Miking an Electric Guitar

Here are some (of the many) ways you can go about miking an electric guitar. The guitar we used was a Fender Strat and the amp was a Fender Princeton Reverb II. I played with the guitar and amp until I found a sound I liked. I've found that the guitar sounds better if you leave the volume control on the guitar all the way up. By-the-way, it almost always works out better if you try to make the guitar/amp combination sound the way you want before you start miking.

I took the speaker grill off the amp so you can see the microphone placement in relation to the speaker and to aid in mic placement.

Microphone choice; We started out close miking the amp using dynamic cardioid microphones and later-on added condensers as room mics.

center (8 bit) --This is a fairly common miking--I have the mics pretty close to the speaker so your going to hear the proximity effect. This type of miking will give you a bright sound.

off-center (8 bit) --Also fairly common--Not quite as bright as the center miking--a "mellower" sound.

inside speaker cone (8 bit) --this isn't as common--at least I haven't seen it much, but I thought I would try it. One reason it might not be common is that you have to have the speaker grill off to do it. I put the mic inside, almost touching the center of the cone. It sounds a bit like the center example. but with a bit more bass (because of the proximity effect).

back of amp (8 bit) --again, not so common and as you can hear, sort of strange compared to the others. But you might use it depending on what you were looking for--mixing one mic in back and one in front might sound cool.

You can hear all four, one after another, if don't mind waiting for the sound to download. Microsoft Wave 8bit

Amp with room mic

We also tried miking the amp with a "room" mic and mixing it with the close mic. I used a condenser microphone for this since I wanted the flatter frequency response that these mics have.

Microsoft Wave 8bit

Microsoft Wave 16bit

As you can hear the room mic makes the guitar sound "bigger"--If you vary the distance that the room mic is from the amp you can control the amount of ambience. You can think of it as a do-it-your-self reverb. Of course, it helps to have a big room to do this in but you can even make this work in a smaller room. This also works great in stereo.

What I've done have is by no means an end-all of miking an electric guitar--I've barely scratched the surface. But it should give you some ideas.

Now the ideal way to find the tone your looking for would be to have an assistant move the mics around while you listen in the control room. That way you can zero in on it. If your close miking, move the mic in for more bass (that proximity effect) and out for less bass. Try different parts of the amp. If your using a room mic you can control how "big" the room is by moving the mic closer or father form the amp. I think you get the idea. Most of the time it helps if the amp sounds close to the way you want it when your in the room listening to it. But don't be afraid to explore.

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