ON-stage Stereo pattern for an acoustic guitar, advice?

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by Terrapin, Oct 16, 2007.

  1. Terrapin

    Terrapin Guest

    Hi all,

    Setting the scene...

    So tonight I'm doing a show in a small classroom type auditorium, single tiered that holds about 500, there is no built in stage so we will be bringing in our own risers, the stage will be about 12' deep and 16 feet wide. We are planning on using two Meyer MTS4-A's for the FOH sound, one on each corner of the stage. For monitors we will be using a pair of 12" powered ev's.

    The perfomer is a solo artist who plays acoustic guitar sitting down, he uses alot of open tunnings and does alot of finger tapping and guitar box slapping as well. He will have a DI and I thought about throwing a pair of SM81's in stereo.

    Which brings me to my question, what stereo pattern should I use?
    I've gotten some really great results using XY patter about a foot off the 12th fret in a recording studio setting. I don't have as much experience with using the 81's in a spaced pair and worry about phase issues. And also I've never done stereo micing of an acoustic guitar for a live performance. I think the performer sits fairly still during the performance but definetly gets dynamic with his hands so I won't want the mics to be too intrusive, also keeping in mind he will probally have a vocal mic for stage banter. Of course I should also mention that I may not necessarily be using the SM 81's source for the main or monitor mix, although I will check it out and see if it sounds good blended in with the DI. We will also be doing a recording of the show in multitrack in which having several options on the table will be greatly appreciated.

    So with all that in mind, my big question is how I should mic the acoutic guitar? With an available pair of 81's how would you set them up?
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated,
  2. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    Sep 4, 2004
    Indianapolis, IN
    Home Page:
    I don't try to stereo mic live.
    If I want to record stereo on a live show I mic MS but don't put any S in the live mix. If you want to use two mics point them both straight in to avoid feedback. I generally shoot one near the sound hole and one at the 12th fret or a little higher. This lets me mix to adjust the amount of boom/thump I get out of the guitar. With this setup you could pan a little bit if you want to spread things out in the speakers, but unless everyone is sitting in the center you don't want to pan it much.
  3. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    I would agree with KZ on this - don't patch a stereo feed to either FOH or monitors (nice FOH speakers BTW!!!)

    For this kind of thing, I might consider placing your main SM81 at or above the 12th fret and aimed down the fingerboard towards the bridge. The other mic (if you want to record the presentation for posterity, etc.) I would come over his right sholder or above him aiming down at the sound hole or slightly off. With the extra distance gained by coming in higher, you'll have less boominess than usually associated with micing this part of the instrument and you're less likely to have phasing issues as well.

    Cheers -

  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    Make mine a third vote for what Karl suggested.

    Sound advice
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  5. Terrapin

    Terrapin Guest

    Thanks everybody for the feedback(no pun intended). Its turns out that the performer would be standing during the performance so the only stage source I used was his DI. I did however setup a pair of sm81's on a stand at the FOH board in XY configuration and added that source to our mulitrack recording. I was alittle skeptical that the 81's would work well in that application but I gave it a brief listen this morning and mixed together with the direct source and panned left and right the recording sounds great. The 81's source sounds very natural and added a great natural ambience and live sound making the recording sound almost better than having been there!
    How often in life can you get the best of both worlds?
  6. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    I could elaborate but I won't.

    Ms. Remy Ann David

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