Acoustic guitar is the most common instrument we have questions on. Whether it's for a live performance or a studio recording, musicians and engineers need a way of recreating the sonic performance by using the right microphone. We created this guide to help you choose the right microphone for your situation.
Some things to keep in mind...
Frequency response is a fancy expression that translates to, "the range of frequencies/pitches that a microphone can pickup." The microphone's diaphragm is what picks up the sound. The materials and size of the diaphragm determine the frequency response and ultimately what the microphone sounds like. Depending on the style of music, you may want more mids for clarity, or more high end for some shimmer. EQ can help, but can very easily make guitars thin and "phasey" sounding. Finding a microphone with a frequency response tailored to your style of music and guitar setup will help give it the extra push it needs without adding EQ.
A microphone's polar pattern is defined by the directions in which is picks up sound. The most common patterns of microphones used for acoustic guitars are cardioid. This will pick up sound directly in front and to the sides which will ensure that the entirety of the guitar is being heard in the microphone.
Primary and Supplemental Microphones
Typically, acoustic guitars are recorded in one of two or three ways. If the mix is dense, just one microphone will do. If the song calls for a wider, more filling acoustic guitar sound, many engineers will record in stereo with two mics on the acoustic and sometimes even a room microphone or two. If you need some tips on recording acoustic guitar, check out our article 5 Secrets to a Better Acoustic Guitar Recording.