How To Record An Acoustic Electric Guitar Like A Studio

How To Record An Acoustic Electric Guitar Like A Studio image

People who have read my acoustic-electric guitar reviews have asked me how to record an acoustic electric guitar.

There are two primary methods for recording an acoustic electric guitar. You can record the guitar directly into your computer, or sound recording device with the electronic pickups and the guitar cable coming out of the guitar, or you can use a microphone to pick up the sound and connect that microphone to a computer or sound recording device.

Either method you use has its pros and cons and depending on the sound you desire either one can be the best one for your use. So let me try to give you a brief explanation of how to record your acoustic-electric guitar using each method.

Tips On How To Record An Acoustic-Electric Guitar

Recording Your Guitar Using The Built-In Electronics.

Your acoustic-electric guitar is equipped with electronics that will send your guitars sound to either a sound recorder or computer. This is accomplished in two ways. You can either just put a 1/4 to 1/8 jack adapter on the end of your cable and then plug it into the line in jack input on your computer or sound recorder.

The second way is to use a 1/4″ to USB converter. This cable will convert your analog signal coming from your guitar to a digital signal that will plug into the USB port on your computer or digital recording device.

You can use the free Audacity program for PCs or Mac. In that program, you can adjust the tone just like a mixing board and get the type of sound you are looking for.

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Recording Your Guitar Using A Microphone.

You can also record your acoustic-electric guitar using an external microphone. There are many different types of microphones, but if you use a standard mic like the Shure SM58, you will get an excellent audio recording.

Point the microphone at the soundhole in your guitar. Connect it to your sound recorder using either the xlr input on the soundboard or recorder or use an xlr to 1/4 adapter. If you are going to plug it into your computer, you can use the line-in input on your computer by adapting the 1/4 inch plug to a 1/8 inch plug.

You can also convert the analog signal using a similar method that I described above using a cable that will transform the signal to digital and connect using a USB port.

When recording your guitar using a mic you need to be aware of the room that you will be recording in. The microphone will pick up the echo in the place. Large halls with flat surfaces will have a greater echo than a smaller room with a carpeted floor. Some echo is OK and gives you a natural-sounding recording. However, too much echo will make your recording distorted and not give you the clarity you may need.

Example Of The Two Methods Of Recording

I have found a video that shows the difference in sound that you get with both recording styles. In the video, the guitar player prefers the sound of the microphone. This is more a subjective review of the recording than it is an example of which method is best. It all depends on the sound you are going for and the use of the features of your recording device or software.

Tips On Recording An Acoustic-Electric Guitar

  1. When you are recording directly from your guitar’s electronics, set your tone controls first. Instead of doing a full recording then going back to edit your audio and making the sound richer or placing reverb in the audio, set your software with the settings beforehand. It will save you time and give you the music you want right away.
  2. When recording with a microphone, set the mic no more than 18 inches from the soundhole. Having the microphone too close will cause the mic to pick up too much finger and pick noise. You also run the risk of bumping into the microphone with your guitar. Placing your mic too far away and you lose volume and sound quality. 18 inches is about the sweet spot for recording with a microphone.
  3. If you need to make sound conversions, do so closest to the recorder. Whether you are using a sound recorder or a computer, it is best to let your signal travel the farthest in its natural form. If you are converting from analog to digital signal, place your converters near your computer rather than near your guitar.

I hope this article has helped you learn how to record an acoustic electric guitar.

Duke Taber has been a Senior Pastor of various churches since 1988. Prior to that, he was involved in the Christian rock scene opening for such notables as Larry Norman, Randy Stonehill, Rez Band, and once played briefly with Darrel Mansfield. Today he is the owner and managing editor of 3 successful Christian websites that support missionaries around the world.Currently he is serving as a Technology Consultant for Living Waters Fellowship in Mesquite Nevada