When it comes to recording acoustic guitar, everything about it can feel a bit complicated and overwhelming. I tried a bunch of ways to record my acoustic guitar playing with my iPhone, and many of them just didn’t work at all.
Lucky for you, I’m here to save you all that time and hassle with this very post. Below I’ll discuss exactly how to record your acoustic guitar on your iPhone, and show you how to record for both audio alone or for video and YouTube.
I’m going to assume you’re pretty new to recording acoustic guitar, and thus the options below will be budget- and beginner-friendly
Let’s get started by finding the right microphone to use with your iPhone.
Microphones for Recording Acoustic Guitar on Your iPhone
The first step to recording acoustic guitar on your iPhone is to find a quality external microphone. For most people’s recording purposes, the microphone built into your iPhone simply isn’t going to be good enough to record quality audio.
Luckily, there are a lot of affordable and easy-to-use mics on the market today if you want to record your guitar with your iPhone.
Here are three microphones I’ve personally used with success:
1. Blue Snowball
The Blue Snowball is an affordable, easy-to-use microphone that you can easily find on Amazon, BestBuy, or any number of other places.
Most people don’t immediately associate the blue snowball with musical recording, but if you search around on YouTube you’ll see that it does a pretty good job:
Even though the blue snowball is a USB microphone, it’s very easy to use it with your iPhone. If you want to use the blue snowball with your iPhone, all you need is a lightning chord to USB converter (from Amazon):
2. Movo VXR10
Another great budget microphone option for recording acoustic guitar on your iPhone is the Movo VXR10:
I actually prefer the Movo mic over the Blue Snowball. I’ve just found that the audio sounds better for my purposes, and also comes in a bit crisper and louder. I would recommend searching around on YouTube and listening to samples of both:
Another advantage of the Movo mic is that it’s easier to maneuver and place closer to your soundhole for clearer recording, whereas the Blue Snowball usually has to be propped up on a desk, and is harder to place right near your soundhole/instrument.
3. Apple AirPods
Here’s an option you might already have available to you: Apple Airpods.
I know most people would immediately assume the recording quality of these won’t be great, but I’ve found the AirPods to do a fine job at recording acoustic guitar on my iPhone.
These are by far the easiest to use of all the options, because all you have to do is pop them in your ears and start recording on your iPhone. I’m still experimenting with recording with these, but here’s a video I shot with them recently:
There are of course condenser mics, professional recording equipment, and all kinds of other stuff you can look into. But for the scope of this post, I think these are all great options to get started.
If you want to upgrade to something more expensive and complicated later on, then you can easily do so. But I’d recommend starting with the simple, budget-friendly options above as long as you’re just looking to record casually.
How to Record Acoustic Guitar Audio on Your iPhone
One way to record higher-quality acoustic guitar on your iPhone is using audio-specific apps. If you just want to quickly record song or riff ideas casually, I actually think the Voice Recorder app does a decent job. You can get a lot of mileage from that app without having to pay for fancier recording apps or software, especially if you’re just recording acoustic guitar.
If you want something a little bit more sophisticated and versatile (but also with more of a learning curve) I’d recommend just using the GarageBand app. The app will take some getting used to but is easy enough to learn if you devote some time to messing around with it.
If you want to get more serious with recording you can check out full-blown tutorials on GarageBand like this one:
Again, there are more expensive sophisticated options out there, but the ideas above are the most budget and beginner friendly in my opinion.
How to Record Acoustic Guitar Videos on Your iPhone
If you use the microphones recommended above, they will record high-quality audio while you record video with your iPhone camera. In that case, all you have to do is plug your mic in and use the camera app on your iPhone. This is personally how I record my acoustic guitar videos, as it makes things extremely easy and low maintenance.
If you want the highest quality possible though, a lot of people prefer to record audio and video separately, and then sync them in post-production (editing) before uploading the final video somewhere. This is how a lot of Youtubers record their audio, for example.
If you want to go that route, it’s best to record audio in something like GarageBand or Audacity, and then add the audio file over your video using your video editing software. You can do this in iMovie or really any good video editing software.
Ready to Get Better at Guitar, Faster?
Whenever you’re ready to take your guitar playing to the next level, check out my favorite resources below:
Elixir Nanoweb Acoustic Guitar Strings
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- Beloved by everyone from Paul Simon to Gordon Lightfoot, the D-18 is one of Martin’s most legendary guitars ever.
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Chords, Tabs & Lessons for 100 Songs
- This free guide from Acoustic World gives you chords, tabs, and video lesson for the 100 best songs to learn on guitar.
- I spent hours putting this together all by myself to help you get better at guitar, faster!
Fingerpicking vs Flatpicking Guitar
- Learn which picking style is right for YOU by exploring examples, history, and popular players of each style.
- Discover essential techniques and pros and cons of each approach.