How To Mic An Acoustic Guitar (Guide)
There are many different tricks and tips given on how to mic an acoustic guitar.
This is because the sound of a guitar is best experienced at a distance where others are able to hear the different elements that make the sound in a natural blend of perfect harmony.
You must have been told that miking is easy to achieve only if you can find your guitar's sweet spot, but as easy as that may sound, maintaining a mic on that spot for as long as it takes to record a session is a difficult task.
This is why you have to understand the rudiments of miking acoustic guitar asides finding its sweet spot.
One of the most important ways to mic your guitar is to first understand your instrument.
By now, I believe you should be able to identify the best place sound comes from on your guitar.
The first place you might consider is the sound hole, but it's not always advisable to place the mic directly on the sound hole and expect a good output.
If you do this, you end up with an unrefined boom sound blasting bass frequencies across the room, thus killing the harmony of the sound you are trying to create.
For the best mic positioning, one of these two spots offer the best result:
Place the mic a little above the sound hole
Doing this will give a more balanced sound with a little bass touch, unlike the overwhelming bass boom it gives if placed directly by the sound hole.
The distance here should be around 12-16 inches away from the sound hole for a fuller sound.
Place the mic behind or below the bridge
This mic position lets you pick slightly less bass, and even though it doesn't give a much-fretted string detail, it's midrange is clearer.
The pick sounds are also captured more closely at this position when the guitar is strummed.
Place the mic like 6- 12 inches away from the 12th fret
This helps you capture more natural and balanced high-end sound.
This area is towards the guitar neck and a sweet spot for acoustic guitar recording.
At this position, the sound given off is not washed out by the loud bass sound, and every detail of the fretted string is picked out.
The best part of this position is that the true tone of your instrument is better captured.
Mic Type And Size
Condenser mics are highly sensitive and mostly used by sound engineers, but on certain occasions, dynamic mics work better, although this is much dependent on the type of sound you are aiming for.
For condenser mics, large diaphragms give more expression and boldness to the sound while the smaller diaphragms stick to the natural sound of the guitar.
If you are willing to try as many mics as you can, you will be able to choose the one that works best for your recording, on the other hand, you can try a mix of large diaphragms which gives body to the sound and smaller diaphragms for detailed and brightness of the sound.
This combination will be just perfect.
Choose A Right Space/Location
The size, sound, and condition of your recording room also influence the resulting record you made.
Most issues have more to do with the location you are recording in than the mic you have chosen to work with, and this is because the location factor is often underrated.
Rooms with hard surfaces have more reflections and give your sound more character, but controlling the sound direction is a task on its own.
Asides choosing a good location, you should know how to tune your ears while playing in order to easily pick up the best sounding spot to set up your mics.
Please note that there's no permanent position for your mics during recording; a lot of factors may cause a frequent change of spots.
This will require you to bring an additional mic into your recording session for use either by lining the mics together or putting apart at different strategic locations.
You have to be able to line the two mics up correctly for the two signals to blend.
If not done correctly, it may result in phasing issues where the sound waves hit the mics at different times and end up muddling the sound.
One of the two best positions for two mic testing is placing on at the 12th fret and the other at the bridge.
For an effective result on how to mic an acoustic guitar, you have to be creative, and you should experiment at different locations and with different mic types and sound spot, this will help you identify what works for you better.
To mic acoustic guitar, there is no one style fits all, this is just a guide, but you'd be amazed at the tricks you will discover while doing it on your own.
Let your creativity come into the picture.