6 best microphones to record electric guitar in 2023

6 best microphones to record electric guitar in 2023

6 best microphones to record electric guitar in 2023
copyrights: Shure Brasil

When it comes to recording electric guitars, mic’ing the amp can be a very crucial moment: we have to choose the sound we want to obtain, we have to have the best possible cabinets (or combo amps) with us, and of course, we have to decide which microphones suit us the best.

Despite studios always having the standard legendary microphones (SM 57 for example) not so many of us know the alternatives and are open to experimenting with different solutions. 

For sure, if we are in a big studio, we will be lucky enough to have a sound engineer working with us, able to advise us about the best possible choice. 

But what if we have to build our personal home studio, and we need to choose the best possible solutions, considering the sound we want to obtain, and of course our budget? 

Not so many of us can have the access to 4-5K to buy a top-sounding microphone, so we have to find the best possible alternatives with a considerable but not too expensive budget. 

In this article, I will review the 6 best microphones to record electric guitars in 2023, and I will give you a general idea of the option you have to make what you have working at its best! 

Let’s start!


Shure SM57

6 best microphones to record electric guitar in 2023

average price: $99.00

The SM57 is probably the most famous microphone on the planet. 

Not only is loved by guitar players but it is also used in various studio applications like snare drums, vocals and woodwind instruments. It is also a standard microphone for public speakers together with the SM58 and it is used more or less on any live stage around the world. 

This microphone is legendary, and every respectful professional guitarist should at least own one. 

The reason why the SM57 is so popular is due to its natural clarity. It’s a dynamic microphone with a cardioid sensor, and it will provide maximum definition and a natural presence in front of any guitar cabinet. 

Many famous guitarists love it, including many gear heads like Scott Henderson. 

The SM57 can be used for many other applications due to its tendency to exclude the surrounding environment is positioned: so if we point it towards a guitar speaker, it will exclude the sound of the stage. If we position it in front of the snare, it will exclude the hi-hat. 

Furthermore, it is very cheap. I strongly advise any serious guitar player to own at least one of them and to preserve it accurately. It will be a long-term investment, always needed in many situations. 

Personally, I always bring the SM-57 for my guitar and the Sm-58 for my vocals at any gig, they would be always in need of any use, and they saved my butt on many occasions. 

The SM57 is a must. One of the most legendary mics ever. 

Sennheiser MD 421

6 best microphones to record electric guitar in 2023

Average price: $399.95

The MD-421 is another big classic. Together with the SM-57 they represent the “classic old couple” to record electric guitars.

The MD-421 is a cardioid microphone with a wider range compared to the SM57, and sure it provides a lot of dynamics. The High-Low frequency response is more open and wider compared again to the SM-57.

The MD-421 is a microphone that “colors” the sound a bit, giving that hint of character that maybe some other microphone misses. 

Thanks to its natural feedback rejections, the MD-421 is perfect for any stage in which it is required a silent signal. 

The five selectable bass roll-off settings control the proximity effect, so the MD 421-II can be used in close-miking situations and still get a clean response with no unwanted bass frequencies.

The MD-421 is a MUST in any recording studio, and it will be our best pal during electric guitar recording sessions. 

It is often used in combination with other microphones and for sure it is another recommended tool for all professional guitarists, but also for semiprofessionals who want high-quality recordings in their home studio.

Like the SM-57, the MD-421 is a long term investment. You can’t miss it. 

AKG C414 

6 best microphones to record electric guitar in 2023
Copyright: Thomann


Average price: $1,279.00

The AKG-414 is another big classic for guitar recordings. 

It is a condenser microphone widely used for many audio applications, and of course for guitar recordings. 

It is often used in combination with other different microphones, as it gives its best together with cardioid microphones like the Sm-57.

Contrarily to the cardioid mics, the AKG-414 is a condenser microphone that offers a big spacial response, and it helps guitar parts stand out even in very crowded mixes. It is also used for vocals and drums, and it is in general very versatile.

The AKG-414 offers nine pickup options, which allows us to choose the perfect setting for every situation.

The five patterns offered are omnidirectional, wide cardioid, cardioid, hyper-cardioid, and figure-8. In addition, it offers four intermediate settings that let you choose the best option for any application. 

The AKG-414 offers three different bass cut filters and three switchable pre-attenuation pads: -6dB, -12dB, and -18dB, and an HZ pad frequencies switcher. 

Neumann U87

6 best microphones to record electric guitar in 2023
Copyright: Thomann

Average price: $3,695.00

The U-87 is one of the most popular vocal mics ever, also used for recording acoustic and electric guitars.

The almighty Allan Holdsworth was using one of these to have a fat sound, full of headroom to catch the sound of the amp and the room simultaneously.

This microphone has a very large diaphragm and offers three switchable polar patterns (omnidirectional, cardioid, and figure-8). Its versatility and sound quality make this microphone an industry standard for vocals, guitars, orchestras, and almost any instrument. 

The U-87 offers a switchable 10dB pre-attenuation pad, that comes in handy for very noisy sources like drums for example.

Used on guitar cabinets, it gives a very open and wide sound, high frequencies are more attenuated in favor of a wider perspective of how the cabinet sound in the room. 

The con is of course that this mic is expensive, and not everyone can afford it in a small home studio. 

In any case, once bought, it will stay with us for the rest of our life as it’s been used now for decades. 

Another thing to say is that Neumann mics are not line assembled, but handcrafted one by one and rigorously checked. 

To me, the U-87 is the best microphone ever, and I will grab one when I will have the opportunity. 

Royer 121

6 best microphones to record electric guitar in 2023
Copyright: Thomann

Average price: $1,499.00

Royer Labs has been given a Grammy Award for its amazing microphones, and there’s for sure a reason. 

The strong point of this mic is that it offers the same sound quality of a dynamic mic but with a warmer tone and a flatter frequency response. 

It’s difficult to find a guitarist that does not love this mic. It is as well very versatile and it’s been used for vocals in many productions as well. It offers a perfect response to every frequency: basses are not too boomy and highs are not too fuzzy.

What is loved the most about this mic is the warmth and headroom that it gives to electric guitars when placed in front of a cabinet. 

The R-121 is a great mic and it will never disappoint. 



Beyerdynamic M 160 Double Ribbon Microphone

6 best microphones to record electric guitar in 2023
Copyrights: Thomann

Average price: $699.00


This microphone was the favorite by Eddie Kramer to record bands who make history like Led Zeppelin, as well as Jimi Hendrix. 

It’s a Hyper cardioid microphone that is used not only for guitars but also for saxophones, hi-hats, and strings instruments like violins, violas, or cellos. 

It has a very good frequency response and a very warm sound, ideal for solo lines while using distortion. 

Another microphone that made history, highly recommended in any studio. 

What do you think of these microphones?

Let me know in the comments! I will see you in the next articles!

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My name is Ignazio Di Salvo, well, Iggy for all my friends as my name is difficult to pronounce for non Italian speakers.

I am an Italian Guitarist, Singer, Composer, and Music Educator living in Belgium.  

I am passionate about music production and writing, I publish two articles every new week about music and music production-related topics. 

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