Sounding your best In the studio and on stage
Ad feature with Elixir Strings
In this video – in association with Elixir Strings – we’re going to share some tips and tricks to help you make sure your acoustic guitar sounds great on stage and in the studio.
First, let’s get set up. A fresh set of strings will make your recordings and performances better – In this case a set of 12-56 Phosphor Bronze NANOWEBs. We love using Elixir strings for their long-lasting great sound and consistency.
New strings also help keep your intonation sweet – We recommend taking your guitar for a set-up with a good tech if you have a session coming up – especially if you have changed string gauges recently.
Shake it! – physically shake your acoustic guitar to make sure that there are no loose screws, wires, tuner bushings or lost picks in your instrument which could buzz or rattle when you’re playing.
If your guitar has a pinned bridge then pull your strings to make sure they are seated properly – otherwise a ball-end string can rattle under the bridge plate.
Ready? Let’s go to work.
In The Studio
Mic positioning is vital – if you are recording yourself then start with the mic aiming at the body doing of your instrument not the sound hole. You can then turn the mic to fine tune the sound.
You will get the fullest and most musical sound with your fingers just behind the frets – if you’re using a capo then make sure you position it properly too.
The adrenaline of recording often makes you speed up – always rehearse at the intended recording BPM before you hit the studio!
You will get a smoother sound with a new pick – bring a selection of different thicknesses and materials – it can be surprising what textures you can unlock! If you play fingerstyle then the same rule applies.
A static performance will soon become unnatural and rigid – experiment with your picking hand position and dynamics to keep things interesting.
It sounds rudimentary but make sure you change the battery if your guitar has an active pickup system like this Taylor ES2.
Don’t be tempted to soak your sound in reverb in your quest for tonal glory – if you like a full-sounding reverb then experiment with the tail length to stop things getting mushy.
Don’t be tempted to fiddle with the controls on your guitar once you hit the stage – you don’t know what effect this will have front of house. Communicate with your sound engineer if you feel something is missing.
Back down the volume a little and rely on your picking hand to take care of the dynamics. It’s surprising what a touch of headroom can do.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this video – performance is a very personal thing and you doubtless have your own ideas too – Thank you for watching and thank you to Elixir Strings for making us sound as good as possible for all these years!
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