So, you have composed an excellent song and you are clearly determined to use an acoustic guitar during its recording. That sounds great! However, before going to the studio, take into account some simple recommendations that will relieve you from needless fuss and, after all, help you achieve the best result in recording.
It is commonly believed that an absolute recording quality requires a very expensive guitar. It’s completely wrong! It’s far more important to select an instrument corresponding to your creative idea at most and to your views of “right” sound. Moreover, it won’t be by far always an instrument with a terrifying price tag!
The timbre of an acoustic guitar depends on a host of factors: body material and construction, a string type, pick material and thickness… Therefore, if you need bright, open sound, it’s no point in recording a guitar that is rich in low and low mid harmonics so that later a mixing engineer will have to try to achieve the impossible from it.
While getting ready for recording, get new strings set up in advance! I think everybody who is familiar with the guitar at least a little knows how much better they sound in comparison with those that got greasy during long months of drills and rehearsals. Yet! The strings that have just been set up can stretch out incredibly easily. So fast that, quite frequently, hardly had the guitarist finished playing a song when the guitar was already out of tune. That’s why a couple of days before recording, replace the strings for new ones and let them stretch to their normal state. Remember to occasionally tune up the instrument. This simple preparation will by far simplify your recording process.
The appropriate tuner
The contemporary guitarist without a tuner is nonsense! Apart from hardware performance, there are software tuners for personal computers and even for cell phones.
However, for recording, I’d advise you to buy or to borrow exactly a clip-on tuner from your friend. Why? Because an acoustic guitar is technically quite a complicated instrument in recording. You’ll be surrounded with microphones and caught in wires in a studio so that it’ll be awfully inconvenient to mess with a tuner slipping out of your pocket over and over again. Do you really need it? Moreover, a clip-on tuner appropriately set up on the headstock will allow you to easily tune up the instrument during pauses between takes.
In addition, you’ll have to tune up regularly! Especially when you’re a blues guitarist and constantly use bends as the acoustic guitar isn’t equipped with a neck-lock system!
It’ll be frustrating to rerecord a good take only for the reason that the guitar was badly tuned!
Written by Elijah Kuttikhen, the owner and operator of EKmixmaster studio providing audio mixing and mastering services for producers and labels all around the world.