Old 01-28-2020, 03:01 AM   #1
madphilly
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Default Acoustic Guitar Recording tips

Hey guys!

Firstly I'd like to lay down that I'm totally green to recording processes. I've done the noob thing and browsed YouTube and this forum for tips and techniques etc., which I must say has been massively useful.

My question is around recording acoustic guitar. I have tried the DI approach, which I don't like too much, but volume-wise it's okay. I have a Behringer UMC22 AI and Fender Acoustasonic 40 Amp with DI out.

When recording through the instrument input in the AI, it's VERY quiet and I have to add 95% gain on the AI just to get anything through. Rumour has it that this is because of the pickup in the guitar (Taylor A10e, ES pickup). I don't have a pre-amp to boost the weak signal using this approach, aside from a Rowin Looper which boosts a little.


So, recording with Mic provides best results, but you have all the finger sounds and ambient noise which I'm unsure how to combat. I'm following vids about EQ and yesterday I tried the JSFX Spectrum Matcher approach, which was very good.

I read another post that mentioned recording both the DI and Mic'd input and 'blending' them.

Apologies for the lengthy post, I figured some background might help

TIA

Andy

EDIT: I'd like to add for completeness that the whole mix in this particular instance just includes the guitar, vocals and drums, so the guitar has a good level of focus.

Last edited by madphilly; 01-28-2020 at 03:44 AM. Reason: More info required
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Old 01-28-2020, 09:36 AM   #2
kirk1701
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It depends on the part you're trying to track. You'll approach a fingerpicking part differently than a rhythmic strum.

Generally speaking, acoustic gtrs are tracked with small diaphragm condensers, but you can get great results with an SM57. The small diaphragm is important for directionality. It has a small pickup pattern, so you can point it away from sounds you don't want to hear (like finger squeaks etc).

Start with positioning the mic at the 14th fret, approx. 6-8" away. It gets bassier as you move toward the soundhole.

Don't be afraid to experiment. Move the mic closer or further away. Try a couple takes and listen carefully to what you get. If you don't like it, do it again. Repeat till you're happy.
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Old 02-03-2020, 12:03 PM   #3
Judders
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kirk1701 View Post
Generally speaking, acoustic gtrs are tracked with small diaphragm condensers, but you can get great results with an SM57. The small diaphragm is important for directionality. It has a small pickup pattern, so you can point it away from sounds you don't want to hear (like finger squeaks etc).
Hey Kirk, that's not actually the case. SDC's don't have smaller pickup patterns than LDC's. In fact, at high frequencies LDC's patterns get narrower, so for avoiding string squeak an LDC will be more directional, assuming a cardioid pattern is used.

Some more on that here: https://forum.cockos.com/newreply.ph...eply&p=2237557
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Old 01-28-2020, 09:44 AM   #4
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Hi. To add to the above: yes quiet signals can be an issue though it's more an issue about the signal to noise ration than the signal per se. Considering using a pre-amp - my little and very cheap Art Pro Tube has made a big difference but even taking a DI from a half decent acoustic amp might be worth trying.

Here's the always watchable Paul Davids on how to record acoustics:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ww-cH29IGeM&t=108s
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Old 01-28-2020, 11:08 AM   #5
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Squeaky ...
Here are a couple of things.
The shortest and believe it or not the best way to avoid squeaks while playing an acoustic guitar is to practice not making them. Study the times you do not make squeaks when you could have and learn from those.
Relaxed playing, good position of the fretting hand and also right hand.
Tricks.... one I did two days ago on my Martin this guitar has a very slim neck for all practical purposes too thin for my left hand to get a clean "C" chord without a buzz. I needed the sound of open chords they had what I wanted and needed to play a "C" then "D" I was getting this buzz and nothing in my artillery of vst' would take this sound out, so... I tuned my B string up to C (up a semi Tone) and there the answer was two new shapes with less interference in the sound quick to record a perfect take and then a down tune after success. (My Martin neck is too narrow for my fingers at the nut)
Think outside the square and note the things that succeed for you and build off those.

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Old 01-28-2020, 12:15 PM   #6
toleolu
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madphilly View Post

So, recording with Mic provides best results, but you have all the finger sounds and ambient noise which I'm unsure how to combat.
I also record using a Taylor acoustic and found as you did that mic'ing it gave me the best results.

To Grinders point about the squeaks while playing, you're better off fixing that in the performance rather than trying to fix it in the mix, so to speak, but that's just my opinion. Nothing wrong with a little bit of that though, just shows it's a human playing rather than a machine.

I record in my man cave, have some ambient noise to deal with, but I'm just a hobbyist so I'm not expecting studio quality results.

Good Luck.
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Old 01-28-2020, 01:06 PM   #7
serr
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If the guitar amplified from it's piezo pickup with that amp is your preferred sound... That's what you want to record. I'd record the DI and also mic the amp in that case for flexibility. The unamplified acoustic sound of the guitar would be a different animal.

If you were actually after an unamplified acoustic guitar sound, and the pickup and amp business is more of an attempt to play with louder instruments (like drums) as well as possible...

The sounds from an acoustic guitar can include some noises. You kind of have to dial that in with performance technique. Mics are going to record what comes off the thing with no lies.
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Old 01-28-2020, 01:26 PM   #8
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If you are playing repetitive passages as in verse or chorus type passages and you do have a muck up in one. If you can find a good one the same in that or another file then edit the bad one by inserting a copy of the good sounding part of the passage into that place where you cut out the bad one.

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Old 01-29-2020, 11:36 AM   #9
Taurus 8
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I like to use an SM57 and point it to the 12th fret of the guitar so the sound isn't too boomy. As an recent experiment I tried to create the acoustic sound of the first America album and this setup, along with my Martin dreadnought worked well for doing that.

My other tip is to listen to good acoustic music for inspiration. My suggestion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDZbpEgQ6i0
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Old 02-03-2020, 05:49 AM   #10
madphilly
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Hey guys,

Thank you all for your inputs.

I definitely agree on the performance practicing, this will of course knock it out at source.

I've watched the Paul David video a few times and he's very helpful. At present I have a Shure SM58 and a Samson C01 Large Diaphragm Condensor mic. As I have just picked up here, the large diaphragm may not be the best for recording the guitar in terms of background sounds. To be honest, I do quite like the human element to the sound, so some sliding, squeaking is totally fine.

I do really need to take some time changing mic placement, I suffer with a lack of patience so this always proves tough lol! I haven't tried yet, but I'll have a go recording both mic'd and DI and research this 'blending' technique, see where that takes me.

"I record in my man cave, have some ambient noise to deal with, but I'm just a hobbyist so I'm not expecting studio quality results"

I also do this. I'm not expecting studio quality, just a bit of fun. But I would like to get a noticeably better quality sound so I'm just gonna have to keep researching and learning.

As I've trawled, it seems that some basic EQ'ing and Delay can make a world of difference. Just need to know what I'm doing

Again, thanks for taking the time to respond. This learning curve is steep and it's always good to know there are people willing to help you climb it.

Andy
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