The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary

View Poll Results: What is your preferred method for recording an Archtop Guitar?

149. You may not vote on this poll
  • Record Direct

    44 29.53%
  • Mic on the Amp

    38 25.50%
  • Mic on the Archtop

    2 1.34%
  • Combination of the Above

    65 43.62%
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  1. #1

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    What is your preferred method for recording an Archtop Guitar?

    • Record Direct
      - Archtop or amp line out direct into your recording rig (line in/amp simulators/speaker sims/etc)
    • Mic on the Amp
      - Dynamic/Ribbon or some combinations on the amp (similar to how most record "rock" guitar)
    • Mic on the Archtop
      - Record acoustic with a SDC/LDC or similar combo on the Archtop like many record flat top acoustics
    • Combination of the Above
      - Any combination of the above (such as the SoundPure video where they use a Dynamic + Ribbon on the amp and a SDC on the archtop

    Last edited by shawntp; 02-21-2013 at 09:50 AM. Reason: formatting


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  3. #2

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    I always prefer a combination, not just on archtops but on nearly any guitar that I'm playing clean. That includes solidbodies! I use a variety of mic options for the speaker, usually aiming at the edge of the cone, and a small diaphragm condenser on the guitar, usually pointing at the neck/body join around 12" away.

    There is certainly variation on this basic recipe, but it's a safe place to start.

    In the mix, I'll end up balancing the amp sound at unity (0 db) and the acoustic sound about 3-6 db lower. Pan the amp sound a tad in one direction, and the acoustic sound in the other direction more drastically. This creates a nice stereo spread where the punchy electric sound dominates, but you hear the guitar's acoustic presence. I will also typically use reverb on only one of the sources (usually the amp channel).

  4. #3

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    I practice and record with a Blackstar HT-5 Combo that has a very good quality direct-out. I prefer this approach because I am more proficient at getting the tone I want out of an amp than I am with software, and the HT-5 has great tone, yes for jazz. When I want something different I'll use POD Farm2. On occasion I'll mic a Fender amp with Shure 58, but I tend to get more "extraneous noise" in my old house with old wiring when using this approach.

  5. #4

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    I personally favor a ribbon on the cabinet and then a second signal captured for blending just in case. The mic on the cabinet would always be my primary fundamental tone and then the second would blend in below it for space or contrast as noted above. Sound Pure has a neat video where they do this with two mics (Ribbon and Dynamic) on a JazzAmp and then a SDC on the archtop. I suppose depending on the instrument/amp you could take either a line out from the guitar or amp (not all amps have the greatest line out signals for recording I find but some are great) or a sensitive mic on the guitar. If you put a SDC on the guitar you will get some of the room and amp along with the guitar in that mic where a second direct line would not have that bleed. I could see both being desirable. I suppose if you have enough tracks and an ABY box or something you could record all of the above but it gets out of control for home recording.

    Also I see when most people use a ribbon they tend to blend it with a dynamic (ala the soundpure video I will link) but I have always been fine with just a ribbon. My budget pick for a guitar cab is a Cascade FatHead.

  6. #5

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    I'm digging a ribbon mic also lately. I have been recording for nearly 30 years and had never used one!

    One cool thing is that many are figure-8, so you can point one side at the cabinet and sit close to the other side. If the guitar has some acoustic presence and you are not in danger of feeding back, it's a quick and dirty way to get some acoustic ambience into the track without separately mic'ing the guitar.

    Of course it's probably best to have the additional control and isolation of a separate mic, but I thought it was still a cool option for some circumstances.

  7. #6
    Agreed! Ribbon mic + guitar speaker = godly tone!

    I'm usually a one mic on a guitar cab kind of guy. This goes for whatever genre of music I'm recording. I sometimes throw another mic on to EQ out undesirable frequencies, but more often than not, I just end up using the signal from one mic in a mix.


  8. #7

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    Direct through a modeler for me. I'm really happy with the quality I get.

    I record in my home so I don't have a properly treated room. If I had a treated room and a good amplifier I'd experiment with that. Even still, I'm not sure I could beat the modeler.

  9. #8

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    For my old videos with decent quality I plugged the archtop into the ProTools rig and used Amplitube.

    When I record audio that I want to spend more time mixing and tweaking I like to use all the options available to me. I like to record directly from the amp, put one mic just in front of the amplifier and one way back in the room.

    Then when I mix, I can pull from these three and balance the different qualities to my liking.
    I tend to use mostly the mic in front of the amp and then add a touch of the far away mic and the direct signal.

    But it depends on the guitar I use. For acoustic guitars I use way more mic than direct signal.

  10. #9

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    Direct, whenever possible.

  11. #10

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    I want to record an acoustic guitar and vocalist. with an acoustic piano. What resources can you recommend if any to help me learn?

  12. #11

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    I think you probably need 4 tracks.

    I've never recorded an acoustic piano but most people prefer a stereo pair when doing this. You then need at least one more mic for guitar and one for vocals.

    An obvious choice would be a pair of small diaphragm condensers for piano, another single small diaphragm for the acoustic guitar, and probably a large diaphragm condenser for vocal. I would check out and post on a forum called for help with your project.

  13. #12

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    I use Shure 57 on amp and condencer microphone on the Archtop. Mix about 7/3.
    I tried a ribbon but didn't like it.

  14. #13

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    I run through a Kemper Profiler, straight into the soundcard. Sounds amazing!

  15. #14

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    Methodology is an important factor.

    Obviously if you are recording in a band situation then there's a good chance that someone else is engineering. So I assume we are talking about recording ourselves.

    Then are we recording a solo instrument or an instrument within a track?
    Two completely different scenarios of course.

    My experience is to record with previously recorded tracks. Bass, drums etc.

    How much do we engineer before recording and how much after recording?

    In my scenario I would say the best experience is to sit at the console/computer and monitor the track. The guitar amp is in another room with probably a 57 on it plus a direct feed to another track.

    The most important thing is to listen to your track and guitar in context. With your guitar in the mix.
    You want a great take. To be inside the music.

    Then you can engineer to your hearts content.....after the recording......and you have a direct input track as a safety or as a blend......or reamp with plugs and blend.

    I think there is something lost with all us guys recording alone. We get the recording process out of balance and we wear the engineer hat and not the musician hat.
    I cannot tell if your guitar tone is any good until you hear it in the mix......right?
    So I think it's best to have the mix happening and get the best performance.
    A great performance will make your guitar sound better as well.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by lamutabor

    I tried a ribbon but didn't like it.
    if you use a GOOD ribbon with a GOOD pre, you can EQ it in many ways that never work with other mics, especially condensers.

    I use ribbons for just about everything.

  17. #16

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    Combination. But I always use direct (no mods), and for my archtop I mike the acoustic sound. It gives lots of blending options depending on the tune, as you can later (when your neighbors are not sleeping), run the direct signal through a miked amp, though an effects chain etc.

  18. #17

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    Ribbon on cab, ribbon on arch top!

  19. #18

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    i most-often record direct, using the stereo output of a zoom 505 pedal on which all of the patches are self-made edits--the pre-sets were mostly fuzzbox metal-head sounds so i ditched first i wasnt so fond of it--have had for like 10 years--but slowly i've come to like it a lot..very clean, not at all 'tubelike', more like hi-fi...

    sometimes i do mic an amp...either the roland micro cube or the funky johnson 'reptone 30b' bass amp i've had for years...a cheapo chinese solid state amp, 10" coaxial speaker, 30 watts...not so good for bass but IMO oddly nice for jazz gain...just a volume control and bass/mid/treble/presence's oddly polytone-ish..dark but clear...fat but bright...a weird no-frills amp but i like it.

    i also often use the micro-cube as a pre-amp for recording bass guitar, whether my solid-body or the acoustic fretless...the blackface emulatio with tone at about 7 o clock, gain high, volume low...that makes getting a fat bass sound easy, whether using a magnetic pickup or a mic.

    have also used the microcube as recording pre-amp for guitar, but not as often as the zoom 505.

  20. #19

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    I've become a mid-side junkie. I use this now on all my acoustic and archtop recordings. I might also mix this with a condenser on the amp. The mid-side gives you the ability to mix in stereo width as needed after recording. Without a plug-in it does take quite a number of tracks. I cannot recommend this method of recording enough.

    Here is a decent guide on it.

    Recording with the Mid-Side Microphone Configuration | explora

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by bondmorkret
    I run through a Kemper Profiler, straight into the soundcard. Sounds amazing!
    Yep. Agree 100%. After years of getting shitty awful recordings that sound nothing like what's coming out of the amp, this is a revelation. No need to spend thousands on expensive mics. In fact, mics not even needed, and whatever is coming out of the amp sounds actually like what's coming out of the DAW. Amazing.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by NSJ
    Yep. Agree 100%. After years of getting shitty awful recordings that sound nothing like what's coming out of the amp, this is a revelation. No need to spend thousands on expensive mics. In fact, mics not even needed, and whatever is coming out of the amp sounds actually like what's coming out of the DAW. Amazing.

  23. #22
    Digital is the new paradigm, so that's my default answer.

    As far as miking / recording technique, I have never actually recorded an archtop, but I've recorded quite a few electrics and acoustics, so for my purposes I would just combine the two. My go-to set up is:

    1) Electrics: Shure SM57 close-miked on the cab, cab raised off the floor using isolators, stand, folding chair, whatever. Cab placed in separate room if possible, or use an Iso cab. My default starting point for placement is with the mic perfectly perpendicular to the grille, about 2-3" towards the edge from center. I'll move it laterally first, then play with mic angle to really dial it in.

    2) Acoustics: X-Y pair centered where the neck meets the body. It usually ends up no more than a couple of feet from the guitar. For a solo or guitar-centric performance, I'll pan them wide.

    Some other techniques I've seen used to good effect:

    Running 2 mics on the cab. The best results I've heard are an MD421 / SM57, mixed to taste. That was in a hard rock / metal scenario though, but could work well here too. You can also move them around within the stereo field if you're not double or quad-tracking to really open up the sound a bit.

    For acoustics, I'm REALLY digging the results I'm hearing from the mid-side technique though, and when I get my home studio set back up I'll probably play around with that.

    The guy at my college used a pair of boundary mics on a foldable piece of plexiglass. He would set it center stage and pan it wide. I'm pretty sure he would use it to fill out the room sound / stereo image of the individual instrument mics that he panned to their corresponding stage location, but I never got to see that part.

    Everybody who really gets into recording sort of develops a set of "defaults" that they develop outward from. These are mine, and they work 99% of the time for my (rather simplistic) purposes.

  24. #23

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    sounds like I have less experience than most here. My 2 cents is that it depends on the guitar. For solo or low volume I would mike the guitar and then either mike the amp or go direct. If you have a really great sounding acoustic arch top like a Benedetto, Campellone, Anderson, etc I would blend in a little more of the mike on the guitar. As far as reverb, I always overdo it, probably genetic

  25. #24

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    Line6 does a great job, voxamps too.

  26. #25

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    I like the old classic electric sounds so I like to like a classic 50s-60s tube combo with a tube condenser. A vintage Ampeg and an M49 type mic is heaven with something like a 2 pickup L5. Placement isn’t to tricky, any position sounds gorgeous!