So you know how to play an acoustic guitar? Do you know how to do the recording too? They say recording an acoustic guitar is just easy but when you play it back, the acoustic track sounds muddy, harsh and downright disappointing.
Bad acoustic guitar track can bring the quality of the entire mix pretty down and make your day sucks. No one wants that for sure. Getting a perfect acoustic guitar recording is quite challenging. It is undeniably easy to simply record an acoustic guitar but to perfectly make it is something you need to know a few things.
Here, I’m going to show you how to do a basic acoustic guitar recording in just 5 steps. You are not obliged to follow them of course, but you’ll have a great day if you try doing so.
Step 1: Make the Guitar Ready
Before you start to record anything make sure the instrument you use is in good condition. Your guitar should have new strings. New strings produce a bright and fresh tone. You can also use your old strings but make sure they are strong enough to jam the picks. Ensure that the guitar is in tune. You can use a digital tuner for that. Don’t forget to check the tuning every time as possible.
There are many different ways of tuning an acoustic guitar. You can tune it with a digital tuner also called tuning device or tune it by ear. Beginners may find it easy to do the tuning with the help of a device. Guitar tuners are fairly sold about $10. With time and practice, you can eventually learn to tune the instrument with your own ears.
If you want the tuner free, get your iOS or Android device and go to the app store, download and install a free guitar tuner app. In making your guitar ready, don’t forget to include yourself. I assume you know how to hold your guitar and guitar pick already.
Step 2: Set the Recording Gears Up
Recording gears will make your guitar recording possible. So get some sort of recording devices and set them properly up. Home recording studio setup these days are fairly affordable as long as you have your computer ready, you only need a few other items to complete the puzzle. The next thing you need for recording is a microphone, at least one mic at first.
Every mic has its own unique sound and characteristics but any mic will do to start off. However, you may want to consider condenser mics as they are able to pick up much more sound definition than dynamic mics. Some acoustic guitar has a pickup in it. Don’t try to do recording directly but rather get the sound from your guitar into your computer by using a mic.
Recording gears are generally can’t live without an audio interface. An audio interface links the sounds you are picking up with the mic and the things your computer has to process. It is also a part of the signal chain which converts analog audio to digital and vice versa. There are audio interfaces that come with an amp. If not, you probably have to buy it separately as you need it to get the best signal to noise ratio on your recordings.
Step 3: Place the Instrument and Equipment Properly
All the instruments and the pieces of equipment you will use for recording should be in good position. For your guitar, it is a good idea to try a few different spots. Listen to where your guitar sounds the brightest and place your guitar in it. Remember that things like reverb, decay, time and the audible size of the guitar can make a difference depending on where the guitar is placed in your room. If you’re looking for a better sound and you can’t find it in one room, look for another.
The correct mic placement is also all about experimentation. When you get it right, you get a good sounding guitar recording. The mic is generally placed in front of the guitar. If you only use one mic, aim it towards the soundboard of the guitar. For two or more mics, set up a spaced pair type configuration.
You can also have a friend play some acoustic guitar songs for you and use your ears to critically listen where the right spot you got the sound best. Hold the mic with the proper mic stand when you found the sweet spot.
Step 4: Connect Everything
Since you’re done with the guitar preparation and the setup and the placement, this time you have to do some audio engineering. Ensure that you have your mic connected to the interface correctly and the audio interface should also be connected to the computer. Don’t forget to turn on everything that needs power.
Make sure you get all the things connected before you start the recording process. Check again the guitar, the mic, the amp and everything. Get a DAW to record audio to your computer. You need recording software to make the recording possible.
Step 5: Do the Recording
Finally, here we are! Once you decided where to save your session, have configured the tracks and tested the mic, then you are all set for recording.
You might think what sample rate you should record or how many tracks you need but those are the things you don’t need to bother so much. You don’t necessarily need many tracks for the recording, just at least two full passes of the song will do. In doing the recording, you can combine different play to make the sound more like a band jamming even if there’s only one guitarist playing.
You can use headphones for recording to eliminate unwanted noise.
People who know how to play an acoustic guitar are cool but those who know how to do the recording right are much better than cool. The recording is a fun activity that every musician loves doing. If you are happy doing it, again and again, your future will be like your new strings – shines and sounds bright.
Do you find the steps above helpful? Feel free to make the sharing!