recording acoustic guitar

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
powderburn uk
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Location: oxford uk

recording acoustic guitar

Post by powderburn uk » Thu Aug 13, 2009 7:19 pm

ive been trying to record my acoustic guitar for about 7months now and ive come to the conclusion that it sounds shit. ive tried all the mic placements room acuostics the inbuilt effects in live 7 etc. should i buy anew mic? or a new interface? at the minute im using a se condensing mic a tascam us122l interface a good tanglewood guitar . it sounds good when i play live, but my songs sound scratcy when recrding. do i need an expesive mic? any sugestions will be appeieciated cheers.
indie rock

myxomat0515
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Location: Florida

Re: recording acoustic guitar

Post by myxomat0515 » Thu Aug 13, 2009 7:24 pm

Not sure if your guit has a pickup, but I've had pretty good results running a DI and a Mic using a so-so takamine acoustic.

sampletanker
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Re: recording acoustic guitar

Post by sampletanker » Thu Aug 13, 2009 7:24 pm

dude, it's like night and day when it comes to using mics for an acoustic guitar.
after researching youtube and the internets (ha), i went out and bought a RODE NT1. it sounds so damn good recording with it.

plus, a little tip i researched also, is to record an acoustic track in LIVE.then duplicate that recording to another track. pan the first recording LEFT, pan the 2nd recording RIGHT plus add about 20ms delay on the 2nd recording. it sounds so good.

so, RODE NT1 or the RODE NT1-A is what i suggest. they are both very popular and reasonable prices out there for them.
Last edited by sampletanker on Thu Aug 13, 2009 7:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jeffplaysmoog
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Re: recording acoustic guitar

Post by jeffplaysmoog » Thu Aug 13, 2009 7:27 pm

I think, right off the bat, they you are using the wrong kind of mic. The mic you are using is (as far as I can tell with a bit of research and without having the exact model) a vocal mic. Acoustic guitars produce a very wide and harmonically rich frequency spectrum that a vocal mic will just not be able to reproduce satisfactorily. The interface you are using looks good enough so I am going to say that is not really a problem. What about the room you are using to record? Do you have any sonic dampening material? Just some thick sheets hanging from the walls will make a heck of a difference.
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powderburn uk
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Location: oxford uk

Re: recording acoustic guitar

Post by powderburn uk » Thu Aug 13, 2009 7:34 pm

cheers for the addvice guys ,i have tried through the guitars pick up it still sound harsh , i will check out the mics, because i want to record just my singing with guitar i need a full bodied warm clear tone.
indie rock

powderburn uk
Posts: 64
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Location: oxford uk

Re: recording acoustic guitar

Post by powderburn uk » Thu Aug 13, 2009 7:37 pm

its funny you should say that about my mic because the singing sounds very good through it
indie rock

jeffplaysmoog
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Re: recording acoustic guitar

Post by jeffplaysmoog » Thu Aug 13, 2009 8:28 pm

certainly, it does look to be a pretty nice vocal mic, good reviews and all.
Mac Book Pro 2.33ghz, 2gig Ram, OS 10.5, Ableton Live 8 Suite, APC40

Aequitas123
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Re: recording acoustic guitar

Post by Aequitas123 » Fri Aug 14, 2009 5:17 pm

you can also get a cheap magnetic pickup and record both the mic and the pickup at the same time. then bring in a bit of the pickup volume to give it a bit of clarity and warmth. although the mic should be the dominant sound.

knotkranky
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Re: recording acoustic guitar

Post by knotkranky » Fri Aug 14, 2009 8:24 pm

It's not the mic i bet.

90% is the way you're playing it and the guitar/setup.

The way you move the pick across the strings, the kind of pick, the kind of strings, the kind of guitar.

try a thinner pick.

try a thicker pick.

try easing up on it.

try a flatter/flat wound strings.

try a dryer room and mic it a bit further from the guitar.

i'd change everything else but the mic. It's fine I bet. Yeah i'm guessing but it's a good guess.

leedsquietman
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Re: recording acoustic guitar

Post by leedsquietman » Fri Aug 14, 2009 8:39 pm

+1 - the mic not be best optimized for guitar, but it should be able to produce at least a satisfactory sound.

the stuff KK mentioned are probably more to the point. Recording acoustic guitar is one of the hardest skills, it's way more difficult than micing an amp for an electric guitar. One of the most important things when recording acoustic is not to record the sound hole, especially if your guitar is only a low-mid range one, that pickes up all kinds of unwanted buzzes and resonances.

I can get a pretty reasonable sound from a fairly shitty low end, bashed up 25 yr old Yamaha acoustic guitar from a semi-treated room using a Rode M3 mic. This is an example of such a set up, a cover of Red House Painter's 'Katy Song'

http://lqmdemos.dmusic.com/music/comments/372511

click on HiFi to stream the song. Just that crappy acoustic, the Rode M3 and a touch of processing (light compression, EQ and a touch of reverb) are on the acoustic guitar. (this track was recorded and mixed in Live 7).
http://soundcloud.com/umbriel-rising http://www.myspace.com/leedsquietmandemos Live 7.0.18 SUITE, Cubase 5.5.2], Soundforge 9, Dell XPS M1530, 2.2 Ghz C2D, 4GB, Vista Ult SP2, legit plugins a plenty, Alesis IO14.

djsynchro
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Re: recording acoustic guitar

Post by djsynchro » Fri Aug 14, 2009 9:04 pm

Don't point the mic at the soundhole, rather, at the body (away from the neck) from above with a boom stand.
An instrument mic might be better as vocal mics can be too bright.

I have just started recording acoustic guitar (my new singer plays the acoustic) and so far I got one incredible recording and one screeching horrible, tried to knock out the harshness with a brutal de-esser but not usable.... same microphone, same room, same (very good sounding) guitar, different mic positions (like an idiot I can't remember what I did and didn't take notes!) the second recording had newer strings so that's not necessary better!
Take it easy on the highs, a rounder tome is prefeable.

Lastly!!! try the microphone further AWAY from the guitar, getting some early reflections is priceless (also for vocals by the way) even if you're recording in mono. You don't stick your ear in an instrument so it's not a natural listening position anyway. The room does not have to be dead/treated in fact a slightly more "live" room might be better.

leedsquietman
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Re: recording acoustic guitar

Post by leedsquietman » Fri Aug 14, 2009 9:12 pm

If the room sounds naturally good with some life in it, it's fine, as pointed out, to allow some of that in the recording. You can also close mic and ambient mic and see how they sound and balance accordingly.

If your room sounds terrible, then all you can do is dry it up as much as possible. De-essing can sometimes help, especially with pick noises, string scrape noises etc, but be careful because the high end air sheen helps the guitar sound better. If you're putting acoustic in a bigger mix (i.e. drums, electric guitars, bass, synths, vox etc), then cutting the lows, especially in the 250-350Hz range can help, depending on the recording, a little high end boost can also help.

I usually record in mono and just double track, but you can also stereo X-Y record or use various other methods. I love Rode's mics for acoustic guitar, The M3 is the cheapest Rode but still awesome for acoustics and for some vocals, the NTK and NT1A are also excellent.but I can get a reasonable sound even from an SM57 dynamic, which is not noted for it's properties on acoustic guitar (it's seen more as a mic for electric guitar amps, or for snare drums).
http://soundcloud.com/umbriel-rising http://www.myspace.com/leedsquietmandemos Live 7.0.18 SUITE, Cubase 5.5.2], Soundforge 9, Dell XPS M1530, 2.2 Ghz C2D, 4GB, Vista Ult SP2, legit plugins a plenty, Alesis IO14.

sampletanker
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Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2009 5:07 am

Re: recording acoustic guitar

Post by sampletanker » Fri Aug 14, 2009 10:50 pm

RODE NT1 or NT1A
it'll change your life.

leisuremuffin
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Re: recording acoustic guitar

Post by leisuremuffin » Fri Aug 14, 2009 11:04 pm

im with kk here.


performance and placement will make a bigger difference than swapping mics or even pre's.
i set up my guitar's intonation yesterday and used a friends really nice tuner. i was shocked at how much pitch difference i got with different pick strokes and where on the string i picked. I hadn't used such a sensitive tuner before. i don't know how relevant that slight pitch issue is, but the tone is crazy different too of course.

aaaanyway, i think you can get a decent sound out of an acoustic guitar with any condenser mic given proper placement and consistent playing technique.




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sampletanker
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Re: recording acoustic guitar

Post by sampletanker » Fri Aug 14, 2009 11:49 pm

sure mic placement,picks,strings,etc. factor into recording acoustic guitars.i've tried all that and still came up with poor RECORDING results.
the RODE mic made such a difference,that i can pick and play sloppy...the recording of it still sounds so much better.

so, i put my .01 cent in....good luck.

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