Acoustic guitar.

mcmac74

New member
Hi

I feel that I'm fairly competent at getting an acoustic guitar to sit well in a full band set up mix as backing, however I often shy away from leaving a track raw ( that I'd prefer raw) because I feel I can't get an acoustic to sound strong enough on its own with minimal backing. I usually end up doing so much layering of guitars that I lose the sense of the song it was meant to be. So, my question is, what effects / eq / other tricks do folk add to their raw acoustic tracks to get them feeling fuller?

I'm recording using a matched pair of Rode M5s and familiar with the standard poisoning of the mics for acoustic guitar. I record using Reaper and obviously have access to to full cockos effects set along with JS and others ive downloaded.

Cheers, Mark
 

keith.rogers

Bobby'); DROP TABLE USER
If you mean solo guitar, this is where having a good guitar played well honestly makes a difference. It's not that different than trying to make an exposed vocal sound good in a recording.

Now, if you have a nicer room with some treatment, you can back away a bit with the mics, and that is going to give a better sound (IMO). How far depends a lot on the instrument, the style of playing, and what kind of sound you want.

And, I'm not sure what "standard positioning" means to you. Spaced pair?
 

mjbphotos

What?!?
For a song with just one acoustic guitar, I typically record with one mic aimed at the 12th fret and the other at the lower bout/bridge area of the guitar, then pan them about 35% each side, adjusting volume on the bout mic to bring the level to the same as the other. A little bit of compression. Maybe scoop the low-mids a little, depends on the song and how it was played. If its a nylon string guitar, I back the mics off to 18-24", but steel string I get closer.
 

Gtoboy

Active member
There are a lot of ways to fill out an acoustic only track, however, I should mention that a less "processed" track is it's own "sound" also. Intimate, as it were.

Multiple options, mix and match.

Okay, so first option: double guitar part using either another, different sounding acoustic or different microphone. Two or more different timbres can make for a larger, fuller sound.

Next, delays and reverbs. And delays into reverbs.

I like to use aux channels with a couple of different delays , a short slap on one and a medium delay and a couple of channels with different reverb setups, short and long.

Duplicating and using eq to differentiate the tracks giving a bit of tonal variance and depth.

Lastly(for now), modulation effects like chorus and flanging, even pitch shifting on aux channels or on a copy of the original track.

All these things can be used at low levels behind the main tracks to add depth and fullness without getting overwhelming
 

TalismanRich

Well-known member
Mcmac,

I found that my M5s were the lightest sounding mics of the 4 SDCs that I have (CAD, AKG, LAUTEN, RODE). I did a quick shootout last year, and felt that my Lauten 120s were probably my favorite for just a single guitar, but as someone pointed out, the M5 would probably have sat in a mix better as it didn't have the weight in the low end. With my Taylor 310, that's probably a good thing. Dreadnoughts can be somewhat bottom heavy.

My NT1 was probably the truest sound to the original. If I just used the M5s, I would probably do like MJB said, and maybe boost the lower bout mic, even move it a bit closer, or aim more at the soundhole if needed. Then a light compressing and just a hint of reverb.

My biggest problem is that I don't do the the thumb picking well so I don't have a lot of bass notes when I fingerpick. Good technique would help, but I have never been able to develop the dexterity.
 

jimmys69

MOODerator
There are a lot of ways to fill out an acoustic only track, however, I should mention that a less "processed" track is it's own "sound" also. Intimate, as it were.

Multiple options, mix and match.

Okay, so first option: double guitar part using either another, different sounding acoustic or different microphone. Two or more different timbres can make for a larger, fuller sound.

Next, delays and reverbs. And delays into reverbs.

I like to use aux channels with a couple of different delays , a short slap on one and a medium delay and a couple of channels with different reverb setups, short and long.

Duplicating and using eq to differentiate the tracks giving a bit of tonal variance and depth.

Lastly(for now), modulation effects like chorus and flanging, even pitch shifting on aux channels or on a copy of the original track.

All these things can be used at low levels behind the main tracks to add depth and fullness without getting overwhelming

Props to all of the above mentioned.

To add to 'modulation'; I don't think I have ever not used Soundtoys Microshift on an acoustic track for a couple years. It is sadly not cheap @ $129. It is similar to a chorus effect but without the typical phasey thing chorus effects give. More of a stereo pitch shift/delay effect.

Also great for faking a twice played heavy guitar track. Don't hit me for that comment... lol
 

mjbphotos

What?!?
I don't 'double track' (play the same part twice) acoustic guitar tracks any more - I've found that the slight differences in strumming can create a phasey sound which I don't want. Panning 100% to each side doesn't really get rid of that problem (to my ears anyway), and listening in mono shows the problem when its there.
Instead, I'll play a different part - capo and play higher/lower on the neck, or arpeggiate instead of strum, etc.
 

Gtoboy

Active member
I don't 'double track' (play the same part twice) acoustic guitar tracks any more - I've found that the slight differences in strumming can create a phasey sound which I don't want. Panning 100% to each side doesn't really get rid of that problem (to my ears anyway), and listening in mono shows the problem when its there.
Instead, I'll play a different part - capo and play higher/lower on the neck, or arpeggiate instead of strum, etc.

I do this with a different guitar also. One bright guitar and one mid thick panned mostly opposite, playing mostly different parts but occasionally the same part for arrangement emphasis.
 

mcmac74

New member
Thanks for the info fellas. I have tried a few of those techniques...my fall back is generally dbl tracking if there's a full band set up. For lower key acoustic tracks I generally try and play a slightly different part like MJB and Gtoboy. Talisman Rich, I have an NT1-a but not given it a decent workout recording acoustic yet...to do. I like the idea of pitch shifting on a copy set low in the mix. Looking forward to having a play around with all this!

Mark
 
I recently downloaded all the stems from a song just to get the drum track. The acoustic track was Killer. Single 2 guitar stereo track. The left guitar was staying on the low strings kinda playing a bass line on multiple strings using all down strokes. The right guitar was using mostly the high strings and doing syncopated upstrokes. They sounded panned at about 50% L/R and I could hear some bleed thru from the bass guitar on each side. I turned off my right monitor to learn the left guitar parts , and did the reverse for the right guitar. It sounded way better than just double tracking .. mark
 

jbarry

New member
For steel string guitar

Small condenser mics, 6" to 9" from the guitar, one at the neck/body joint, the other at the bridge. If the guitar is on the bassy side, then angle the lower bout mic away from the guitar a bit. In the mix do a hi-pass to around 100.
 

cavedog101

Well-known member
Describe the "standard positioning of mics for acoustic guitar" as you understand it.

Here's some of what I know about it.

X/Y= a more focused percussive capture.

Spaced pair= a fuller representation of the instrument in a space

Single mic= a focus on a particular tonal section of the instrument


SDC's will always be more selective of the frequencies within their pattern envelope. Getting to know what is contained within this envelope goes far in the placement.

A good room makes up for a lot of deficiencies in an instrument. Or a signal chain.


Nothing the player hears above and behind the instrument is what the mic hears out in front. When choosing a mic position for solo acoustic, get help. Play and move. Adjust your position in the room. Nothing you have read about "standard mic positioning for acoustic guitar" is carved in stone including this post.
 

raybbj

Member
stereo mic'ing, subtle/minimal stereo delay, reverb, EQ where necessary and compression on the way in. Simmer for 10 mins on low heat. Serves 2-4
 

DM60

Well-known member
Not sure who has tried this, I am going to give this a try.
Might not be the sound you are looking for, but it seems like a great sound with little processing.
 

TalismanRich

Well-known member
I might have to pull out the SP B3s and try it out. Its the only Figure 8 mic in my collection. I do like the fact that you can blend in how much stereo effect by blending the two. Its a technique that I've just never tried.
 

keith.rogers

Bobby'); DROP TABLE USER
It does require a good space for recording because that figure 8 is going to pick up a lot of room in addition to the guitar. That ballad thing I posted had the guitar track (not the 8 bar noodle in the middle) was M/S.
 

TalismanRich

Well-known member
I think I like this M/S deal. This is a quickie that I threw together using the Studio Projects B3s. After doing the recording, I threw both sides of the figure 8 onto one channel with the sides panned and the polarity inverted. That way I just had one fader to adjust. (That was really easy in Reaper!!!)
I tried three different settings, Cardioid channel is always at 0.0dB. MS-0 is +5dB on the Figure 8, MS-1 is 0dB on the figure 8 and MS-2 is -4dB on the figure 8.

Here's the sample, going 0-1-2-0-1-2. It changes every 10 seconds. On headphones the stereo effect is pretty pronounced. You can hear it progressively collapse as the Figure 8 mic is decreased.

I actually think it sounds more natural that an X-Y setup for acoustic guitar.

Which do you think sounds the best?

View attachment Acoustic MS 0-1-2.mp3

Now I just have to find where that buzz is coming from on the guitar!!! ARGH. I just changed the strings on it.
 

DM60

Well-known member
I think I like this M/S deal. This is a quickie that I threw together using the Studio Projects B3s. After doing the recording, I threw both sides of the figure 8 onto one channel with the sides panned and the polarity inverted. That way I just had one fader to adjust. (That was really easy in Reaper!!!)
I tried three different settings, Cardioid channel is always at 0.0dB. MS-0 is +5dB on the Figure 8, MS-1 is 0dB on the figure 8 and MS-2 is -4dB on the figure 8.

Here's the sample, going 0-1-2-0-1-2. It changes every 10 seconds. On headphones the stereo effect is pretty pronounced. You can hear it progressively collapse as the Figure 8 mic is decreased.

I actually think it sounds more natural that an X-Y setup for acoustic guitar.

Which do you think sounds the best?

View attachment 108178

Now I just have to find where that buzz is coming from on the guitar!!! ARGH. I just changed the strings on it.
I think this sounds really good, really rich. Thanks for the confirmation of the technique!
 
I've just spent a couple of songs recording and trying to mix acoustic guitar. I have some of the nicest acoustics going around...Martin D28, Martin om28...

The recording's are horrible. Weird, awful resonances anywhere from 100hz up to 2 or 3 khz. 500hz particularly terrible.

Conclusion...terrible room I'm playing in.

Anyway, that's my story.
 

keith.rogers

Bobby'); DROP TABLE USER
I've just spent a couple of songs recording and trying to mix acoustic guitar. I have some of the nicest acoustics going around...Martin D28, Martin om28...

The recording's are horrible. Weird, awful resonances anywhere from 100hz up to 2 or 3 khz. 500hz particularly terrible.

Conclusion...terrible room I'm playing in.

Anyway, that's my story.
Describe your recording setup and room. Mic placement can help a lot. You have to keep experimenting.
 
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