Joined: 12 Dec 2007
|Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 3:15 pm Post subject: How to Mic an Acoustic Guitar
|So this is not the definative guide to recording an acoustic but a good starting place to get some ideas whether you are just starting out or have many sessions under your belt.
Many of us have attempted to record an acoustic guitar and had mixed results. Sometimes it is recorded with a very boomy sound and other times it is way too tinny. Below are some techniques that will help you get that perfect sound.
The sound hole
The acoustic guitar has a sound hole where the majority of the low end frequencies come from. What happens if you place your mic there? Well you get either a boomy sound or it has way too much bass.
Although for live situations micing the sound hole is a good idea because it is the loudest part of the instrument, for studio a more subtle approach is generally needed.
If you really want to mic the sound hole make sure the mic is at least a foot and half back from the sound hole to reduce the boomy and bassy sound.
Micing the bridge is a good place to start, even better is a few inches behind the bridge at a distance of about a half a foot. This will give you a nice warm sound with a little brightness too. The closer you get the mellower the sound.
Placing the mic in a direction that points to where the neck and body meet will produce a brighter sound. This is very helpful in cutting through a mix on popular music or in a ballad.
Neck or bridge?
A great combination is a stereo pair of microphones one placed in the bridge location and one placed in the direction of the neck. If you then pan out these two tracks you will find the result is a wide sound with natural depth and tonality. You can experiment to get the blend that works best for you. Remember, moving a mic or adjusting the balance between mics is always a better choice than fixing a sound with EQ.
Want to try something different?
Using the techniques described above you will get a very good a clear acoustic guitar sound but it still may not sound like what you hear when you play the instrument. If you think about it that makes sense, when you play a guitar you and your ears are behind the instrument and you do not hear what the audience hears. If you want you track to sound like it is from the guitarists perspective try micing over the shoulder pointing the mic downwards near where the side of the body in line with the bridge.
Of course, the more mics you have, the combinations you can try. Have fun and happy picking!
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