Welcome to the Mixing Acoustic Guitar EQ, Compression, Effects tutorial. In this post, we’ll see how can mix an acoustic guitar with only a couple of processors and effects, it’s really easy and improves the sound dramatically.
In the video below, I have recorded with a dynamic microphone although we know that dynamic microphones do not perform well on acoustic guitars. It’s a really great opportunity to mix this acoustic guitar clip though in case someone’s sent you to mix via the internet and you can’t make him re-record, thus mixing is your final option to make things better.
If you can record with a condenser microphone, then please don’t waste your time trying to fix problems that occurred in the recording phase. Save your time by re-recording. The end results would be a lot better and the mixing phase will be easier. Both you and the client will be happier. But if you received wav files via email and you can’t re-record then… let’s go mixing!
YouTube Video [Watch in 1080p]
Please do not follow blindly or copy-paste the settings you see here. These images show the settings of the video above, so please do not see them as a rule of thumb. Each sound is different and there’s no a specific image with settings in the world that works for every sound out there. Please focus on the thoughts behind the settings and not on the settings themselves.
Acoustic Guitar EQ
In this particular tutorial I’ve used only one EQ. While it seems drastic in the graph, it really isn’t when you hear it. I had to go a bit extreme since I was forced to record with a dynamic mic to remove all the annoying resonances.
There is no a magic button here. Just sweep through the spectrum, play with the Q, Gain and Bandwidth, bypass quickly and keep the change as long as it sounds right.
Acoustic Guitar Compression
I used a slow attack here and just a tad of GR (Gain Reduction). The reason is that the faster your attack is the more dangerous is to use lots of Gain Reduction because it will ruin your signal easily. If you want more transients and more GR go for a slower attack.
In this particular example my aim was to cut the really annoying transients that had really nothing musical to offer. Don’t go nuts though because this is an acoustic guitar and we want to keep its punch and natural sound intact.
Really simple stuff here. Just a bit of re-verb to make the guitar sound like it was recorded in a real room (the dynamic mic removed way too much acoustics from the signal so I had to dial some back in somehow).
Then I added the waves doubler which is a chorus effect, it helped to add a bit of color to the sides of the spectrum. Nothing crazy here too, I added that much that I only feel like it exists only if bypass it.
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