Tips for Recording Percussion on Acoustic Guitar

Published: April 29, 2022

How do guys like Antoine Dufour, Andy McKee, and Jon Gomm get those crystal clear and snappy drum sounds from their guitars?

Well, keep reading this post to know the secret!

These are 4 tips that’ll help you get a super-crisp percussive sound from your acoustic guitar.

1. Invest in a Great Microphone

If you’re going to mic your guitar, then the majority of the sound will be determined by the quality of the microphone itself.

Something like the Rode NT-USB or AKG P170 is an excellent microphone for the price. Andy McKee likes to use the Rode NT4, and if it’s good enough for him, it’s good enough for all of us.

A bit more costly option would be the Neumann KLM184 or any small diaphragm condenser mic. A steeper investment when you’re starting out, but you get much tighter bass and shimmery highs.

Cheaper mics like Zoom and Tascam can definitely work, but they won’t be able to reproduce everything as well as the Rode or Neumann. Slaps might sound fine, but body drumming won’t be as boomy.

2. Decent Pickup and Preamp

If you’ll be using a pickup, you should invest in a good one. If you own an entry-level or mid-range instrument, you should consider replacing the pickups and preamps on that baby.

I really like the K&K Trinity Pro Mini system. It picks up percussion effects from the entire body. But DiMarzio, Seymour Duncan, and Fishman also make great pickups.

3. Get an Awesome Guitar!

I think it’s obvious. A cheap knock-off won’t ever sound like a well-built acoustic guitar from a decent brand.

Taylor Guitars are extremely popular among percussive guitarists. Their Grand Auditorium shapes produce a balanced sound and respond well to percussive hits on the body.

But those aren’t the only good ones out there. Yamaha, Martin Guitars, Takamine, and Breedlove are some other great brands for acoustic guitars.

4. Polish your Percussion Skills

You’d be surprised at how much the quality of your recording changes with the proper technique and skill. Make sure to learn basic percussive effects: thump, snare-drum slap, kick drum, hitting the sides, and tap harmonics.

Once you get familiar with these building blocks, move on to practicing some riffs or short sections from your favorite songs.

Here are some easy percussion songs for guitar I recommend starting out with. Once you learn them, gradually move your way up.

Percussive fingerstyle guitar is unlike any other guitar style and is something that’ll let you expand into unimaginable territories with guitar.


Thanks for reading!


Until next time,


- Pranshu



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