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Old 12th April 2007
Originally Posted by bellssurfer View Post
Hi Russell,
Recently I compiled a list of my favourite albums, and after discovering this forum, realised that you had worked on over half of them. I guess that's the proof right there.
I'd like to ask your take on recording solo acoustic guitar, and how you'd apply your sound and techniques to that process. I particularly like how your recordings seem sound so full, yet so close and intimate, and real (like someone was saying in another post, how it 'feels like the band is actually in the room'). So how would it be possible to get this same vibe from just one acoustic guitar? In other words, how do you fill the spectrum with just one instrument? I believe that recording and mixing solo acoustic guitar would be far different than if you were doing so with a band, and I am also like you in the want for more bass. I presume that you would look for more clear definition, a larger spread between the high and low strings, and still keeping the warm mids, however, I do not know how to achieve such things. Specifically, any suggested mic's, mic placement, pre's, panning (I presume panning would have a big impact on the 'in the room' feel), EQ, effects such as reverb…etc. Also, would a DI from the guitar be of any use…or even combine the 'natural' sound from the mics with the warm natural compression of the DI into a tube guitar amp…? How do you get a big bottom from an acoustic guitar … increase the frequencies below the lowest note to bring up the really low harmonics perhaps? I presume you would record and mix on tape, however would it be much of a disadvantage to record with a program such as protools? And how much play would the room have in the sound?
Thanks in advance for your help, and also for your great work, Regards.

the answer depends on if you want a purely natural sound or not. for just a straight natural sound, i would go for 2 mics without the DI. to me, DI's don't sound very natural. but if you're not too concerned about being "purely" natural and want a big sound with nice bottom, then the DI through a nice tube amp combined with the mics would sound great. just check your phase between all 3 signals. play around with flipping the phase in different combinations and see which way gives you the fullest sound. it helps if the guitar has a nice sound to begin with (obviously).

for acoustic guitars i like using these mics: neumann km84, km86, u64, km54, u47, u67. and definitely go for a high quality mic pre like neve or telefunkens. with any acoustic instrument, you really have to get in there and listen to it. i mean, literally bring your ear close to the source. (obviously, be very careful!). use one ear and kind of move around the instrument and listen for the "sweet spots". placing a mic directly in front of the sound hole will not always sound good and will always depend on the mic you're using. so find the sweet spots and place the mic there. typically a mic just off the edge of the sound hole on an angle about 4 inches (10.5cm) away will get you started in the right direction for the bottom. and another mic further up the neck for more of the highs. but again, use your ears! and i would only use the room sound if the room has nice acoustics.

all the best