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Amp for acoustic and semi-hollow electric guitar

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Amp for acoustic and semi-hollow electric guitar

Postby ReedySteadyGo » Wed Jun 19, 2019 5:54 pm

My son is doing an outdoor pub gig in a few weeks with vocals supported at various times by either guitar/stompbox or piano. The problem is how to get the right sound for guitar through the PA.

The PA is A&H Zed14 mixer with Lexicon MX200 reverb/delay into Yamaha DXR10 & an Alto TS215S sub for the stompbox.

He wants to use either acoustic guitar or hollow semi-acoustic electric with some effects (reverb, delay and overdrive at times).

Using the acoustic straight into the mixer through an Orchid DI gives a rich clean sound but doesn’t allow for effects, which in the past have been provided by a small Roland Cube 40XL guitar amp.

Is micing the Roland guitar amp the way to go for either guitar or do I need to be looking at one of the new generation of amps for a better sound? There is a need for a bigger amp anyway as for other louder gigs the Roland is just too small.

Would an amp such as a Boss Katana 100 or a Fender Champion 100 work with both acoustic and semi-hollow guitars? It’s important to have both a very good clean sound as well as some reverb/delay/overdrive.

Any other guitar amp recommendations for both guitars?

Pedals or multi-effects directly into the mixer might be another option, but a guitar bigger amp would still be required at some stage.

Can an acoustic guitar be used with overdrive and sound OK?

I’m not looking for extremely loud, but it must sound very good.

Thanks.
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Re: Amp for acoustic and semi-hollow electric guitar

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Jun 19, 2019 6:37 pm

Katana (I tried the 50) has a superb clean electric sound but was disappointing with acoustic guitar through it. The requirements for acoustic amplification and electric are very different, acoustic amps need full range and very clean, electrics usually have nothing above 8kHz. That means acoustic guitars have a fairly 'electric guitar' sound when put through an electric amp (but not in a good way usually) and electric guitars through acoustic amps often sound thin and weak. Use a DI for the acoustic and whatever pedals needed between the guitar and DI then mic the Cube for the electric. That will give the best of both worlds. WRT acoustic guitar and distortion, they feed back very easily and don't sound great (fizzy and thin) when used with an overdrive effect (I tried this last year and decided it was a waste of time and effort). The one exception to electric guitars and acoustic amps/DIs is a Jazz box which usually is clean but with the top end rolled off on the guitar for that mellow 'jazz' sound, but electric amps can do that too as you're not looking for that sparkling top end that characterises a decent acoustic.
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Re: Amp for acoustic and semi-hollow electric guitar

Postby ReedySteadyGo » Wed Jun 19, 2019 8:46 pm

Thanks Sam :thumbup:

Sam Spoons wrote:Katana (I tried the 50) has a superb clean electric sound but was disappointing with acoustic guitar through it. The requirements for acoustic amplification and electric are very different, acoustic amps need full range and very clean, electrics usually have nothing above 8kHz. That means acoustic guitars have a fairly 'electric guitar' sound when put through an electric amp (but not in a good way usually) and electric guitars through acoustic amps often sound thin and weak.

That would explain why, when I heard an acoustic through a Katana, it sounded a bit dull.

Sam Spoons wrote: Use a DI for the acoustic and whatever pedals needed between the guitar and DI then mic the Cube for the electric.

Whilst I'm sure many will argue that individual pedals will sound better or be more flexible than a single multi-fx, will something like a Zoom G3/5Xn give reasonable results on an acoustic?
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Re: Amp for acoustic and semi-hollow electric guitar

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Jun 20, 2019 10:24 am

Use the right patches and it'll be fine. The Zoom will have a speaker sim setting which will get you much of the way to making the electric sound good through your PA system (leave it off for the acoustic guitar). It may have an 'acoustic simulator' patch too (some Boss fx do) which can make an electric sound quite acoustic like in a band context but not so good solo if that's what he is doing (worth a try even if it's just to convince yourself it doesn't work here). You can probably make the acoustic sound close to an electric too if you want too but better to swap guitars and have specific patches tailored to each. It's all a compromise so whether it sounds "very good" only you can decide, give it a try at home and decide if acceptable results can be achieved.
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Re: Amp for acoustic and semi-hollow electric guitar

Postby ReedySteadyGo » Fri Jun 21, 2019 10:41 am

Thanks again Sam. That's useful advice.

I'm leaning towards a Boss ME-80, as it can operate like a group of separate pedals in a single box without having to build patches. Do you have any experience of this, especially with an acoustic?
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Re: Amp for acoustic and semi-hollow electric guitar

Postby OneWorld » Fri Jun 21, 2019 12:28 pm

I settled for a Trace-Acoustic TA100R, I used to play Spanish (nylon strung) guitar and feedback problems were a constant problem. The TA fixed that and gave the guitar lovely rich tone, in a club my guitar could finally be heard, and it works just as well with steel strung acoustics too.
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Re: Amp for acoustic and semi-hollow electric guitar

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Jun 21, 2019 12:43 pm

I've never used an ME80 but I still have (and occasionally use) an old GT3. I think it's probably worth setting up patches as you'll need to have the speaker sim on for electric and off for acoustic and it probably can't be assigned to a foot switch. Plus it's much simpler on the night to stomp a single pedal to select all fx in one go. It does take some setting up though.

Switch off amp models and distortion fx for the acoustic guitar and the mod/delay fx should work nicely on the clean sound.
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Re: Amp for acoustic and semi-hollow electric guitar

Postby ReedySteadyGo » Fri Jun 21, 2019 1:29 pm

Sam Spoons wrote: It does take some setting up though.

I can hear the conversation now... "I don't want to program computers I just want to press a few pedals and play..." ;)

Sam Spoons wrote:Switch off amp models and distortion fx for the acoustic guitar and the mod/delay fx should work nicely on the clean sound.

I found a problem with the ME-80 - the only way to switch on amp simulation is to plug something (anything) into the headphone socket - then amp simulation applies to all outputs. It can't be programmed.

We're planning a full on-site rehearsal soon, so we'll try a few options.
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Re: Amp for acoustic and semi-hollow electric guitar

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Jun 21, 2019 2:27 pm

Just had a quick scan of the user guide and it doesn't seem to have a speaker/cabinet simulator. There is an 'acoustic guitar' setting in the amp sims so I guess that rather than switching the amp sim off you change the tip to AC for acoustic guitar.
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