Compressing Acoustic Guitar


Compressing-Acoustic-GuitarIn this video post we are going to look at compressing acoustic guitar. Compression is one of the most valuable tools of any home music studio engineer. It is important to learn how and where to appropriately use it.

Compressing acoustic guitar is also a great way to add punch and balance to a simple mix. We will also cover the basic functions of every compression plug-in. These tips are applicable regardless of what recording software you use (demonstrated with Sonar X1). Please add your comments and questions to the section below.

About The Author


David is a 20 year veteran of live and recorded audio. Today he is a consultant in this field and conducts technical, musical, and creative arts conferences for volunteer organizations. He is also the author of the podcast and blog where his passion is to teach people how to create professional audio on any size budget. David has been a singer/songwriter and musician for more than 20 years now. His passion for recording started in the early 90's when he was asked to manage a small studio for the local non profit group, ACM. Today David has logged thousands of hours in recording sessions for both his own projects and those of others. He has developed a simple yet effective mindset for building a professional mix called the 4-3 Framework. Here is what one community member says about the 4-3. “Just shared your great video on 4-3 framework on my FB page. Dave.. this is a brilliant, well thought out structure. You should make a poster of it... I'd hang it in my studio for sure!” - HomeTracks David's desire and ability to produce professional audio, even on a small budget, has lead him to create the podcast and blog, Home Music Studio 1 Through this resource he has been able to help thousands of people create professional audio projects in their own home studios.


  • Mark Stevens

    Reply Reply September 28, 2012

    Something is funky with e-mails, it still directs me to ppage, but is in weird format, just me???

    • David

      Reply Reply September 29, 2012

      hmm, what page are you trying to go too? And what looks funky?

  • Dan Updegraff

    Reply Reply August 26, 2012

    Hi David,

    When I compress L/R guitar tracks as you did, I have been matching RMS levels rather than peaks since RMS is the average sound level rather than the max level. I’m going to play with your approach and see if it sounds better. Thanks.

    • David

      Reply Reply August 26, 2012

      Hey Dan, ya let me know how it works for you. RMS certainly would value depending on the mix. I focused more on the peak because the acoustic palm mute comes out a little hotter without that the attack being compressed.

      Keep my posted!

  • Mark Stevens

    Reply Reply August 25, 2012

    I just received my upgrade price to X2! Looks like it’s time to make the wife mad, but at that price, she will have to let it slide, maybe early X-Mas present! Nice video, sorry to get off topic! Keep up the good work, and in X1 fashion,lol! (Maybe X2 in the future?) Thanks again!

    • David

      Reply Reply August 25, 2012

      Ha ha, thanks Mark.:) Ya when I upgraded to X1 I got a free update to X2 when it comes out so I’ll be right there with ya soon! Have a great night.

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