How to Record an Acoustic Guitar

Nowadays, acoustic guitars have become one of the most essential instruments in a lot of musical genres such as Pop, Folk, Rock, and Country. Also, it’s one of the most popular instruments to record.

Actually, this instrument is the foundation as well as the backbone of many songs. Check out this article to learn how to record an acoustic guitar. We will give you five ways to capture an acoustic guitar in stereo below.

Ways to Record an Acoustic Guitar

Vertical X/Y at the 12th Fret

When it comes to making an acoustic guitar, it’s best to place the mic(s) next to the 12th fret. Then, you can get a good tonal balance between low and high frequencies. Also, you will get a great balance between the rhythmic and percussive clarify.

By placing both mics next to the 12th fret, you can use 2 mics in order to capture your acoustic guitar. You can angle one mic toward the low strings on your guitar when you use an X/Y configuration. By this way, you also angle one mic toward the high strings.

In this case, you will capture the lower notes on the guitar at a higher amplitude in the first and the second mic.

You can also use this technique for an acoustic piano with lower notes panned left as well as higher notes panned right. This way promises to provide you with a good balance between low frequencies and high frequencies across the stereo.

Horizontal X/Y at the 12th Fret

Not like the previous technique, you can angle one mic toward the guitar’s sound hole, while another one is angle up the neck. And, a signal with a louder low-frequency response will be captured by the mic pointed toward the sound hole.

On the other hand, a signal with a quitter low-frequency response will be captured by the mic pointed up to the neck. This method is also applied for another instrument like the piano.

Ambient Spaced Pair

If you want to get a spectral balance of tone across the stereo field, you need to choose a method for your acoustic guitar. Also, this technique allows you to add spatial depth to the guitar.

For this method, you can use a single close mic next to the 12th fret. The close mic can be placed in the middle of the stereo field. And, the spaced pair of micro can be placed in the left and right.

You should consider this technique if your studio is designed with a good room sound. We recommend you to record your acoustic guitar in the best room.

Tips for Recording an Acoustic Guitar

Find the Right Space

Before you place microphones, remember that the shape and sound of the room can affect your recording. Therefore, it’s really important to choose the right spot. If you choose to play your acoustic guitar in a room with a lot of space, it may be difficult to control.

However, if you choose a room with lots of furniture like your bedroom, you can get a tighter sounding recording because of the furniture absorbing the sound from your instrument.

Know your Microphones – Condenser vs Dynamic

Before setting up, you have to choose microphones. If it’s hard for you to choose one from many different types of microphones out there, you can consider choosing a pair of 4021s, Shure SM57, AT2020, AT4021, AT4050, and a pair of AT4050s.

You can get a combination of a small diaphragm and a large diaphragm microphone. This combination can give you an accurate and balanced recording.

Record in Mono vs In Stereo

When you record your guitar with only one mic, this means you are recording in Mono. On the contrary, you are recording in stereo if you record with two mics. Each technique comes with its own features.

For recording in mono, it’s easy to set up. This technique is great for recording guitar parts. It helps to thicken up arrangement. When it comes to recording in stereo, it’s ideal for adding extra depth as well as width to your mono recording.

Record via D.I

This is a good way to lay down tracks quickly. However, you may easily end up with a slightly unnatural sounding recording because you record your acoustic guitar through its pickup.

Actually, convolution reverb is built up from firing a series of frequencies into a room. Record them. Then, squash them down in order to get an accurate recreation of the acoustic.

We recommend you to choose Space designer in Logic X or Space in Pro Tools if you want to get great convolution reverbs. Also, it can give you a lot more natural sound from your D.I’d recordings.

With a D.I, you can get another tonal option that allows you to experiment with your mics.

Conclusion

In conclusion, this is a very creative process for an audio engineer to record your acoustic guitar. There are so many options for you to consider if you want to capture the sound of your acoustic guitar.

You can try any of them in order to achieve a tonal as well as spatial balance across the stereo field. It’s best to pay attention to the context of the instrument in the song if you want to record the acoustic guitar. Last, always try new things to find out what works best for you.