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Best Acoustic Amp?


John Lee Walker

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I recently played a solo acoustic set at the Muddy Boots Cafe in Nashville and it was the first full set I played with my new SJ200 Modern Classic. The guitar was so comfortable to play and the sound was fantastic. I got some great compliments on it. I am using the Fender Acoustasonic 30 Combo amp with built in effects (I usually only use the chorus with the footswitch when I want to beef up with vocals) and I thought it sounded nice, crisp, and clear through the Fender, but something was missing and I had to readjust quite often to balance out with the vocal channel. Thinking about going with something bigger than 8" speaker.

 

Sure would like to hear some suggestions as to what some of you use when playing coffeehouses, small venues, etc. I am thinking of upgrading to the larger Acoustasonic, but I am open to suggestions.

 

The Modern Classic is quickly becoming my favorite guitar. The neck and the action, right out of the box, is superb, especially for those of us used to playing electrics. The feel rivals that of my Gretsch with a tech setup. Sure do miss those knobs tho...

 

Bring on those acoustic amp opinions! O:)

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Quite frankly, the best sounding "acoustic amp" I ever owned was one of those Bose PAS pole looking things. I would plug my J200 into it (I have an EMG ampjack pickup in it) and was so knocked out by the sound, it was as natural an acoustic sound as you could imagine. I recall a luthier friend coming over to check out the Bose thing, so I was playing on it, and he asked when I was going to turn it on, but it was on the whole time and filling the room with astounding tone. That Bose PAS was exactly like me sitting in front of somebody else playing my J200, only I was playing it and hearing it exactly as it sounded unplugged, only louder. They fill a room, they're easy to transport, you can run your vocals through them at the same time, and if you get one of the first editions, you can find the older ones even cheaper than you'd imagine.

 

I sold mine to a guy in Jacksonville over eBay before I moved back to Nashville, trying to thin down the astounding amount of crap I had accumulated over the years. O:)

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It won't be the best by a long way but I have a Marshall AS50. Great little amp with spring reverb and digital chorus. I've used for a couple of solo gigs but it's too small for anything bigger than that.

 

Great sound.

 

+1 had one for a couple of weeks now and am impressed with it. Built very solid as Marshall's tend to be.

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I can afford anything a mortal can pay for, and I use Fender Acoustasonic amps. I bought mine before they went with DSP effects, so I have chorus and reverb as well as ample tonal control.

 

I use tube preamps from ART - one for the guitar and one for the mic - and this setup works really well for me for small gigs such as you describe.

 

I rented an L-1 Bose to try it out and yes the sound was amazing. What I did not like, however, was mucking about trying to find a DSP setting that worked well for both my voice and my mic - because the L-1 system allows you to choose one setting then either have it on or off each individual channel.

 

This was the $1600 Bose system. I later tried the $3300 system and obviously it was much better and suffered from no limitations except the price. Either system absolutely must have the subwoofer or they can't hold anyone's attention.

 

Still, for $3300 you can put together a beautiful PA system with a Mackie mixer and some JBLs - then still have money aside for some other goodies like a road case for the rig.

 

More than anything, when it comes to small gig amplification, I must encourage you to find some tube preamps. This alone adds a ton of presence to your soundstage.

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I'm a big fan of the Carvin AG100D.

 

100 watts, nice big twelve and a tweeter. You can use it for a lot of other jobs too.

 

It's a spare (small but chunky) bass amp, a mini pa, turn off the tweeter and it's a spare lead amp with a tubescreamer, it's a spare powered monitor, unplug the head and it's a spare unpowered monitor, it has a stand hole so is also a spare main if you're in a bind.

 

Bulletproof reliable over several years.

 

And I've done many solo acoustic gigs with it, just plug my jbl monitor in it and I get the same mix as the crowd.

 

Best bang for the buck I've ever seen.

 

Best of luck.

 

Murph.

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Couple of reasons, really. First, I was about to move across the country and space was at a premium. Second, I had planned to use the thing to start playing out some small acoustic gigs, but never actually did after dropping $2500 of the thing brand new. Third, the home I was buying here in TN had a great big room for my studio, but it has slanted ceilings on each side the come down to about 5' tall, which meant I wasn't going to have a good place to put it against a wall and I didn't want it standing out that far.

 

If I had to do it again, I'd buy another one. I was really impressed with it. I think the v2 ones are really nice, lots of improvements, but there are some great deals now on the v1 ones. By the way, mine had two subs with it, which really made it sound its best with my J200.

 

Mike@Gibson- Just curious' date=' but if the Bose Pas was the best sounding acoustic amp you've ever owned why didn't you get rid of something else and keep that? It seems like you'd just want to get another one at some point and probably at a higher cost. Just wondering. [/size']
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Good suggestions, all of them, thanks guys. I will be buying this weekend, today most likely. I'll probably go with the bigger Acoustasonic with a tube preamp, I think they sound great and its definitely in my comfort zone. I tried the Fishman, a Crate, Peavey, and a Line 6, and kept going back to the Fender Acoustasonic. Easier to tweak to my specifications, maybe because I am more familiar with it. Go with what feels good I always say. Can't beat em for the price, and you get the bang for your buck. Who knows, I might get a wild hair and change my mind when I get there, but as for right now I have the FA in mind...although that Fishman was sweet.

 

Let ya know what I walk out with:)

 

Thanks again, y'all are a wealth of information!

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