Hi, I asked how to do it.
And here it is.
In this video, I show you my approach to recording and mixing acoustic guitar.
So make them sound big and lush.
This usually works best for solo guitar or vocals and guitar, where the guitar is really the main thing.
Everyone has their own ways and methods, but this is a video about how I like to do it.
I’m not saying this is the best way, but it’s the best way. There is no right or wrong.
Don’t do it like this.
I’ll also show you some interesting tricks to make your guitar sound big and maybe even larger than life.
And, of course, there are some things you must avoid when recording guitar.
So, with that out of the way, let’s jump in.
The basis of recording a great sounding acoustic guitar is that you start out with a sound you like.
You don’t need expensive guitars or mics, but make sure you like what you hear when you play.
So experiment with strings with big with different playing techniques before tracking your part.
A lot of my recordings in these videos are done in stereo, especially when you hear just a guitar as a solo instrument.
You can get that nice ambience in there.
So for that, we need two microphones or one mic and the output of the acoustic guitar if you have any.
I’m going for two mics because I always prefer the sound of a mic above the output of a pickup, which I basically only use in a live situation.
I’m using two small-diaphragm condenser mics and right now I’m on km 184 and an earthworks sr 25.
If you need a step-by-step guide to help you record your guitar, look up my video titled How to record the guitar. It is a goldmine for newbies.
Apparently, I’m putting the mics in a so-called spaced bear.
I usually point one microphone at the bridge of my guitar.
And the other one is aimed roughly at fret 12 of the guitar.
A difficult rule is to take the distance from the guitar to the mic, and then put the mics three times that distance apart from each other.
We have to make sure we have the mics at the same distance from the sound source to avoid facing issues that sound like this.
You hear the two waveforms from both mics fighting each other. They cancel each other out.
So we avoid that by carefully adjusting where we put the mics and making sure they are at the same distance from the guitar.
I press record on this little device when I’m tracking my guitars anywhere else but in my studio.
I’m using this portable recorder. The sound devices mix pre six.
It works on batteries, or a USB C power in this case.
It is so very easy to just plug in, plug the mics in and go.
So you see three cables coming in three mics.
Yes, that is because this little baby over here is also plugged in.
Is it out of frame? I have no idea.
So these are the two mics coming into the mix pre six. I press record.
And I’m doing the final take.
Before recording, I always check my sound with the headphones to make sure there are no face issues.
When I’m happy,
I pressed record.
Alright, welcome to my little studio.
And as you can see, I just slapped the tracks on the door. I used the audio tracks from the first video, so you can see exactly what I did over there.
So there are two mics.
So there needs to be two tracks.
And you can use any DAW you like. It doesn’t matter.
They all do the same.
And all the plugins I’m using are free. You can use any stock plug-in found in any DAW.
So don’t worry about the exact model or whatever I’m using to do everything you want.
Let’s first listen to the neck.
The microphone position is at fret 12 right now, the bridge mic.
Wow, that sounds so different.
Yes, and that’s exactly what we want.
We use those two different sounds to create one massive sound.
But let’s continue.
So the first thing I do is slap an EQ on the tracks and for this one I’m using the one from Ozone Nine, but you can use any EQ. They are all the same.
It doesn’t matter at all.
So how does the EQ work?
We see the low frequencies over here, the high frequencies over here, and the middle frequencies.
You guessed it, exactly in the middle.
What I like to do is to cut out some of the low end, because somewhere if you have a mic in your living room and there’s a car driving by you in low rumble, we need to eliminate that from the sound.
So what do I do? I have a high-pass filter in there.
And let’s put it somewhere, like between 40 and 60 hertz.
I’m picking 50 right now.
So when I press the balls, you can hear exactly what’s filtering out.
So if you listen to this on a smartphone, you can’t hear anything or on a laptop.
And don’t think you can hear anything either.
But with good monitors or like a headphone or silver, you can hear that low rumble.
sweep it up until you can hear it.
There it is, right.
So anything below 50 gets rid of it.
And the next thing I like to do is to add some brilliance or some clarity to that sound.
So an EQ can bring up the things you like in a guitar, the good qualities, and it can eliminate some of the bad qualities.
So the frequencies we like, let’s find some.
And I usually bring up somewhere between two and a half and four thousand.
So 1000s This looks very extreme, but this EQ is pretty moderate.
The top is just six decibels.
So right now I’m boosting 3.
7 decibels at 3.
3 kilo hertz.
So it looks quite extreme, but it’s just a nice sweep of the spectrum, so I just sweep from left to right and find exactly the part I like, so let’s just listen to what I boosted.
Okay, usually I have a high shelf in there, like from like 11 or 10k on up to that extreme high sound you are adding and sometimes it can be very annoying.
Sometimes it can be very nice.
Just listen, because your ears can tell you.
Okay, this sounds very nice.
It can be very spiky sometimes, but this sounds good.
So from 11k and up, I’m using it with 2.
4 decibels right now.
And sometimes an acoustic guitar can be a bit boxy.
And usually you find those frequencies between three and five, or two and 500 hertz, and you can get some of those out.
So when you bring up frequencies, you should keep the bell curve a little bit wider.
And while you take out frequencies, you should keep them a little bit narrower.
This way, the guitar will sound natural and not weird.
So I’m taking out something so I’m keeping it a little bit narrower. You can see that fewer frequencies are being damaged than over here.
Okay, I like the sound.
So, without this pretty massive difference for me, it just sounds more lively and more fun and more open and more.
It sounds good.
Okay, so we do the same with the bridge pickups.
I like the sound.
So with it.
So first you have a guitar that sounds a little bit like this, and then it just opens up and sounds crystal clear.
Now it’s time to add some compression to this.
And I like to use the virtual mix rack by slate digital.
But you can use any compressor, as I told you a million times, just use the stock compressor. It will sound pretty much the same and it will do the same as this one.
It’s just my workflow. I don’t have to copy it.
So the threshold determines when a compressor kicks in.
And I usually aim for minus five minus seven when I play loud, so let’s go to a little bit louder section.
Okay, so the threshold is four minus five over here, right?
You already heard that it gives everything a bit tighter, it holds everything a little bit more together in the sound, a little bit more out there.
And that’s what I want the ratio to keep between two and four.
Not too much.
The attack should be slow and the release should be fast.
That’s my rule of thumb. Do your own thing, but I like that sound because if it could be attacked slowly, it gives the initial punch of the guitar to attack the sound of your voice or when you finger pick and release fast, it doesn’t get to breathe the pumping of the compressor. You don’t want that.
So that’s great.
I’m just, let’s say, with the same settings but now a little bit more quiet.
She is hovering between one and two, which slide takes two, three.
But that’s all you need.
You could do more if you’d like that sound. It is a sound and you can use it, of course, but it takes some of the life out of it, maybe.
I’m just copying the same compressor onto the bridge.
Let’s see if it sounds larger than life.
It sounds okay, but not as big as I promised, not larger than life, right. It sounds good.
So let’s start to make it sound large.
What I’m doing is the neck track and bending it all the way to the left. We call that heart left.
So all the sound is coming out of one speaker and the bridge is bending at the heart. Right, so all the sound is coming through the other speaker.
So now if I play it nice, I’m sitting right in the middle of those tracks.
So this is the neck in the solo and the bridge itself.
So you’re sitting in the middle of both microphones, just like when you’re playing guitar. The low end may be coming from the right a little bit, but you’re surrounded by the guitar and that’s a sound I really like, and now you can add reverb to taste.
So I’ve got a return track or a bus with different names.
And I slept a Valhalla vintage up there with a reverb of two points 19 seconds, so it is moderately long, it’s not super large.
So now I’m sending minus 15 to the reverb track.
So the audio gets split, gets sent to minus 15 decibels, I guess, into the track and then mixed back into the signal.
Now you hear that nice atmosphere coming in there and it is beautiful, maybe a little bit too bright.
So you can just know use settings you like on your reverb. It’s all pretty straightforward. You can just know use settings you like on your reverb. It’s all pretty straightforward. You can just know use a reverb tutorial on YouTube, whatever.
But there’s one special trick that I like to use a lot, which makes it sound like it’s really larger than life.
So we add one return track and we call it reverb rights.
We add one more track and we call it reverb left and we smack two reverbs on there again if the walhalla vintage for OLED is a little bit shorter.
And let’s add a little bit of pre delay.
So that means the reverb is coming later. It waits, in this case, 40 milliseconds before the reverb starts. There is a little bit of a delay between audio and playing and the reverb is coming back to us.
And the cool thing is, now the guitar that’s coming from the left speaker gets sent to the reverb that’s only coming out of the right speaker.
So the reverb is right.
I’m getting that all the way to the right.
And I’m sending my neck to that reverb.
So let’s have a listen. Let’s do it very extreme.
So you hear the dry signal coming out of the left speaker.
In this case, that’s your left and right.
And you hear a wet signal coming out of the other speaker.
So it sounds like we do the same for the bridge channel or the bridge guitar.
I’m setting that one to the reverb left. That spanned all the way left and the guitar spent all the way right.
So let’s have a listen to this very extreme.
So let’s turn it down a little bit and minus 15 maybe.
So a bit of trial and error minus 15.
And now let’s see how it sounds.
This sounds like an otherworldly grade.
But one more thing I like to do for this is to make a little bit more come together and have a compressor.
For this, I like the CLA to waves and put it on the bus both tracks, and now it’s affecting both the neck and the bridge.
They both impact that comparison.
I just have a very slight amount. Sometimes I even throw an EQ over here.
There we are. That’s a sound and it depends on the kind of party you’re playing.
If you’re playing a rhythmic, strong pattern, it doesn’t make sense to do this, because it just gets in the way.
See, now I think there’s too much compression for this bar.
Because you just hear when he’s diving in, well, in this case, me, because I’m playing when I’m diving in, you don’t get rewarded with a louder sound.
That sounds weird.
If you’re playing loud, it should be louder.
Because you just know it sounds weird if it’s not happening.
So you should always be careful. You’re not over compressing. That’s something dangerous.
So this was my three approaches to these kinds of recordings.
And again, if you’re recording guitars for a mix for a band, it doesn’t make sense to do it like this.
This is just my you want one guitar to sound as big and massive as possible, without doing overdubs or doing crazy stuff.
And then a band setting would just sit in the way of everything else.
You don’t want to do this kind of stuff.
Anyway, if you liked this video, you can always support me and my Patreon page links are down below that like button. We’ll want to click generally right.
Have a wonderful day.
Thanks for watching.