Recording the Guitar (Part III)
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Recording the Guitar (Part III)

The first step in recording the guitar is to ensure the srings are new enough to produce good tone and intonation. More guitar recording techniques here!

Some of the guitar recording techniques were discussed in the Part 2 of "Recording the Guitar" article. In this third part, other techniques will be discussed, so enjoy reading! :)

Recording Techniques (other):

Direct Input and Simulators

Direct input evolved partly through the need to separate out instruments so that their sound did not spill during live playing. Where several microphones are used to record instruments playing together at the same time, separating screens or booths are used. However, rather than being played through an amplifier, the guitar can be plugged into either a DI box or the mixing consolo, where pre-amp gain takes the signal to tape. In recent years, DI boxes have been replaced by speaker simulators, which run the signal from a guitar amplifier output straight into the desk. The speaker simulator takes the line output from the amplifier, imparts a filtered sound, giving the characteristics of a speaker cabinet; and reduces the signal down to line level, where it is then led into the desk. Some producers prefer to use a mixture of both systems, recording speaker simulator on one channel and a mic'ed -up speaker cabinet on another.

Acoustic Recording

An acoustic guitar usually has one or more microphones positioned to pick up the direction of the sound. Minor movements with a microphone can lead to tonal imbalance or left-hand playing  noise. Acoustic instruments often benefit from a room with reflective surfaces to give a live sound. Classical recordings are often made with a pair of microphones running to a portable DAT machine: churches or other buildings that enhance the acoustics often used for this purpose.


It is not necessary to record a piece of music from start to finish: a section on one track can be dropped in by listening to the track, switching the computer or tape machine in to record mode, playing over the section, and then switching out of record mode. With skill and care, it is possible to replace single notes and chords. This technique is widely used for correcting mistakes without having to repeat an entire section.

Recording the Guitar

The first step in recording any guitar is to ensure the strings are new enough to produce good tone and intonation. Cosider, too, the room acoustics - these largely define the sound and cannot be removed. So it is safer to record "dry", often as simple as placing acoustically absorbent material near the instrument.

The type of microphone is crucial. A small diaphragm condenser is ideal for acoustic guitar. because it is sensitive yet not to prone to boom. A dynamic microphone can reproduce a tougher quality of tone and reject unwanted sound. For electric guitars, a combination of dynamic and condenser microphones is typical. With acoustic guitar, place the microphone in front of the 12th fret and 20-30cm away. Make a test recording and listen back, comparing it to the actual sound of the guitar. If it lacks bass bring the microphone closer to the soundhole. If it lacks definition, move it further away. With electric guitar, a dynamic microphone such as a Shure SM 57 is often placed close to the amplifier, offcentre from the speaker cone. Movements of just a few centimetres affect the sound, which brightens towards the centre and is intensely bright in the middle. Experiment with test recordings, moving the mic until the sound is right, na d consider the amplifier settings. If the recording is to be a solo guitar, ambient microphones create a bigger sound. Each microphone has a separate track and can be blended and panned with the close microphone to broaden and liven the image.

Thanks for reading!

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