In this blog post we’ll be looking at how to EQ an acoustic guitar to help it cut through the mix. I will show you how to find the best setting for an acoustic to make it sit well in a mix without clashing with other sounds.
These EQ techniques will work well for a live recorded guitar as well as a VST guitar. Whether the acoustic is recorded via an amp or audio interface, make sure it sounds good from the source before mixing it. You’ll also learn some neat tricks for making space for the vocal mix.
You’ll find this tutorial useful even if you’re using a guitar with some cheap strings. Below is a lowdown of how you can get the best settings when you’re mixing an acoustic guitar.
Acoustic Guitar EQ Guidelines
If you follow these tips you should be able to get a nice acoustic guitar that will blend well with other instruments and sounds in a mix. Let’s get started:
Low-end Cut: As always, the first thing you should do is to remove anything below 80Hz to make space for the kick and bass sounds. This will also remove rumble and avoid low-end mud.
Fullness: To add some weight and fullness to an acoustic simply create a small boost in the 50Hz to 80Hz range, especially if your guitar is sounding thin.
Boominess: The boominess of the guitar is found around the 100Hz to 250Hz frequency range. Cut that out, this will also remove the low-mid muddiness plus it will avoid masking with the bass sound and snare drum.
Body: To add some body then a boost around the 200Hz to 300Hz frequency range will do the trick, this will also add more weight to the acoustic guitar.
Presence: You also need to add some presence to the acoustic guitar and this will make it cut through the mix nicely. Note that by removing the mud in the lower-mids the attack will be added automatically but if you feel like it’s still sounding dull then boost around 3kHz to 8kHz to add more brightness.
Air: Boost the frequency around 10kHz using a high-shelf EQ to add some zing and air to the acoustic guitar.
In a case whereby you’re using cheap strings then you might want to make a narrow cut around the 800Hz range to smooth out the sound. If your mix has got vocals on it then you must make space for the vocals by creating a cut in the 1kHz to 2kHz range.
For a more detailed and visual tutorial then check out the video below which will show you how to equalize an acoustic guitar. If you like the tips then please subscribe and like the video.
Enjoy the tutorial and if you have any questions then leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you, I always respond.