Recording acoustic guitars is just standard operating procedure for home studios and there is a strong danger of making them sound bland. Uninspired. Average.
Which is too bad. Because with layering, you have the opportunity to create unparalleled movement, depth, and power to your song. The key is to forget the notion of just doubling parts.
Once you move away from strictly replicating parts, you can really create something special. Here are some ideas:
- Change the Microphone: As you know, microphone placement is the ultimate EQ so try moving the microphone around for different tracks. On one you can aim for the body, below the bridge. On the next, aim for the nut. Even with the same guitar, you’ll get dramatically different sounds. Or you could just use different microphones for subtle variety.
- Different Tunings and Using a Capo: Strings take on slightly different qualities when you tune them to unconventional pitches. That, combined with the new fingering to create the same part, will give enough variety to thicken up your tracks. Or use a capo and find new inversions of the same chords.
- Breaking Up Inside: Another idea is to take one part and play it on two guitars. One plays the lower strings while the other plays the higher strings. This can work really well for electric guitars, too.
- Think Rhythmically: This next tip comes to us courtesy of Tuts Plus:
This is going to be a different take on overdubbing and doubling guitars. Normally, when you overdub you just record the exact same part over again, creating a slightly different part that thickens up your guitar part. On this occasion, since we’re actually dealing with two different guitar players they are not actually playing the same part.
There are other, excellent ideas within that article that talk about how to process the guitars once you’re done recording. But I promise that you’ll get better results if you just focus on making the sound you’re after without processing. Then, what you add will really spice things up.