One of the most popular instruments for many musical styles is the acoustic guitar. Anyone who records music will undoubtedly have to set up a mic to record this beautiful sounding instrument at one point or another. Let's explore some basic techniques for setting up the mic so that you can capture a sound that is perfect for your need.
What kind of mic should you use?
Mic choice depends on the type of tone you are looking for. Large diaphragm condenser mics are great for bringing out the richness and depth of the acoustic guitars woodiness. Small diaphragm condenser mics are handy for bringing out the brightness of an acoustic guitar.
How should you position the mics?
The good thing is you have multiple options of where to position the mic for recording acoustic guitar. There is no exact science. You will have to move the mic around while playing and listening to find the best spot for your instrument and your room. However, here are a few common positions to get you started down the right path.
1. Set up the mic 4-5 inches below where the neck meets the body of the guitar and 10-20 inches away from the guitar.
2. Position the mic directly out about 2-3 feet from the guitar hole.
3. Place the mic 6-12 inches from the bridge of the guitar.
4. Put the mic by the musicians head and face it down towards the guitar. This will capture the guitar sound as it is heard by the player.
HACK: Use a combo of both mic types to capture the full essence of an acoustical guitar sound. Place the small diaphragm condenser mic in position 3 from above. Then, position a large diaphragm condenser mic in position 2. Record with both mics simultaneously to capture a more full sound.
Keep in mind that a mic position facing to the hole will provide a deep and rich tone, but beware of muddiness. Facing the mic towards the bridge/neck will capture the brighter elements of the guitar sound.
I hope this information was useful and helpful. Remember that there is no definitive right or wrong way to record. Please feel free to share your opinions on what works and does not work for you.
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Mic positioning with small diaphragm condenser mic:
Mic positioning with large diaphragm condenser mic: