Test recording an acoustic guitar.

I recently got to spend a few hours in a basement studio that an old friend of mine is helping to set up. Mike had already done test recordings for drums, bass & electric guitar but had yet to capture a test recording of an acoustic guitar, so he asked me to call in and record some instrumental pieces for him.

Mike and I have history. Back in the early to mid 90’s he was the sound engineer for my band. We spent a number of years clocking up upwards of 250 gigs per year, playing dives, crashing anywhere we could. Folk and Roll.
Since then Mike has made a name for himself not only as a live engineer but also a mix & master engineer. I shan’t list his credits in this post, but I will in a future post as you’ll be hearing more about him soon enough.

It was great to catch up with an old friend. It’s possibly 25 years since we last met, so there was a lot of catching up to do before we hit the red button.

Once we’d caught up, we headed into the live room and Mike started placing microphones in order to capture the ‘sound’ of my Derlwyn OM Guitar.
In the end he opted for a matched Pair of AKG C3000’s. He pointed the first one at the neck body join and the second was almost over my shoulder pointed at the bridge. He then painstakingly adjusted the settings on the LR Baggs Anthem pickup for a di signal.

A Derlwyn Guitars OM Model pictured with a pair of AKG C3000 microphones.

Mike captured the tone of ‘mY’ guitar.

That’s the thing when you play your guitar, you never hear it as the listener hears it. The listener hears the sound from the soundboard whereas the player just hears it mostly from the top side of the instrument.
The one thing that became apparent to me was that mic placement is everything and that you simply cannot jump the queue on 32 years professional experience. As a guitar teacher I know this, but I did walk away thinking all the progress that I’d made with the art of mixing and mastering was really just the tip of a very big iceberg.
Below is a sample of the session that I have mixed a little. It didn’t need much, some focus on the bass end and some shine at the ‘posh’ end.

I hope you enjoyed reading this, feel free to comment, I’d love to hear from you.


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