Basic Mic Techniques for Recording Acoustic and Electric Guitars

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Doug and Tom from the SoundLab at Disc Makers put this fabulous video together that walks you through some of the basics for recording great guitar tones in your home studio. Getting a great tone on tape is the first step to making a great recording – check it out and learn about mics, tips on mic placement, Pro Tools, working with amplifiers, and more.

22 thoughts on “Basic Mic Techniques for Recording Acoustic and Electric Guitars

  1. Thank you , it covers the basics… hope you guys can do some work with Apple programs and discuss differences w/ pro tools and the like

  2. Good starting point for mic technique. Good presentation, a little shaky at first, but you got good points across. Good to see these videos to help the performers getting started and maybe some that have been doing it wrong. Please think of the soundman and work with him and he will do his best to make you sound your best.

  3. I was very impress with the info for the basic how to record the Guitars. The audio from the narrator was poor, I am using the source basic stereo speakers. Audio often fadded from side to side as he swing in his chair and found to be hollow to far back from mic. Yes it was a down load from your web site. remeber to metal strings, Amp, apply to accoustic guitars too.

  4. This was a basic video on mic techniques for recording guitar.He never said it was all encompassing,he never said that his was the last word on basics. This gives a lad or a lass a basic starting point and a touchstone on something that WORKED that he or she can set up that fancy mes of gear they just got in from XYZ music shoppe,etc.They will add to their own arsenal of tricks and techniques by experimenting,by witnessing other folks setups in either amatuer or pro/semipro studios,and by education via the web,books or recording school. You feel jipped because your own prized technique or something that God told you to do wasnt included? Make your own video about it and quite your belly-aching. I say “Good show ,lad”.Thanks for taking the time to do this.

  5. I didn’t watch the video, couldn’t get it mobile…. I found to get a wonderfully awesome sound recording electric guitars is to run your guitar through a splitter to two or three different amps and then put at least two mics on each amp and record like four to six tracks of the same take coming through different speakers with different mics and mic angles and then after recording play with the panning and volume and phase of all the tracks played back together until you have your awesome sound. This also makes for a good way to change presence and tones on the same take of guitar throughout the song to adjust to mix with changing instrumentation and sectional desrie.

  6. This could have been a video about recording a washing machine.  Yes, mic’ing an acoustic guitar near the bridge (video) gives you more mids, and near the sound hole more lows.  My nylon experience strongly recommends the best position for one mic is around 12th fret–a good place for highs–pleasurable highs.  Two offset mics will give a great stereo sound that can be panned for thickening the sound.  This video proves my point–the recorded sound should have been far sweeter. 

  7. How can you have a discussion about mic’ing a guitar amp without talking about proximity effect from dynamic microphones and standing bass waves from not tilting the mic off axis from the speaker?  And how can hum from an amp sound different from different parts of a single speaker?  Very uninformed.

  8. Very little, if any, substance here.  Don’t put mic too close.  And don’t put mic too far.  Point mic at instrument.  Plus, not the best advice for a single mic on an acoustic.

  9.  Enjoyed this video. I like that Doug emphasizes
    that it’s not necessary to get your input level as high as humanly possible in a
    digital environment. The misconception that we need to obsess about this may be a
    holdover from the tape days, when hitting the tape hard made certain things just
    sound better. As he points out, as long as your input level is past the point
    where signal-to-noise ratio is no longer an issue, recording any hotter just
    runs the risk of blowing your take with digital clipping–something I have to
    remind myself of far too often.

  10. There is definately different tones that only a cranked up mashall will do.If you dont have a power brake then youll have to crank it to get that tone and a lil stomp box wont do it either.Does he know this? From a pro guitarist view point it is different than some geek who took courses in sound recording.

    1. I think he’s just trying to cover the most simple of basics; say for someone that’s artist and sound tech in their condo. People just tend to automatically setup for recording the way that they play, but that isn’t always necessary. There’s so many methods to getting the sound you want that this could have easily been a ten second video with a shrug and “eh, do what you think sounds good.”

      That said, God help the poor tech that tries and change some guitarist’s pickups. 🙁

      1. No kidding… I have a guitarist that has no clue about how sound travels… but he think he does!  As an audio geek, I want to change where he has his pickup located… but good luck!  🙂

  11. Great video. Thanks. I’m wondering how you record drums though … especially hand played drums like Tom, Djembe, etc.

  12. I prefer to record acoustic guitars in stereo with two mics. Mic 1 is slightly above the sound hole to catch the bottom strings and mic 2 is, of course slightly below the sound hole. This will give a really nice living presence to the recording and not, as is the case with only one mic, just a playback with all the guitar sounds coming out of one point in space. Pianos MUST be miked in stereo.

    I didn’t learn much from this article. The basic instruction deemed to be, “experiment.” Heck, I was doing that before watching your clip.

  13. I found this video very informative. Mic placement is indeed very important when recording from an amplifier. I would be interested to learn about using a direct line feed from an amplifier to a recorder (or recording program). Perhaps also some more info on recording programs (ie: Pro Tools).

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