One of my favorite songs that relies heavily acoustic guitar is Taj Mahal’s “Queen Bee” off his record Senior Blues. I enjoy this tune and the whole album frankly, for its wonderfully unique acoustic guitar sound. Taj’s guitar is very present in the mix and has a Cajun blues tone.
Another one of my favorite acoustic guitar recordings is John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers “I want to go” of thier album A Sence of Place. I enjoy the acoustic guitar recording because of how it sits in the mix. To me it ssounds like the guitar is blended nicely with the other instruments. The acoutic guitar complements the vocals nicely.
Another one of my favorite acoustic guitar recordings is M. Ward’s Hi-Fi off his alumn Transistor Radio. I like this particular acoustic guitar recording for is muddy and unclear sound. I think its an interesting contrast to many acoustic guitar recordings that are going for clear and true sounds.
Acoustic Guitar Listening
Tommy Emanuel, Endless Road
This song is from Tommy Emanuel’s 2000 studio album Only. This album was produced by Rod Tamlyn mixed by Richard Lush and mastered by Jonathan Russell. I like it because the crystal clean tone of the steal string guitar.
Estas Tonne, Song of the golden dragon
This song is from Estas Tonne’s 2006 album Bohemian Skies The thing I like most about this song is the unique timbre of the nylon string guitar.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Breaking the girl.
This song is from The RHCP 1991 album Blood Sex Sugar Magik. This album was produced by Rick Ruban and recorded in a mansion that Harry Houdini once lived in. My favorite part about this song is the powerful sound of the steel string acoustic guitar.
1).One of my favorite acoustic guitar recording is ” No Gray ” by Jonathan McReynolds. Jonathan McReynolds is one of the leading urban gospel artists, possessing a sound that unique and hip. His sound can be described as soulful and pure” with lyrics that draw the listener into what he is truly saying under all the amazing tone and body of his voice. Jonathan is playing guitar and singing vocals on this track. I love the guitar on this track because there’s such a fullness and articulate sound in combination with the other instruments. When he taps on the guitar for percussive effect the sound is not overbearing but yet blends to stand in like a drummer playing a cajon.
2). My second favorite recording of guitar would be “Complicated” by Avril Lavigne. Avril Lavigne is a Canadian singer-songwriter and actress. She is considered to be one if the key musicians in developing pop punk music particularly paving the way for other female rock singers. I like the sound of the guitar on this track because it kind of has a electric sound but the full embodiment of an acoustic guitar. The sound blends and meshes really well with the other electric guitars. Peter Zizzo is the guitarist on the track and also help to co-write this song with Lavigne.
My first example is the beginning of the song ‘Luca’ by Brand New.
The acoustic guitar has wide yet controlled sound. They achieved this by doing one of two techniques. Either they mic’d the guitar with 2 different microphones on different parts of the guitar and panned them hard left and hard right. They also could have track 2 different takes of the same guitar part and panned them hard left and right to achieve a wider sound.
This technique is referred to as doubling, and is commonly used with acoustic and electric guitar to have a wide stereo sound.
Iron and Wine is Samuel Beam’s group, and he started writing songs and recording them himself in his apartment in Miami. He did not use expensive mics, and he recorded to an old 4 track recorder. This minimalistic approached defined his sound and contributed to the appeal of his music.
His sound is comprised of his soft voice and simple guitar parts, such as in ‘Bird Stealing Bread.’
After his first release, Beam was soon picked up by a record label and sent to a studio to produce his next album. In the track ‘Naked As We Came,’ he has a more modern sound opposed to his ‘lofi’ recordings on previous albums.
The song “To be with You” was a big hit for Mr. Big in the early 90’s. There was no information provided on the type of guitar used in the recording, however, the guitarist in the band Paul Gilbert is one of the most respected in his line of work. Besides being the co-founder of the Mr.Big Gilbert is also known for his work with RacerX and is voted #4 on a list in GuitarOne magazine of the “Top 10 Greatest Guitar Shredders of All Time”, and holds a spot in Guitar Worlds 50 Fastest Guitarists of All Time list. During his solo, I love how he plucks the upper guitar strings adding emotion to the song. I do not know how the guitar was recorded in the actual song but I found it interesting that in the music video Gilbert’s guitar was mic’d with a dynamic mic about 3 feet away from the fretboard.
Another favorite is Toni Braxton’s “Spanis Guitar.” The song was a hit in countries like Brazil. The guitarist on the record is American session musician and record producer Dean Parks. Although there is no information on the exact guitar used in the recording, if it was a Spanish Guitar, the guitar was a six-stringed or possibly more. The strings are made from nylon or nylon wrapped in metal.The type of strings most likely aided in the guitar’s light and clear tone.
Aside from the fact that this is just a great song, the guitars actually sound really good. There are two separate acoustic guitar tracks with slight tonal differences which adds to the song’s atmosphere nicely. The lead track (panned hard left) is brighter than the rhythm track which is blended in on both sides. One guitar track is played by Brian May and the other by John Deacon. I was not able to find out how these guitars were recorded, but I think this is still worth posting.
The Ballad of John and Yoko – The Beatles
Although the acoustic guitar is not really the focal point, I believe it acts as the glue which holds this song together. The tone of the acoustic guitar is very nice as well, possessing a lighter, “strummier” sound which allows it to sit right in with everything else and be heard clearly. John Lennon’s guitars used on the Abbey Road album include a Gibson Super Jumbo J-200 and a Martin D-28. The mixing console used to record this song/album was a TG 12345 Solid State mixer. The guitar was likely recorded with an AKG D19C dynamic microphone.
Nice Dream – Radiohead
This is another great song built on a foundation of acoustic guitar. The guitar part here is so massive because it’s actually made up of five different tracks recorded simultaneously, which gives it a full range of tonal values. The guitars were recorded with either a Neumann U67 large diaphragm condenser microphone and/or a Neumann KM84 small diaphragm FET condenser microphone, the signals were then EQ’d using an API 550 equalizer.
P.S. – this lyric video was the only actual studio version I could find, sorry.