Acoustic Guitar Recording

I have a Taylor acoustic guitar but when I record through a microphone my breathing is picked up, and I have to keep breathing. So am I best attaching some sort of pickup to this guitar or buying something similar to an Ovation that can already directly inject to my pre-amp.


Close mic with two hyper-cardoid small diaphragm condensers, one pointed slightly off center towards the 12th fret, and another slightly off center towards the sound hole. The tight cardoid-polar pattern will reject most off axis breathing noise.

Alternatively, close pic with one hyper-cardoid small diaphragm condenser pointed at the sweet spot (that will require experimentation to find), and use a large diaphragm condenser mic about 6-to-8 feet away to pic up the room sound (the breathing noise should be mitigated at that distance).

Either way … breath quietly … or make it part of your signature sound (a la’ Ian Anderson’s flute solos). :wink:

Like Oscar Peterson’s monster breathing and monster piano
performances. It’s all part of the sound. :slight_smile:


Alter your mic placement so your mouth is in the null of the pickup pattern of the microphone, assuming you are not using an omni. I’ve recorded players and you can hear them breath and it wasn’t a big deal. One guys breath was staccato through his nose. :laughing:

In one case we had a guy whose habit was to hunch over his guitar. Not only did this constrain his breathing (actually made it more difficult to properly breath) but the exhalations would be picked up in the mics, and unfortunately he could not play comfortably in any other position (though his position of choice was anthing but comfortable). So we mounted a POP filter over top of the mics and it worked fine - we had thought about spanning felt accross the filter but it wasn’t necessary.

Personally, I use M/S technique a lot, which allows me to aim the mics closer to the 12th fret and away from the head, and get great stereo image without picking up a lot of breathing. I also use either a very HQ mahogany guitar, or a compact rosewood model, as apposed to say, a rosewood dreadnought, which helps so I can mic closer without booming out the signal.

Luke … I am your Father!</Darth Vader voice> :wink:

Using mic techniques as above users have offered is a great solution, and much preferable in my opinion to that keyboard-like DI sound. A microphone will sound much more natural in many circumstances.

it looks like a whoopie cushion mask :mrgreen:

Those cushions on the sides are probably to protect aginst the faceslaps everytime they ruin a take. :laughing:

I’m with 1magineer on this one… i usually track acoustic, if i want stereo, using M/S… usually a tlm102 for the mid and either an SE titan or C414 set to fig 8 for the sides…
By it’s very nature it’s 100% mono compatible and you don’t need a matched pair of mics either!
I record a lovely Taylor on a regular basis, can’t remember which one off hand but it’s a dreadnaught and has their expression system on board which, as far as i can gather is also a microphonic system as opposed to those, imho, orrible piezo things…
we’re due to be tracking with the taylor again over the next couple of weeks so i’ll post one or two dry examples when i get a chance… will be in about a fortnight i think…

It’s a VERY commonly used technique in broadcast, mainly because of mono compatibility and the highly natural sound stage it creates too…

worth a watch…

…as an afterthought… if you want that HUGE taylor sound… put a set of 13s on it, use a HEAVY pick and tune it down a semitone :wink:

MS is horrid in a bad room though and since the center channel has to be a very good capture of the instrument in case you lose the side, you typically have to pull the MS setup back a couple of feet in order to have a natural sound that can stand on its own since a typical cardioid has a 60 degree direct field, +/- 30 degrees of axis. Now that’s if you want the full instrument. In denser mixes, anything goes.

XY and ORTF are far more popular, xy being the most. With XY you can bring the mics closer since the direct pickup area is roughly 90 degrees depending on the angle you set the mics up in relation to each other. This will achieve a more direct sound with less room ambiance and capture the whole instrument. Place the xy in mono. If it is too wide once you open it up to stereo, use cubase’s combined panner to narrow it to taste, which is also a parameter you can automate during a mix to close and open the stage in the song during verses and choruses.

I am a big fan of MS too and use it all the time. Just wanted to interject some science and application to conditions.

Lastly, beware of hyper-cardioids if you are a player that “gets into” or moves their body/instrument while playing, especially if you are close micing, as the sound will change, sometimes dramatically, due to its “port window view” of the source.

Excellent points! It cannot be emphasized enough that discipline is required. As is pre-session planning … including wardrobe. Do not wear the faux-leather vinyl trousers, no matter how tempted you may be. And remember, the safest studio attire for mitigating the noise of fabric chafing against the instrument is … to wear nothing at all.

That’s only going to increase the number of dudes requesting “expanders” in the chain! :astonished: :laughing: I say limiters please! :wink: :laughing:

You won’t need expanders or limiters as long as the player isn’t wearing suspenders. If they’re ONLY wearing suspenders you need some kind of noise suppression to eliminate the yelling and screaming.

:laughing: ^^^^

Standing and sitting can make a large difference also, as the rib cage is less compressed when standing. However, as others have said, I believe the breath is part of the effort, so why remove it? Ever listened to Glen Gould play the piano?

With nudity comes talcum powder and fresh scents. Use this to keep the guitar from sticking to the nude body and butt to the seat.

In extreme cases of chafing I find it helps, although counterintuitive,
to use a good quality silicone lube instead as it helps to avoid friction induced
spontaneous combustion…

Another topic spirals downward in a haze of talcum and lube! :laughing:

How the heck did we get from there to here :question: :confused:

Interesting thought … If we could breath through our ears, we could put our faces right into the soup and not require spoons! :wink: