MixCoach Podcast 019 : How I process an Acoustic Guitar

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On this episode of the MixCoach Podcast, Kevin addresses acoustic guitar, giving you his signal chain and approach to EQ and compression. He also talks about some production tips for acoustic guitar.


How do YOU keep an acoustic guitar from taking over a track?


  1. Nice! I kind of use the same approach. However, over time, I’ve noticed that the compressor tends to affect the top end (which I find very characteristic of the AG, especially steel strings) in a way I find not very natural. So, I’ll use EQ first to get rid subtract the unnecessary info (usually low end). Then lightly compress if necessary. And then, add another EQ to restore any of the top end affected by the compressor (normally above 10K). Very subtle but it does make a difference to my ears.
    Now, I do try my best to use mic placement to get the sound and avoid any surgical processing later during the mixing stage…
    Finally, if the track was recorded in a very dry room, I’ll add just a little bit of a small room reverb (it amazes me how it opens up the sound) and then add the actual reverb to place it on the track (if needed of course…)
    As you mentioned, in the end, it all depends on the song, instrumentation, and the effect you’re after.
    Awesome info as always… Thanks again!

    1. This sounds like a great approach Luis. You’re right though… it really makes a difference when a guitar is recorded right.

      When I’m miking an acoustic, I usually cover one ear and move my other ear around the guitar until I find something that’s not too boomy. Then I try to get the mic in about the same place.


  2. The real challenges as I see it is to make it right in the recording, I’m never satisfied with my own personal acoustic guitar recordings, maybe I should buy a better guitar.

    I don’t really think I have big challenges when it comes to mixing them (when recorded right). In general, I use the usual HPFiltering, maybe some very careful compression in order to control levels, reverb (or some ambience) depending on song and style and removing some low mid as well, so probably nothing special here. I used to use more compression, but I’m much better to give the guitar space (EQ) now, so now: -Lesser compression.

    I usually think that finger noise and slaps (when for example playing the 3rd beat in a bar) can add life to the playing, but if it’s to load, then I might try to use a deesser (if the frequency is high enough) or a multi-band compressor for reducing the noise.

    1. I’ve used a de-esser to tame finger noise before too Jostein.

      I’m using a Sonnox Inflator right now on an acoustic. It makes everything sound better 🙂

  3. I see there is a bunch of Hispanic followers from Mexico, Argentina, Chile and even Puerto Rico!!!

    Saludos! Yo tambien soy Hispano (de Puerto Rico) pueden comentar en español si asi desean. Yo estoy seguro de que Kevin estaria contento y orgulloso al escuchar de ustedes. Y si necesitan traduccion, yo les podria ayudar!!!


  4. Hi Kevin,

    great info as usual!
    But speaking of guitars… are you planning to prepare a similar info session for electric guitars? Especially the heavy ones… 😉
    Would be great and much appreciated!


    1. Yes Tomasz. I’ll do that. Although, when I do, I want YOU to tell us how you get your guitar sounds too. I’ve heard your recordings. We can learn from you too.

      1. ha, ha, no kidding! 😉

        I’m really not too satisfied with my current guitar sound, and that’s why I’m looking forward how to EQ and master those.
        My problem is that my sound is too digital, and I’d like to make it, let’s say, more analogue; real one. But I guess it’s because I take advantage of a POD instead of ‘real guitar equipment’ used by bands, and other audio pros.

        However, at least I know now (more less) how to get rid off some annoying frequencies from my current sound thanks to all your tutorials, and podcasts, which have brightened a lot things for me.

        When I only have some more free time I plan to play a little with guitar tracks on my last song, and then I’d be happy to present you differences between the current, and future (hopefully better) version.
        To be honest, when I bought Mixbus, just for testing I already made some changes to the guitar sound, and I think I managed to achieve a little bit better sounding however I still have a few more ideas to check.

        I’ll let you know when done.


        1. We’ll be looking forward to it.

          Just so I’m clear, you are not using amps? Just a Pod?

          If just a pod, the direct box can make a huge difference. What are you using?


          1. yes, unfortunately I use nothing but the POD.
            I know there would be probably a huge difference with an amp, but with a wife, a kid, and neighbours behind a wall I can afford for the pod only 😉

            So I “produce” true home-recorded stuff 😉

            Anyway, I try to learn as much as I can, to achieve in my environment as much as possible.


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