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Old 05-14-2019, 07:32 AM
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adam79 adam79 is offline
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Default Tracking/Mixing Acoustic Guitar as Part of Rhythm Section

I've been using acoustic guitar alot lately as part of the rhythm section, as in drums n bass. I'm definitely doing something wrong, cuz I haven't been happy with my results. I've been strumming along with the song almost like the acoustic is a second high hat. Any suggestions on how I can get it to sit right in the mix? Maybe I could try different mic placement (tho not different mics...I only have 3, a SM57 n 2 MCA SP1's) in addition to changing up how it's being mixed. The stuff I'm playing is a mix of blues/rock, '77 punk and a bit of heavy alt rock (thrown in sparingly).

I'm also still trying to figure out the best way to set the tone n gain on the way in for electric tracks...and then how to mix em so they mesh well with the acoustic. It's been kind of a process cuz the guitar sound varies from song to song, as well as in the songs themselves. It's also been a learning experience figuring out when to lay off the acoustic n just go with the electric.

I don't have a guitar amp at the moment, just a POD XT and the Hi/Z input on my UA Apollo that I use with all the free Amp Sims I can get my hands on. I almost always prefer the POD tho. I'm not sure if the mixture of a mic'd acoustic and DI electric is making it harder to get the two to play well together.

Think I've blathered on long enough to get the point across. Looking forward to hearing from you guys.
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Old 05-14-2019, 07:53 AM
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Default Re: Tracking/Mixing Acoustic Guitar as Part of Rhythm Section

I'd save up for a better mic. Try 12th fret mic'ing, hi-pass eq, fast-attack compression, and a touch of reverb.
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Old 05-14-2019, 11:36 AM
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Default Re: Tracking/Mixing Acoustic Guitar as Part of Rhythm Section

IME with 57 on an AG it sounds best less the 4 inches from the strings at about the 12th fret angled slightly toward the body depending on the guitar. I prefer LDC's or SDC's if the AG is featured.

Mixing with an electric to get it to mesh is mostly about the arrangement (which part of the sound of each do i need when and where) but once i've got that then i make a guitar bus for some compression glue and/or saturation and a send from that bus to a verb/delay or both can really help to make them sound in the same room.

Often i am using automation on the volumes and eq's so that one or the other moves forward a bit while the other lays back then switching them, again depending on arrangement.

If im just using the AG as a source of percussion/beat i tend to add high shelf and subtract low shelf which sounds terrible but works well in a mix.
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Old 05-14-2019, 04:00 PM
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Default Re: Tracking/Mixing Acoustic Guitar as Part of Rhythm Section

I'm not a big fan of the 'classic' SDC/12th fret close mic. I often get too much emphasis on the strings, string noise and overly present harmonics.

A 57, looking at the top of the guitar in the shoulder area may just be the ticket here. Get some tone and 'thud' from the body without the boominess to get the percussive nature of the acoustic and leave the jingle & jangle harmonics to the electrics.

If you really want to eliminate any harmonic content from an acoustic that's basically there to reinforce a rhythm part you could take it one step further and kill the acoustic(s) by taping up the body or stuffing a towel in, something like that.

It's kind of the reverse of miking an unplugged electric when you do want just the jingle & jangle stuff.

In case I'm way off topic by now; apologies.

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Old 05-14-2019, 05:23 PM
albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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Default Re: Tracking/Mixing Acoustic Guitar as Part of Rhythm Section

I'd say some experimentation is in order I would approach it as follows:
#1-the guitar itself. Does it sound good in the room? Does it have fresh strings? If it sounds like crap, then it will record like crap. One of the best recording acoustics is a $449 Blueridge(BR40, I think). It records like a Martin for a McDonald's price
#2-try each mic you have(with nothing else going on) and (listening with headphones) move the mic around and see if you find a spot where the sound is good in the phones(if its bad there, its not going to get much better in the DAW)
#3-if your mics don't give you a good tone, then its going to require some mic shopping, but you don't need a mortgage for this. One killer mic on a budget is a used AT4041(I bought one for $100). Starting position(for me) is where the neck meets the body. How you aim(towards the bridge, straight on or towards the neck) can give different tone. Another solid mic for $299 is the Miktek MK300(which has 3 patterns and the figure 8 is very useful for acoustic, if the room sounds good).
#4-I track with some gentle EQ(hipass at 90, small dip at 400 and small boost around 10K), light compression(BF76) and a touch of reverb(don't be afraid to EQ the reverb and thin it out in the low-mids). BTW, reverb is always on an AUX track and NOT as an insert on the guitar track. After you get the best recording of your guitar, use subtractive EQ to get rid of the "ugly" stuff(and feel free to use THAT EQ while tracking).
#5-treating the guitar as a hihat is a great approach!
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Old 05-21-2019, 04:11 PM
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Default Re: Tracking/Mixing Acoustic Guitar as Part of Rhythm Section

^ +1

spending time getting it mic'd right is where I would focus, trying out different mics or multiple mic's and positions can take quite a lot of time but well worth the effort.... also giving you ears a break during this process if you have been working on it for a while can be a very good thing too.
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Old 05-21-2019, 07:21 PM
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Default Re: Tracking/Mixing Acoustic Guitar as Part of Rhythm Section

Thanks for all the suggestions.

Like one of you mentioned, I've been making the mistake of mic'ing the acoustic like it's being featured, instead of background/percussion.

Maybe I'll post a clip sometime. I'm sure that I'm making all kinds of mistakes on the mix in general. I'm way more a musician than engineer; I don't have the patience and attention span to really get inside a mix. I still enjoy the process tho.
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