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Acoustic Guitar EQ-ing

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Acoustic Guitar EQ-ing

Postby JRocker » Tue Nov 19, 2019 9:34 pm

Hi,

I have come across some general EQ-ing tips for acoustic guitars, I like to know whether any of the following are correct as a basic point of reference for any EQ-ing of acoustic guitars when mixing? Any further tips/advice much appreciated.

Acoustic Guitar EQ general rue:

A boost in the low-mids around 200 - 250 Hz can help bring some thickness to it.

If you’re EQ’ing an acoustic guitar and it’s sounding a little too honky and “cheapsounding” then hunt around and cut in the 800 Hz region to give your acoustic a smoother
sound.

You can bring out some brilliance in the acoustic guitar by boosting around 8 kHz.

However, if your acoustic guitar is just a small part of the arrangement and just needs some “strummy presence” in the background then adding some air above 10 kHz with a
heavily high-pass filtered track can help the acoustic feel present in the mix without cluttering up the rest of the arrangement in the lower frequency spectrum.
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Re: Acoustic Guitar EQ-ing

Postby Sam Inglis » Tue Nov 19, 2019 9:57 pm

The best thing you can do, by far, is to utterly erase from your mind any idea that there are 'rules' as to how you should EQ any instrument.

Make your EQ decisions on the basis of listening.

No two acoustic guitar recordings are the same, and thus there is no set of fixed rules to follow. It depends on the instrument and the part and the arrangement and the mic technique that was used, not to mention the room and the player's skills.

For example, most people tend to mic acoustic guitars from quite close with directional mics, and in that case, adding 200Hz is usually the last thing you want to do. because proximity effect will have added a lot of boominess to the recording in the first place. But if the guitar was miked more distantly or with omni mics, then conceivably you might want to add some low-mids.
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Re: Acoustic Guitar EQ-ing

Postby CS70 » Tue Nov 19, 2019 10:20 pm

Make your EQ decisions on the basis of listening.

+1
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Re: Acoustic Guitar EQ-ing

Postby Ramirez » Tue Nov 19, 2019 10:54 pm

Fully agree with Sam.

If you need to EQ it implies you’re not satisfied with the sound. Work on getting the sound you want before thinking of EQ.
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Re: Acoustic Guitar EQ-ing

Postby blinddrew » Tue Nov 19, 2019 10:57 pm

Another thing to think about is what you want that acoustic to do, and do this thinking before you record it.
If you know you want just a bit of background jingle in the choruses, then you can choose your guitar and mic position to do just that, and you'll barely need to EQ at all.
If you're looking for a really cutting edge for a solo or set of licks, then you're going to want a different sound for that to carry through, so again, choose your mic position for that sound.
The more you can get right at source, at the point the sound hits the mic, the easier your mixing will be. So it really pays to think about your arrangement and what job you need each instrument to do before you start setting up mics.

[EDIT - Ramirez beat me to it with a much pithier response :) ]
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Re: Acoustic Guitar EQ-ing

Postby Zukan » Wed Nov 20, 2019 9:51 am

Sam is right. Think of it in really simple terms: you use two mics to record an acoustic guitar. The captured (recorded) guitar's response will change depending on which mics you used and where and how you placed them. Add the room response to that and you can see why eq charts don't help.

Each and every sound has it's own unique characteristics that define what tool to be used and how.
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Re: Acoustic Guitar EQ-ing

Postby The Elf » Wed Nov 20, 2019 10:03 am

I've seen almost exactly the same advice given about piano, vocals and any source you care to mention.

And I've seen/heard mixes based on this information, applied with little understanding or sympathy for the source material...

As others here have said - listen to what you have and react to it. That's really the way to get the best results - and is ultimately a very simple thing to do... with practice.
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Re: Acoustic Guitar EQ-ing

Postby Tim Gillett » Wed Nov 20, 2019 11:31 am

Ramirez wrote:Fully agree with Sam.

If you need to EQ it implies you’re not satisfied with the sound. Work on getting the sound you want before thinking of EQ.
True but as Sam mentioned, not always. Often we need to close mic a guitar onstage to reduce bleed or feedback. The penalty is often excessive bass. The experienced person doesn't worry, knowing he can correct this with the appropriate bass cut at the mixer. EQ is a very powerful tool which in the right hands helps so much.
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Re: Acoustic Guitar EQ-ing

Postby The Bunk » Wed Nov 20, 2019 6:02 pm

And maybe another thing; I actually made an acoustic recording years and years ago that I loved and still do, and I can't remember how specifically I did it (which mics, position etc). I just wish I'd made a note of that because I haven't really been able replicate it for quality since. So I now try and make notes of my set-ups...even if they're to remind me "that was sh*te and didn't work". There are of course other factors to factor in such as where it fits in the mix I suppose but as the song in question was largely an acoustic one and worked so well, I really regret not noting down the set-up.
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Re: Acoustic Guitar EQ-ing

Postby CS70 » Wed Nov 20, 2019 6:20 pm

I’ve recorded “naked” acoustic guitar quite a bit, and In all my experiences these great recordings boil down on where you recorded, rather than how.
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Re: Acoustic Guitar EQ-ing

Postby awjoe » Sat Nov 23, 2019 5:07 am

CS70 wrote:I’ve recorded “naked” acoustic guitar quite a bit, and In all my experiences these great recordings boil down on where you recorded, rather than how.

Room trumps mic?
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Re: Acoustic Guitar EQ-ing

Postby Sam Spoons » Sat Nov 23, 2019 9:39 am

Yes and, instrument trumps room and performance trumps instrument (this is starting to sound like a musical game of rock, scissors, paper :D )
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Re: Acoustic Guitar EQ-ing

Postby CS70 » Sat Nov 23, 2019 11:45 pm

Well it was (is) a great guitar, a Gibson SJ100 (the "cheap" one, but one of a kind like certain acoustic guitars are), in a large converted loft with a sloping ceiling almost 5 mt at his highest. One wall made of bricks, the rest drywall with much insulation inside, wood floor.

It was a great place to record guitars. Too bad I sold it :D
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Re: Acoustic Guitar EQ-ing

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Nov 24, 2019 10:07 am

Hindsight is 20:20 :headbang:
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Re: Acoustic Guitar EQ-ing

Postby CS70 » Mon Nov 25, 2019 9:43 am

Haha well the money was unbeatable - one of my best investments ever. But at least know I know what to look for should I want to make my own studio! :)
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Re: Acoustic Guitar EQ-ing

Postby Jadoube » Tue Nov 26, 2019 9:03 pm

All else being equal (and it never ever is) my favourite acoustic guitar sounds I have personally recorded have always been down to the player. A great player makes the sound magical and it's simply a matter of not 'f***ing' it up. Just record it.

I don't think it's terrible if someone goes into recording one with an idea of what some 'typical frequencies' for acoustic guitar manipulation might be. You need to start somewhere! But ... I know that I almost never ever ever use EQ when I am recording acoustic guitar. Only a high-pass filter. Mic position and room placement with possible baffling are the key tools.

And that player!
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Re: Acoustic Guitar EQ-ing

Postby shufflebeat » Tue Nov 26, 2019 9:55 pm

One of my favourite recordings was done with a 5pce acoustic band; drums, double bass, guitar, vocal, trumpet. It was in a mate's front room with a laminate floor with a cheap Sony stereo mic to cassette (Google it, young'uns) .

We made several test recordings and moved musicians round the room and to/from the mic to taste, then ran through the well rehearsed set.

The overall mix was something I've been trying to achieve since with varying degrees of success but never bettered.
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Re: Acoustic Guitar EQ-ing

Postby Jadoube » Tue Nov 26, 2019 10:53 pm

shufflebeat wrote:One of my favourite recordings was done with a 5pce acoustic band; drums, double bass, guitar, vocal, trumpet. It was in a mate's front room with a laminate floor with a cheap Sony stereo mic to cassette

My pal and I did something similar with a largish pop/folk band and a Sony DATman recorder and the built-in stereo mic. He was very meticulous about setting it up and got a decent recording. I mastered and edited it and we sold a couple of thousand CDs. Worked great with the right band! One of my favourite records I have ever worked on.
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