Pro Audio Files

How to Record Acoustic Guitar

Transcript
Hi there! It’s Warren Huart again. Hope you’re doing marvelously well again today.

We’re going to be talking about recording acoustic guitars. I have a lovely Tanglewood acoustic guitar here. I’ve had many Tanglewoods. I love them. They’re relatively inexpensive, and they sound amazing.

[acoustic guitar]

This particular one has got a really beautiful kind of pop guitar sound. It’s great for…

[acoustic guitar]

It has a kind of invisibility in the track, which I love.

[acoustic guitar]

And I’m using a Lewitt mic here, which is a relatively inexpensive small diaphragm microphone. A condenser. Now, I have many, many expensive mics and inexpensive mics. I like this one a lot because it does a lot of things for me, one of which is it doesn’t really have a lot of super low response, and with an acoustic guitar, one of the biggest problems you’re going to find is this thing here called the sound hole.

It is REALLY boomy.

[acoustic guitar, boomy sounding]

It’s got all of the “boom” coming from it. Now, if you have a mic that will already kind of roll off those super lows, it’s going to make your life a lot easier. So using a small diaphragm naturally doesn’t pick up some of those lows anyway, and then just pointing it away will save you a lot of time and trouble having to EQ.

The least amount of work you can do to the sound post-recording, the better.

Now, there’s a couple of different ways that I record acoustic. The way that it’s setup at the moment is with a small diaphragm pointing at the bottom area here of the acoustic guitar. This is where 90% of the time I record.

I angle it away from the sound hole, so it’s sort of picking up this area here, and I find that in most situations, it sounds great.

[acoustic guitar]

It’s a pretty even sound. It’s really good for arpeggios, because it’s quite…

[acoustic guitar, arpeggiated]

It’s very — you get a lot of bounce.

[acoustic guitar, plucking single strings]

Yeah, I love the way it sounds there.

You can also go to the back of the body sometimes. I know a lot of people like to do it there.

Here, to me, it kind of gets a little bit of best of all of the worlds, but there’s a couple of other places, and a favorite of most people, and I think it’s a good one, is on the 12th or 14th fret.

So you’re going to come up a little bit here, and you’re going to aim it a few inches back in this area here. Roughly between the 12th and 14th fret on the acoustic. That gives you — trying to get it somewhat in the middle, and that will give you a pretty even tone. Again, really good, nice, pop acoustic.

[acoustic guitar]

It’s a great tone.

This is probably, in this position, between the 12th and the 14th, where I might put a large diaphragm microphone. You know, if you had anything from a Rode NT, or a Blue microphone, or any of those kind of really great, inexpensive microphones.

The larger diaphragms sound really good in this area here, and you can pull back a few more inches and sit back with a large diaphragm and get some really good pop, nice round sounding acoustics. It’s more of a foolproof method when you’re working with an acoustic guitar player who maybe moves around a little bit.

One tip when first doing this is to put on a pair of headphones and go out and move the mic around while either you or whoever the acoustic guitar player is is recording, and you can hear all of the different areas of boominess, but really, this is your main foe here. This is your enemy. This area has a lot of bottom end and a lot of boominess.

So wherever you go on the body or on the neck, just angle it just away from there a little bit so you’re not picking up too much boom. You know, the sky is the limit as far as proximity and positioning. You could — You could have a microphone — some people put a microphone here, and then one on the back of the body, and then pan them left and right.

You know, I’ve done that a couple of times in my career. A couple of times I’ve done stereo acoustics, but the reality is, a mono acoustic with one mic in the right place can be wonderful, and my two favorite positions, once again are 12th to 14th fret, with either a small or a large diaphragm, and a small diaphragm down here to pick up the body.

So there you go! Any other future questions or anything regarding acoustic guitar, please feel free to hit me up. I can share the experience I’ve had with recording acoustic guitars. Also, all of the different microphones that I’ve used over the years, there are many, many great microphones that you can use on this. It’s one of those areas that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a really good tone if you position it in the right place.

So best of luck with all of your recording, and I hope to hear from you soon! Thank you very much.

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Warren Huart

Warren Huart

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


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