Friday Arts & Crafts Day Update: February 18, 2022

As promised last week, I got some mini mics made for The Nick White Show:

So, left to right we have a Neumann U87, a Shure SM57, and a Shure SM58. I actually made 3 each of the SM57s and SM58s.

Of course, I realized after I made the U87 that the script I need it for actually calls for a vintage Telefunken U47… which looks vaguely similar but not really.

For the purposes of the script, I think “Telefunken U47” sounds cooler, and it has the benefit of being a nod to an old Frank Zappa song, “Crew Slut,” where he’s referencing his dick which “looks just like a Telefunken U47” and that works with the main character Nick… and the scenes this will be used for.

Most people will not be able to tell the difference (between a U47 and a U87, that is, one presumes people can tell a dick from a mic), but then again, if one of my old audio mentors ever sees that episode, they will notice that my characters are referring to a Neumann U87 as a “Telefunken U47” and I’ll get shit for having gotten it wrong, lol…

So… I might well make a proper Telefunken U47 prop mic, but not this week.

Anyway, 3 of the other mics were put onto little mic stands, which I made from painted dowels, hot glue, and polymer clay bases.

First, we have a regular straight mic stand with an SM58:

And since Nick plays guitar whilst singing (or at least pretends to), he would most likely want a boom mic stand with an SM58 to provide room for his Les Paul antics. Y’know, dude needs room to hump the back of the guitar or sneak a groupie behind it so he can yet again get charged with public indecency, etc.:

Here we can see it before I painted it and the bloody thing is a bit too short:

Which is annoying as Hell, but then again… I didn’t do a huge amount of gigs as maQLu, but they all seemed to involve these kind of mic stands and every damn one of them would start to slowly sink as I played such that by the last chorus of a song I’d almost be crouched down to keep my mouth even with it and I’d have to readjust it and retighten it between songs but it would happen again anyway.

(I performed whilst playing either synths or guitar and running electronics like delay effects, so I had my hands full and couldn’t fix it in the middle of each song.)

So in a way, it’s more accurate that Nick’s boom mic is too goddamn short for him, lol…

Anyway, I also made a short mic stand with an SM57 for mic’ing up Nick’s amplifier on stage or in the studio:

(While any of these mics can be used for various purposes, SM58s are most commonly used for live vocals, SM57s are commonly used for amps and snare drums, and U87s as well as U47s are excellent mics for recording vocals in a studio.)

Close-up of the details:

The mic cables are simply glued-on hemp cording:

It would have been better if I’d remembered to get black plastic round cording, the kind we used to call “gimp” which in flat form is used for making friendship bracelets and in round form is used for stringing pony beads for kids’ necklaces and whatnot, and which would look more like the black rubber coating real mic cables have and would have probably been easier to glue to the backs of the mics, but I forgot the last time I was at a Michael’s and I’d have to drive an hour to get some, so whatever. The hemp cording was at the local Walmart.

Which reminds me, I should put in a before pic with the materials and the 3 mics from my own collection I based my models from (all 1:6 scale to fit the Barbie world):

I don’t own an actual Neumann U87, but this Warm Audio WA-87 is a decent knock off of one. And a huge upgrade from doing vocals for recordings with an SM58 as I did on the early maQLu records.

FYI, when I record podcasts, I use an SM7B, which I will model at some point. Garth Richardson told us at Nimbus that he used one when recording Rage Against the Machine, so you know it’s a good mic for tracking inane pissing and moaning and complaining, which is what I do on my podcasts… er, I meant to say, you know it’s good for passionate and aggressive delivery. Yeah… that’s what I meant…

More recently, Bono and Edge did an acoustic version of my least favorite song of theirs (even though I understand the politics of it far more now than I used to, I still hit skip every time “Sunday Bloody Sunday” comes up on my iTunes or on CD), and hey, it’s also an SM7B (Edge is using an SM58 or similar):

And I think we can safely assume that Bono could afford a real vintage Telefunken U47 if he wanted one, yet they go with an SM7B anyway… if memory serves from my audio engineering days, a U87 might have put a little more oomph in the bottom range of his voice to balance things out a bit more, but kinda like Simon Le Bon of Duran Duran, Bono has a beautiful baritone that he insists on almost never using and hey, it seems to work for him, so never mind… and as Bill Kennedy told us one day, as a young engineer he had the opportunity to record Tom Jones and got all enthusiastic with picking the very best mic and so he had Tom sing through all these different mics the studio had (and a very patient Tom humored the kid, lol). Well, the U47 sounded like Tom Jones singing through a U47, the U87 sounded like Tom Jones singing through a U87, I doubt he bothered with an SM58 but that would sound like Tom Jones singing through an SM58… point is, it really doesn’t make much difference.

And if memory served, Bill might have done what every other engineer does with a major client: picked the most impressively expensive mic if they all sounded more or less the same or there wasn’t any specific EQ issue needing fixing with a proper mic choice.

Wait, why the Hell am I rambling about actual mics when the point of this post is the little polymer clay prop ones I made for my silly little web series?

Anyway… since a friend asked on Instagram, the clay I used was a grey Craft Smart polymer clay from Michael’s in a generic grey color (last fall, supplies were scarce at Michael’s so I grabbed what I could and figured I’d just paint things whatever color). Baking time was an hour at 230F… double what the package said to do but some YouTube tutorial said it was OK to do that and might help the clay harden better with the only risk being of scorching or overly darkening the color… which didn’t matter because I was painting.

Also, I was watching shit on YouTube and kinda didn’t pay as much attention to timing.

Fresh out of the oven.

Paint: acrylics. I have a mix of those at hand and what I used this time was a cheap Liquitex Basics Mars Black and then Golden’s Iridescent Silver (Fine).

The stands were made with plain wooden dowels, polymer clay bases, and a lot of hot glue because the small dab of Gorilla glue that would have been invisible didn’t seem to want to hold. If I need more mic stands, I’ll probably push the dowel in to make a divot in the center before baking the clay so I’d have a little socket to hold the dowel and the glue and in theory that might hold. However, hot glue might still be a must at the tops to hold the mics on or the boom arms for those models.

I think I mentioned needing to make a stripper pole last week, but I haven’t gotten around to it. I really just need to paint a dowel and glue it to a base, though.

So that was the prop-related crafting for the week, other than I’m starting to get all my supplies into one spot and take inventory of what I have in both actual pre-made props and supplies to make stuff I still need.

Oh, and I did randomly paint the bottoms of Nick’s wife Joanne’s shoes. Dunno why, but the all-orange was bugging me and I figured she needed more normal-looking tan and black soles:

It does look slightly more realistic, lol:

Anyway, I’ll have to make a desk for Nick to sit at in his office… not that Nick really works at a desk, but he likes to put his feet up on one whilst reading (or at least looking at the pictures in) yacht magazines and it’s convenient for hiding groupies behind. Dunno if that’ll happen before next week, though.

In other crafting news, I did get a little stitching done.

Progress was made on “Love Grows Here” by Autumn Lane Stitchery:

I also picked up Lila’s Studio‘s “Halloween Quaker“:

That actually entailed some frogging and re-stitching, since I’d started the witch’s hat with a plasticky DMC “thread” that was a bitch and wouldn’t lay right. I re-started with the Etoile DMC thread, but that’s only marginally better because it’s kinda a bit loose/frayed and therefore fuzzy.

Dunno. If I remember when I’m next at Michael’s, I might pick up a skein of their more satiny black DMC and see if that’s better. Basically, I want something with some sheen but not that’s a royal pain in the ass to work with, since it’s gonna be a whole witch on a broom in silhouette that’s the main motif of the piece and there’s a lot of stitches in it.

Anyway, lastly, I picked up and did maybe 20 mins on “More Than Luck” by Carriage House Samplings since Paddy’s Day is coming up… even though I agree with my Irish nationalist pagan character Pádraig that “St. Paddy was a dirty Romano-Brit come to erase Ireland’s native Druidic traditions,” lol… but hey, it’s a day to get plastered and celebrate being Irish in part or in whole, and a lot of pagans need to get the fuck over themselves or at least just ignore it and not whine and play the victim so much.