Recording Acoustic guitar... what to look for?

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by bobthorpe, May 26, 2004.

  1. bobthorpe

    bobthorpe Guest

    hey everybody.
    I know that this is a subject that has a lot to do with personal preference and experimentation in the studio, but I'm really looking for some new and interesting ways to mic an acoustic steel strung guitar. Also, i'm trying to get an idea of the differences between using large and small diaphragm microphones, and what it is that truly makes a truly great acoustic guitar sound. Any help in this area would be much appreciated. Thanks.
  2. bap

    bap Member

    Nov 22, 2003
    I used to have a math teacher whose favorite cliche was 'wade in and get your feet wet!'. Do a search on this site and find a hundred opinions or more. You can't follow them all but must find what you want to hear through experimentation. Play with it and make discoveries.

    I record mostly piano [me] and today, once again, transported all my mics [only 5] along with a couple of preamps to a hall I have access to with a good piano, and spent almost 3 hours trying mic/preamp combinations along with different mic and piano placements. I like a couple of things I came up with. There's a big difference in the little details.

    I'm going to mess with guitar soon. This doesn't help....or does it?

    Play with it.

    Best regards,

  3. ShellTones

    ShellTones Guest

    In general...

    SDs have better transient response and are more accurate. Their off axis response is not as good, and they also have more self noise.

    For something different, I like a single LD in figure-8 out 18" - 24" from the neck joint.

    A truly great acoustic guitar sound is what fits the song and the mix.
  4. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    Silicon Valley
    In the time you have taken to ask and wait for a response, you could of have tried several dozen different methods and learned what works for you and what doesn't as well as gaining real valueable life long experience. No shortcuts. You want to learn and get good, then you must invest the time to get there. Once you have tried and gone through every possible combination that you can think of, then you begin to understand and realize what you like and what you don't like. What works and what doesn't work, and from that you can ask specific questions to fine tune how you want to achieve your sonic goals. Nothing anybody says or anything that you read is going to make as much as a difference as you just diving in, being creative and innovative, and trying new things. Along the way you will discover interesting results and be making mistakes that you hopefully can learn from. These are the things and reasons why the skills that are developed/used are called engineering. These real time life long experiences are what help you earn respect and being worthy of the title engineer.
  5. Midlandmorgan

    Midlandmorgan Active Member

    Jul 21, 2002

    Yes...yes...yes...YES...(I feel like I'm selling shampoo...)

    Anyway, the question is kinda ambiguous, in that an acoustic recorded for bluegrass would be done differently than for a rock ballad...

    Also on the kind of acoustic - dreadnaughts typically have a MUCH different timbre than OO or smaller bodystyles...

    I used to multimic (LDC at soundhole, SDC at neck joint) but have come to find less is sometimes better...resorting to just one or the other more times than not.

  6. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Whittier, California, USA
    All really depends on the track- if this is a solo acoustic track you will have to take a lot more care in the way you record it than for a track of a guitar which will be part of a mix. The denser the track, the less that it matters that it be "perfect" Actually, for a multi-instrument mix the most important aspect is that the elements (instruments) work best together. Oftentimes a great acoustic guitar solo sound will not be the best for a mix and you'll have to eq it accordingly.

    I guess what I'm trying to say here is that oftentimes a great acoustc guitar solo sound won't be the e-ticket for a multi-instrument mix, so record and mix according to the song, the arrangement, the intent and the feel of the track.
  7. mistals

    mistals Guest

    AudioGaff & maintiger spelled it out pretty good, this stuff isnt something you can be told, you have to get in the trenches find out what does what, and how it all blends together.
    If you use only 1 mic, watch out for close micing near soundhole as it's a bass port. Get a guitar player to come in while you play "engineer" instead of musician. Use any and all mics and move them around and hear the difference in your monitors and always remember to check your mixes in mono to catch phase problems when using more than 1 mic. My most recent acoustic guitar singer/songwriter project where we tracked guitar seperately, I used 2- 414s, near 12th fret, 1/2 foot or better out, and near bridge same distance out, where both point in towards soundhole but only slightly. I also put up a ribbon out farther in between other 2 mics, just because it was there. You have a nice pallett to use after that, and I am not giving up all the secrets I used in mixing them, but some fun experimenting every time you can gives you deeper understanding and skills that only get better with age.
  8. bobthorpe

    bobthorpe Guest

    thanks for your help everybody. That's pretty much what i had expected, but i've taken to heart a few comments. cheers.
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