When you need to amplify your speaker

How to mic your guitar amp. This question might come up with live gigs or during recordings.
Imagine, you finally got that killer tone out of your guitar amp. But now you need to approach this sound from your PA-system at a live gig or at recording sessions.

You can just put a microphone in front of your guitar amp

Of course, you can just place the microphone in front of the speaker and play. But will your guitar sound great?
You may have a good return on investing time in different microphone positions.

A Shure SM-57 is the most used microphone for guitar amps worldwide. Dynamic mics like the SM-57 seem to be a good place to start miking your guitar amp.
Other favorite models are Sennheiser e906 or the e609 Silver or MD 421 II for instance.

Moving has impact, this is how to mic your guitar amp properly

Moving your microphone an inch to the left or right will have a huge impact on the guitar sound.
A good start may be placing the (dynamic) mic halfway between the center and edge of the cone of the speaker.
The mic pointed directly at the speaker (known as “on-axis”). Let’s say your mic is at a maximum of an inch away from the grille cloth. How to mic your guitar amp

Moving the mic closer to the cloth gives much lower-end bass frequencies. And moving the microphone back from the cloth the mid- and higher range frequencies appear.

Moving the mic closer to the edge of the speaker will reduce mid- and higher frequencies. And moving it towards the center of the speaker or cone, midrange and higher frequencies will increase. Note that when the output has more high frequencies, things like pick noise will have more presence. So, this may help you how to mic your guitar amp.

Finetuning by angling – on-axis vs off-axis

When you have found the right spot for the mic “on-axis”, you may try experimenting to angle the microphone up to a 45-degree angle. This is called “off-axis” and it may help to tame harsh frequencies.

Please note that the sound your microphone picks up, is totally different to what you hear. In most cases your speaker stands on the floor and you are a couple feet away from it. You don’t hear what sound comes from your speaker directly.

Use a good set of isolating headphones when adjusting the position of the microphone when miking your guitar. This makes it possible to instantly hear the adjustments you make.

Of course, there are many variables when you want to pick up the guitar signal with a microphone. Such as which type of microphone or its position. The type of cab and the ambience of the room you’re in are important as well.

You may try different microphones, but of course. You may also try multiple mics together such as the SM-57 in
combination with a ribbon microphone like a Royer R-121. How to mic your guitar amp
When using 2 or more microphones together, you definitely should be aware of phase issues.
Because that might too specific, we won’t discuss that here.

Royer R121 microphone

Manage your sound

There are many ways to improve your sound, like the type or brand of guitar and amp to use. Besides that, the pedals you’re using may have a lot of impact on your sound as well.
But also think about what guitar pick you are used to play with. Different guitar picks deliver different sounds to your playing.
Thinner guitar picks create a thinner sound, where heavier guitar picks deliver a fuller sound with more mids- and bottom-end tone.

Guitar essentials

In guitar essentials we will write about interesting things every guitarist should know a bit of, especially when you’re new to (electric) guitar.
We definitely don’t dig deep into theories or technical aspects.
You will find many scientific documents about anything somewhere on the internet.