Any hints on recording the cello?

Not that I can play it yet…

Hey N-Trackers,

For my bonus from work this year, I decided to fulfill a dream of mine and buy a cello. I love it! The fact that I absolutely no clue how to play it notwithstanding, does anyone have any experience recording the cello, any ideas on mic placement, mic types to use. Are there eletronic pickups for the cello?

Also if anyone to encapsulate how to play it in a paragraph that would be great too :laugh:

How difficult can it be? :laugh:

And please, no jokes about cats and chainsaws :D



I find strings to be dead easy to record. A mic in a good room is about all you need. Play with different mics (LDC, SDC, dynamic) and move them around and usually you can find a decent sound pretty quickly. (I suppose that is the case with just about everything, isn’t it? Some help I am… :) )

Put lots of resin on the bowstring. Then put more resin on the bowstring. Then go down to the music store and get more resin to put on your bowstring, and another bowstring, because you are going to have to grind it down before you learn to get a good sound! :D

But it ought to be worth it - good luck!

Oh, what Bubba said, too… :p

'til next time;
Tony W

a read material like reference:

Only done it twice, so take this with lots of salt.

BG is right; a good room makes all the diff. I found joy by using an LD about 10" from the bridge and an SD sorta peeking over the top from the side (if that makes sense).

The two blended together sounded purty.


Thanks very much all,

I’m going to take a stab at it this evening, I guess it would help if I had someone who could actually play it, so I guess the best I can hope for is a really good recording of me screeching and squawking. I think lessons may be in order…???

Marce - Good call, the mic holder they have for the cello looks good, I ordered one.

Teej - I’ll post what I get and we can torture cats with it! :D

Thanks again.


As with many acoustic instruments something to keep in mind is that the sound - the full whole sound - comes from the whole body - out the back-front-top-bottom-you-name-it.

The easy way to record it is in a room that it sounds good to you when you are standing a few feet away, and to use a good flat mic at a distance to be determined by listening.

An omni mic is pattern to try as well. You might be able to get it closer than a cardioid which may help remove the room sound is that’s an issue, but an omni might pick up more room depending on the positioning. LDs are good because they are sensitive yet will pick up the full body sound as well.

Another mic position to try is up and behind the player. Though that is more for violin players it can help harshness and works for most strings.

If the sound is too brittle or harsh try backing the mic away a little, wherever it is.

Good point, Phoo. We all need an occasional reminder that even a small change in mic placement can drastically affect what’s being recorded. It’s handy to have general knowledge like you’ve provided.

- Move mic closer for more intimate sound
- Move mic further for more room
- Diff patterns will affect ratio of direct to indirect sound being recorded


Ya know? I’ve been away from the forum for too long. I’m reminded of what made this forum special in the first place. But we went thru a kinda rough time awhile back. I’m glad to see so many helpful folks have stuck around.


I came on right when you left…it’s great to have you back!