I want to try recording some music and i'm just wondering , how .. What do i need to record my acoustic guitar as a beginner ? ( i mean hardware and software ) .

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    Hi Eva, there are a few questions on this already (see the Related bar to the right) but basically you just need a microphone and any audio recording software. As a beginner you don't need any high end editing suites, so even the tools that come with WIndows or iPad will do it. – Doktor Mayhem May 19 '16 at 8:43

There are many possible answers depending on your budget and purpose. I'll lay out three basic

  1. Laptop PC with recording program.

If you a have a laptop with embedded microphone, you may already have everything that you need, at least to start. Use a program like Sound Recorder (bundled with windows) or the opensource multitracking audio workstation Audacity.

If you have a microphone with a minijack connector lying around, you can connect it directly to the mic port of the laptop (or of a desktop PC, for that matter). Old Playstation Singstar microphones are great for a budget (i.e. free) initial approach to home recording.

This approach will put you on the road with zero investment, and may be sufficient for your purposes (i.e. demos, develop compositions, etc.) but you'll almost for sure find the sound quality unsatisfying. If that's the case then you're bound for one of the following approaches.

  1. Dedicated audio interface and microphone, and possibly a fully fledged DAW

Even a budget home studio oriented audio interface will be a major improvement over the native sound board of your PC or laptop. This question has a great answer about different alternatives for entry level audio interfaces. (price range 150~200€)

You'll also need a nice microphone. You may wish to go for the standard and sure bet approach and buy a Sure SM57 or 58 (~100€). If in doubt I would recommend an SM58, but if you're sure your main focus will only be the guitar and not vocals, then the SM57.

But if you don't want to spend that much, to begin with a cheaper alternative (~30€) from Samson, Bheringer or t.bone may suffice. I find the major problem with these price range mics from these brands is handling noise, so for a live situation where a singer will be handling the mic they will not be good. For a beginners home studio in my experience they will be fine (don't go for the real cheap ones, though, below 20€).

This pyhsical setup will also work with Audacity, but you may consider using a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). Reaper is a great and cheap (60 US$) DAW to start with, but there many alterantives, including free/opensource ones.

  1. Hand recorder (not the "office" kind, but music oriented)

There's a lot of alternatives, starting around ~100€ (ZOOM H1), for these type of devices. They will allow you to record anywhere with minimum setup and surprising sound quality and stereo field capture (as they have embedded microphones with a stereo spatial configuration). Depending on the model they may have several features:

  • some kind of overdubbing facility
  • backing tracks and/or drum accompaniment
  • digital effects processing
  • doubling as audiointerfaces, allowing to record directly into a computer DAW and not on the device.

If you record with a hand recorder you can use the result directly or import the audio files into an audio program and do additional processing or overdubbing.

The possible disadvantage of and hand recorder with audio interface capability versus a dedicated audio interface is that the latter will allow you to connect other type of intruments, like an electric guitar, external mics of different types, etc. The hand recorder will generally only have a line level input.

In your budget also consider the need for some kind of microphone stand (starting on ~20€)

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  • Ardour is a really good DAW. And it's free. – galdin May 19 '16 at 17:46

Recording your guitar playing is an excellent way to improve your playing. Listening to a recording of yourself will highlight the areas you need to improve more effectively than just hearing yourself while playing. It is also a great way to share your music with others through many on line formats.

Joseem gave you some great options. I know you are just starting your journey as a guitarist and may not need anything too complex. I would like to tell you more about what I often use to record acoustic guitar - that is both simple and capable of rendering surprisingly good quality.

When I just want a down and dirty quick recording of a song idea or chord progression idea, or just want to share an original song with a friend via e-mail and don't want to set up my multi track recording device, I use a hand held digital recorder to record my guitar and vocal. I

The best digital recorder for recording live music and sharing your recording on line or through e-mail or SMS will be one that has the option to record in MP3 format and connects to your computer via USB. The one I use with very satisfactory results is an Olympus DM 420 which has been discontinued but may be available used or refurbished.

Something like the Olympus WS-853 (as one example) should meet your needs because it will record in MP3 format, connect to your computer with USB to download your recordings to your computer, and has a stereo built in microphone. See Picture Below.

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When recording guitar I simply lay the recorder on a desk or table with the mic facing the guitar and play. You can set the record mode to sound activation so it will start recording when you start playing and stop when you do. If your recorder has a headphone jack, you should be able to monitor what the recorder is picking up in real time through headphones.

You can experiment with how far away you sit from the microphone and where you point the mic to get the best sound. When I use mine to record a guitar and vocal, I will often place it on it's thin side so that one of the stereo mics picks up more guitar and the other picks up more of the vocal.

Once you have your recording on the recorder, you can transfer it to your computer and load it into a free editing program such as Audacity. With Audacity or similar program you can trim out the beginning where you messed up and said bad words and cut out the end where you dropped your pick while trying to turn off the recorder and said a few more bad words and leave only the part where you played something close to what you wanted to play.

If you just want a very simple program that allows you to trim out the unwanted parts at the beginning and end so that only the good part is rendered to the final recording, you can download a free "Easy MP3 Cutter" from the internet that mainly just allows you to cut and splice your audio file and not much else. Just be careful not to click on one of the ads and be sure your anti virus software is running before you download one of these.

Save the final result as an mp3 file and you can share it in many different ways. Very easy to use, small and self contained, portable, no expensive or complicated software or cables needed and very good sound quality (for an amatuer recording).

Something else that you may already have that will also render surprisingly good results is the audio recorder on your smart phone. I have made recordings on my i-phone 5 that are very good. Also you can use the video recorder on your phone and use free software to convert the audio portion of your downloaded video file to an Mp3.

Have fun recording your music!

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