How to Record Acoustic Guitar on Computer

Even though acoustic guitars are pretty popular, a lot of new guitarists have trouble figuring out recording acoustic guitar on computers and get the perfect sound and tone.

The recording is such a good way to monitor and improve your guitar skills. It is a necessity for both new and experienced players. It, however, does not have to be a long and expensive process. It all depends on how much you are willing to spend and the quality of sound you desire. The following are some of the ways to do so;

Studio in a box

These are sets of basically everything you need to record a guitar on your computer. The set also comes with all the relevant software. You can record using a microphone or directly to the computer. There are a number of them in the market and you should conduct a thorough market research before settling for one. This is really cost effective and is recommended if you are recording for the first time.

Handheld recorder

There are digital recorders with the ability to record your music in MP3 format and share it. Such recorders usually have an inbuilt microphone. It is connected to your computer through a USB cable. To get the best sound quality, you can vary the distance between you and the microphone and see what sounds best. After transferring the recording to a computer, you can edit using the relevant software and share it.

Recording program on your computer

Some computers have a microphone. If you have one of such, you just need a sound-recording program and voila! You are fit to start your recording. The sound quality may not be very impressive but it is a quick and cheap option

Audio interface and microphone

The sound quality of a standard audio interface is a lot better than that of a computer. With a microphone, you are set to record some great-sounding music. You just pass a cable from the microphone to one of the inputs on the audio interface, set up your software and start recording

USB condenser microphones

Although there are a variety of microphones that can be used, USB microphones are a lot more convenient. Many of them come with headphones that allow you to keep watch on what you are doing.

The guitar-computer cable

This is a way of recording your guitar into the computer’s hard drive directly. This cable is connected to the guitar on one end and the computer on another. You can test the sound quality using Windows sound recorder software. However, there are other available software than you can download and use

Reasons for Recording Your Guitar Playing

  • To share it with others professionally or socially
  • To note areas in which you need improvement
  • Listening to yourself play offers a sense of pride
  • To perfect what you are already good at

Factors to Consider When Recording an Acoustic Guitar to a Computer

The condition of your guitar

This one sounds pretty obvious but it is a must say. If your guitar is not in good condition, then the sound is going to suck no matter how much you try. Some people even believe that with every new recording should come new strings. This, of course, depends on your own preference.

The microphone

Your microphone needs to be of good quality to give quality sound. It should also be placed in just the right position from the guitar’s soundboard, fretboard or sound hole. You can experiment with it to find the position where it sounds best. Condenser microphones are recommended for acoustic guitars. They offer clearer, more detailed sound. A common technique to ensure your microphones are properly placed in the X/Y technique. You place two condenser microphones against each other to form an X. By pointing this to the fret, you get a sweet, rich sound.

Number of microphones

You can use as many microphones as possible all placed in different positions to give you fuller, better-balanced sound.

The recording room

Sounds and tones of your acoustic guitar will vary depending on the size and aeration of the recording room. You will find that some rooms are better suited than others depending on the tone you are looking for. The room should also be quiet to avoid noises in your recording

The audio interface

Your audio interface should give a high-quality sound. Higher than your computer’s sound card or it will be a waste to even have it. You should one that meets your sound quality requirements. Ask yourself how many inputs you need. If you want to record your guitar in stereo while you sing, you will need an interface with 4 inputs. If, on the other hand, you just want to record your voice and guitar, then 2 inputs will be enough.

The chair

Assuming you are recording someone that is sitting, make sure you choose a chair that does not squeak.

Where possible, avoid recording acoustic guitars direct

Recording direct has an effect on the sound. It gives an unauthentic, unnatural sound.

Pop filters

If you are a singer, you are likely to experience pops due to the air coming from your mouth. In order to avoid these, you may need to invest in pop filters.

The software

Use software that gives you a variety of mixing effects to improve the sound of your recording.

Sound reflections

The material surrounding you be it tables, mats, plastic or whatever else is around your guitar may reflect sound. It is important to note what difference in sound they create and what sounds best.

Final Words

With the variety of available methods to record acoustic guitars on your computer, all you need to do is find a method that works well for you, giving you the desired sound quality at the price that suits you.

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

Send your music to [email protected].

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