Acoustic/electric vs. acoustic
January 1, 2008 3:38 PM   Subscribe

Dear home recorders - in your experience(s), can an acoustic/electric hybrid guitar ever sound as good as a properly mic'ed acoustic guitar, given guitars of comparable quality/price?
posted by xmutex to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Not to my ear, at least. I like the convenience of the acoustic-electric for stage use, but the piezo pickups never sound quite right to me, and usually a little too harsh. Maybe I've never heard the right guitar but for home (or studio) recording I'd mic just about any acoustic, though I might try the pickup out of curiosity, or record the pickup along with a mic if I wasn't track-limited.

But I may be reading the question wrong. Acoustic-electric guitars usually sound fine acoustically, I'd just mic it for recording and save the pickup for stage.
posted by 6550 at 3:54 PM on January 1, 2008

Ditto what 655o said. Recorded output from piezo pickups makes me cringe. I much prefer the sound of a Dean Markley pick up that you stick in the sound hole. It won't sound like micing the acoustic but it will have its own characteristic.

I did see an acoustic in a brochure that had a piezo pickup along with a small microphone inside the sound hole. There was a small onboard eq and mixer that let you balance the 2 signals. I assume it was designed with live sound in mind but I wonder how the recorded output sounds. Again, probably not as good as micing the guitar itself, but it will probably have its own interesting sound.
posted by chillmost at 4:16 PM on January 1, 2008

Nope. Plugged in acoustic guitars sound like wooden banjos - avoid. And I personally wouldn't even require a properly mic'ed acoustic, even an "honestly" home-recorded acoustic would be preferable.
posted by fire&wings at 4:31 PM on January 1, 2008

I think the question's flawed. Piezos aren't really supposed to sound like a mic'd acoustic guitar, are they? They sound different; they sound like piezos. I don't think piezos sound bad but if I wanted that piezo sound I sure wouldn't go mic'ing an acoustic to get it, nor vice versa.
posted by ikkyu2 at 5:30 PM on January 1, 2008

Ask Cortex. He gets the most amazing sound out of his recordings. Most professional recording engineers don't even come close to his sound.
posted by caddis at 5:44 PM on January 1, 2008

Ya, I pretty much hate the sound of an acoustic with a pickup. It's one of those things, like fake strings, that wrecks a song for me. I think it's because I recorded that way for quite a while before I knew how to do otherwise. Also, before I had a good mic, I would often use my shitty mic and also the pickup and mix the two which was better and interesting for certain things, but now I record acoustics by mic'ing only.
posted by chococat at 6:47 PM on January 1, 2008

What ikkyu2 said. Trying to make a piezo pickup sound like a miked guitar, or vice versa, is a waste of time. Use the right tool for the job.
posted by ludwig_van at 6:52 PM on January 1, 2008

Maybe look into a Martin with the Aura system? I haven't tried recording them myself, but their marketing suggests that (through onboard microphone modeling) you can achieve a miked acoustic sound going direct.
posted by SampleSize at 7:04 PM on January 1, 2008


it is unwieldy to have significantly preamp-ed condenser microphones- those most suitable for recording acoustic guitars- on stage. too much feedback, bleed, and rumble. part of the reason why the electric guitar pickup and the solidbody guitar were invented.
posted by tremspeed at 7:15 PM on January 1, 2008

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