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The 6 Best Microphones For Recording Acoustic Guitar

With so many microphones on the market, it can be tough to know what mic is best for recording acoustic guitar. Condenser or dynamic? Large diaphragm or small? Cardioid pickup pattern or something else?

In this post, I’d like to answer those questions and also go over the best microphones for recording your acoustic.

Why Your Microphone Matters

Although a microphone is not the only thing that affects the sound of your acoustic guitar recording, it’s one of the main things.

You can have the most ideal recording space with the best acoustic treatment. But if your mic is garbage, your recording will probably be garbage too.

It’s a combination of having a decent mic, recording in the best space available, and being a good audio engineer.

In this post, let’s focus on getting you the best microphone for recording acoustic guitar.

The Best Microphones For Recording Acoustic Guitar

I compiled this list based on my experience with some of these mics as well as user reviews. Rest assured, these are some of the top microphones for tracking your acoustic guitar.

Both condenser mics and dynamic mics work, and both large-diaphragm and small-diaphragm mics are fine. I just recommend you choose a mic with a cardioid pickup pattern.

A cardioid pickup pattern will ensure the mic records the guitar without picking up a lot of background noise.

Audio-Technica AT2035

I’ve had this mic for years and it’s been my go-to for acoustic guitar and vocals. Whenever I want a clear sound, I pick up my AT2035.

This condenser mic has a cardioid pickup pattern, meaning it records out of one side. And it has a large diaphragm, which makes your recordings sound a bit bigger and more engaging than a dynamic mic.

And for just over $100, it’s not a bad deal.

BLUE Bluebird

The Bluebird might be the prettiest mic I’ve ever used. It’s clear yet not too tinny. It’s full yet not overpowering. It’s crispy and sounds great on an acoustic guitar.

Thanks to its 100Hz high-pass filter and the -20 dB pad, you have more control over the audio quality. It’s also a condenser mic with a cardioid pickup pattern, allowing it to focus on just your guitar.

Now, it does cost about $300, so it’s not cheap. But if you have the funds, definitely consider picking it up.

Shure SM57

The Shure SM57 is the industry standard for performance mics, but, for a dynamic mic, it also does super well in the studio. It captures high-quality recordings, but it’s not too sensitive that it picks up background noise.

Plus, it’s possibly the most durable microphone in existence. So you don’t have to worry about dropping it or accidentally knocking it over while recording.

And at just $100, the SM57 is a steal.

Electro-Voice ND257

This is the underdog on this list (which makes me like it the most). It’s actually difficult to find online, but it’s out there. I actually found this one at a thrift store attached to a karaoke machine, unplugged it, and took it to the register.

I’ve seen professional engineers say (in online forums) that the ND257 is comparable to the Shure SM58. I’ve used it and, wow, I was surprised at how good it actually sounds.

I like to use it on my acoustic guitar because it doesn’t pick up as much finger noise as my AT2035, but it still records quality sounds as far as dynamic mics go.

AKG Perception 170

I’ve never used the P170, but I consistently see positive reviews for it.

It’s a small-diaphragm, so it may have a more accurate sound, capture more pleasant-sounding higher frequencies, and keep a more consistent pickup pattern. However, you may need a recording space with good acoustic treatment as this mic will pick up all the details.

But because it’s good at recording all the frequencies of your acoustic guitar, it’s one of the best on this list. Plus, an AKG mic for about $100 is a great deal.

Shure SM81

This is definitely the most expensive microphone on this list (about $350), but it’s worth it. It’s a small-diaphragm mic that delivers a clear sound while the bass roll-off switch helps reduce unneeded low end. So, as far as picking up frequencies and accuracy, it’s similar to the AKG P170.

And Shure is a name almost every mic expert trusts.

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Caleb J. Murphy is a singer-songwriter and music producer based in Austin, Tx., and the founder of Musician With A Day Job, a blog that helps part-time musicians succeed.


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About me

About Björgvin Benediktsson

I’m Björgvin Benediktsson. I’m a musician, audio engineer and best-selling author. I help musicians and producers make a greater impact with their music by teaching them how to produce and engineer themselves. I’ve taught thousands of up and coming home studio producers such as yourself how to make an impact with their music through Audio Issues since 2011.

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