How to record electric guitar and bass amps

RECORDING WEEK 2022: Electric guitar amp loudspeakers are pretty loud and the sound you normally ‘hear’ is the amp and room combined. Close miking a guitar amp speaker is great for a bright, edgy sound, but tiny mic changes can influence the sound greatly.

By following the steps in our walkthrough you'll be able to get solid-sounding electric guitar and bass recordings in no time.

1. Pick your mic

(Image credit: Future)

For predictable guitar or bass amplifier recordings, use one dynamic or condenser mic. 

Popular options for guitar are dynamics such as the Shure SM57, which delivers an edgy, upfront sound. Popular for bass are large capsule condensers and bass-boosting dynamics such as the AKG D12.

Step 2: Get in position

(Image credit: Future)

Choose a single speaker cone to mic up, and position the mic about 10cm from its front plane, pointing directly at the centre cap. Visualise a horizontal line across the cone. Move the mic from the centre cap to the edge of the cone to go from very bright and upfront to a mellower sound.

Step 3: Find the balance

(Image credit: Future)

Now find the right balance between the direct sound and the room sound by gradually moving the mic back away from the cone. As you do this, the horizontal mic position becomes less significant, but you’ll eventually hit the sweet spot that delivers just the right amount of room.

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