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I've been to Hell and back in - I bought a round trip ticket. To Hell, Norway that is. Good little blues festival, but I just couldn't get into the Norwegian band names - Blind Arne Bjornson and the Tundra Gators? - Jerry Ricks, Port Townsend 99

Author Topic: Acoustic guitar amplifier - advice wanted  (Read 2239 times)

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si

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Acoustic guitar amplifier - advice wanted
« on: November 09, 2005, 06:42:13 PM »
We are hoping to get some advice on choosing an acoustic guitar amplifier.

There are two of us.
We both play steel-string acoustic guitars with various piezo and electromagnetic pickups, some with onboard preamps some not.
We do fingerpicking (not strumming) and some slide too. No plectrums, no picks.
We both sing, do alot of instrumentals too.
Ideally the amp's guitar inputs would be adjustable for active/passive lo/hi-impedance pickups.
We are not very interested in effects.
Venues will be small, mainly English pubs, possibly a pub garden or village hall.

Do we need an acoustic amp combo with 2 guitar channels and 2 mike channels?
Or should we get acoustic amp and seperate speakers?
Would 2 identical acoustic amp combos, each with 1 guitar channel and 1 mike channel, be a good option?
(we live in 2 different towns so then we could have one each, plus then we would not be totally lost if one amp fails).
What power do we need?
Any suggestions for specific amps?

Offline Rivers

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Re: Acoustic guitar amplifier - advice wanted
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2005, 03:01:49 PM »
Putting it all through a single system the BOSE PAS system is getting good reviews. Demo'd one in my local Austin Guitar Center here and it is pretty startling the way it fills a room with no dead or hot spots. Haven't heard one used in anger yet. One system would have enough channels to handle the two of you but you'd be really good with two towers. Pretty easy to transport. Not cheap though. Since you're in the UK it could double as a Maypole once a year.  ;D

I really like the AER cubes. German, try them if you can. Two of those would work.

I have a Fishman Performer Pro, 160 watts RMS of class A amplification and I wouldn't trade it for quids but they've stopped making them. Basically I don't think putting two guitars and vox through a single combo is a gonna get you a good result. Two combos, both with a mic aux-in XLR, will work, all things being equal. Make sure it's got a good sounding digital reverb built in.

You'll probably need an external preamp box e.g. L.R. Baggs PADI / Fishman EQ for the passive pickups. I'd also recommend looking for a system where at least one of the amps has a phase switch to help kill phase cancellation. Go for plenty of power, you won't need it all but it's good to have the headroom.

Another feature you might like to have for bigger halls is pre- and post-EQ balanced line outs so you can use your box as an onstage monitor and run the signal out to the PA.

Having said all that I've heard great country blues results from mic'd up Fender Twin Reverbs, Peaveys, etc!

HTH,

Rivers.

si

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Re: Acoustic guitar amplifier - advice wanted
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2005, 12:52:59 PM »
Thanks Rivers for your advice. Your suggestions are much appreciated, you have mentioned some important things I didn't know about, but that will be important later.  I am now going to research all the equipment you mentioned.
Si

Offline GerryC

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Re: Acoustic guitar amplifier - advice wanted
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2005, 03:28:44 PM »
For small-venue solo gigs I use a Marshall Acoustic Soloist into which I can plug a guitar and a mic (two separate channels). If push comes to shove I can plug in another guitar but I have the same problems as you vis-a-vis passive and active pickups: my 000-28 has an iBeam active and my reso has a passive Fishman. However, I also have a small PA which consists of a Torque flat-response PA amp with four channels (and matching speakers), into two of which I plug a Phonic MM 1202 mixer. This has the advantage of giving me a total of fourteen (!!) channels if I need them, which I seldom do. Playing solo, I normally use three channels on the mixer: one for vocal mic (Shure SM 58), one for condenser instrument mic (Samson CO5) and one for my Orchid preamp. Both CO5 and Orchid require phantom power, which the mixer supplies - the amp does not. The preamp has volume, treble, mid and bass knobs, a tuner output and a mute switch. The latter is especially useful as it means I can use one cable for my 6- and 12-string and resophonic guitars without having an annoying pop when I swap over, and I can EQ and adjust volume with minimum fuss. The Orchid was developed by John Godsland and Steve Knightley of Show of Hands to overcome the "explosion in a spaghetti factory" problem faced by multi-instrumentalists. It's a fab bit of kit and well worth the dough. You can link into John's website from the Show of Hands site.
And sometimes I have used the mixer in conjunction with the Marshall and then plugged into a big PA, using the Marshall more or less as a monitor but still controlling my sound at source.

Hope this helps.

Cheerily,

Gerry C
I done seen better days, but I'm puttin' up with these...

si

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Re: Acoustic guitar amplifier - advice wanted
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2005, 04:51:28 PM »
Thanks that is all useful info I will research it. Is your Marshall Acoustic 50W or 100W? Would two Marshall 50W combos (one each) be plenty loud enough for gigs in english pubs? Si

Offline GerryC

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Re: Acoustic guitar amplifier - advice wanted
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2005, 11:50:30 AM »
Hi, Si. My Marshall is 50w. I would guess that two of them for your duo would be a good investment. They can get pretty loud if you let them, but without distorting.

Cheerily,

Gerry C
I done seen better days, but I'm puttin' up with these...

Offline blueshome

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Re: Acoustic guitar amplifier - advice wanted
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2005, 01:39:25 AM »
si,  for my 2d worth. I play the type of venue you mention and carry a small PA. his means you have enough mic inputs and can control all your sounds, including the vocals individually.
If you must use piezo's then some kind of extra eq can be helpful.

I think you will limit yourself if you choose a guitar amp, these are good for monitoring or band playing however.


Phil

Offline Buzz

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Re: Acoustic guitar amplifier - advice wanted
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2005, 04:56:58 PM »
For what it's worth: I love my new little Roland AC-60 small amp. It is about 14" by 18", weighs 20#, Has 2 channels on top: Front= MIC/Line, and behind it =Guitar.
I play a cigar box mando, made by Slack himself, one of our moderators, and have a tiney Crown GLM-100 micro-mic inside it, and it runs on phantom power from the MIC channel through a attached cable transformer that clicks onto the MIC chord; then the powered mic sends back the signal into the amp and out it comes , and very loud, thank you very much. . I play the mando in my little band, The Lucky Dogs.I play mando and some guitar in another band, and sing harmony, and use a stick on 1987Piezo Dean Markey  bridge pickup with an RCA male plug on the other end of the cable, which goes into the guitar circuit. At some gigs, I can have both mando and guitar oon-line, put one down and pick up the other and not miss a downbeat.

Advantages: 1. Guitar channel will double as a MIC line in, with a thumb-sized transformer on the amp end of the mic cable. So, I can sing into the mic and play amplified mando same time or have guitar in the guitar channel.
2. Very compact. HAs a little kick stand uderneath that elevates front end about 30 degrees for better sound. Small, and I can carry this, my mando, any stand or mike, and am all set to go, with all the sound I need.
3. Very sturdy.
4. Stereo speakers, lots of power.
5. This is a professional quality AMP. Has 10 or so major amp cables lines out on rear panel, and one can be/ is a direct line out of the amp that can/ is run directly into any PA you may play with. I am plugged into the PA at our Cue Production gigs and it carries the mando or guitar over the house system too.

Worth a look, guys.  I got mine at  cost + 10%, so I expect you can also,get such a good deal through one of your well-connected friends/musicians. ;D

Good luck. Buzz
Do good, be nice, eat well, smile, treat the ladies well, and ignore all news reports--which  can't be believed anyway,

Buzz

si

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Re: Acoustic guitar amplifier - advice wanted
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2005, 03:29:56 AM »
Thankyou all for the valuable advice. Today we are going to try out a Marshall 50w acoustic guitar amp. Also we hope to try a PA system. Are PA amps as good as acoustic guitar amps, or is there something special about acoustic guitar amps which recreates the guitar sound more naturally than a PA?

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