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ADVANCED! Acoustic guitar mic'ing techniques wanted

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by multoc, Feb 14, 2007.

  1. multoc

    multoc Active Member

    Hey guys, I'm about to start a session with an acoustic guitar musician (mostly strumming emo stuff). I'm looking to find some advanced mic'ing techniques. I have seen a few dvd's of instudio footage where the engineer has placed the following setup: pencil facing the sound hole, large diaphragm facing the neck, then two large diaphragms on each side of the guitar. (reference: Opeth "Ghost Reveries" dvd).
    I will be most likely panning some of the guitar tracks hard left and right (though I may do 50/-50 pan for more stereo spread possiblities). I'd like to get some more ideas on a good way to go about this.
    Also some EQ tips would be helpful so I don't have the terrible low end distortion that sometimes occurs. I like the sound from the new Tenacious D Pick Of Destiny album, so that would be a starting point!
    Thanks guys!
    -Ashton Parsons

    (Btw the guy I'm recording here is his myspace to give you a better idea of what I'm up against http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=24336813&MyToken=fc02111d-6d78-401e-a6de-8016c00b01b2
  2. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Hello Ashton;

    Quick comments on your artist's clip there.....seems like it's speeding up as it goes along. (Something to keep in mind when you're tracking new stuff, eh?) Also, I don't see the point for two guitars playing exactly the same thing, in mono at that.....they're not very well sync'd together, so it just highlights their lack of locking together. One of them should be doing something contrasting or complementary to the other, but NOT the exact same thing. Last but not least is the singing...he's got some serious pitch/intonation problems. (I know, I know, it's hip and trendy nowadays but still....) And suddenly, after the first verse & chorus, he switches gears, changes time signature and starts sounding like the guy from Green Day. (What's up with THAT?!?)

    Annnnyway, depending on the artist, their skill level, and what kind of instrument they're playing, I go like this:

    For mid level or entry players who have guitars with pickups and just want to strum and sing, I take that output through a DI box, and mic the front in a traditional way, usually a pencil SD mic right out in front, the usual way.

    For really serious "Solo" players (Where the axe is as important as the voice, and I don't mind a little bleed between the two), I use something similar to what you've described, only my two wide mics are omni's. (Usually DPA 4006's with the nearfield diffuser grids). I have sometimes gone as crazy as five sources like this: One DI (if there's a pickup on the thing - often not!), one SD mic like the Neuman KMi-84, one LD mic (AT 4050, just for warmth, in case I need it), and the two spaced omni's, for room sound and a wider image. (Don't always need 'em, though...) I dial it all in as nec., sometimes picking the SD over the LD, and barely a hint of the omni's. It all depends on the session, guitar, etc.

    Recently, I recorded a baritone acoustic guitar with a built in pickup. (6th string is A below the standard low E). The artist did NOT want to use the pickup/DI, and fought me on it, but I insisted we take it anway, on a separate track, "just in case". To reduce the boominess and keep it all clean, we had to roll off a lot of low end, which in turn reduced the punch and intensity of the low A string. Our "Cheat" was to carefully bring in the DI signal into the mix (which was a lot easier to tame and EQ). Bass was restored, but much cleaner and manageable. (The Artist had humble pie for dinner that night! )

    And then of course, you could skip all that, and just go with an SD mic right in front for detail, and play around with an m/s setup instead....lots of folks here prefer that; it kind've works out the same in the end, depending on your room and acoustics. Putting your guitarist in a corner, facing out, is another nice trip that other have tried with much success.

    Any of those should get you started on a more interesting, or bigger, stereo-friendly sound. (Then there's reverb and other room sims to talk about...)

    Good luck with the session!
  3. multoc

    multoc Active Member

    Well it's just one guy I'm recording and to quote him "I hate click tracks, but if you want me to I will use them." The music, as you can tell, is more pop oriented, so I will probably use just one mic (not sure which one yet, we'll play around), in front of the guitar for the side "rhythm" guitars, and maybe blend a DI'd signal as well on a seperate track, and for any leads he may have I'll try out some of the techniques you described. If you have any photos of the above mentioned techniques I'd appreciate it as I am quite a novice on recording a nice sounding acoustic guitar (my last attempt went alright but was for a quick thing....check it on http://myspace.com/shinedownonsweetrevenge
    Thanks Joe! and anyone else who can help out!
  4. multoc

    multoc Active Member

    P.S. that song I mentioned in the last post was a "favor" song so I didn't put too much work into it (btw I play drums bass and the clean electric guitar on this song as well as the small synth peices).
  5. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Yo Multoc-

    I haven't listened to the music yet, but will when I get a chance. I just thought I'd give you a heads up that the MySpace link in your signature is incorrect. You have an extra 'l' in there...

    Cheers -

  6. multoc

    multoc Active Member

    woops thanks!
  7. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    I like the sound of XY SDCs on an acoustic. Great sounding headphones with GREAT (!!!) isolation let me place the mics with confidence.

    No phase issues, a great stereo image, and good sound. What more do you want?
  8. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    An accurate stereo image. :)

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