Lancashire Times
Weekend Edition
Jonny Goode
Composer and Musician
2:00 AM 20th May 2023

Three Studio Secrets To Recording Acoustic Guitar

Acoustic Guitar. Photo by Quốc Bảo
Acoustic Guitar. Photo by Quốc Bảo
The Singer/Songwriter's most faithful friend, the acoustic guitar. On the face of it, a simple instrument but anyone that plays knows the hidden depths to the instrument and what a challenge it is to capture the natural beauty of the instrument when recording.

So, here's 3 acoustic guitar recording tips to help you get pro results.

1. Find The Right Space

Choosing the right spot to record your acoustic guitar will make a huge difference to the recording. Sounds obvious, but it's all too easy to grab the guitar and record close to the computer, like always.

So this time grab your guitar and play it around your room and listen to how the acoustics change. If you're in a typical bedroom, you'll have windows and windows reflect sound. This can be quite pleasing on acoustic guitar but difficult to control. Move to where you've got a lot of furniture in the room and you'll hear the sound tighten up as the sound becomes more absorbed.

No plugins, gadgets or expensive mic preamps required here. Simply your ears. When it sounds good to you, that's where to put your microphone.

2. Mono VS Stereo

Recording with a matched pair can really help to capture the stereo width and natural beauty of the acoustic guitar but a lot of the time, it's simply unnecessary.

If the guitar is the star in a recording, perhaps a simple guitar and vocal recording then sure, reach for 2 mics but so much of the time 1 mic is totally sufficient and without any phase issue possibilities the best place to start out.

If you're looking for super wide guitars, double tracking, (recording the same part twice) often using capos or different tunings, can be a great way to achieve this. Using two different acoustics can really help achieve further width but if you have just one guitar to hand then using two different microphones or mic placements can help to get those results.

Large and small condenser mics are a popular choice on acoustics. Smaller, pencil style condenser mics are great for accurately capturing the natural tones of the instrument.

3. Microphone Placement

So where to start placing the microphone? I start with my hand span as a rough rule of distance but anywhere between 6 to 12 inches is where you'll typically find the most natural and balanced sound.

If you feel you'd like to thin the sound out then experiment pointing the microphone towards the neck. For more bass point closer to the body whilst pointing directly at the sound hole will pick up more of the finger or pick sounds.

Most find the best place to start out is by pointing the mic around where the neck meets the body.

Top Tip. If you're recording just a guitar and vocal track, recording more of the body of the acoustic will pick up more of the lower mid and bass tones and help to fill out the recording and compliment the vocal.

Happy recording!