Hi & welcome to another AAA Sound Design Top Tip

This week I will be concentrating on EQing Acoustic Guitars. As with all of my tips it is important you understand every instrument is different and recordings will vary due to a number of factors including the room, mic, proximity etc. It is important therefore to use these tips as a guide but you must listen to the track you are EQing and use these only as a guide

Top Tip 1 : Remove the Low end – You don’t want an acoustic guitar cluttering up the bottom end so make space for the Kick and Bass by adding a High Pass (Low cut) filter below 90HZ. I usually go for a steep 48dB slope. If it is solely an acoustic guitar and a vocal I may make this cut between 50 and 90HZ if there is any of the guitar in this frequency

Top Tip 2 : Around 100 – 250 HZ you will find the body, fullness and warmth of the guitar. This is where the sound hole usually lives so subtle increases or decreases in this range can be benificial. When the strings are really boomy cutting here will benefit your mix

Top Tip 3 : If the guitar is a bit “twangy” try to cut some frequencies around 1.5KHZ

Top Tip 4 : The clarity of the guitar can be found between the frequencies of or around 3-4KHZ. Small increaces in EQ gain here can improve the guitars presence in the mix. Be careful though because this is also where the vocal lives. As with the vocal I tend to cut / boost frequencies by 3dB increments at a time untill I have what I am looking for or rather listening for

Top Tip 5 : Add a bit of air and “sparkle” to the guitar by adding a high shelf EQ from 10KHZ upwards but don’t go crazy

Acoustic guitars vary in shapes and sizes, woods and textures so as with all EQing listen to the guitar in the mix, give it its own space and make sure it is not conflicting with any of the other instruments. Above is an example of how the acoustic guitar might be EQd using the advice in this tutorial

I hope you have found this tutorial interesting, check back next week for the next in the edition

Regards

Neil

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