Molly Jo

advice tracking acoustic guitar

This is a first rough mix. Specifically looking for advice on tracking the acoustic guitar, but all comments are welcome.
Sigma guitar.
Used a SM58 on the neck-10’th fret and a condenser at the bridge.(switched them also but came back to this) Both about 8 inches away. Through a mackie mixer into an audigy platinum 2 zs. I tried the condenser over the shoulder with the 58 at the bridge but I liked the sound better with both in front. Put on new light bronze D’Adario strings. I am getting a lot of finger noise and used a wave editor to quiet a lot of them but would rather find a better solution for this.(I do like a little bit of squeak here and there, if it fits the song) This is my first shot at tracking acoustics and haven’t tried a lot of different micing arrangements yet so any advice on that would be a great help.
acoustic1(picking)-effects in this order>classic acoustic compressor,classic eq set from nothing on the low end to almost max on the high end,sir reverb
acoustic2-(rhythm)->same except more mid on the eq,classic room reverb
scratch vocal tracks-still playing with eq and effects here-probably too much in front right now
bass track
will be adding another acoustic for fills and lead, and drums (and/or) percussion later

Molly Jo

7 megs

Looks like your link needs some cleanup. I had to remove the trailing slash and change the backslashes to forward slashes to get get to the file, like so. Haven’t heard it just yet–just wanted to give you a heads-up.


Thanks Scantee.

Sounds pretty good to me.

One way some people cut down on string noise is to use talcum powder on their fingers. I’ve never tried it but it makes sense. Will probably gunk your strings up quicker though.

Sounds like the guitar could be brighter. I find that if I mic around the 12th fret it sounds better with the mic below the neck and pointing upwards towards the neck. Gets more treble that way and not so much mud/boom.

With my eq I usually roll off from about 80 or 100 and then maybe notch a few db around 160 and then raise it a few db from 2-3K upwards
That sounds good to my ears with a mic around teh 12th fret mixed with a DI of the undersaddle pickup

And probably a bit too much reverb on the vocals as they are loud but sound like they are further away than the guitar.


Thanks for the listen Rich.
I’ll try the mic and eq tips. I really don’t think I want to gum up the strings and lose any brightness.
Need to redo the vocals anyway so I’ll keep the reverb tip in mind also.
Thanks again.

I agree. I would reduce the reverb on the vocals. The guitar sounds fine to me.


Thanks for the listen Sax ! Appreciate it !

Liked the song, vocals sound ok with the reverb, I would decrease to bring them foward. Nice harmony on vocal. When recording acoustic guitars I use an Isolation booth (I built it with castors so I can roll it in and out of my studio it folds in like shutters) and record it completely dry. I use 3 inputs for mixdown. 1. MXL 2001 large diaphragm condenser on soundhole, at 8" from guitar. 2. A Shure SM57 on neck 12th fret at 6" from guitar. 3. Sadle pickup from guitar with flat EQ. If no saddle pick-up on guitar, I use a EV N/D257b at bridge end of guitar 10" away and down 6" below sound hole angled up at guitar. This may sound anal but I do get a full sound without muddiness and boom and without too much brillance. Enjoyed the song!:D

Thanks for the listen YazMiester.
Great tips also. I just bought a MXL 990 that I want to try on the acoustic,(couldn’t resist the price and I didn’t have a large condenser) from musiciansfriend,should be here Monday.
No pickup on my Sigma.
I’m havin fun with this tune and when I redo the vocals, maybe try to get more of the Leo Redbone kinda thing going on. :D

Leon Redbone…that would be awsum…would like to hear it!:D

Quote (YazMiester @ Oct. 29 2004,07:51)
When recording acoustic guitars I use an Isolation booth (I built it with castors so I can roll it in and out of my studio it folds in like shutters) and record it completely dry

Hi YazM,

I wouldn't mind seeing pictures of your isolation booth. I currently live in an appartment, so recording using anything besides a direct line in is difficult. To make matters worse, I have two parrots, which can get pretty annoying when trying to record.

Actually, any links about DIY isolation booths would be appriciated.


Hi TBG I don’t have any pics or links for designing booths, I’m sure you could do a search on the net, I built mine out of 2x4’s and plywood and used a couple piano hinges for the fold out wings, put castors on the bottom for rolling in and out of the way. When folded up the whole unit just leans against the wall for creating space in my little studio. I also lined the inside with foam rubber (carpet works well too)for damping effect, because the room I use is tiled floor and gives unwanted reverb if I don’t use the Isolation booth. The whole unit is 4ft wide and 7ft tall with the fold in wings 2ft x 7ft. I also have a bird that goes nuts when recording certain instruments and vocals and have to put her in the other end of the house when recording. Can hear her thru walls if she is in the kitchen which is right off my studio.

As for “brightness”, a lot of that has to do with the mic you used. The bright of the guitar comes from not getting too much body boom too. So a 58 as the mic to pick up the brightness is probably not the best choice. A lot of the cheap Chinese condensors have a slightly hyped highend, so that MXL you just got might be the ticket. And don’t think you have to use two mics. A mic on the body may just add mud. Unless you are in a pristine recording space with a really great sounding acoustic, I find it hard to get a good stereo guitar recording. You generally need to get the mics back a ways so as to not pick up too much boom and if your room isn’t great, all that crappy room sound sneaks in. Al that to say, maybe a single brightish LDC on the 12th fret or so would work better for you.