-Speakers or Headphones
-Preamp (optional, but recommended)
-Dynamics Processor (optional)
-One mic in a studio environment, two mics in a home recording environment.
Recording Acoustic Guitars Solo:
If you’re recording acoustic guitars solo, a single microphone will suffice. Plug the mic into a preamp and place it approximately 3 feet away from the guitar’s soundhole. Place the mic at the bottom of the left-hand side. Pick a spot where you can have some isolation from other instruments and drums.
Recording Acoustic Guitar With an Amp:
Two mics are recommended if you’re recording an acoustic guitar with an amp. The first mic should be placed right on top of the speaker grille and angled towards the center of the speaker cone. This placement will provide the most precise sound. You should place the second mic about 3 to 4 feet away from the speakers to capture a wider range of sound. Both mics should be plugged into preamps (if you have them).
If you’re recording acoustic guitars at home, one or two mics will suffice, depending on what tone and feel you’re looking for. One mic is sufficient for recording acoustic guitar solos if you have a nice condenser mic that can capture a broad frequency spectrum. Two mics are recommended for recording an acoustic guitar with an amp.
Three mics are generally used: a cardioid mic and two omnidirectional mics. The cardioid mic should be placed on the guitar’s soundhole in a similar position to the preamp but about ¼ inch further away from it. This placement will help to eliminate any sound from other instruments and the room. Place the two omnidirectional mics 10 to 12 feet from the amp and a mic in the center of the speaker grille.
Types of Mics:
-Dynamic Microphone: Closest to the source of the sound.
-Condenser Microphone: Closest to the source of the sound, but expensive.
-Tube Microphone: Expensive, but their size and the overall sound are considered a highlight when recording electric guitar or acoustic guitar.
-Small Diaphragm Microphone: Used in live situations to capture the rich tone and dynamic range of an acoustic guitar.
Steps of Recording an Acoustic Guitar:
Step 1: Pick Your Mic
It’s not always easy picking out the perfect microphone for any situation, but it may not be as hard as you think. Do not start with the most expensive mic you can find. You want to pick a mic that is within your budget but will serve your needs.
Step 2: Set Up the Mic
This step is essential and very simple. Just set the microphone on top of the guitar(s), fiddle with the settings, and then play it back to get a feel for what you have recorded. It’s also essential to ensure that the mic is facing the right direction.
Step 3: Record It!
Now that you have your microphone set up and a baseline recording of your guitar, you are ready to put everything together and listen to your work (or not) for the first time. To do this is simple. However, there are a few things you need to take note of.
There is a small button that will help cut out any upper-range noise. You can turn this button on and off with a switch or by using the headphones jack.
Volume & Balance
You’ll notice a volume slider and the balance knob for adjusting your guitar’s volume throughout your recording session in the control panel. As far as setting up your recording environment, make sure to set your tone up and listen to what you have recorded so far before continuing with recording your track.
Step 4: Arrange the Track
This step is pretty easy, but there are a few things you need to make sure you do. The best option is to start with recording your main guitar with multiple takes. Then work on the additional tracks (acoustic, electric, and bass) as you see fit. You can record these tracks after you’ve made sure the main part of your song is solid. You can even pull up another guitar and play around with multiple tracks until you find something that works. It’s best to keep the bass line and melody as close to the original as possible, but feel free to have fun.
Step 5: Play With Effects.
You can use many different effects on an acoustic guitar, from reverb to distortion or anything. You can add any effect you want during the recording process and more than once if needed. Another big tip is to never record a guitar without some reverb or delay; this will give you realistic-sounding guitar tracks, something that’s hard to find without these effects.
Step 6: Editing and Postproduction
Now that you have your tracks recorded, it’s time for some serious editing. For this step, there are a few different ways to do this. You can use sample editing programs like Logic Pro X and Garage band for Mac or any other similar program on the market. They are easy to use and get you professional-sounding tracks in little time.
Step 7: Clean Up the Track
This step is crucial because you can’t have a track full of unwanted noise; otherwise, it will sound terrible. There are several different ways to clean up your track and cut out all the unnecessary noise that will only serve as a distraction. You want to remove as much noise as possible while keeping the tone quality as high as possible. There are a few different ways to do this, but one easy approach is to use the noise gate plugins. These plugins will remove any unnecessary noises while leaving the best possible quality in your recording.
How to Record an Acoustic Guitar Without a Mic?
There are times when you won’t be able to or won’t want to use a microphone. One of these scenarios is recording a very quiet acoustic guitar, such as a classical guitar or a bouzouki. To record without using a microphone, you’ll need to use an outboard preamp level controller. This particular device will help amplify the sound without causing background noise from the preamp, thus giving you a clean signal.
This product is very simple to use. Just plug it into a 1/4 inch input and send it into your system. The beauty of this product is that you can keep the acoustic guitar precisely the same as you would if you were using a microphone, so your tone comes out with excellent quality. Not only does it work great with acoustic guitars, but you can also use it on other instruments that don’t require mics.
All in all, there is no easy way to make a great recording of a guitar without any added hardware or software. You will need some postproduction process and editing once you’ve recorded your track. You want to take your time and get everything sounding as good as possible before diving into the deep water of postproduction and mixing.
Stepping into a studio for the first time can be overwhelming. However, it’s not nearly as complicated of a process as it seems at first glance. Finding the right microphone to recording sets of different instruments to combine them and get them perfectly balanced and clear takes little practice.