce the level of the squeak by zooming in and reducing the amplitude of the offending part with volume evolutions. Be aware this can be a very time consuming procedure.
If you have a lot of trouble with finger squeak, I can recommend those strings which are Teflon coated (Nanowebs, I think) They don’t eliminate it, but they do reduce it.
In 1973 a studio cat from Muscle Shoals gave me a can of Finger-Ease, a spray on guitar string lubricant. A can has been in my guit-case ever since, even though I finally got good enough at damping the strings that I don’t use it as much; but it is still there for acoustic parts with lots of position changes. There is another product called Fast-Fret, which uses a cloth stick as an applicator, and it works fine too.
On the other hand, these products add a very small amount of mass to the string, and if you have really great ears, you may need to adjust your intonation a little. I have heard some say they can hear the difference, but I can’t hear it…
'til next time;
Finger ease is great stuff. Not that it’ll turn you into Joa Satriani or anything. At least not me.
eating fried chicken before playing will reduce string squeaking. just remember to wipe the ol axe down afterwards, the grease build up will start to smell!
Well Jaco used to do it anyways.
Otherwise use Fingerease!
Could you not use a parametric eq with a tight Q setting around the frequency of the squeaks? To determine the frequency required, apply boost and sweep until the squeaks get really loud, then change the boost for cut and adjust the q setting to minimise squeaks whilst not changing the tone of the guitar.
Just a thought
(jmccullo @ Jun. 16 2007,11:11)
Just a thought
Yikes that went right over my head.
Basically it’s just putting EQ cut on a really small frequency band where the finger noise occurs. You could use a notch filter or a parametric eq for this, or you could play about with the standard n-track eq to just cut a very small frequency range.
See descriptions of a notch filter here and of a parametric eq here and a general eq discussion here.
Best of luck
An easier way to do it would be to practice lifing your fingers off the strings.
It’s worth a try, but the problem with EQing it out is that you will probably lose desirable tone as well.
You can’t eq out finger squeak, it’s nowhere near a pure tone, there are frequencies all over the place.
I know, I’ve tried
The intro to this song had massive finger squeak. I tried all sorts and eventually edited it in cool edit pro, selecting the peak of the squeak waveform and reducing it by 6dB.
Out Of Reach
Isn’t there a WD40 plugin somewhere?
An alternate solution I am considering for both guitar and bass is to change strings - I have heard good things about Elixir Strings. This is not only to get rid of string noise, but also to relieve the strain on my fingers…
Give 'em a try. I’m personally not a fan. The coating on the Polyweb type was so thick it felt like my strings were made of soap. These are actually the ones that will reduce string squeak the most and be easiest on your fingers. The Nanoweb felt better, but still felt a little artificial to me.
I tried a few different coated string brands and thought the D’Addario felt the best, but their coating is less effective in terms of preserving the string since only the winding wire is coated. Elixir wraps the entire string. Only the wound strings are wrapped for all brands.
They will make your strings last longer. The tone of two-day-old strings will be preserved for a couple of weeks. If you use a pick you will eventually wear some of the coating away and the strings will get “furry.” This will happen sooner or later depending on how hard you pick.
I don’t mean to be a jerk by saying this but the real solution to string squeak an finger fatigue is to practice more - and practice more effectively. I don’t mean jamming or noodling in front of the TV. It’s deliberately and carefully drilling your playing technique.
ETA: Oh yeah, make sure your guitar is set up properly! Low action and proper neck relief will help a great deal with both of these issues.
The pop and click noise removal function in Adobe Audition (formerly Cool Edit Pro) does a decent job on some finger noise, if each squeak is carefully selected and you get really lucky. Other than that it’s better to retrack unfortunately. As some have mentioned a few squeaks in the right places can add a bit of life to a take.
Also, remember that adding reverb (and other effects) can really exacerbate that finger noise.
I’ve spent years practicing lifting my fingers off the string as I slide up and down the fret so that I minimize it. I hate the sound of string squeek, it’s like finger nails on a blackboard.
Other than getting the squeak out to begin with (using finger-ease, coated strings, and better technique), I think the best solution is surgical application of a narrow filter.
n-Track has parametric EQ built in, just bring up the EQ for the track.
First, make a backup of the whole wave file. It’s easier to do this in Windows than in n-Track.
Using n-Track’s looping tool (the play mode tool button, where you select a time range on the timeline and hit play and it repeats) to play an offending section repeatedly. Try to ignore the bleeps at the egdes – do this first on the longest and worst squeak in the track.
While it’s playing look at the frequency spectrum display (the wavy line in the EQ). Look for peaks that stick out corresponding to the finger squeak. Grab the middle dot (midrange) in the EQ and drag it to that place in the frequency. Drag it up and down and listen to whether this is really the squeak. If not, keep looking – drag the dot up and slide it left and right until the squeak gets really bad. (This is the “boost and sweep” technique mentioned above.)
When you find the right spot, drag it down below the middle line (the “unity gain” line). Now adjust the “Bandwidth” parameter knob, which makes the filter narrower or wider. Play with that to get the best sound, and then move the dot up and down to get the best sound, and then back to the Bandwidth knob, etc. until it sounds as good as you can get it. Assuming it’s a relatively short squeak, of course it won’t sound great. Remember you’re trying to minimize a problem, not make it sound like perfect music.
OK, once you have the EQ set, select the squeak in the wave graph in the timeline view – just the sqeak with as little as possible ahead and behind (before and after) it. Then use the hammer toolbar button to apply the effect “desctructively” to just the selected portion of the wave file.
This should set the track’s EQ back to “flat”. Play that portion of the track and see whether it sounds better, without too big a jump where the squeak is reduced by EQ. If it sounds better except that the EQ is too obvious as it cuts in and out, there are options. Of course, you can undo, and if necessary you have that backup file.
First option for reducing the sound of the EQ kicking in and out is to do the same thing twice or 3 times, but with the amount of cut much less (the dot not so far below the unity gain line), and with the first one wider in the timeline and successive ones shorter in the timeline.
The second option is really better, but takes a little longer to master, and that’s using automations, or “evolutions” as n-Track likes to call them. We do this a LOT with volume to fade parts in and out or make adjustments. A nice aspect to this is you don’t have to back up the wave file, it’s “nondestructive”.
To do this, first add the n-Track “Parametric EQ” to the track. Play with the EQ similarly to above to find the band you want to use and adjust the bandwidth.
Then, use the “Draw Volume Envelopes” tool. Click on its little triangle submenu button and select “Effects Parameters”. In the top of the “Effects” column, select the parametric EQ. In the top of the “Parameter” column, select the “band X boost L” parameter, where X is the band for the dot you used when fiddling.
Move the track you’re editing to the top of the timeline by dragging the track name from the left up to the top.
You’ll see a blue line on the track; this corresponds to the boost/cut parameter for the parametric EQ. Click and drag to add and move nodes to make a dip in the blue line in the region of each squeak.
See why Captain Damage recommends practicing good technique instead? However, I disagree that it’s the easiest way. It’s just the best, and only the easiest in the LONG run.