The area of microphones for instruments is extremely wide. Not only is there a wide range of instruments around the world, each with its own specific sonic expression. In addition, amplifing or recording live rock concerts, orchestras, studio work and many other settings often require very different miking solutions to ensure the best results.
Before you choose an instrument mic, you should consider what you are looking for:
What type of instrument are you miking?
If you are to amplify an instrument, where there is a risk of feedback from the speakers to the microphone a directional microphone is preferable as for instance our 4099 Instrument Microphone Series
that features a supercardioid characteristic. A very directional microphone is better at isolating from other instruments on stage nearby.
What type of miking (or sound) are you looking for?
There are two primary ways of miking instruments. Close miking is when you place the microphone close to or more likely on, the sound source. The purpose of close miking is many: to minimize bleed from other sound sources, to block out reflections from the room and to ensure flexibility for the performer.
Distance miking is, as you would think, about placing mics farther away from the instrument(s). The technique is used to ensure balance and add natural ambience to a sound. Distant miking is often used in the pickup of a large instrumental ensemble (such as a symphony orchestra) and is most likely used for recording situations.
In very general terms, close miking is often advantageous on the live stage, where many instruments are placed close together in an uncontrolled, often rather large space. Distant miking is often more relevant in a controlled studio environment or where you want to add the ambience of a room, for example, a nice sounding concert hall.
What type of mounting / placement works best for your instrument?
Choosing the right mic for your instrument is only the first step in ensuring a great sound. The placement of the mics can make a huge difference on the character of the sound you create. In addition, if you have chosen to close-mic your instrument, you need a clip or mount that can place the mic in the sweet spot but that is also quick and easy to securely attach and remove. Importantly, the mount used must not damage your instrument in any way.