Live Mic’ing of an Acoustic Guitar

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North Ridge Community Church has added a smaller service later in the afternoon at 5PM in addition to our two earlier services at 9:00am and 10:30am. The new service is called Live @ 5 and is in our smaller venue called “Ridge Cafe.” The Ridge Cafe has a pretty good sounding system which is in stereo with QSC 3 way speakers and a single 15″ sub on each side. Our main worship center has a mono system so it is always fun to mix in a stereo rhelm.

Our guitarist was telling me that his pickup in his guitar is not picking up his high E string. I told him that was no problem that we would just pick up his acoustic with a few microphones. Which brings me to my favorite mic’ing technique for an acoustic guitar.

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I picked two small diaphram condenser microphones, the AKG CK91 which has a cardioid pattern. What I do is make an XY stereo mic configuration but orient it north south instead of left right. I then place this right in between the sound hole and the 12th fret a few inches from the strings. Then on the sound board I pan the two mics right and left. It gives a very surrounding stereo sense when listening to the acoustic.

The idea is that one mic picks up the lower strings, the other the higher strings. When you pan them it puts them in a very nice stereo image. This works really well when doing an acoustic type mix in stereo. I don’t think the stereo imaging comes across as well in a full band setup.

Lastly when you do this you need to make sure to be real careful of feedback. Each open microphone you add on stage the gain before feedback of the system drops. Basically be careful adding too much acoustic in his monitor. The XY stereo mic still behaves as a cardioid pickup so place the monitor in the same location you would normally with a normal cardioid microphone.

I WISH I had a recording of this live, this room doesn’t have a CD recorder currently. But the next time I mic a guitar like this I will make sure I get a recording of it.

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