Recording Acoustic Guitar with Spire Studio

August 20, 2018 | By Ben Andre, Spire Contributor

acoustic guitar

Acoustic guitar is a staple in so many genres of music, and getting a great acoustic guitar sound can make or break your recording. Let’s take a look at how to record your acoustic guitar with Spire Studio (it’s pretty easy).

Recording with Spire Studio’s built-in microphone

The easiest way to lay down a great sounding acoustic guitar is to record with your Spire Studio’s built-in omnidirectional microphone. It’s simple:

1. Create a new project

2. Position your Spire Studio 6–12 inches in front of the 12th fret of your guitar

3. Hit the Soundcheck button (Spire Studio will automatically set your gain / recording level)

4. Start recording

Here is a short example of acoustic guitar recorded with Spire Studio’s built-in microphone.

Using Spire Studio’s recording effects with acoustic guitar

While a dry (without reverb) acoustic guitar can be a beautiful sound on its own, sometimes a recording can call for a different sonic “space.”

This guitar was recorded just like the previous clip, but with the “Warm Voice” space on the Spire app. Both character and amount are turned up to about two thirds to make the reverberant effect a little more present.

Spire-studio-effects

Before you add effects, think about what you want to convey with your recording. Don’t just add effects because you can; add them because they get your song closer to the sound in your head. So take a bit to think about what direction you want to take your recording and then go from there!

Stereo or mono?

You may notice the “mono/stereo” toggle in the mix window of the spire app.

A good rule of thumb is to limit the number of stereo tracks in a given song to one or two, since adding stereo width to multiple tracks can cause problems. A stereo guitar can sound rich, wide, and larger-than-life when in a simple arrangement of, let’s say, a guitar and a vocal, but as you add more elements to your mix, you’ll find that too many stereo instruments can get “lost in the sauce” and lose their sense of direction. Think stereo for a rich and wide sound, and mono for a clearer, punchy sound that’s great for busier arrangements.  

Tailor your sound

Of course, every song, guitar, and player is different, and while the acoustic guitar may not be the most obtuse instrument to record (we’re looking at you, drums), there are still some basics to understand that can help you tailor your sound to your liking.

Unlike, say, a vocal where sound radiates from essentially a single origin, the acoustic guitar radiates different timbres of sound from different points across its construction. The three most frequented sonic hotspots are the soundhole, the fretboard, and the bridge, and they all have their distinctive sound qualities:

The fretboard: a bright sound with tighter bass and great fretboard articulation (think the sounds of your left hand’s fingers manipulating the strings)

The sound hole: warm and bass heavy (sometimes too much so), with less definition but more power

The bridge: a mid-forward sound with more pronounced right hand articulation (think the sounds of your pick or fingers plucking the strings)

So if you feel that your song requires a deeper sound, try moving your Spire Studio closer to the sound hole (and further down the fretboard if it sounds too boomy), or vice-versa. If you want your acoustic to cut-through more, try positioning your Spire Studio beyond the bridge. Wherever you go, just make sure to experiment and trust your ears.

Conclusion

Getting a great acoustic guitar sound can be critical to a great sounding recording, and as it turns out, it’s not that hard either. But remember, the most important part of a guitar recording is the guitar (and the player), so with that in mind, go make some great recordings!