Help recording acoustic guitar.

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drumsound
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Post by drumsound » Fri Sep 05, 2008 2:13 pm

Stereo X/Y SCD around the neck/body joint through a fast clean pre can be perfect!

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losthighway
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Post by losthighway » Fri Sep 05, 2008 2:38 pm

That's a cool idea. Do you normally hard pan x/y left and right, or just use the mic config. to capture the two sounds and mix to taste?

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Post by drumsound » Fri Sep 05, 2008 8:59 pm

losthighway wrote:That's a cool idea. Do you normally hard pan x/y left and right, or just use the mic config. to capture the two sounds and mix to taste?
Hard Left/Right 90-95% of the time. Sometimes as a tune develops I might narrow the panning or even choose to use just one mic, or sum them mono and pan them where they work in the mix.

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joelkriske
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Post by joelkriske » Sat Sep 06, 2008 2:54 am

in my (albeit somewhat limited) experience, using a parlor guitar can help eliminate boominess as well. At least that's what i found recording.

Good luck, lots of good ideas for mic techniques preceding this post for sure, but, as was earlier mentioned, consider the source as well!
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Post by dino » Sat Sep 06, 2008 7:03 am

The first time I put a mike up in front of a parlor guitar, it all suddenly made sense. The prime directive of recording if you will. The one lesson the professionals on these hallowed pages have been preaching to us amateurs forever. If it doesn?t sound the way you want before you hit the red button, chances are good it won?t sound right afterward. I shudder to think about how much time I wasted trying to make the wrong guitar sound like the right guitar. It didn?t matter how great an instrument the wrong guitar was.

If you haven?t played, heard, or recorded a premium quality small guitar, you owe it to yourself to check one out?really!

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NeglectedFred
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Post by NeglectedFred » Sat Sep 06, 2008 7:31 am

My sound probably isn't for everybody, but I love the sound of my acoustic guitar most when it's plugged into an amp accross the room, and at a lower volume. I hear the natural sounds from the guitar but emphasis in different parts of the spectrum that the guitar can't make.

I use an MS technique, the mics about 18" from me, centered between the hole and the 12th. Meanwhile an the amp is 6 to 10 feet back, I prefer to angle it away from the mics, sometimes I lay it on it's back, or turn it around - this way I get more natural guitar, but good room reflection of the amp. The result is always really full, and more natural sounding than you might think.
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Post by HighColourStudio » Sat Sep 06, 2008 7:41 am

this is my set up that seems to work best for me. I use a AT 4040 about 5 inches from the sound hole and just to the side (fret side) and just under the hole. Then I employ a 70 HZ low end cut, add a touch of compression usually just 2:1 with no make up gain to help smooth out any strumming booms. Most important is the atual playing technique and instrument itself. New strings can add alot of sparkle to the sound, and poor strumming or fretting can ruin a great recording/micing setup. You really have to learn to play to the mic. Recording an instrument and playing one for performance purposes are pretty different. I wouldnt use a small diaphragm condensor either. you really need a decent large diaphragm cardiod for this purpose. THink of acoustic guitar as close to the human voice as far as recording, many of the same intricacies and frequencies.
Hope this helps.
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Post by KennyLusk » Sat Sep 06, 2008 7:56 am

pouxhawk wrote:
If you haven?t played, heard, or recorded a premium quality small guitar, you owe it to yourself to check one out?really!

dino
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losthighway
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Post by losthighway » Sat Sep 06, 2008 8:07 am

I would guess my oft lusted after unattainable Gibson J45 (someday I will buy it) would be a good in between. It's really bright and not too boomy, but I believe a little more robust than some of the smaller Martins.

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Post by drumsound » Sat Sep 06, 2008 9:27 am

joelkriske wrote:in my (albeit somewhat limited) experience, using a parlor guitar can help eliminate boominess as well. At least that's what i found recording.

Good luck, lots of good ideas for mic techniques preceding this post for sure, but, as was earlier mentioned, consider the source as well!
Jumbo acoustics can also be good for the same reason, they are often mor even than dreadcaughts. Especially if they happen to say Gibson on them...
losthighway wrote:I would guess my oft lusted after unattainable Gibson J45 (someday I will buy it) would be a good in between. It's really bright and not too boomy, but I believe a little more robust than some of the smaller Martins.
Possibly my favorite acoustic guitar. Someday I'll have one.

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Post by JWL » Sat Sep 06, 2008 10:41 am

I like MS or Blumlein pairs up close for the main, focused part of the sound.

I also like a pair of "overheads", usually small diaphragm condensers, over the performer's head pointing down. These mics usually hear what the player hears, and if the player is using headphones I'll usually give him these panned hard in the cans, so it's more natural.

During the mix, I'll use either pair, or a mixture of both, depending on how much ambience I want.

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Brian
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Post by Brian » Sat Sep 06, 2008 8:59 pm

SDC on the fret side aimed at "the hole" and an LDC on the bottom end pointing toward the frets. You can move the bottom mic around for changes. you can pan them wide stereo or just keep them mono. Works on every gtr I've tried. I wouldn't use a 414 either. Ribbons are great too, but you don't get that deep round body, you get thick defined crunch.
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Post by r0t4ry » Wed Sep 10, 2008 12:19 pm

drumsound wrote:Stereo X/Y SCD around the neck/body joint through a fast clean pre can be perfect!
+100 :)

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Post by heylow » Sat Sep 13, 2008 5:24 pm

There's some really good advice here, but I worry a bit about the idea that someone should record something in stereo before they figure out how to do in mono.

I used to have such issues with acoustic guitar recording and it seemed like, one day, it just started working. That said, don't subscribe to any specific idea of where the mic should go. It may take some moving around. Always consider the mix and how the guitar should fit into it.

Don't assume the mic has to look straight at the neck. I usually end up with a single mic somewhere between the 12 and 14th fret, looking back to the body somewhere around where the neck meets the body and maybe anywhere from 2" to 8" or so off the neck.

Sometimes it seems to help if the mic is biased a little more toward the treble strings, kind of placed high but pointing down.

Man, this stuff so much easier to do than describe, but I will echo that it is crucial that the guitar and player sound decent first.

When trying to figure it out myself, I was also recording myself playing while sitting on a swiveling drum throne. I would move a little bit one way or the other and kind of listen to what was happening. That helped more than almost anything else because I started to understand the mic/guitar relationship much better.

Some of the mics I like best on acoustic guitars are also pretty affordable. The SM81, AT4047, and AT 4050 have served me well.

One more thing: Watch your levels. I learned that how hard you hit a given preamp will have a TON of sway over how your frequencies come across. Sometimes recording it lower than you think you should will clean up a spitty mid-range and tighten the low end a bit.

Make no mistake, acoustic guitar certainly a finicky thing to record.

Good luck!


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Post by jacobwolkenhauer » Mon Sep 15, 2008 10:49 am

What tends to end up sounding best (to my ear, on my guitar, in my room) is to place the mic where a listener's ears would be. We're not used to hearing guitars performed a couple inches away from our faces... at least, I'm not.

I like the sound of an LDC at ear-height, maybe 18-24" in front of me, and pointed just slightly away from the soundhole. It may depend on what else you're mixing the guitar with, as this may not cut through as much as you might want it to, but this usually gives me a guitar sound that I enjoy listening to.

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