Using an Instrument Mic Onstage

Amplification Essentials Cover

Posted 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.

Receive lessons, songs, advice, and news like this straight to your inbox

Join the Using an Instrument Mic Onstage discussion

Get all things acoustic guitar in your inbox with our free newsletters. Your E-mail: