March 24th, 2010, 07:46 PM
Has anyone got advice for a booster suitable for use with an acoustic through a PA. I play lead in a gypsy 3 piece and Im having difficulty going from lead to rythm and vice versa. Ive tried volume pedals but Ive never been too comfortable with them
March 25th, 2010, 12:48 PM
Here's an idea I'm toying with, haven't used it at a gig yet...
Christina plays acoustic. She uses a pick most of the time but we have two songs where she fingerpicks. I put her guitar thru an A/B pedal and went to two different channels in the PA. I have individual volume and EQ now.
March 26th, 2010, 02:14 AM
I guess it would depend somewhat on your pickup system, the quality and headroom of your DI, whether or not your instrument has side panel tone and volume options, etc., ad infininitum - same sort of stuff we consider when talking electric guitar rigs.
For what it's worth, the majority of my gigs anymore are "acoustic-electric" (sort of). To be accurate to *my* situation, I need a boost (or boosts) that will work equally well with (piezo-loaded) acoustic-electric guitars (standard and high-strung), acoustic-electric mandolin, electric banjo, lap steel with a humbucker, lap steel with a single coil, and other stuff.
On a budget, MXR Micro Amp is a pretty good choice. It's a one knobber, so it's a gain knob. No pre- and post- , no tonal variations, just increased gain. Like all other other outboard circuits, it's not "neutral" or "transparent" or any of these descriptors that we toss around. That said, what it does to the signal is a pretty good fit for a piezo-loaded instrument, as well as for general boosting.*
For the instruments I gig with, I have to admit I'd likely be lost without my Xotic RC Booster. It has pre- and post- gain and separate bass and treble controls. Four knobs, small box. I can set the pre- and post- really low for my high-strung guitar, bump them considerably for my main guitar (and get shades from the side panel of that instrument), bump the highs a bunch for the banjo, and so on with the other instruments. If I need some compression from a booster, I can bump the pre- gain.
If I want some "natural" sounding dirt (whatever that is!) with A/E instruments and PA/DI, I like Paul Cochrane's Tim and Timmy pedals. Like the RC Booster, it has four knobs that control the same parameters. That said, it's an overdrive that offers useable low gain boost applications - not to be confused with a dedicated clean boost. It's certainly going to color tone less than, say, a TS, but nonetheless, it's an overdrive (with really good fidelity, high headroom, and very musically voiced knobs). I will say that I've gigged a variety of gainers with A/E instruments over the last 10-12 years with gain capabilities above that of "clean boost" (OD's and whatnots, even fuzzers), but this is the one I call on for "dirt" with the DI/PA scenario.
* There are lots of boosters that I like with certain amps and electric guitars - Klon, Prescription Electronics Germ, Z Vex SHO/Super Duper, etc. - but for whatever my opinion might be worth, these circuits have inherent EQ character that doesn't work for my applications at real world volumes in the A/E environment. I like the pedals that I mentioned for such.
March 26th, 2010, 12:14 PM
Get an EQ pedal. Your leads will have a better tone shape and they'll be louder than the rythm playing.
You'll be amazed at how the tone jumps out when you kick on a good EQ with your acoustic.
These are cheap but they run quietly. I play fingerstyle stuff at weddings (in big old churches with bad PA's) and I keep one one these in my Martin OM case to help with tone through ancient PA systems.....
These are slightly better but only slightly.
The MXR has LED's on each slide fade and you can see the EQ shape in the dark.....very sexy.
The Danelectro pedal is an absolute sleeper.....quiet.....cheap....sturdy. You can buy them on eBay for $15 USD.
If you start "gaining up" an acoustic guitar or if you add an overdrive pedal the feedback will drive you nuts.
A. Buy a gentle EQ
B. Add a compressor and use the compressor to even out your playing volume and increase your volume just a bit.
It's acoustic.....a little of anything goes a long way. An acoustic still needs to sound like an acoustic. Amplifying an acoustic guitar without ruining the sound is a daunting task.
If money is no worry....buy an M9.
My M9 acoustic video.....
Happy Hunting for the pedal!
March 26th, 2010, 02:23 PM
Just to explain the main application is a Semer type guitar with a piezo.
It would be nice if it worked with a flat top and a fishman rare earth as well...
March 26th, 2010, 02:57 PM
I have K&K Pure Western Passive pickups or Fishman Passive piezos in 3 Martin and 2 Larrivee guitars.
You'll be fine with an EQ, Compressor or the M9.
I gig with a Fishman Loudbox 100 or a small Yamaha Powered Mixer & JBL Speakers.
I laugh when I load up to play a coffee house or wine bar........
........the whole show fits in the trunk of my VW Passat.
There are harder ways to make $150 in a couple hours. This isn't so bad.
March 27th, 2010, 03:22 AM
Lots of players use graphic EQ peds to great effect. Personally, I love the visual aspect, but the phase cancellations always bugged me, particularly when EQ bumps are less than subtle. Parametric EQ's call for a steeper learning curve, but they always sound far better to my ears than graphics. When I need it, I use this one:
Not cheap, but it sounds like a million bucks as properly dialed. That said, there's a few more tweaks of the dials involved (especially with a variety of instruments), and I can get 90% of what I need in the live environment extremely quickly with something like an RC Booster.
When the subject of outboard gear for A/E instruments comes up, folks often sing the praises of preamp units offered by L.R. Baggs and Radial. If you play one instrument all night long, you can really fine tune with either of these, but the rub is that you can't bypass the dialed settings with the stomp of a foot. For what you describe, make sure that you can bypass the effected settings, as to employing a pedal.
If you decide to go with something like a compressor, go with a unit that offers fairly neutral EQ and loads of output. With A/E instruments, the most useful compressor actually has capability of functioning as a limiter. Keeley two knobber is good, Barber Tone Press is good, Menatone JAC is awesome.
There are many comps out there that are great with electric guitars and tube amps that are beyond horrible with A/E. BOSS, Ross, Analog Man, way too much mids presentation with amplified acoustic instruments. It's a disaster waiting to happen in the live environment. If it's bad with an acoustic-electric guitar, it's even worse with a mandolin with dual courses of strings. An old Dan Armstrong-type squeezer has way too much high end sheen and presence with A/E instruments.
Go for loads of output, stomp-a-bility, reasonably neutral EQ, lack of wonky sounding phase cancellations.