Eight Tips for Recording Acoustic Guitars
Acoustic guitars empower musicians to write compelling songs and give intimate performances that leave listeners hanging on every note. The next step is to capture that sound in a recording to share it with a larger audience.
If you're looking to record at home, check out these tips from Mr. Mix and Master to learn what you need to record an acoustic guitar successfully.
1. Practice Your Parts
The performance is the most critical aspect of a recording. Practice your songs so that you know them by heart and can replicate them multiple takes in a row.
2. Change Your Strings
Replace your strings a few days before recording your acoustic guitar to ensure it sends the best sound to the mic. Make sure to play the instrument beforehand, as well, to break in the strings.
3. Choose the Right Recording Space
Pick a quiet room with soft surfaces so sound reflections don't distort your take. Larger rooms are usually better than smaller ones when going for an open, natural sound. Consider a large room with lots of curtains and, if possible, some acoustic panels.
4. Know Your Microphone
There are two common types of microphones — condenser and dynamic. Condenser microphones are best for acoustic guitars because they capture high-frequency information like the sound of the pick on the strings and your hands sliding along the fretboard. A dynamic mic will work, too, but you'll need to place it closer to your guitar.
5. Experiment With Multiple Microphones
It's better to have more to work with during the mixing process, so — if you have the resources — record with multiple microphones at once. This way, you can choose from more sounds when mixing.
6. Aim Your Microphones Wisely
Place a microphone six to 12 inches away and aim it between fret 12 and 14 to get a clear, bright sound. Your first instinct may be to point directly at the soundhole, but the result will be muddier than you want.
7. Record Direct Input (DI) Takes
Does your guitar have an internal microphone? If so, run a cable directly into your audio interface while recording. This method gives you a dry take that will be more receptive to post-production effects and re-amping.
8. Do Multiple Full Takes
Here's where all of your practice and technical know-how will pay off. Play the song from start to finish the same way multiple times on your acoustic guitar. Most songs feature double-tracking, meaning two separate takes of the same part are slightly time-adjusted, then panned left and right. The combination sounds like one take while carrying more body than a single recording.
Want to Take Your Sound to the Next Level?
At Mr. Mix and Master, we offer online music services that give musicians across the world access to professional-quality production. Short on gear or recording space? We also accept clients at our state-of-the-art recording studio in Miami.
To learn more tips for recording acoustic guitar, vocals, drums or other instruments, contact us today.