Acoustic guitar amps

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by Alister, Feb 13, 2006.

  1. Alister

    Alister Supporting Member

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    My searchesx aren't helping me out here, as I'm sure this topic has been explored, but I'll start it again.

    I'm an "electric" guy who's so immersed in the solid-body/amp cult, for so many years, that playing with a singer-songwriter the past three years has been .....interesting, let's say.
    Not to go on and on about this, but it's a different approach, and 'sense of sound,' and I'll leave it at that.
    But essentially I'd like to ask those who are mostly or exclusively acoustic players:
    What is your basic approach, vis-a-vis:
    1. Through DI box into P.A.
    vs.
    2. Into mic'd acoustic amp?

    Part of the question to me involves recommending the best acoustic amps, per se. I'm trying to "sell" this person on this (the acoustic guitar-amp), perhaps because I'm used to 'doing' things that way, and like to maintain as much control over things as possible, before the sound guys eq and push faders.

    Hope this is clear set of questions.
     
  2. reddgeetarzan

    reddgeetarzan Supporting Member

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    It really depends on the band situation. Is this with a live band that also has electric guitars/amps on stage at the same time? Is this just an acoustic solo/duo act? That changes everything for me.

    With an electric band- I HAVE to have some kind of amp on stage- as the soundguy can never seem to get the right amount of fill in the monitors for the acoustic- its always too much or too little, and I'd rather just hear vocals throguh a monitor, if possible anyway. Its a difficult task in that when you get the right amount, you will be blowing someone else's head off with your mix, unless you are fortunate enough to have a seperate monitor mix and someone who knows how to use it.

    I use a Trace Elliot T100RConcert- it has the 1x12" for the low end. GREAT amp- not cheap, and certainly a bit on the heavy side, but you WILL hear yourself on stage. It also has useable effects, EQ and pre/post direct outs, so no need for an extra DI box.

    I've also hear the AER stuff- and its second to none in sound and portability, if you can afford and find one!

    For my acoustic duo stuff, I just go straight into the PA system.....no extra gear and no problems......easy as it gets! I do use a K&K preamp with my J45, but my Blues King Electro has a low impedence output that kicks it really nice.

    I tried the Yamaha DG Stomp- a few too many bells and whistles for me......I will be selling that one!

    Mic'ing a guitar is great, if you have a nice sounding acoustic to do it with and the proper acoustic environment to do it with. I know a few people that use an internal or soundhole mounted mic and a condensor as well.

    Good luck!

    RG
     
  3. Alister

    Alister Supporting Member

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    RG, Thanks,

    Live shows, yeah. My electric/amp, bassist, and a singer-songwriter on acoustic. She's been insistent about her acoustic direct into P.A. Occasional drummer, but not often.

    Yeah, that's the technical aspect of the problem itself. We go back-and-forth on the monitor mix problem. Lately, she's listening to both her own vocal and acoustic guitars (and harmonica), the bass sometimes in the mix, sometimes not. (I don't "do" sound for this outfit, but I sure as hell should). The electric guitar, because it's so "loud" relative to the other instruments, is always out of both the monitor and main mix.
    Again, this is my argument for stage and mixing matters to be as equal as possible. Everybody through an amp, everybody mic'd and mixed relatively the same. The monitors call be vocals alone, fine -- we don't play that loudly. It's not so much a question of "hearing," as say, with most rock and blues bands I've played with, as consistency and balance.
    She's playin' a $3000 instrument, with a fine condenser mic. I think she ccould just sound bigger, both onstage and off, and have more control with her own amp.
    I don't know sh__t about these kinds of amps, though.
     
  4. waxnsteel

    waxnsteel Member

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    An acoustic amp is just one extra speaker making noise on stage. If you guys aren't really that loud, putting a little acoustic in the monitors shouldn't be much of a problem. When I played with a band, I usually did the sound, and was in-ear. I had a Strawberry Blond, and while it was a neat toy, it was completely unnecessary, and did not improve the mix or anything. It got used like 3 times. There's also a quality issue. She's playing a $3000 guitar? Please tell me you're not playing through a full on Behringer PA... In that case, I'd say an acoustic amp might improve things. If your PA is on par with her guitar, acoustic amps are going to have a hard time competing with the quality that can be acieved by going direct.

    If you absolutely must go the amp route, look into the Fishman Loudbox, SWR California Blonde, Fender acoustasonic (not so much the Jr. model). Those are ones I have played and was able to get great sounds from, plus tthe DI out on the SWR sounds good. There are plenty of other resources on acoustic amps, and many more neat toys, but I haven't played them, so I don't know what they sound like. I'd wager that some of the lesser heard of stuff isn't crap. Check out www.daedalusmusic.com lots of neat stuff there. But in my opinion, it's just more heavy crap that takes up space and makes noise on stage.
     
  5. waxnsteel

    waxnsteel Member

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    Wow!, man! It's been a while since I went to the Daedalus site. Not nearly as much there. Plus even their links aren't all useful. Hopefully when they're done re-vamping, it'll be useful again. But they do make nice cabinets.
     
  6. blueguitar

    blueguitar Member

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    So many variables in the powered acoustic guitar thing. Here's my take. If your using a nice acoustic with a passive p/up the BBE Acoustimax is one of the finest off-board pre-amps around (not an arm-n-leg cost) and has a nice built-in DI. For on-stage monitoring, rehersal and studio Rivera's Sedona Lite (all tube) amp is one of the best sounding around. If you got a guitar with all the on-board gizmos then right into the board is a great way to go. The best guitar sound is kind of like the marketing biz: you got to test, test, test. Hopefully, you'll get it without busting the bank!
     
  7. Alister

    Alister Supporting Member

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    Thanks again to all replies and suggestions.
    I'm just exploring ideas, still.

    There are a lot of performance problems and 'tweekings' involved in this live "folkrock," for want of a better term. Singersongwriters with 'backing bands' is not a new phenom, but it kind of is a retro hybrid at the smaller live venues. Electric guitar and 'live sound' dynamics are often a matter of dispute when the singersongwriter is the Boss.
    It's not so much a war about what's "loud" or what isn't, but more about how do you mix electric and acoustic styles; how you do make an acoustic guitar live-performance audible, while keeping the electric guitar and bass in level sync.
    The acoustic amp is just one avenue I'm exploring. I see some on bigger stages w/bigger acts; lots of other people go straight direct. As far as brands, I'll check out the Acoustimax and others mentioned.
     
  8. stephenT

    stephenT Silver Supporting Member

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    I've had many acoustic amps (none of the Daedalus stuff tho), but THE BEST acoustic amp I owned (ever heard) was the Rivera Sedona (tubes my friend). They now build a Sedona Lite that would be worth checking out if you don't have roadies, my Sedona 50 watt was 80lbs.
     
  9. edwarddavis

    edwarddavis Supporting Member

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    For what its worth, I bought a Peavey Ecoustic amp on Ebay. $150 shipped. I read good reviews on it and took a chance. Great amp thats a sleeper that you can get cheap. I was gonna buy a california blonde which I hear are great but for this price I was pretty happy and It sounds great. I play Tom Anderson with poer bridges and a baggs as well so I usually buy only high end stuff but sometimes you just never know. I have a roland ac100 which is good too but weighs a ton . The peavey is lighter as well and has a ton of power and head room.
    Hope this helps
    ;)
     
  10. dmkozak

    dmkozak Member

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    FWIW, the acoustic amp of choice for a great many touring bands is a Genz Benz. If you're looking at amps, throw them into the group.
     
  11. Scott Peterson

    Scott Peterson Staff Member

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    For all my acoustic amp needs, I tried lots of stuff - Fishman, SWR and more - but ended up with a good preamp and a JBL EON2 powered monitor. It just makes sense, far beyond using an amp of any sort for acoustic. IMHO.
     
  12. dave251

    dave251 Member

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    I'll second this...I ALWAYS prefer a pa speaker...and a powered one is just that much better.

    That being said, we're working on an all tube "electroCoustic" amp...35 watts, self contained combo( in a tweed Deluxe style cab)...four tubes... 12AX7 preamp, 12AT7 phase splitter, and a pair of EL34's for the output. It's REAL close to being done.....oh, and it weighs only 32 lbs.
     
  13. waxnsteel

    waxnsteel Member

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    I was in a music store in Newport News VA one day, and saw this acoustic amp, can't remember the exact name, maybe Soundboard, but it was basically built like an acoustic, using the sort of a tin-can telephone design, having a transducer attached to the amp's soundboard, making it in effect a amplified "acoustic guitar." Believe it or not, it sounded surprisingly good with piezo guitars, and got VERY loud. wish I could find another one to try out just for *****/giggles.

    Anybody know what I'm talking about?
     
  14. IIIBOOMERIII

    IIIBOOMERIII Member

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    For acoustic I have always used solid state bass heads. I was using a little GK head thru a 1-12 cab. I now use a Behringer bass head thru the same 1-12 cab that is loaded with a Peavy Scorpion. So whatever I am using for bass at home I usually use for an acoustic gig if needed. Works great for me and fairly inexpensive.
     
  15. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    Unless you really need the portability of a combo amp, buy a wide range speaker.

    I have a euphonic audio CLX-12 full range speaker that I was using for bass. I plugged a Fargen amp into it and it's the best sounding acoustic guitar amp I've ever heard. Blows away fishman and everything else IMO.

    Almost every acoustic guitar amp I played by fishman, roland, marshall, fender, crate, etc., were all terrible.
     
  16. texasdave

    texasdave Member

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    I play in a situation where I play both electric and acoustic and need to keep my overalll stage volume down. I use a compact Roland AC-60 as a preamp, personal monitor and DI ... GNX4 for the electric stuff into one channel, and second channel stays set up for acoustic. I bought an amp stand that gets the amp up closer to me, so I can hear more with less volume out of the amp. The AC-60 has nice full range sound and comes in its own heavy-duty gig bag w/ shoulder strap so its an easy haul, too. This setup lets me hear myself well without having to boost my guitars in anyone else's monitor mix.
     
  17. joeh77

    joeh77 Member

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    I'll throw another name into the mix. I have a Ultrasound AG50-DS2, that I just love. Has on board effects that sound very good for digital. Also has a XLR input so you can have a mic going as well.

    Good Luck,
    Joe
     
  18. dannymusic

    dannymusic Member

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    GNX4 for me. simple setups I can go right in with all I need for all mixing, processing, looping and recording live all in the box. For "extravagant" setups, I use a yamaha AG Stomp inline.
     

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