Like most guitarists, you are probably interested in the recording process. Every musician loves the idea of hearing a mastered version that represents their hard work and passion for songwriting, as well as playing their instrument. However, many musicians are unsure of ways to produce the best sounding recording from their homes. Especially when it comes to acoustic instruments. In this article, we will focus on some techniques that will help produce the best sounding recordings for the acoustic guitar.
The most common question that I hear from singer/songwriters is “What type of equipment do I need to record?” So let’s start with the basics. In order to record your music, you will need the following:
- Computer or tablet
Any PC or Mac should suffice for simple recordings. I use an older Microsoft Surface tablet and it works great for recording.
- An interface
- A microphone (preferably a dynamic microphone)
- DAW (Digital Audio Workstation)
Examples of popular DAWs are Pro Tools, Logic Pro, Qubase, and Reaper. Although a DAW can be quite expensive, there are a few free and more affordable options like Audacity.
If you do not have any of this equipment, then I recommend looking at the Focusrite Scarlett Solo USB Audio Interface. You can find it in a bundle with everything that you need to record for a very reasonable price! The bundle even includes a selection of different DAWs that can be downloaded to your computer from the interface. Here is the link to the bundle on Amazon:
Another great example of affordable equipment is the iRig HD2. This interface also comes with a complete version of Amplitude. A valuable asset for those interested in recording! Here is a link to this cool piece of equipment on Amazon:
Once you have your gear, you will need to create an optimal recording environment. This should be a quiet space with no sound interference (cars driving by, dogs barking, etc.). Once you have chosen your space, you will need to explore the natural reverberation of the room. Is there an echo when you play? Or does the surroundings of the room absorb the sound to provide a tighter sounding recording? Generally, you will want a carpeted room or a rug, and some furniture. All of these things help control the sound that will be picked up in the recording. I believe it is best to have a tighter room where sound is absorbed for recording acoustic guitar. If you want, you can add the reverb effect later when you are mastering the recording.
After you have chosen your recording space, you will need to focus on mic placement. Many young musicians believe that it is appropriate to place a mic directly facing the sound hole of the acoustic guitar. However, to get the most balanced sound out of the acoustic guitar, it is better to place the microphone approximately 6 inches in front of the 12th fret. Experiment by moving the mic around and discovering all of the sounds that will be recorded. Many musicians like to place a second mic near the body of the guitar to get a bigger bass sound into the mix.
The next step is deciding how to record. In this case, if you are only recording your acoustic guitar, it is best to record using the Stereo selection instead of Mono. Stereo will give a rich sound that can be heard through both pans of the recording, Mono will only be heard through one.
In conclusion, recording the acoustic guitar may be something that you have to spend a little time learning, but it can lead to creating some quality recordings that represent you as a musician! I highly encourage any singer/songwriter or acoustic player to explore the art of recording!
As always, all comments are welcome! Let me know what you think about this article! Do you have any suggestions about recording equipment or techniques?