Question: What are some common ways to mike a live bluegrass band?
Answer: In a live application, it is often recommended to single mike each instrument for optimal audio quality. For simplicity and showmanship, bluegrass musicians will go with a more traditional setup using a single side-address mic that the musicians, as well as vocalists, will stand around and essentially share. Bluegrass musicians also like the interaction of stepping up to the mic when it’s their turn to take a solo and woo the audience!
Now, when we are talking about a bluegrass band we are keeping the following instruments in mind: acoustic guitar, fiddle, mandolin, banjo, and upright bass. Typically, the guitar, fiddle, mandolin, and banjo are the ones standing around the mic. Most bluegrass bands prefer to use a side-address mic from our 40 series line, such as our AT4033a or even the legendary AT4050, which are known for their pureness and clarity when used on both instruments and vocals.
Since an upright bass is rather large and can sometimes be a bit awkward for the musician to move around much on stage, it is recommended to mike the bass player separately so they can stand in one spot. A great mic to use in this application would be a clip-on mic, such as our ATM350UL.
If your main concern is capturing the best audio quality of the performance (and you also don’t like to share), then you will want to mike each instrument separately. As mentioned previously for miking the bass, you may want to go with a more discreet option, such as one of our clip-on mics. For an acoustic guitar, we recommend the PRO 70, using the guitar mount that is included with the mic. For banjo and mandolin, it would be best to go with a small gooseneck mic, such as our ATM350U, for ease of placement on the instrument as well as positioning the mic over the strings. The ATM350U also comes with an AT8468 Violin Mount, which would be recommended for use with, you guessed it, the fiddle! Keep in mind that the ATM350U is one microphone with two mounting options so you will need to purchase an additional ATM350U to have a microphone and mount for the fiddle player.
If you have any further questions on the options you have for miking a bluegrass band, feel free to contact us here in the Audio Solutions Department.