Video: How to Mic an Acoustic Guitar

In this video, Grammy award-winning recording engineer, Steve Lamm will show you the best way to place a mic on an acoustic guitar.

To begin, it’s important to understand that the acoustic guitar is designed to amplify sound through the hollow core in the front, whenever the instrument is played. However, this type of engineering also makes it tricky to position a mic on it properly.

For example, your first instinct may be to put a mic hovering directly over the sound hole, but this is the least optimal place. The unintended results will be a dull output with low-base and mid-range tones, which will overpower the high-end tones emanating from the strings.

Place Mic at the Base of the Neck

Instead, the ideal placement for a mic is where the neck meets the lower body of the acoustic guitar. Here is where you will have the balance between a low-end sound near the hollow, blended with the brightness of the strings at the neck. Try different placements. If the tone is too bright, go ahead and move the mic closer to the hole. If the result is too dull, move it back towards the neck of the guitar.

Distance Mic Away From Acoustic Guitar

Next, move the mic two to three inches away from the guitar, aiming it back towards the instrument. This distance will achieve the balanced blend of low and high tones. Keep in mind that the closer you are to the guitar, the more low-end tones you will hear. The farther away, the thinner the sound will be with more top-end tones. Also, as you move the microphone away from the guitar you will pick up more of the ambience of the room.

As always, experiment with these different techniques to figure out which is the best sound you are trying to achieve.

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