When it comes to recording and mixing acoustic guitars, it’s crucial to understand the frequency range and how to use equalization to enhance the sound.
EQ is a powerful tool that allows you to boost or cut specific frequencies to achieve the desired tonal balance.
Acoustic guitars produce a wide range of frequencies, from the low-end thump of the body to the high-end shimmer of the strings.
However, not all frequencies are created equal. Some frequencies can add warmth and clarity to the sound, while others can make the guitar sound muddy or harsh.
In this post, I will provide you with an acoustic guitar EQ cheat sheet that will help you identify the good and bad frequencies for recording and mixing acoustic guitars.
Acoustic Guitar Frequencies
Here are the frequencies you want to pay attention to when mixing acoustic guitars. You will know which frequencies to cut and boost which will help you to make better-sounding acoustic guitar tracks.
- 0-80Hz – The frequency range in question is entirely superfluous to the sound and can be eliminated using a high-pass filter (HPF). Such frequencies tend to conflict with the bass and kick drum and contribute to the accumulation of low-end frequencies.
- 80-500Hz – The body of the acoustic guitar is where the wood sound emanates from. It is important to exercise caution when using EQ to alter this region, as excessive cuts can cause loss of the definitive sound while excessive boosts may lead to frequency clashes.
- 500-1000Hz – Boosting frequencies at around 700Hz and 1kHz can add warmth and fullness to the sound of the acoustic guitar. These frequencies are good spots for boosting. While it is not necessary to do so, cutting a bit around 500Hz is also an option.
- 1000-2500Hz – This region can be referred to as the essence of the acoustic guitar and is ideal for playing chords and picking individual strings. Nonetheless, it is not advisable to excessively enhance this area as it may result in problems.
- 2500-7000Hz – The specified frequency range can be left unaltered without any noticeable impact on the overall sound. Nevertheless, it is possible to apply a few minor cuts or one broad cut to the range, but the reduction should not exceed 0.5 dB.
- 7000-10000Hz – The essence of acoustic guitar sound, characterized by its brightness and spaciousness, can be enhanced in certain situations when the tone is lacking in low frequencies. Conversely, if the guitar produces more high-pitched sounds, it may not be necessary to make any adjustments.
- 10000-20000Hz – To make room for high-frequency instruments like cymbals, it is possible to use a low-pass filter (LPF) to remove all frequencies above 10kHz. However, it is important to avoid excessive cutting as it can eliminate frequencies that are desirable for the overall sound.
If you want a visual reference for the acoustic guitar cheat sheet you can download the image.
Understanding how to use EQ effectively is essential for achieving a great acoustic guitar sound in recording and mixing. By using this acoustic guitar EQ cheat sheet and knowing which frequencies to boost or cut, you can create a natural and balanced guitar tone that complements the other instruments in the mix.