Recording An Acoustic Guitar – Coincident Pair

The acoustic guitar works on the principle of tightened strings stretched between two points. The sound varies depending on the point where the microphone is positioned; hence, the sound near the bridge end is different from the sound in the middle of the string.

Microphone Type

  • Two condenser microphones
    • Polar response: Cardioid
    • Example: Shure SM81

Ideally both microphones should be the same type and manufacturer.

Technique

Place the two microphones close together so that their capsules are almost touching. The rear ends of each mike are spread apart at an angle of a roughly 90 degrees. The result looks like a wide V shape and is know as a coincident pair of microphones.

To make sure that the instrument’s full frequency range is picked up, point one of the microphones just past the bassy sound hole, and the other towards the top of the neck; an area rich in high frequencies.

Do not place the microphones too close to the front sound hole as it may result in a boomy, unnatural sound. If the recording does sound too bassy, try and point the microphones slightly off axis or roll of some lower frequency while recording.

Top Tips

  • Always keep the microphones away from the sound hole as the low frequency resonance can overwhelm the sparkle
  • Try moving the microphones in different positions; it is surprising the different sounds that can be achieved by literally moving them by a couple of centimetres
  • Make sure the strings on the guitar are relatively new, as old strings can sound buzzy