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Acoustic Guitar For The Recording Songwriter


Acoustic Guitar For The Recording Songwriter
Sage advice on recording guitars at home

Recording Acoustic Guitar for the songwriter

Recording Acoustic Guitar for the songwriter

Recording acoustic guitar is a love/hate relationship for me. The beauty and tone of tracking with a nice high-end acoustic guitar, such as a Taylor 810, into a great preamp, such as the Neve 1073, ought to be on everyone’s bucket list. The phrase “tone for days” lives in that recording chain.
On the other hand, tracking acoustic guitar can be a headache. It is a much more involved process than simply sticking any old microphone in front of your guitar’s sound hole and expecting it to sound as epic and elegant as imagined. It takes knowledge, cleverness, and patience to find the right gear and set up that works for you, your budget, your room, and your desired results/sound.
In this article I will give you an honest rundown of the “dos and don’ts”, “that could be cool to try”, and “hmm, I heard about Sylvia Massy doing this trick once”, for recording acoustic guitars at your home studio.
My favorite working solution for recording acoustic guitars anywhere is with my iPhone 5S. (I will pause as you laugh. Done now? Okay.) As a guitarist and songwriter, I want ideas captured when inspiration strikes. There is no better way to capture the moment than by using your cell phone, since it’s easy and usually next to you. If you use an iPhone, try using the Voice Memos app to capture ideas in a split second; it’s where my best, worst, and most honest ideas live in their infancy. Inspiration hits and I immediately reach for my phone and track the idea before it’s gone. It is as about as simple as it comes in terms of recording, but in some cases, the most important—the genesis of creation.
The engineer and tone junkie in me stands up and objects. We also need to capture the sound, man! The richness, depth, brilliance, and punch of an acoustic guitar obviously deserves a better final resting place than on the Voice Memos of an iPhone. Without further ado, let’s dive straight into the deep end and explore all there is to recording acoustic guitars in a home studio.
The basics
Before you track, it’s wise to invest in new strings and a reliable tuner. The guitar ought to be properly intonated, and in tune, with fresh clear strings. Make sure the guitar’s strings are properly stretched out so tuning issues become less problematic.
Next, consider where your tracking room is relative to where the guitar is. More specifically, is your studio cold, hot, or say 72 degrees? Do you live in Colorado where it can be freezing outside but your studio is nice and warm inside? A guitar will not stay in tune until it gets comfortable in the room you’ll be tracking in, so try to leave the acoustic in the room/studio (out of its case!) for about 45 minutes prior to tracking.
This will definitely help allow it to stay in tune and let the wood settle in and adjust. During that time, tune every once in a while to make sure the neck and body temperature of the guitar and room begin to agree. Otherwise a cold guitar goes sharp, while a hot guitar goes flat.
Are you tracking with a pick, or your finger? The use of different pick shapes, sizes and thickness will alter your tones and recording. From experience, begin with a medium pick and adjust accordingly. Also, have options and experiment as to which you prefer sonically. Lastly, remember that fingers will produce a tone and volume that is much different than a pick of any size or thickness.
The guitar
Every guitarist and engineer has a different idea of what sounds “best” when recording guitar. You will need to understand the factors involved and how they contribute to a final result you’ll find pleasing.
The first thing needed to get a good guitar sound is a good sounding guitar. It is simple, but it is true—a guitar’s tone and timbre will have a much larger impact on your recordings than whichever microphone you choose and which set up you opt for. With that in mind, what kind of guitar do you have to track with? Obviously a Taylor will sound vastly different than a Martin or a Fender. Is your guitar bright and detailed, or warm and rich? What kind of wood is it made of? Is it a dreadnought, auditorium, jumbo, concert, or baby?
This will dictate the guitar’s tone and what to base your subsequent decisions on, in terms of microphones and room ambience while tracking. If you own a bright guitar, perhaps you’ll favor a darker, richer-sounding microphone to balance out your sound. On the other hand, perhaps going with a brighter sounding microphone will enhance the brightness you may want to capture as your sound. Ultimately, the only person who knows that answer is you.
The room
Having a good sounding room is important. What’s even more important is that you don’t have a bad sounding room. Ask yourself: is your room overly bright, or dull-sounding? Either natural sound is somewhat adjustable.
In general, I prefer a more lively room. If your room is dull, has poor sound quality, or lacks live vibrant acoustics, then your acoustic guitar tracks will naturally lack excitement via room reflections. Also, a lively room will make the exact mic position a bit less critical, since harder surfaces will cause the sound to bounce all around the room.
To get the most liveliness out of your room, position yourself near hard reflective surfaces. Hard floors without carpet, uncovered walls, and even hard-surfaced furniture can augment your room’s live sound. To further augment your room, try leaning sheets of metal or hardwood boards against one or more walls. This is also a solution found in major recording studios.
On the other hand, if your room is too bright and reflective, try the following to deaden your space. David “Davie” Martinez (Capitol Studios, Stagg Street Studio) recommends hanging up blankets over walls to kill reflections, and placing a rug on the floor if there isn’t carpet. Mic placement in those situations usually depends on where the quietest part of the room is; dealing with noise inside and outside can be a never-ending battle in a home studio!
Barry Conley, veteran engineer and educator, prefers not to have too much liveliness in the recording space when tracking. If the room is too reverberant or unpleasant sounding, Barry will throw down some carpet on the floor and drape some packing blankets over mic stands, even building a little room by surrounding the playing area (on both sides and in back of the guitarist) to make a deader environment. In these applications, Barry would close-mike the guitar; more on this below.
Jeff Gartenbaum (The Village Recorder) recommends something similar. Take a boom microphone stand and hang or drape packing blankets over it. Then those draped mic stands are placed around the microphone and/or the guitarist to better isolate sound and eliminate any nasty room sounds.
For a more permanent solution that will help all recordings, not just guitars, consider treating your room. Try bass traps and other diffusion materials in key areas such as corners, where the walls meet the floor, and potentially a “cloud” over your head to treat the ceiling’s reflections. Proper room treatment will allow you options, when it comes to either close or distant miking, for blending in the sound of your room’s ambience.
The microphone(s)
Besides your guitar, the microphone or microphones you have for tracking will dictate your decision-making in terms of setup and recording. It is best to take some time exploring your options and determining your budget, as each microphone has its own vibe and characteristics that are its sonic footprint. These footprints are why the microphone ought to be chosen for pairing with the guitar, so that the tone will be there with little left to add or subtract during mixing.
Microphones vary from dynamic, to condenser to ribbon. Each type of microphone has its own inherent strengths and weaknesses. These fine-tooth comb details are worth exploring, as are their individual frequency responses. The inherent frequency response is why you ought to or ought not to pursue using a particular microphone. In general, condenser microphones are the “go-to” for tracking acoustic guitar; their accentuated high end complements the sparkle and definition of the guitar. Large-diaphragm condensers and small-diaphragm condensers each have their place and validity of use. Dynamic and ribbon microphones also have their place and can yield some cool, sometimes unexpected results when used wisely.
A dynamic mic is a tiny “speaker in reverse”. They have strong sound in the upper mids but a slow response to transients like pick noise and a rolled-off frequency response. Ribbon mics have been around forever, and use a tiny metal ribbon in a magnetic field to capture sound. They can be delicate but have a smooth tone with less accentuated highs and very present lower midrange.
Condensers are thought of as having the widest frequency response, mainly due to their clear and present high end. A condenser is a capacitor, and the diaphragm of the mic is a capacitor that turns vibrations into electricity. The sound and performance of a condenser mic depends on the size of its diaphragm; in very general terms, larger diaphragms have a rich and detailed sound but a less even off-axis response, while smaller diaphragms provide more “focus” for close miking.
Next, consider your mic’s pickup pattern. Cardioid has its highest sensitivity at the front, becoming less sensitive on the sides, and rejecting sound coming from the rear of the mic. These mics have a pronounced proximity effect—an increased low-end boost as you get closer to your sound source.
Omnidirectional mics pick up sounds with equal amplitude from all directions, and have no proximity effect. Bidirectional (figure-8) microphones pick up sound in the front and back, but not so much on the sides; these quieter directions are called nulls. The figure-8 pattern is typical of ribbon microphones, but is also found in some condenser microphones; it has the most pronounced proximity effect. Typically, a cardioid pattern will fit a smaller room better than an omni pattern microphone. Omnis often require a room found at a high-end recording studio or professionally treated space.
I will mention some of my personal choices below, but a comprehensive list of mics and manufacturers is impossible to include here. I use mics by AKG, Neumann, Royer Labs, Sennheiser, and Shure on a regular basis, but there are great mics out there from ADK/3Zigma, AEA, Audio-Technica, Audix, Blue, Bock Audio, Brauner, Cascade, Chameleon Labs, Cloud, Coles, DPA, Ear Trumpet Labs, Earthworks, Electro-Voice, Josephson, JZ, Kel, Lauten, Lawson, Lewitt, Manley (shown in the photos), Microtech Gefell, Milab, Mojave Audio, MXL, Oktava, Pearl Labs, Pearlman, Peluso, Placid Audio, RØDE, Samson, sE Electronics, Shinybox, Sontronics, Telefunken, and many others.
As I mentioned before, since the acoustic guitar incorporates a lot of important high-frequency information, using a condenser mic instead of a dynamic or ribbon is rather common. Despite that, dynamics and ribbons most definitely have their place in any recording, whether in a home studio or at a high-end professional studio.
The Shure SM57, a workhorse on snare, electric guitar and vocals, is also useful for acoustic guitar. Most studios typically have at least one 57, so give it a try—it can be useful if you only can afford one microphone for tracking vocals and guitars. SM57s have a woody percussive tone when used to track acoustic guitars. For adding beef to a song or mix via acoustic guitar, the 57 just might do the job.
Paul Logus of PLX Mastering has the following to say. “For home projects, my go-to mic for acoustics is a 57. I set the mic at same height as my head, about two feet or so in front of my face, angled down 45 degrees at the sound hole. Also, I sometimes use a Radio Shack PZM [a “pressure-zone” or boundary mic], placed on my right knee, to record my 12-string with a light pick. Best $50 I ever spent.”
An interesting and unexpected microphone choice is the Copperphone by Placid Audio. It sounds like an old AM radio, and sometimes gives just the right amount of vibe for a part. [To learn more, see Paul Vnuk’s review of the Copperphone Mini on page 18.—MM] Another suggestion, while slightly off topic, is the use of a DI or onboard pickup to send your acoustic to an amplifier, which you can mic up. This can be an interesting tool for eliminating bleed or spill if tracking vocals and guitar at the same time, and with the added benefit of being able to drive the guitar amp near or into harmonic distortion for some unexpected crunch and even fuzz on your acoustic.
With the specific microphone type in mind, I think the next thing you ought to do is determine your budget, as the microphones mentioned vary from affordable, to serious money. You get what you pay for with these microphones as quality and tone doesn’t come cheap. On the other hand you don’t absolutely need to spend a lot of money to capture great tone. An old studio adage comes to mind here: “It’s the fool, not the tool.”
In terms of what to buy, I think being hands on makes the most sense. I suggest spending some time and money renting microphones or borrowing friends’ microphones to try out, and get a sense of what works best with your setup and room. Reading reviews and doing your homework also makes sense. With that being said, there is nothing more educational than being hands-on, doing comparisons of microphones to see what works best for you. Again, there is no predefined or “best” microphone to choose, only what is right or best for you and your budget.
Microphone setup
There are a few ways that I recommend trying first, as they are tried and true recording methods. Later, we’ll look at less common methods and explore some interesting ideas to try in your studio recording space.
The most common miking technique is placing your mic about six inches to one foot away, somewhere in the vicinity of where the guitar’s neck and body meet. This is where with a single mic you can typically get a good balance of body warmth and resonance, as well as detail and brightness from the strings. This is a great starting place, but fine tune adjustments usually let you dial in the sweet spot. To this end, I suggest aiming somewhere between the 12th and 15th fret, and adjusting from there.
The next mic position to try would be to put the microphone out in front of the guitar’s body, and in line with the sound hole—basically where it was designed to project sound from! With this setup it is important to avoid the resonance of moving too much air via the sound hole and capturing boominess and rumble. This is especially true of cardioid and figure-8 mics with their proximity effect. I would advise against pointing straight at the sound hole, but rather off towards the bridge a bit, to capture strumming and body warmth/resonance. This is especially true if you have a brighter, more narrow-sounding guitar.
Another benefit to placing the microphone off to the guitarist’s right, near the general bridge area, is that it minimizes noise from the guitarist (heavy breathing), headphone bleed (click), fret noise, and rumbling low end from the sound hole. Try experimenting with moving above or below the typical “horizon” (the strings) for even more tone flavors.
Another option is to simply follow your ears. After all, this is engin-“ear”-ing. While wearing a pair of headphones, listen for what the microphone is capturing. This is especially great if you have the luxury of engineering the setup, while a guitarist strums the guitar in your studio space. Get a decent volume level in your headphones and move the mic around and explore what options you have. Once you get a sound you enjoy, I suggest tracking it and listening back on monitors to make sure that’s the sweet spot. After you dial it in, gaffer-tape the ground as to where your feet were, tape the mic stand’s feet down, take pictures with your phone… do anything you can to etch your sweet spot into memory.
David Martinez says that to find the best spot to place a mic on a guitar, his method is to simply stick his ear by the guitar and move around until he finds the spot he likes best. This is similar to the approach mentioned above, but assumes the luxury of having another person playing as you experiment with listening angles and distances. If you are in a large enough space, or by yourself, try moving around the room as you strum the guitar, listening to the sound changes, and looking for a sweet spot where you get an ideal sound in that particular room.
Once settled on a location, it’s time to adjust the mic. By moving the microphone around the guitar, you can capture or augment specific tones. Want more beef? Try moving closer to the sound hole for warmth and richness. Alternatively, move away from the sound hole and towards the neck to brighten those darker, fatter tones. Try moving the microphone closer to your guitar for a drier close-miked sound. This sound will be the direct sound of what’s nearest to the microphone, but without the room and the more distant parts of the guitar, it could be that you are missing the big picture of what your guitar actually sounds like. If you want to do close-miking and prefer that sound, experiment with an omni pattern mic so as to pick up more room ambience.
An interesting mic set up is to capture what you are hearing, literally. I like to think of this as akin to what overhead mics are for a drum set. Set up one or a pair of microphones at shoulder or head level to capture the guitar’s tone from above. In terms of direction, experiment by placing the mics downwards towards the guitar, or try pointing them towards hard reflective surfaces.
Remember, it is always best to work with what you naturally have between your guitar, microphone(s) and room. Relying on EQ and trying to make your sound like something it’s not will ultimately never be as convincing as the “real” thing. The core sound ought to come from you, the guitar and the mics.
Multiple microphones
Another option is to mix and match different microphones and different styles of microphones in a two mic set up. Try a small-diaphragm condenser near the 12th fret, with a large-diaphragm closer to the sound hole, bridge, or even the shoulder/overhead area—with the latter, you may be able to get some convincing room sounds to go along with your closer/direct mic.
Using several microphones while tracking is definitely preferable to using a single mic. This path allows you to blend tonal and distance options—say, a bright mic and a dark mic placed strategically for desired tones—and lets you spread your guitar across the mix in varying ways to paint a stereo picture.
Panning your guitar tracks gives a fuller, more accurate 3D representation than just a single mic in mono. Most people prefer a subtle widening with a little bit of left/right panning, but if the song calls for a dramatic hard left/hard right panning, go for it.
As I mentioned above, it is important that you take a look at a given microphone’s frequency response to understand what you’re getting with each mic. One of my favorite small-diaphragm mics for acoustic guitar is the AKG C451, whose frequency response seems tailored for the acoustic guitar. It has a gradual rolloff at 200 Hz and below which helps lessen the impact of the proximity effect when close-miking. The 451 adds brightness, air, and top end with a healthy 4 dB bump at 12 kHz. Here you can really capture the sound of the strings, the pick, and that really present top-end sound which could help your acoustic tracks shine and cut through in the mix.
On the other hand, perhaps you want a less bright, warmer microphone as a sonic pair for a brighter, more present-sounding guitar. A microphone with a flatter or more natural frequency response could give you the flexibility to track your guitar’s natural tone and then adjust and tailor the EQ in your DAW—manually rolling off the bottom or adding top, while still retaining the warmth of your natural signal. A microphone for just that task could be the Neumann KM84 or its successor the KM184. Warmer yet is the use of a ribbon microphone, say a Royer R-121 or AEA R84, on your acoustic tracks. A ribbon paired with a bright-sounding guitar can be an interesting thick and rich sound.
Barry Conley enjoys using condenser microphones on acoustics. “The condenser mic gives me the ‘sparkle’ and ‘chime’ I like in my acoustic guitar sounds. I often use an AKG C414 or some sort of large-diaphragm condenser, behind the bridge and pointed towards the sound hole, plus a small-diaphragm condenser (preferably a Neumann KM84 or AKG C451) pointed at the upper bout of the guitar above the fretboard. Blending these two mics usually gives me the flexibility in sound to fit in most genres of music. I avoid pointing a mic directly at the sound hole (this is where there seems to be a lot of boominess occurring) unless the guitar is ‘thin’ sounding. I also generally avoid room mics on the acoustics unless the arrangement is sparse.”
Jeff Gartenbaum (The Village Recorder) preps most of his acoustic guitar sessions with an AKG 451E and a KM84. He also keeps a Shure SM57 ready in case he is tracking really heavy acoustic strumming, such as what might be found in a rock song.
Vocals and guitar at once
If you want to record vocals and acoustic guitar at the same time, you face a unique set of hurdles. Obviously, the goal is to get great sounds for both, and the most straightforward way to do that is to use the same mic. This takes careful positioning, though, and balancing of the two concurrent sounds. In these sessions, be careful to have the right guitar, one that naturally pairs with the vocal and vocalist. In this case a single omnidirectional microphone can be just the ticket.
Although simple and straightforward, the one-microphone setup is not as common as using individual microphones for the guitar and for the vocal. Really, the biggest factor here is control over the source sound and its eventual processing during mixing.
In this case, David Martinez has some experience. “What has worked best for me is to make the room as dead as possible. Then I just put the mic there. It varies from guitar to guitar. If I am also recording vocals, I will look for a mic that is very directional on the guitar and a better one, if available, on the vocals.”
With two microphones set up on the vocal and on the guitar, experiment with deadening up your room, or keeping it neutral if you had the need to introduce additional hard surface paneling. The lack of natural reflections will help tighten up both source recordings and avoid spill/bleed. One alternative is to try a DI on your guitar in addition to what you can capture with the microphone. Another alternative is to try a ribbon mic on the acoustic and a dynamic on the vocals.
Jeff Gartenbaum notes that while tracking vocals and guitar at the same time, he sometimes uses a figure-8 microphone on the guitar. Remember these mics pick up from front and back, but have nulls (areas where incoming sound is minimized) on their sides. He aims the mic so it picks up the guitar but the vocalist’s head is in its null. Barry Conley goes further and uses two figure-8 mics: one on the guitar, adjusted so its null point is aimed at the vocalist’s mouth, and one to pick up the vocalist, angled so the guitar is in its null. Ribbon microphones work extremely well for this purpose, and can give the acoustic a good sound. Remember that they’ll also pick up a fair bit of room sound, so this technique works best in a nice, lively room.
The preamp, compressor, EQ, and DAW
After the guitar and microphone(s) you’ll need to think about and invest in a preamp. As with guitar and microphone selection, your budget will dictate your options in regards to the preamp. A good preamp will only sweeten the tones you have going on with your guitar and microphone(s), so be careful, do your homework and use your ears. Remember that renting is often an option. You can track with that timeless Neve 1073 and not have to spend very much money owning it.
Besides the preamp, a good compressor is essential. While there are many great choices, you cannot go wrong with a Universal Audio/Teletronix LA-2A or 1176. They flavor your recordings, catch your peaks, even out your dynamics for consistent volume, and are very useful in mixdown too. During mixing, experiment with more than one compressor, in parallel or in series; this can radically alter your tone depending on how you choose to use it.
EQ is also obviously essential, and can be done in hardware (some preamps have EQ built in). Look to possibly filter out some lows, search out problem areas/rumble in the very low mids, maybe boost that present and “vocal” mid to upper mid area between 1 and 2 kHz, and add air up top with 12 kHz or higher.
Lastly, you have the final stage of your DAW of choice. I use Pro Tools and find that it comes with some helpful basic plug-ins for problem solving in even the most well-thought-out tracking sessions. Specifically I recommend the Avid EQ3 and BF76 for your basic EQ and compression needs.
Try adding reverb if you have a dull-sounding room, or need additional size. Jeff Gartenbaum prefers to track acoustic guitar in mono and add depth and width via a stereo reverb. He tends toward this method unless the acoustic is going to be featured and he wants it to take up a lot of room in the mix.
Beyond that, again it’s what your taste calls for and your budget allows. The sky’s the limit!
Finally: some potential mistakes to avoid
When using two microphones, be careful of the phase relationship between them. When setting up, try to get a good sound from one mic before you dial in the second. Once you are dialing in the second mic, try flipping its phase to see which combination sounds better, and eliminate any potential phase problems before tracking. If you’re really serious about killing phase problems, invest in a fine-tunable phase box that lives between your mic and your mixer, like the Little Labs IBP or Radial Engineering Phazer.
Air conditioners, street noise, talking, cell phones, pets, and many other things are potential problems for generating noise and unwanted artifacts while tracking. Look to add isolation from bass traps and gobos. Also, be sure to wear closed-back headphones or in-ear monitors to help eliminate click bleed. When possible, record a scratch track and listen back for clicks, pops, noise and any other crud before digging into the recording. The following piece of advice from Paul Logus also makes sense: “If something sounds bad, move the mic, or play in a different part of the room… or a different room!”
In conclusion, to quote my friend, David Martinez, “When the best isn’t available, then what’s available is the best.” Good luck and have fun!

(Reprinted by permission of Recording magazine)
Brian Marshak (marshak@recordingmag.com) is a Los Angeles-based producer, engineer, and guitarist/composer who does music for bands, television, film and scoring. Learn more at brianmarshak.com. Brian would like to thank Barry Conley, Jeff Gartenbaum, Paul Logus, and David Martinez for their insights. Photos by Alice Moore.

For more information on the 12th Annual IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards), go to: http://www.inacoustic.com



Acoustic Music Radio Podcast 2013

Acoustic Music Radio

Acoustic Music Radio

  1. Blood and BoneWes Carr
  2. I Should Have Known AJ Croce
  3. Rambler’s PleaThe Unseen Strangers
  4. OnceMayu Wakisaka
  5. Hurry HomeZane Williams
  6. Dance Around My Atom FireJoel Rafael
  7. OnwardLoren Barrigar & Mark Mazengarb

Podcast #4 of International Acoustic Music Awards


“Bird-Song” – The Wailin Jennys

“You Let Me Be” – Melissa Ferrick

“Vimy Ridge”- Lizzy Hoyt

“All The Wasted Time”- Maddy Rodriguez

“What Am I Doing Here” – Ian Sherwood

“Do You Run” – Fertitta and McClintock

“Chasing a Dream” – William Michael Dillon

“Autumn Roads” – Doug Young


Podcast #3 of International Acoustic Music Awards


Thanks for tuning into our 3rd podcast episode for the International Acoustic Music Awards.

David Francey – The Waking Hour

Zane Williams – Hurry Home

Kelly Zullo – Firecracker

Roland Albertson – Broken

Justin Rutledge – Be A Man

Betsy Foster – Mark’s Song

Horseshoe Road – We Don’t Smell the Home Fires Anymore

Tim Farrell – Rosewood Alley


8th Annual IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards) Kicks Off

David Francey, singer-songwriter

David Francey, winner of the 7th Annual IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards)

The 8th Annual IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards) is currently accepting entries. IAMA promotes excellence in acoustic music performance and artistry. Acoustic artists in various genres can gain exciting radio and web exposure through this competition. Participating sponsors include D’Addario Strings, New Music Weekly, Loggins Promotion, AirplayAccess.com, Sonicbids.com, Reverbnation.com, Kari Estrin Management, SongU.com, Acoustic Cafe Radio Show and Sirius XM Satellite Radio. More sponsors will be announced shortly.

Unlike American Idol, IAMA is open to all independent artists and labels, there is no age limit and people from all countries can enter and best off all entrants do not have to stand in line for hours or days in order to audition. Entrants need to mail in an entry form along with a CD recording or enter online on IAMA’s website.

Win prizes in 8 different categories: Folk/Americana/Roots, AAA/Alternative, Instrumental, Open, Bluegrass/Country, Best Male Artist, Best Female Artist, Best Group/Duo. There will also be an Overall Grand Prize winner awarded to the top winner worth US$11,000, which includes radio promotion to over 250 radio stations in US and Canada. Therefore, winning songs will be heard on radio. Winners and runner-ups will also be featured on IAMA’s compilation CD.

Last year’s winner went to Canadian folk singer-songwriter David Francey who won the overall grand prize as well as the Best Folk Artist. David Francey is also a Juno awards winner (Grammy equivalent) and is a prolific singer-songwriter touring all over North America.

Judging is based on excellence in music performance, songwriting/composition and originality. Winners are selected by a panel of established artists and industry professionals. Other past winners include: Liz Longley (2010 Winner), The Refugees (2009 Winner), UK singer-songwriter Charlie Dore (2008 winner). Charlie Dore is most famous in the United States for her 1980 pop single, “Pilot of the Airwaves,” which hit Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 Charts and shot to international worldwide fame. Fertitta and McClintock (USA), Jen Foster USA), Mistin’ (Australia), April Verch (Canada) and Millish (USA).

Winners and finalists of the Awards will be featured in the IAMA website and e-newsletters, read by music press, talent buyers, promoters and other industry insiders. All songs submitted must be submitted must be original and submitted online or via CD, the artist may also perform original material not yet released and written by other songwriters or composers. Cover songs are permitted.

Early Entry Bonus: first 1,000 entrants entered by September 9, 2011 will each receive a free gift. Check out:


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