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Old 8th August 2020
Lives for gear
bowzin's Avatar
Poorly recorded acoustic guitar is one of the hardest things for me to "fix in the mix," absolutely brutal. Elec guitar is easier.

Having said that, eq boosts and cuts alone NEVER get me there. Especially clean eq's. Some broad eq correction is probably necessary, possibly at more than one stage of the chain, but also work in some saturation and/or reverb to shape the tone (use em like eq's basically).

That will actually be something harmonically additive to the original signal, vs chasing your tail with eq moves and not changing the underlying issue. Saturation and reverbs can throw a curveball and actually alter the underlying tone.

Try using either a multiband saturation like FabFilter Saturn2, or duplicating parallel tracks and use filters to zero in on certain freq bands and then using saturation. Basically for acoustic, you can use perhaps a surprising amount of saturation, but it can start to sound audibly distorted if certain freq's have too much saturation, usually bass freq's will do that earliest for me. I'll use lighter saturation settings or a different style on the bass, and do more in the mids and highs. Tape emulation plugs can also be useful and are basically saturation plugins. Maybe try layers of saturation plugins vs one plugin with heavy saturation. Console emulation plugins like Neve channel strip, that would be a good choice for the eq work, too, with color eq and preamp saturation all contributing.

Reverb is helpful, too. Try a short room or plate reverb plugin, and maybe try it BEFORE some saturation or tape plugins... usually as guitarists we think never use reverb before distortion, but in this case try a short room or plate reverb for shaping the tone and also maybe somewhat mimicking a recorded room sound, being recorded into a tape machine (reverb before saturation...). Feel free to use another reverb at the end for shaping space or putting in a place, etc. If the recorded acoustic guitar sound sucks, no need to be precious with it.

Just some thoughts, good luck.