This can get complicated so lets look at a few of our options. Lets start with someone using an electric guitar, not an acoustic guitar. I would suggest you have a few things for your electric guitar.
- A direct box . I like the Boss DI 1. A Direct Box stabilizes unbalanced instruments to make them balanced. That’s another article in itself.
- An effect box, for the option of different sounds. There are countless effect boxes out there. I use Korg Toneworks AX3000 .
- 3 guitar cables.
- An amplifier of course,I like the Rolland Jazz Chorus myself.
- A Shure SM57 microphone.
Begin by plugging a cable into the guitar and then taking the other end of that cable and plugging it into the input of the effect box. Then plug another cable from the output (mono) of the effect box and taking the other end of that cable and plugging it into the input of the direct box. Take your third cable and plug it into the output of the direct box and the end of that cable plug in to the amplifier. Once the amplifier is on and the volume is up you should be hearing sound coming out of the amplifier when you play. Find the effect you want to play with and get the volume and tone the way you like it on the amplifier.
Once everything sounds good out of the amplifier, take the Shure SM57 microphone, in a short microphone stand, and place it in from off the amplifier about 2 – 4 inches from the speaker cone, slightly off center. The microphone goes directly to the mixer and will pick up the sound from the amplifier which is set just the way you like it.
Now remember that the speakers out front of the stage are different then the ones in your amplifier. They may have a higher or lower character to them so you have to play and have someone listen out in front of the stage. If it sounds like its too thin and needs more bass then move the microphone closer to the amplifier. If the tone isn’t bright enough then move the microphone to the side closer towards the center of the speaker cone. For a softer tone place the microphone more towards the outside edge of the speaker cone. You will need to play around with the positioning of your microphone to find where you get the best sound.
This is not the ONLY way to set you guitar up for a live show,but it is a common a one.
If your using an acoustic guitar that has a built in pickup then the steps are the same. You can use an effect box if you like or you can just go directly into the direct box. Be sure that your not sitting too close to the amplifier, this will cause feed back from an acoustic guitar.