Question about recording acoustic guitars

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by Affair2k, Dec 12, 2004.


  1. Affair2k

    Affair2k Member

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    Hi all, i had lots of problems recording electric guitars and i begged for help here, i got lots of feedback and now i have a killer guitar tone (for my taste :) ) thats everybody that helped me.
    Now i would like some tips to record acoustic guitars, both nylon and steel strings.

    The equipment i have at my disposal right now can be:
    Joemeek vc3q mic preamp.
    Mics: 2 Sm57
    1 sm58
    1 Rode NTK1
    1 Cort acoustic guitar ( its quite cheap, about 1000$ but sounds good and i like the freatboard, steel strings)
    1 Admira Spanish guitar (this guitar sounds great, nylon strings)

    What is the best technique, mic placement, Eq settings, compressors etc to get good recordings?
    Thanks in advance.

    Ah, i dont have money to buy more stuff, so i cant really buy another mic or something like that, i just bought a new amp (1 month and a half ago) and i have to order a new guitar, because my main guitar has been stolen :(
     
  2. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    If I were you, then I'd start with just the Rode and your mic preamp.

    A technique that seems to be really popular for acoustic guitars is to put the microphone at the 14th fret (where the neck joins the body) and slightly angle it in towards the soundhole. You'll probably want to place the microphone somewhere between 6 and 18 inches away from the guitar. This gives a very detailed version of what the guitar sounds like. I find it works really well for fingerstyle and arpeggio playing. Put on a set of headphones and see how the sound changes with distance and angle.

    For strumming, I sort of reverse this scenario, in that I put the microphone in front of the soundhole, but then angle it towards the neck of the guitar. Pointing the microphone directly at the soundhole is a recipe for boominess, which you probably don't want.

    What is also really important is finding a good spot in the room to record in, as you will be picking up some of the room sound. You probably shouldn't be facing directly at a wall, for example. Spend a lot of time experimenting to see what you can capture. I do all of my recording in my apartment, which unfortunately doesn't sound very good.

    I haven't had much luck with classical guitar, but most people seem to suggest room micing only, typically with a stereo pair of microphones. One suggestion I read was to have the microphones about 6 feet from one another, forming an equilateral triangle with the soundhole.

    I asked similar questions several months ago and they might still be available with the search function.

    Bryan
     
  3. LSchefman

    LSchefman Supporting Member

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    Bryan seems to have the handle on it.
     
  4. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    Re: EQ - That really depends on what you need the EQ to do. I don't usually record with any EQ, but will use software based EQ on the recorded track. On my current project (solo acoustic guitar CD) I didn't EQ anything, which is probably giving Scott P a headache.

    Re: Compression - This also depends on what you need the compression to do. For solo tracks I will record with just a touch of compression in order to keep from clipping. For strumming tracks in a mix I will use more compression to even every thing out. It depends on the context.

    A few more comments about microphone placement: I've been recording solo acoustic guitar for a while now and still haven't grown comfortable with multiple microphone techniques. I seem to always run into phase issues. If I had someone else helping me engineer I imagine it would be easier, but it hasn't worked well when trying to do it by myself.

    A lot of the online articles that I've found talk about multiple microphone techniques including X patterns, equilateral triangles, one mic at the neck joint/one at the bridge, one in front of the guitar/one at the player's ear, etc., etc., etc. While these are a lot of fun to play around with, the most consistent sounds that I get are with one microphone as I describe in my first reply.

    Hope this helps,
    Bryan
     
  5. johnnyguitar

    johnnyguitar Long in the tooth Silver Supporting Member

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    Try putting the 58 in front of the sound hole and the Rode by your ear..record the Rode straight without any eq or compression, add that later..blend the 2...;)
     
  6. Affair2k

    Affair2k Member

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    Thanks for the tips, right now i am getting good results with the nylon guitar, what do you recommend me, add the compression before recording? or should i add the comp in my sequencer?

    Thanks again
     
  7. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    What is the nylon track being used for? Is it a solo guitar piece or is it part of a larger track?

    Solo nylon string usually won't have much, if any, compression, as they are trying to be true to the performance. If it is part of a multi-tracked song, then I'd use a touch of compression while recording and then compress any more according to what the track needed in the mix.

    Bryan
     

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