A guitarist in a home studio with a mic, and headphones.

Best Mics for Acoustic Guitar: The Ultimate Guide to Elevating Your Acoustic Sessions

As a guitar specialist and professional writer, I’m thrilled to guide you through the intricate world of microphones tailored for acoustic guitar recording. In this detailed exploration, you’ll discover the essential aspects that set apart the best microphones for recording and capturing the true essence of your acoustic guitar. We’ll delve into the nuanced characteristics that make each microphone unique and suitable for different recording scenarios. Here are three key takeaways you can expect from this guide:

  1. Understanding Microphone Characteristics: Learn about the technical features that define each microphone, such as frequency response, polar patterns, and maximum SPL, and how they impact the sound of your acoustic guitar.
  2. Matching Microphones to Recording Needs: Whether you’re recording in a studio or capturing live performances, find out which microphones are best suited for your specific requirements.
  3. Expert Recommendations and Insights: Gain insights from a professional perspective on why certain microphones are favored by industry experts for acoustic guitar recording.

What Are the Best Mics for Acoustic Guitar?

Here’s a curated list of the top microphones for acoustic guitar, each with a unique set of features to suit various recording needs:

  1. Shure SM81
  2. Neumann U 87 Ai
  3. Audio-Technica AT4047/SV
  4. Sennheiser MKH 416
  5. Rode NT1-A
  6. Beyerdynamic M 201 Dynamic Microphone
  7. Blue Baby Bottle SL Capsule Condenser Microphone

Each of these microphones has been selected for its outstanding performance in capturing the rich, nuanced sound of an acoustic guitar, ensuring that you can make an informed choice to best suit your musical expression.

1. Shure SM81

Precision-Engineered Clarity
Shure SM81-LC Cardioid Condenser Instrument Microphone

The Shure SM81 is a renowned choice for capturing acoustic guitar, known for its flat frequency response and high fidelity. A durable, versatile microphone, it's favored in both studio and live settings. Its cardioid pattern effectively isolates the instrument, ensuring minimal interference from ambient noise.

Why We Love It:
  • Flat Response Curve: Guarantees true-to-source audio.
  • Selectable Frequency Roll-Off: Adapts to various recording environments.
  • Rugged Construction: Ensures longevity and reliability.
View on Amazon
PHOTO: AMAZON. We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Why Someone Should Buy:

  • Offers exceptionally accurate sound reproduction.
  • Versatile for both live performances and studio recordings.

Technical Features:

  • Cardioid Condenser Microphone
  • Frequency Response: 20 Hz to 20 kHz
  • Max SPL: 132 dB
  • Phantom Power Requirement: 12-48 V


The SM81 stands out for its consistent performance and durability. Its flat response and high SPL handling make it ideal for capturing the true essence of an acoustic guitar.


A reliable, industry-standard choice for professionals seeking accuracy and durability.

This Best Low Watt Boutique Tube Amp is Perfect For:

Musicians and engineers demanding precision in acoustic guitar recordings.

2. Neumann U 87 Ai

Iconic Studio Standard
Neumann U 87 Ai Large-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone

The Neumann U 87 Ai is synonymous with professional studio sound. Its multi-pattern design offers incredible versatility, and the dual-diaphragm capsule ensures pristine audio capture. It's a go-to for capturing the nuanced dynamics of an acoustic guitar.

Why We Love It:
  • Multi-Pattern Flexibility: Adaptable to diverse recording scenarios.
  • Legendary Sound Quality: Known for its warmth and precision.
  • Robust Build Quality: Ensures longevity in studio environments.
Check on Sweetwater View on Amazon
PHOTO: AMAZON. We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Why Someone Should Buy:

  • Unmatched sound quality with versatile pattern options.
  • Ideal for detailed and dynamic acoustic guitar recordings.

Technical Features:

  • Large-Diaphragm Multi-Pattern Condenser
  • Frequency Response: 20 Hz to 20 kHz
  • Max SPL: 117 dB (127 dB with Pre-attenuation)
  • Phantom Power: 48 V


The U 87 Ai’s reputation is well-deserved. It offers unparalleled sound quality, making it a top choice for capturing the depth and complexity of acoustic guitar tones.


An investment for serious professionals seeking the highest quality recordings.

This Best Low Watt Boutique Tube Amp is Perfect For:

Studio engineers and musicians who prioritize top-tier sound quality in their recordings.

3. Audio-Technica AT4047/SV

Vintage Tone, Modern Reliability
Audio-Technica AT4047/SV Cardioid Condenser Microphone

The Audio-Technica AT4047/SV excels in delivering a warm, vintage-inspired sound, reminiscent of classic F.E.T. studio microphones. It's particularly effective for acoustic guitar, offering a smooth and detailed sonic character.

Why We Love It:
  • Vintage-Inspired Sound: Captures the essence of classic microphones.
  • Low Self-Noise: Ideal for delicate acoustic guitar nuances.
  • Robust Construction: Ensures durability and stability.
View on Sweetwater View on Amazon
PHOTO: AMAZON. We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Why Someone Should Buy:

  • Delivers a warm, vintage-like sound quality.
  • Exceptionally low noise for pristine recordings.

Technical Features:

  • Large-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone
  • Frequency Response: 20 Hz to 20 kHz
  • Max SPL: 147 dB
  • Phantom Power: 48 V


The AT4047/SV stands out for its ability to blend a vintage sonic character with modern reliability, making it a favorite for those seeking a warm, yet detailed acoustic guitar sound.


A superb choice for both modern and classic music production styles.

This Best Low Watt Boutique Tube Amp is Perfect For:

Recording artists and engineers who appreciate a warm, vintage sound in their acoustic guitar recordings.

4. Sennheiser MKH 416

Precision Directional Recording
Sennheiser MKH416-P 48 U3 Short Shotgun Condenser Mic

The Sennheiser MKH 416 is a compact, high-feedback resistance microphone, ideal for both stage and studio applications. Its supercardioid pattern excels in isolating the acoustic guitar from ambient noise, making it perfect for focused recording situations.

Why We Love It:
  • High Directivity: Ensures focused sound capture.
  • Compact and Lightweight: Easy to position and handle.
  • Weather-Resistant: Suitable for outdoor recordings.
View on Amazon
PHOTO: AMAZON. We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Why Someone Should Buy:

  • Excellent directional capture for isolated recordings.
  • Rugged and weather-resistant for versatile use.

Technical Features:

  • Short-Gun Interference Tube Condenser Microphone
  • Frequency Response: 75 Hz to 20 kHz
  • Max SPL: 132 dB
  • Phantom Power: 48 V


The MKH 416 is renowned for its precision and reliability in capturing acoustic guitar, particularly in live and challenging outdoor settings.


An ideal choice for live performance recording and outdoor sessions.

This Best Low Watt Boutique Tube Amp is Perfect For:

Musicians and engineers recording in diverse environments, from studios to outdoor locations.

5. Rode NT1-A

Exceptionally Quiet Performance
RØDE NT1 5th Generation Large-diaphragm Studio Condenser Microphone

The Rode NT1-A is celebrated for its ultra-low noise level and wide dynamic range. Its large-diaphragm design captures the full spectrum of acoustic guitar sounds, from the softest fingerpicking to the loudest strumming.

Why We Love It:
  • Large Diaphragm: Captures detailed acoustic sounds.
  • Ultra-Low Noise: Ideal for studio-quality recordings.
  • Complete Accessory Package: Includes shockmount and pop filter.
View on Amazon
PHOTO: AMAZON. We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Why Someone Should Buy:

  • Ultra-low self-noise for the cleanest recordings.
  • Versatile dynamic range suitable for various playing styles.

Technical Features:

  • Large-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone
  • Frequency Response: 20 Hz to 20 kHz
  • Max SPL: 137 dB
  • Phantom Power: P24 or P48


The NT1-A is a favorite for its exceptional clarity and versatility, making it a top pick for recording acoustic guitars in various styles and settings.


An excellent all-rounder, perfect for both novice and professional studio use.

This Best Low Watt Boutique Tube Amp is Perfect For:

Recording enthusiasts and professionals seeking a versatile, high-quality microphone for acoustic guitar recordings.

6. Beyerdynamic M 201 Dynamic Microphone

Clear and Robust Performer
Beyerdynamic M201 TG Classic Dynamic Hypercardioid Microphone

The Beyerdynamic M 201 stands out in the dynamic microphone category for its robust construction and clear, detailed sound. It's particularly known for its slight treble boost, which can add a crisp presence to acoustic guitar recordings.

Why We Love It:
  • Rugged Durability: Built to withstand tough conditions.
  • Treble Boost: Adds clarity and presence to the acoustic guitar.
  • Hypercardioid Pattern: Great for isolating sound and reducing bleed.
View on Sweetwater View on Amazon
PHOTO: AMAZON. We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Why Someone Should Buy:

  • Ideal for live settings due to its rugged build and hypercardioid polar pattern.
  • Excellent at isolating the guitar sound and minimizing feedback.

Technical Features:

  • Dynamic Microphone (Moving Coil)
  • Frequency Response: 40 Hz to 18 kHz
  • Max SPL: 132 dB


The M 201 is a solid performer, particularly suited for live performances where durability and sound isolation are key. Its treble boost adds a nice presence to acoustic guitar recordings.


A great option for musicians who need a reliable, live-performance microphone.

This Best Low Watt Boutique Tube Amp is Perfect For:

Performers seeking a durable, sound-isolating microphone for live acoustic guitar sessions.

7. Blue Baby Bottle SL Capsule Condenser Microphone

Vintage Charm, Modern Fidelity
Blue Microphone Baby Bottle XLRCardioid Condenser Microphone

The Blue Baby Bottle SL brings a blend of vintage character and modern sound fidelity. It's known for its hand-tuned capsule, delivering natural and detailed sound, making it a superb choice for acoustic guitar recordings.

Why We Love It:
  • Hand-Tuned Capsule: Ensures natural and detailed sound.
  • High-Pass Filter and Pad: Adds versatility in handling different sound sources.
  • Custom Shockmount: Provides effective vibration isolation.
View on Amazon
PHOTO: AMAZON. We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Why Someone Should Buy:

  • Delivers a warm, detailed sound with vintage character.
  • Versatile for different recording situations with its switchable high-pass filter and pad.

Technical Features:

  • Large-Diaphragm Cardioid Condenser Microphone
  • Frequency Response: 20 Hz to 20 kHz
  • Max SPL: 134 dB


The Blue Baby Bottle SL excels in capturing the nuanced tones of an acoustic guitar, offering a balance between vintage warmth and modern clarity.


An excellent choice for studio musicians and home recording enthusiasts who love a vintage touch in their recordings.

This Best Low Watt Boutique Tube Amp is Perfect For:

Musicians and recording artists who desire a microphone with a vintage sound character and versatile recording capabilities.


Q: What mic should I use for acoustic guitar?

A: When choosing the best mics for acoustic guitar, consider factors like your recording environment, the sound characteristics you’re aiming for, and your budget. For studio-quality sound, the Shure SM81 and Neumann U 87 Ai are top choices, offering clarity and versatility. For a warmer, vintage tone, the Audio-Technica AT4047/SV is excellent. Your choice depends on the specific sound and recording setup you’re aiming for.

Q: Is SM57 good for acoustic guitar?

A: While the Shure SM57 is a legendary microphone for amplifiers and drums, it’s not typically classified as one of the best mics for acoustic guitar. It can be used for acoustic guitars, especially in live settings, but there are better-suited options like the Shure SM81 or Rode NT1-A, which are specifically designed to capture the nuanced sound of acoustic guitars more effectively.

Q: What is the best USB microphone for acoustic guitar?

A: For those looking for a USB microphone option, which combines ease of use with quality sound, the Rode NT-USB is a strong contender. It’s not traditionally listed among the best mics for acoustic guitar in professional settings, but it offers great sound quality for home studios and simpler setups. Its convenience and quality make it a popular choice for musicians recording at home or on the go.

Q: Should I use one or two mics for acoustic guitar?

A: Using one or two mics for acoustic guitar depends on the depth and stereo image you want in your recording. A single microphone can capture a solid, mono sound, suitable for many applications. However, using two mics allows for more versatility and can capture a richer, more dimensional sound. This technique is often used in studio recordings to create a more immersive acoustic guitar sound. If you choose to use two mics, consider a pair of small-diaphragm condensers like the Shure SM81 for their clarity and balanced response.

Buyer’s Guide for Best Acoustic Guitar Microphones

A condenser microphone on a stand with a pop filter.

When it comes to recording acoustic guitar, the choice of microphone can significantly influence the quality and character of your recording. This guide aims to provide in-depth insights into selecting the best acoustic guitar and microphones for recording acoustic,, focusing on aspects crucial for capturing the true essence of acoustic guitars.

Understanding Acoustic Guitar Recording Needs

  • Recording Environment: Consider whether you’re recording in a controlled studio environment or in a live setting. Studio recordings often allow for more microphone options, including sensitive condenser mics.
  • Desired Sound Characteristic: Identify the tone you want from your recording. Do you prefer a bright, articulate sound or a warmer, mellower tone?Suggested Image: Diagram highlighting different tonal characteristics of acoustic guitars with various microphones.

Types of Microphones for Acoustic Guitar

An old fashioned microphone with lights in the background.

Condenser Mics

  • Characteristics: Condenser microphones, especially large-diaphragm and small diaphragm condenser mics, are popular for recording acoustic guitars. They are sensitive and can capture a wide frequency range and subtle nuances of acoustic instruments.
  • Usage: Ideal for studio settings due to their sensitivity to sound details and broader frequency response.Suggested Image: A range of condenser mics, highlighting large and small diaphragm models.

Ribbon Mics

  • Characteristics: Ribbon microphones are known for their warm and natural sound. They typically have a figure-eight polar pattern and capture the room’s acoustics and the instrument’s natural tone.
  • Usage: Best for a more natural, vintage sound. They are delicate and better suited for controlled studio environments.Suggested Image: Various ribbon microphones, showcasing their classic designs.

Key Features to Consider

Frequency Response

  • Importance: The frequency response of a microphone dictates how different frequencies are captured and reproduced. For acoustic guitars, a wide frequency response is beneficial for capturing the full range of the instrument.
  • What to Look For: A flat frequency response ensures that the microphone doesn’t color the sound too much, allowing the natural tone of the acoustic guitar to shine through.

Polar Patterns

  • Cardioid Mics: Ideal for isolating the sound of the acoustic guitar from ambient noise. Useful in both studio and live settings.
  • Omnidirectional Mics: Capture sound from all directions. They are suitable for natural room sound but can capture more background noise.
  • Figure-Eight Mics: Capture sound from the front and back, useful for recording natural room reverb along with the instrument.Suggested Image: Diagram illustrating different polar patterns and their impact on recording acoustic guitars.

Sensitivity and SPL Handling

  • Sensitivity: Determines how well the microphone can capture quiet sounds. Higher sensitivity is preferable for detailed acoustic guitar recordings.
  • SPL Handling: Indicates how loud a sound source the microphone can handle without distortion. Important for dynamic playing and louder acoustic guitar styles.

Choosing the Best Acoustic Guitar Microphones

  • Best Overall: Look for a versatile large-diaphragm condenser mic, like the Neumann U 87 Ai, for its ability to accurately capture a wide range of frequencies and dynamics.
  • For Natural Sound: Ribbon mics like the Royer R-121 offer a warm and natural sound, great for capturing the acoustic guitar’s body and warmth.
  • On a Budget: Consider a small diaphragm condenser mic like the Shure SM81 for its affordability and excellent sound quality.Suggested Image: A comparative chart of microphones with their key features and suitable applications.

Expert Tips

  • Mic Placement: Experiment with mic placement. Positioning the mic closer to the soundhole captures more low frequencies, while placing it near the 12th fret highlights the guitar’s articulation.
  • Stereo Recording: For a more immersive sound, use a stereo pair of small diaphragm condenser mics in configurations like X/Y or ORTF.
  • Room Acoustics: Pay attention to the room’s acoustics when recording acoustic guitars. A well-treated room can significantly enhance the quality of your recording.

This comprehensive guide aims to empower you with the knowledge needed to choose the best acoustic guitar mics for your specific recording needs, ensuring that you capture the true spirit and tonal quality of your acoustic guitar.

Case Studies: Famous Recordings and the Microphones Used

As an expert guitarist, analyzing iconic acoustic guitar recordings can provide invaluable insights into the art of capturing the essence of this versatile instrument. The choice of microphone and recording technique plays a pivotal role in shaping the sound that defines these legendary tracks. Let’s delve into a few notable examples:

1. “Blackbird” by The Beatles (Paul McCartney)

Microphone Used: Neumann U 47

  • Recording Technique: The Neumann U 47, known for its warmth and clarity, was often used in The Beatles’ recordings. For “Blackbird,” a simple, yet effective, close-miking technique was likely employed. This technique captures the natural tone of the guitar and the nuances of McCartney’s fingerpicking.
  • Influence on Sound: The U 47 added a rich, full-bodied quality to the acoustic guitar, complementing McCartney’s vocal track. Its sensitivity to nuances helped in capturing the intimate and delicate nature of the song.

2. “Tears in Heaven” by Eric Clapton

Microphone Used: AKG C12

  • Recording Technique: Clapton’s performance for “Unplugged” likely used the AKG C12, a large-diaphragm condenser microphone. Positioned at a moderate distance, it captures the acoustic guitar’s natural resonance and the room’s ambience.
  • Influence on Sound: The C12 is renowned for its detailed and smooth sound. It likely contributed to the warm, yet articulate, acoustic tone that Clapton’s performance is known for, capturing both the guitar’s body and the string’s clarity.

3. “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas

Microphone Used: Neumann KM 84

  • Recording Technique: The Neumann KM 84, a small diaphragm condenser mic, is ideal for acoustic guitars due to its flat frequency response and detailed sound. It was likely used in an X/Y stereo configuration to capture the intricate fingerpicking and the guitar’s harmonic content.
  • Influence on Sound: The KM 84 would have contributed to the clear, precise acoustic sound in “Dust in the Wind.” Its ability to capture the subtle details and overtones added depth and richness to the track.

4. “Fire and Rain” by James Taylor

Microphone Used: Sony C37A

  • Recording Technique: James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain” features an intricate acoustic guitar part, likely captured with the Sony C37A, a tube condenser microphone. The C37A, known for its warm and natural sound, was probably placed close to the guitar to pick up the nuances of Taylor’s fingerstyle technique.
  • Influence on Sound: The Sony C37A’s warm tonality and smooth high-end response complemented Taylor’s playing style, adding emotional depth to the song. Its ability to capture both the body and the string attack of the guitar played a significant role in the song’s intimate feel.

5. “Hotel California” by The Eagles (Live Acoustic Version)

Microphone Used: Shure SM81

  • Recording Technique: The live acoustic version of “Hotel California” features multiple guitars. The Shure SM81, a small diaphragm condenser mic, is known for its flat frequency response and was likely used to capture the guitars. Its placement would have been crucial in isolating each guitar in a live setting.
  • Influence on Sound: The SM81’s accurate reproduction of the acoustic guitar’s sound spectrum helped in clearly capturing the complex interplay of guitars. Its ability to handle high sound pressure levels and reject off-axis sound contributed to the clean and balanced recording of this live performance.

These case studies showcase how the choice of microphone and recording technique significantly shapes the sound of an acoustic guitar in a recording. From the intimate and delicate to the rich and complex, these iconic tracks demonstrate the power of the right microphone in the hands of skilled artists and engineers.

Comparative Analysis of Dynamic, Condenser, and Ribbon Microphones for Acoustic Guitar

When it comes to recording the nuanced tones of an acoustic guitar, the choice of microphone is crucial. Dynamic, condenser, and ribbon microphones each bring their unique characteristics to the table. Understanding their differences is key to choosing the right acoustic guitar mic for your specific needs.

Dynamic Microphones


  • Durability: Known for their ruggedness, they can handle high sound pressure levels.
  • Less Sensitive to Hum and Noise: Ideal for louder environments or live performances.
  • Affordable: Generally more budget-friendly than other types.


  • Less Detail: They might not capture the full range of an acoustic guitar’s nuances.
  • Lower Sensitivity: May require more gain, which could introduce noise.

Suitable Applications:

  • Great for live performances or recording in less controlled environments.
  • A versatile mic option for louder acoustic playing or when used in conjunction with other instruments.

Condenser Microphones


  • High Sensitivity: Excellent for capturing subtle nuances and a wider frequency range of the acoustic guitar.
  • Clarity and Detail: Offers a brighter sound with more top-end detail.
  • Variety in Polar Patterns: Available in multiple polar patterns for different recording needs.


  • Requires Phantom Power: Not as plug-and-play as dynamic mics.
  • More Fragile: Requires careful handling and storage.
  • Higher Cost: Generally more expensive than dynamic microphones.

Suitable Applications:

  • Ideal for studio recordings where detail and clarity are paramount.
  • A go-to acoustic guitar microphone for capturing the true essence of the instrument.

Ribbon Microphones


  • Warm and Natural Sound: Known for their smooth, natural sound reproduction.
  • Excellent Transient Response: Capable of capturing the subtle dynamics of an acoustic guitar.
  • Figure-Eight Polar Pattern: Ideal for capturing room ambiance along with the instrument.


  • Delicate: More fragile than dynamic and condenser microphones.
  • Limited SPL Handling: Not suitable for very loud sources.
  • Higher Cost: Generally, the most expensive option among the three.

Suitable Applications:

  • Perfect for studio environments where a warm, vintage sound is desired.
  • Ideal for intimate, soft acoustic guitar pieces where natural sound is a priority.

Microphone Placement Techniques for Acoustic Guitar

The placement of an acoustic guitar mic can dramatically alter the sound and tone of the recorded guitar. Here are various techniques to consider:

Close Miking

  • Technique: Positioning the mic within a few inches of the guitar.
  • Sound Characteristic: Yields a direct, present sound with minimal room ambiance.
  • Placement Options: Near the 12th fret for a balanced tone, closer to the soundhole for more low frequencies, or near the bridge for a brighter sound.

Stereo Techniques

  • X/Y Configuration: Two condenser mics at a 90-degree angle. Provides a good stereo image and phase coherence.
  • ORTF (Offene Richtungscharakteristik für Totalfeld): Two mics spaced apart at an angle of 110 degrees. Offers a wider stereo image.
  • A/B Configuration: Two mics spaced several feet apart, capturing a more ambient, room-filling sound.

Room Miking

  • Technique: Placing a microphone (usually a condenser or ribbon mic) several feet away from the guitar.
  • Sound Characteristic: Captures the natural reverb and acoustics of the room, offering a more ambient sound.

Mid-Side Technique

  • Setup: Combines a cardioid mic (mid) facing the guitar and a figure-eight ribbon mic (side) positioned perpendicular to the guitar.
  • Advantages: Allows adjustable stereo width in post-production and ensures mono compatibility.

Experimenting with these techniques and understanding the characteristics of different types of microphones will enable you to capture the acoustic guitar in ways that best suit your artistic vision and the demands of the recording.


In the quest for the perfect acoustic sound, the journey doesn’t end with finding the best mics for acoustic guitar. Each microphone we’ve discussed offers unique characteristics that can significantly enhance your recordings, whether you’re in a professional studio setting or crafting music in your home studio. Remember, the right microphone can be a game-changer in capturing the true essence of your acoustic guitar.

As you continue to explore the depths of your musical expression, consider broadening your toolkit further. Don’t miss our in-depth look at essential guitar preamp pedals for the modern musician at All Axess Essential Guitar Preamp Pedals. Preamp pedals can add another layer of tone and versatility to your acoustic guitar sound, especially when paired with the perfect microphone.

Additionally, if you’re in the market for a new acoustic guitar or simply curious about the top choices available, our expert picks and reviews on the best acoustic guitars can guide you in making an informed decision. Check out Top Acoustic Guitars: Expert Picks and Reviews for insights and recommendations from seasoned musicians and professionals in the field.

In the end, whether it’s through the delicate strings of an acoustic guitar, the nuanced capture of a high-quality microphone, or the tailored sound shaping of a preamp pedal, your journey in music is an ever-evolving adventure. We at All Axess are here to accompany you every step of the way, providing expert advice, reviews, and insights to help you make the best choices for your musical endeavors. Keep exploring, keep playing, and let your acoustic journey resonate like never before.