Skipper Tip: Miking guitars for specific sounds

No Effects – Just Mics

When guitar (or anything for that matter!) is well recorded, it sits naturally in the mix without having to struggle in editing.  In today's recording, it seems that the go-to solution for achieving the right sound is to "fix it in the mix" instead of capturing that specific sound naturally in the first place. You’ve worked hard to perfect the performance; don’t lose the nuance and emotion with inattentive recording.  Let's look at some ways to use microphones with specific sonic signatures and the right technique to achieve the rich, natural sound you're looking for in a guitar, bass or even mandolin–


10 Different Sounds:

  • Target sound: Crunch guitars

Recommendation: Put the Cactus mic a foot away from the speakers cabinet of a heavy distorted amp

  • Target sound: A punchy tight Electric Bass Guitar 

Recommendation: Position the Mouse an inch or two off the speaker cabinet of your amplifier. Rotate the grill 10-20 degrees for the tone that suites your taste. 

  • Target sound: The top end and midrange from a Mandolin

    Recommendation: Try the Bottle Rocket Stage One with a B7 (Bottle Cap). This capsule when properly placed in the front of the instrument brings out a presence and detail of the strings as they are being picked.

    • Target sound: A Full Rich “Audiophile” Acoustic Guitar

    Recommendation: Position the Kiwi an inch or two off the center cabinet of sound hole and four to five inches away from the guitar.

     *Two Kiwi placed on either side of the sound hole in the same configuration yields a beautiful wide stereo sound.

    • Target sound: Live and heavy distorted guitar

    Recommendation: Set your Baby Bottle mic several feet back from the amp.

    • Target sound: A clean country guitar sound

    Recommendation: Position the Dragonfly an inch or two off the speaker cabinet of your amplifier. 

    • Target sound: Small Body Acoustic Guitar Finger Picking Tone

    Recommendation: Position the Blueberry four to five inches directly in front of the sound hole. This will catch the details of the fingers as well as the tone of the strings. 

    • Target sound: Live sounding “Distorted/Classic” electric guitar rock tone

    Recommendation: Position the Woodpecker three to five feet away from the guitar amp/speaker cabinet.


    Experiment by moving the mic side to side no more than one foot for the required tone

    • Target sound: A traditional Banjo tone

    Recommendation: Position the Spark four or six inches off the center of the banjo. Press the “Focus” control in to tighten up the sound and reveal the finger picking nuances. 

    • Target sound: Crunchy-distorted rhythm electric guitar sound with a punchy bottom end

    Recommendation: Turn Reactor's capsule grille 90 degrees so that it is flush with the body of the guitar and place it as close to the amplifier speaker as possible

    • Target sound: A rich acoustic bass guitar sound

    Recommendation: Place the Reactor in cardioid pattern about four inches in front of the sound hole. Move the microphone left or right to achieve the right tone for your taste.

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