Listen to my new tune(And tell me how to get a decent acoustic guitar sound)

I just recorded this. (Note, I need to redo the bass line to fix a couple mistakes and redo the guitar with a better tone. Total time on this was <1 hour)

Couple things. Frist, let me know what you think. There are lyrics but I don’t sing…well, I sing in the shower but the few people who have heard me sing ran away screaming. I should have a vocal track on it next week. I hope.

Second, for the recording dopers, how do you mic acoustic guitars? I haven’t quite figured out how to get a good tone yet. Here are my options: I have an SM-57, a couple Nady CM-88 Condenser mics and a MXL 990 condenser mic. This was done with the MXL. For the mix there is a bit of compression, eq and some reverb. What are the best mics (that do not cost as much as my car) for acoustic guitars? What are the better ways of mic’ing? What about eq?


It has the makings of a cool tune. At some points the faster guitar strumming seems out of time with the other instruments. When it works it works well though. Pretty good for an hours work.

A lot of people suggest the best way to record an acoustic guitar is with one mic pointing at the bridge and a second pointing at the neck. Being quite an amateur home recorder, I haven’t tried that one myself as I only have one decent mic :slight_smile: (such an expensive hobby this one). I’d suggest recording multiple guitar tracks with what you’ve got and deciding which one you like best, or keeping them all in.

For better feedback from experienced people I’d try the Listening Room at The Recording Project or the MP3 Mixing Clinic at Home Recording dot com

Using two mikes is common. Point the SM57 at the lower part of the body, point the condenser (typically providing the twinkle on the high end) at the bridge. Record on different tracks and mix to taste. If you have a pickup in the guitar, record that, too.

I usually just put a bit of reverb on acoustic guitar.

Your bass and kick seem a bit midrange-ish to me, I would put more bottom on both. The snare needs reverb. Usually this would be a gated snare that rings for an 1/8 or 1/4 note. Given the feel of the tune, I’d probably go with a 1/4, but try both and see what works for you. I don’t care for the crash much. Do you have others?

I agree with Fredescu that you’re playing ahead of the beat in several places. I’d suggest rehersing with the drum track a bunch of times to get more relaxed with the feel, then record again and you’ll do better.

I’m not a fan of compressing acoustic guitar–YMMV. As for the use of EQ, if the guitar is the focal point of the recording, don’t. Get the real sound of your axe down. On the other hand, if you’re going all-out with this, you’ll want to record several guitars playing the track and then mix them in at different points to change the sonic texture during the run of the tune. Give each its own EQ band of emphasis and take that band out of the others–it’s a difficult technique to explain, I’ll try to find someone with better writing skills than mine.

It needs a melody. :slight_smile:

I can’t listen to the song for some reason, so I can’t rate it.

My limited experience with home recording is that two tracks work best. If you only have one mic, you can try recording the guitar part twice. (That may be really hard for your song if there is already some murkiness or conflict.)

Two mics is best, although I got what I thought was a good sound using a built-in pickup and a unidirectional mic “aimed” at the soundhole and about 8" - 10" from the guitar. I haven’t used a soundhole pickup for recording, but I don’t think you’d be happy with the sound for recording.

I’ve also used two mics, but that was always in a studio with experienced producers and high end equipment.

Mixing togather multiple tracks gives you a lot of control over the end result, especially if you use the mics differently, like one at the sound hole and one at the neck or one close to the guitar and one farther away or even a unidirectional and an omnidirectional mic seperated by a few inches.

You don’t necessarily need really expensive mics to get good results, but trying out different types is definately worthwhile. It seemed to me that mics were a bit like instruments. Individual tastes are important and different situations are good for different mics.

Thanks for the replies. More are always welcome.

The guitar track is a scratch track. I did it in one take and it is off. Besides being off at times I also forgot where I was at once and totaly missed a chord. Right now I am sometimes doing things totally backassward, recording a scratch guitar track then put in the bass and drum tracks then rerecording the guitars. I’ll rerecord it tonight with the ideas in this thread.

NoCoolUserName, yeah I do have other crashes. I’m using Live and haven’t figured out how to make my own kit yet by piecing together what I want. I might have to put another track in and try different crashes from different kits. I’ll also play with the snare and gate it.

I do have a lead guitar melody line for it and a vocal line.


I really enjoy the composition of the rhythm, with it’s variations. What kind of cymbal is that, anyway? I kind of like the sound.

IMHO, whatever is being used for bass accompaniment is a little loud, the cymbal a bit loud as well, the snare ought to be brought up a bit (I liked the sound of it fine, nice and crisp; what type of drum is it, what heads, number of snares, etc?). If I were playing the track, I’d hit the cymbal maybe half as much, if less than that even. The rhythm of both the drums and guitar is communicative enough without needing so much punctuation.

Taken as it is, though—I like it! It moves swiftly with urgency and profundity.

I’m sorry I haven’t any mic’ing advice.

Thanks for the input. This is a rough mix BTW. I put the whole thing together in under an hour. I obviously need to start listening to the mix on speakers other than my regular monitors. On my monitors the mix sounds ok, just needs a little tweaking. I tried listening on my PC speakers but they suck so bad it’s hard to tell what it actually sounds like. Obviously I’ll need to either pick up some better PC speakers or just burn mixes to a cd and listen on my stereo.

The drums are done using Ableton Live. They are sampled. The one I am using is supposed to be a ‘Black Beauty’, I think its a Ludwig. I have no idea. I’m a guitarist and don’t know jack about drums, though I am learning. I guess I’ll go remix this, taking the crash down some along with the bass line, which I need to fix in a couple places after I rerecord the guitar. I’ll also play with the gate on the snare. The bass line was done using a keyboard and Sample Tank. The thing is, I don’t play keyboards/piano very well. (Speaking of which, does anyone know of a good ‘teach yorself piano’ book?) I was going to buy a bass (a nice Fender P or Jazz) but the keyboard was a lot cheaper and, with Sample Tank, a lot more versatile. The funny thing is, I got Sample Tank for free (with 2 gigs of sounds) with Amplitube. I’m probably going to end up using Sample Tank way more than Amplitube. I’ll probably end up with a bass or two sometime, when the money is available.


I was listening with monitoring headphones, FWIW. of course, I don’t know what your vision with the bass is either, and the bass could be conveying some meaning to the song, etc.

The Ludwig Black Beauty is one of Ludwig’s most popular and most recorded snare drums (other such drums by they being the Supraphonic 400 and 402, as well as the Acrolite; both are aluminum or predominantly aluminum drums). It’s a spun brass shell measuring 14" by either 5 or 6 1/2" inches deep. Brass is noted by many as being metallic, yet woody.