Recording an acoustic guitar is rather easy. The tough part is making it sound good. In this how to record Acoustic Guitar article, I will be telling you about all the things you need to keep in mind and all the gadgets you are going to require in order to get a high-quality recording of you playing your acoustic guitar. Let us begin.
Things to keep in mind before you start recording
I will not beat around the bush. True, it is the musician’s talent that really counts but, honestly speaking, the guitar itself goes a long way as well. A good guitar does not necessarily have to be an expensive one. A “good guitar”, at least how I am using it, means a well maintained one. Don't use a guitar such has low action issue affects the sounding, so try to resolve all the problems before recording.
Moreover, choose an expensive Acoustic guitar which offers better amplification and resonance. There are more things to be taken into account like the quality of the strings and making sure that the guitar is tuned correctly.
Guitars are like cars. Sure, a good driver can drive a civic insanely well but imagine what they can do when behind the wheel of a mustang.
Before you start recording, First you've to clean your guitar after that, start your warm-up and play the basic notes. Just get the blood running through your fingers. Keep in mind the kind of genre you are playing, whether or not you are using a pick, a capo, all that jazz.
The pressure of recording will seem less and this will also give you a chance to see if the guitar is in tune or not. Oh yeah, make sure you are not wearing any necklaces or a piece of clothing that makes noise.
CHOOSING THE CORRECT MICROPHONE
No surprises here, you are going to need a microphone if you plan on recording yourself play and you are going to need the correct one. Dynamic or Condenser? A choice every musician must make unless you have the money to get both. Since I myself mostly play an acoustic guitar,
Choose a Condenser Microphone fore recording Acoustic Guitar and so do most people while recording acoustic guitar or acoustic instruments in general but I suggest you read up about microphones and make a decision for yourself.
Mono or Studio
For the most part, most home musicians record in Mono. However, I suggest you read up on it as both have their individual pros and cons.
how to record acoustic guitar
You got your microphone, you got your guitar, you are ready to rock; it is time to get started.
Step by step, I will tell you how to get started with recording yourself play the acoustic guitar:
Set everything up. Turn on your PC, open your DAW, connect the microphone to it and just generally get everything in place so you do not have to get up and grab something after you are all settled in.
Put on your headphones and play around with the positioning of the microphone. While you are playing the guitar, place your microphone in different positions and see where the sweet spot is. The said “sweet spot” is going to provide you with the perfect balance of rich highs, mids and lows.
Usually, it is between the 12th and the 14th fret around 10 to 20 inches away but hey, you might like the sound better when you place the mic near the 1st fret or perhaps even at the back of the guitar.
Once you have found the sweet spot, put your microphone on a stand so it stays still in that position.
It is time to start playing. This is the most essential part, everything you did leads up to this. Track your guitar, do multiple takes. While recording your guitar, make sure you strive for perfection. Also, keep in mind that mics are extremely sensitive so they will pick up on little things that normally you might ignore.
For example, I live right next to the main road and a big tree so birds chirping, cars honking, all of that is captured which can be annoying. Even little things like jewelery if you wear any, foot-tapping, heavy breathing, you must take care of all that. Make sure to leave some silence before and after you start playing. It makes it easier to edit and also gives a nice effect IMO.
Room treatment is a necessary yet often avoided step I feel. Honestly, even I have not done it but it really does help. So much so that you can record when the sun’s out while I have to wait till midnight to record without any interruptions. If you can, invest in some soundproofing.
For the most part, the “how to record acoustic guitar” part is over but if you are a solo musician like myself, you might want to read up on this part as well. Editing and mixing are quite important and if you are going to do it yourself, which I am assuming you are, you might want to look upon lessons as to how you can do it efficiently. You do not want your lack of editing skills messing up your guitar playing magic.
Recording an acoustic guitar is not as complicated as it might seem. It most just boils down to having the skill to play the guitar well, having a good microphone and instrument, its placement and making sure the cars don’t honk and the birds don’t chirp. Just kidding, that’s a personal problem. Anyways, hope this helped you out.