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How to Record Electric Guitar Using One Microphone

Hi, it’s Warren Huart here. Hope you’re doing marvelously well today.

I would like to talk to you about recording of the electric guitar. We’ve touched on DI recording, which is pretty straightforward, going into your DAW. Now we’re going to be recording guitar with a little amplifier here using the Fender Pro Junior, my lovely Yamaha Pacifica guitar.

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So let’s experiment with some different positions here on the mic. The mic I’m using is a Shure SM57. I’ve got my loving Pacifica. I’ve got the Pro Junior. I’m actually boosting it a little bit here with the Hydra Boost, a Carl Martin pedal. The reason why I’m doing that, frankly is just so we can get a little drive out of the amp without it being unbelievably loud. Because even a little amp like this puts out a lot of output.

So I’m going to put on my headphones. So at the moment, we have an SM57, which is a relatively inexpensive dynamic microphone. Pretty much, the industry standard for guitars and snare drums, etcetera. It has a nice presence lift at like, 3-5kHz, so it’s really good for guitars and snare drums.

So it’s pointed directly at the middle of the speaker. The speaker itself is right slap bang in the middle of here, so we go to the middle, that’s where the cone is, which sometimes are metal dome, sometimes are soft cone, that is where the guitar sound will be at its brightest.

[electric guitar, dust cap]

It’s a pretty bright tone.

Now, if we move the 57 to the outside here, let’s go right to where the edge of the cone would be. Unfortunately, you can’t tell here, but if I put my finger here, I can feel where it — it’s all the way around here, so let’s go right to the edge, and it’s going to get pretty dark.

[electric guitar, cone edge]

It’s not that dark, because we’ve got a bright guitar sound going on, but it’s darker than the center. So we can move it.

[electric guitar, adjusting mic position]

So that’s some basics in positioning of the mic. You can go to the center, you can go to the outside and get a darker sound. To be honest, I kind of always favor the middle a little bit, but I slightly off axis it, so you know, if this was the center here, and here’s this outside of the cone, I just kind of go somewhere in the middle. You know, towards the center of the cone. I like that extra top boost. It gives me a little less to mix out.

But of course, you can pull away from the speaker quite considerably, and get a more balanced and even sound, which a lot of people do. They might come back here, we’re about, what, eight, ten, twelve inches maybe? About here. We move this back a bit, that’s about twelve inches. That will give us a more balanced sound.

[electric guitar]

Which is a pretty great sound. Personally, I like the up frontness, because if I start compressing this guitar in a mix, and there’s a lot of ambience going on in the room, you might find that dry, up front guitar that you really wanted, that kind of Queens of the Stone Age or really Sabbath tone doesn’t really happen once there’s a bit too much compression or limiting on the guitars, or even the final mix.

So I personally like the close micing, and I will — like I said, I go about here so it’s somewhere in the middle between the center of the cone and off a little tiny bit off axis, and I get a best of both worlds. But like I said, I don’t mind the excessive brightness. I find that actually a boost in my mix, and it saves me having to boost a lot of extra top end on the electric. It’s already there from the amp itself.

[electric guitar]

So it’s a great tone. I love using little amps. I mean, I do use a Marshall all the time, a Marshall cab with 4x12s in it, because I like the sound of Vintage 30s or Vintage 25s, but small amps like a little Pro Junior give you great, great tone. A lot of variety. They respond really well at lower volumes. I can drive this amp super, super hard.

You know, a Pro Junior is a great amp. There’s a lot of small amps on the market that I’d recommend, but this is pretty inexpensive, and then you can blend honestly these tones with your onboard DAW sounds, whether you’re using Eleven, or Amplitube, or if you’ve still got it, the old version of AmpFarm, etcetera.

I think Waves makes one as well. A guitar one. They’re all great, and when you blend them with real tones, you can get a lot of variation.

Anyway, so please go down below there and subscribe and sign up for the email list, and you’ll get exclusive videos. We have a drum one up there at the moment, we’re going to have a piano recording, and we’ll do more guitar stuff, etcetera on there, plus you can download some files where you can edit and mix and master and all kinds of fun stuff. The same files that we’re recording, so you can sort of all be in sync.

So thank you ever so much for watching, and have a marvelous day!

Warren Huart

Warren Huart

Warren Huart is an English record producer/musician/composer and recording engineer based in Los Angeles, California. Learn more at

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