Recording Notes > Reader Question: How do you get two acoustic guitars to sound like they’re being played in the same room?
Hey man, I really liked your “Guide for Recording Folk Music” article and I was wondering if you had any ideas for mixing 2 acoustic guitars playing in harmonies to have that vibe of 2 people playing in the same room. They’ll be recorded in the same room at the same time of course but I’m just wandering how would you approach it in the mix. As to reference sounds… I always liked The Staves and Sufjan Stevens – Carrie and Lowell . Thanks for writing that article btw and “With You” is a lovely tune and sounding great!
If you’re recording both at the same time, I’d use 1-2 “room mics”. A room mic is simply a mic that you put in the middle of the room you’re recording in, as opposed to right next to an instrument, amp, vocalist, etc.
You can position them 10-15 feet away and equal distance from the guitars. A condenser mic will be best – it’ll pick up more of the room.
The goal of a room mic is to pick up more reflections of the room than the instrument itself. Record it to a separate track.
With your guitar mics/tracks, I usually pan one to each side…one left, one right. Probably 100% to each side, but you could go 80% on one side if it’s more of a “lead” part.
It’s important to put reverb on an effects bus, not on each individual track, and send both guitar parts to the reverb bus equally so it feels they’re in the same space.
Keep the room mic track in the center. Take the volume down to 0, and start moving up to taste. As you start to hear that track, it’ll really start glueing things together, and you’ll get the sense of a single room, but with the separation and clarity you want on the guitar tracks.
That’s it! Hope that helps!