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3 Techniques For Recording Acoustic Guitar

recording acoustic guitarAcoustic guitar by nature varies so much from instrument to instrument that one miking style definitely won’t work on everything. Luckily, there are a lot of different techniques available, and while all the others might let you down, one of the following 3 techniques from my Recording Engineer’s Handbook is sure to work.

Considerations

•  Generally speaking, the least desirable sound from an acoustic guitar comes from close-miking the sound hole. The sound is much more tonally balanced in the vicinity of the bridge or at the joint of the neck and the body.

•  Any miking closer than a foot is going to result in a big proximity boost of the low end if you’re using a directional mic. Either switch to an omni or back the mic off a bit.

•  Since many of the successful miking methods utilize two or more microphones, be sure to listen in mono to check the phase.

•  If you have a thin-sounding instrument , a ribbon mic placed 6 inches from the body tends to make it sound a bit heftier.

Placement
Technique #1: Place a mic about 8 inches away from and pointing at the point where the fretboard meets the body (see the graphic on the left).

  • Variation: Position a second mic pointing at the body, about halfway between the bridge and the end of the guitar, at a distance of 10 inches. This should add body to the sound, and when the two mics are printed to different channels and panned apart, it can sound spacious and lush.

Technique #2: Place an omni mic a foot away from the sound hole. There is no increased low end due to proximity effect because it is an omni. Move closer or farther away to affect the tonal balance of the guitar, and balance the direct sound against the room sound.

Technique #3: Use a stereo mic about 8 to 12 inches away, with one capsule aimed toward the bridge and the other aimed toward the headstock.

  • Variation: Try two small-diaphragm condensers in an X/Y configuration. Aim one at the body below the bridge and the other at about the 12th fret.

You can read more from The Recording Engineer’s Handbook and my other books on the excerpt section of bobbyowsinski.com.

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