My Big Stupid Recording Failure

Once upon a time, Joe made a stupid mistake.

I was recording a bunch of acoustic guitar tracks for an album project.

I was super-excited. I had set aside an entire afternoon to knock out all the songs.

Also, I had just gotten a brand new microphone, and was going to use it along with another mic to record the guitar in stereo.

All was right with the world. I set levels, listened through my headphones, and the sound was HUGE.

Jackpot. Let’s start recording. (more…)

Attack of the Lop-Sided Stereo Monster

A reader is puzzled by stereo (2-mic) acoustic guitar recording:

I recently got into mixing acoustic guitar with 2 mics. The problem is that I do not know how to create as much ‘space’ as some tracks I know of. I’ve tried XY, ORTF, and spaced pair.

XY and ORTF are too narrow. Spaced pair seems reasonable (following the 3:1 Rule), but the mic pointed closest to the body becomes overly ‘bassy.’

How can I balance the stereo image? EQ can control the problem but not by much. How would you go about on fixing this problem?

I know mic position has to do with it but I don’t know where to start. Just wondering if you had to overcome this type of problem before.

As much acoustic guitar recording and mixing as I do, I’ve dealt with problems like this a LOT.

(And this applies to ANY instrument, not just acoustic guitar.) (more…)

5 Stereo Mic Techniques for Acoustic Guitar (or ANY acoustic instrument)

If you record acoustic guitar, then chances are you’ve either played around with stereo recording or at least thought about it. But maybe you’re not sure which techniques to use and the pros and cons of each.

I think I can help.

I’ve recorded acoustic guitar more than any other instrument, so I’ve spent countless hours of quality time with my guitar and a pair of microphones. And I’ve gotten pretty good at getting great acoustic guitar tone.

What is stereo recording?

Stereo recording is simply using two microphones to capture a two-channel “stereo” image of the source. By panning the signals left and right, you can create a sense of space and width and depth, simply by using two microphones instead of one. (more…)

Great Acoustic Guitar Tone – The Preamp (Part 6 of 7)

Everybody asks about what microphones and mic placements they should use on acoustic guitar, but rarely do they ask about the preamp. It’s a shame, because the preamp plays a huge roll in the sound of ANY recording.

As I told you in the Intro to Preamps video, there are lots of different types of preamps. If you’re starting out, you’ll just use the built-in preamps on your audio interface. That’s fine, but just know that a really nice microphone into a cheap preamp may not sound as amazing as you expected. (more…)

Great Acoustic Guitar Tone – Mic Placement: Stereo (Part 5 of 7)

If using one microphone is great, two must be twice as good, right? Sometimes. 🙂

Some of the best acoustic guitar tones I’ve ever gotten have been with two microphones, this is sometimes referred to as stereo mic placement (although two microphones doesn’t always mean it’s technically “stereo,” but that’s for another day).

As with most things, if there stands to be a bigger benefit (better guitar tone), there are also greater risks (phase issues). (more…)

Brand New Class: Recording Acoustic Guitar

If you’ve been following the blog this week, you’ve noticed a bunch of acoustic guitar talk.

That’s because next week I’m launching a brand new class: Recording Acoustic Guitar. Nothing super fancy, just 4 weeks of straight talk on getting great acoustic guitar tone.

It’ll be a combination of live webinars (weeks 1 and 3) and HD video downloads (weeks 2 and 4). If you can’t make the live events, no problem. It’ll all be recorded and available for download whenever you want.

This is for you if:

  • You struggle with recording acoustic guitar.
  • You want to feel confident whenever a client walks in with an acoustic guitar, knowing you WILL get a great tone.
  • You play acoustic guitar yourself (like I do).
  • You love recording ANY acoustic instruments

You can join today, only 100 spots are available. I’ll put the videos up for sale later, but they’ll be at a higher price.

3 Reasons to Join Today:

  1. Learn EXACTLY what you need to learn. The beauty of a live class is that YOU decide what direction we go. I’ll cover EVERYTHING I know about getting great acoustic guitar tones, but you’ll be able to ask questions and tell me EXACTLY what you want to learn about. It’s an awesome way to get the most for your money.
  2. Recording Evaluation – For everyone who joins for the live class, you’ll be given a challenge to record acoustic guitar in the next 4 weeks. On week 4, I’ll evaluate/critique everyone’s recordings.
  3. $20 Discount. Live attendees get in for $20 less than the normal price.

Make it a goal to start getting better acoustic guitar recordings. Go here now to join us!

Great Acoustic Guitar Tone – The Mic (Part 3 of 7)

Once you’ve got a great-sounding guitar in a great-sounding spot in the room (and don’t underestimate how important those two steps are), you’re ready to pick your mic.

If you only own one microphone, your choice is easy. 🙂 If you own several, here are some tips for choosing the right one.

Condenser Mics

95% of the time, I use a condenser microphone when I record acoustic guitars. Condenser mics, as opposed to dynamic mics, tend to capture much more detail, particularly in the high-end. They’re also fairly sensitive, which means they capture the subtle nuances of an acoustic guitar much more effectively. (more…)