Using an Instrument Mic Onstage

Amplification Essentials Cover

by Doug Young

In certain situations, an external microphone on a mic stand can be an excellent choice. For solo guitarists who play seated in a quiet room with a good PA system, one or two mics in front of the guitar can reproduce the sound of the instrument very accurately. An example might be a classical guitar performance in a recital hall or a small concert hall with a quiet and attentive audience. Guitarists playing solo or in a small acoustic group in a coffeehouse might also find this setup to be effective. It is also possible to use a stand-mounted mic in some other situations. Bluegrass bands have a time-honored tradition of standing around a mic, in which players step up closer to the mic to play a solo, for example.

The most obvious limitation to using an external mic is that the stationary mic limits the performer’s ability to move. To get a consistent sound, the player must stay in front of the mic and maintain a fairly consistent distance from it. Feedback is also an ever-present concern, and if you are playing with a band it may be challenging to avoid picking up other instruments through the guitar mic. But if you can make a mic work for your situation, the reward is often a pristine sound that accurately reproduces the sound of your guitar.

Excerpted from Acoustic Guitar Amplification Essentials

See more Performing Acoustic Music articles.

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