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Old 09-19-2009, 03:43 AM
rumi11 rumi11 is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Switzerland
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Default The guitar or wood is not the problem

Originally Posted by Doug Young View Post
You're unlikely to get radically different results just by changing Taylors, maple or not. I think you should tell us more about your recording setup for starters, and especially try lots of different mic placements. One guess about your "muddy but thin" problem is that you say you're micing at the 12th fret, that would account for some thinness, mostly string sound there. And 4 inches away, your going to get proximity effect (bass buildup from the mic being too close), depending on the mic. Try moving it further out. Try 8 inches, 10 inches, 12 inches, etc, and also try bring it in more toward the body, 14th or 15th fret. If it's a directional mic, try tilting it toward the soundhole if it's too thin, away from the soundhole if it gets too boomy. There are dozens of other spots, you could spend weeks carefully experimenting with mic location to dial in the sound you want.
That's a good comment. I usually point the mic (a directional mic, like cardioid or figure-of-8) to the soundhole (but not directly in front of it). Moving it away allows for a more even sound, there are less problems with finding the sweet spot. Although the room acoustics get more important then, it can sound much better and more natural if the mic is further away. Don't get fooled by the "thinner" sound you get from moving the mic further away. If you have the same audio levels you will often find that it sounds more natural and relaxed than close miking. Apply some EQ if it's really too thin.

Proximity effect might make your recordings sound dull. Move further away and you get less of it. You don't want those bass frequencies from the acoustic guitar in a crowded pop song anyway.

I often start with the spot around the 14th fret, pointing towards the sound hole, 1 to 2 feet away. I often move the mic higher, and sometimes also closer to the sound hole, always pointing to the sound hole.
So the best spots in my experience are between 14th fret straight and above the sound hole, always pointing to the sound hole.

If the acoustic guitar plays a dominant role, try multiple miking, like spaced omni, or a second mic above the right shoulder of the player, pointing down... The variations are endless. Be aware of phase problems, though. Apply the 3-to-1 rule: The mics should be 3 times further apart from each other than from the source. And most of all, use your ears! Flip the phase on one channel and see what you get. If the sound is really thin, you're fine, if there are lower frequencies, it might be problematic. A little bit of phase is unavoidable, and if you pan the mics in the stereofield this is not an issue.

Take your time and experiment! That's the best advise.

You can totally destroy the sound of a guitar by wrong mic placement, and alter it beyond recognition.

Changing the guitar probably won't be the solution for your problem. Changing the mics or the mic preamps might be. But the starting point is the mic placement.

FYI, I have been recording acoustic guitars for 25 years, and am a professional guitarist as well as a professional audiophile mastering and recording engineer. If you have any further concrete questions feel free to PM me.
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Last edited by rumi11; 09-19-2009 at 04:34 AM.
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