There are countless ways to record acoustic guitars and every guitar has its own unique sound. In this module we will consider two simple ways to achieve a great sounding acoustic guitar recording.
METHOD 1 – Using a MICROPHONE:
As an acoustic is a delicate instrument and often produces a lot of high frequency information, the most common microphone choice we suggest is a condenser microphone. Although you can use a dynamic microphone and experiment, a condenser will help articulate all that intricate transient information commonly produced from an acoustic guitar.
A good mic, starting position, is about 6-10inches away from the sound hole. Placing your microphone directly in front of the sound hole will produce a warmer tone, but can be a bit boomy, which can then be difficult to fit in a mix. Moving the microphone toward the fretboard, will give you a thinner sound, but can also highlight string noise. Use some closed back headphones and move your guitar around to find the place where it sounds most balanced.
METHOD 2 – Using a DI:
Using your acoustics DI input, is probably the simplest way to record your guitar. Personally, it’s not my favourite. I rarely use it on its own, unless I’m writing a scratch/demo track. The DI track on its own can sound quite thin and lacking in body. But for some songs this might be what you prefer.
METHOD 3 – Blending a MIC and DI:
From my experience, blending the DI signal with the mic’d up signal, can produce some pleasing results. By using this method, you can find a nice balance between the two in a mix, particularly if the placement of your microphone is more directed to capturing the body of the guitar. It’s important to note that if you’re recording both microphone and DI together, you will need to check your phase. For more information on phase, check out this article by Universal Audio. https://www.uaudio.com/blog/understanding-audio-phase/
If your guitar is sounding thin when you’re listening back, try flipping the phase on one of the signals using your interface or a plugin in your DAW.
There are a lot of factors to consider when you’re recording an acoustic guitar. Remember that having the most expensive microphones and gear are just tools. Every good recording is ultimately determined by the quality of the player. Get a good technique and practise consistency and timing. It will help save time and make your acoustic recordings fit better into your mix.