Quick and Easy Rules on Recording Acoustic Guitar Performance

Quick and Easy Rules on Recording Acoustic Guitar Performance

Recording acoustic guitar performance requires a certain skill because it is not always easy to transmit the acoustic sound of your guitar to the recorder. You have to make sure that the sound that comes from different parts of your guitar, including strings, bridge and body, must be efficiently transmitted to your recording device (microphone or pickup) or recording application on your computer. To ensure efficiency when recording acoustic guitar, be sure that you abide by the following four easy rules.

Mind the Role.

Quick and Easy Rules on Recording Acoustic Guitar Performance
Quick and Easy Rules on Recording Acoustic Guitar Performance

Your acoustic guitar may play one of two common roles: the main instrument in a simple mix or a complementary instrument in a more complex mix. In a mix where an acoustic guitar plays the most prominent role, such as in a ballad recording, the entire acoustic sound of your acoustic guitar, i.e. the sound of the strings and the body, must be fully reproduced. If you are recording acoustic guitar in a more complex mix in which the guitar is one of less essential texture pieces, a thinner recording that captures only the sound coming from the strings might be the only thing needed.

Avoid the DI.

Quick and Easy Rules on Recording Acoustic Guitar Performance
Quick and Easy Rules on Recording Acoustic Guitar Performance

Some acoustic guitars are equipped with a built-in piezoelectric pickup with onboard preamp, which can then be connected to a Direct (DI) box. The purpose of this is to transform the unbalanced signal picked up by the pickup into a balanced signal, to make sure that the signal never passes open air. While using DI can be reasonably good for bassists, guitarists should avoid DI and use direct mic to amp format to preserve the natural tone of the guitar. Using DI is especially useful when recording acoustic guitar because the audience can listen not only to the clear sound of the guitar, but also to the ambient sound around the guitarist.

Mind the Distance.

Quick and Easy Rules on Recording Acoustic Guitar Performance
Quick and Easy Rules on Recording Acoustic Guitar Performance

Because you will not use a DI box in your recording and will use mic instead, you should know the correct distance between your guitar and your mic when recording acoustic guitar. You may think that the closer the mic to the guitar the better. The fact is that if the mic is located too near, the sound will not as sweet as it is when you put the mic a little bit further. Put your mic very close to the guitar and the audience will only hear the sound of your strings and all of those annoying squeaks. Put your mic at a distance of about 1 foot from the guitar and the audience will hear the sweet completeness of your guitar. All of the nice sound coming from your guitar’s strings, neck, body, and bridge will be effectively transmitted to the mic.

One Mic Is Better.

Quick and Easy Rules on Recording Acoustic Guitar Performance
Quick and Easy Rules on Recording Acoustic Guitar Performance

When recording acoustic guitar, you may be tempted to use two mics to record in stereo or 3:1 rule. No matter how fancy it sounds to record using multiple mics, mono is better and more powerful when it comes to acoustic guitar recording. By using only one mic, you can avoid phase cancellation, flat and dull sound, and poor sound frequency.

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