To maximize the functionality of an acoustic-electric guitar, you’ll need an acoustic guitar amplifier. Even if you already have an amp that you use for an electric guitar, getting an amp specifically designed for an acoustic would be better because it can do wonders for your sonic output. How so?
Well, acoustic guitar amplifiers are designed differently from electric guitar amps. Acoustic amps are built to reproduce the natural sound of an acoustic guitar as cleanly and as accurately as possible. The goal is to add volume to your natural acoustic tone, not make it different. In contrast, electric guitar amps are built to handle the compression and distortion that electric guitar players want from their instrument.
Check your guitar
There are many kinds of acoustic guitar amplifiers, each with its own set of specs such as onboard effects and multiple inputs for mics and mobile devices. It’s important to note that because of the sound-reproducing nature of acoustic amps, if you want a good amplified sound, you should start with a great-sounding acoustic-electric guitar like one of these. Even if the amp you choose has built-in effects, it can only do so much to mask a dull sound – so make sure the guitar you play is amplification-worthy!
When it’s time to choose an acoustic amp, it’s ideal to bring your guitar along so you can really see and hear how the pairing works.
Consider the purpose
When choosing an amp, you have to consider what you will be using it mainly for. There are different kinds of amps for different situations and needs. To give you an idea of the kinds of guitar amps available, here are some common scenarios and the kinds of amps that will be suitable for them.
While you may easily hear the sound coming from your guitar during quiet times at home, using a small practice amp lets you listen to your playing with a more critical ear. Amps that are designed for practice purposes usually produce 10-40 watts and come with a single speaker. Some practice amps have built-in effects and EQ controls, allowing you to shape your tone and fine-tune your acoustic sound.
If you have gigs in intimate venues such as a small neighborhood cafe, you’ll also need an amp. It should be small and portable so you can easily carry it around, but still deliver a loud-enough amplified sound. A simple practice amp may suffice, but you’ll want a model that has at least a 20-watt power rating and preferably two combo jacks so you can also plug in a vocal mic.
For larger spaces, look for an amp that has at least a 40-watt power rating and multiple input channels with separate tone controls and effects for each. It’s also ideal to choose an acoustic amp with a feedback control feature, especially if the venue gets pretty loud and you have to crank the volume up.
Performing in a public space such as a park or street corner presents two major challenges: ambient noise and power source. If you are going to be busking, choose an amp that is portable, offers at least 60 watts of power and has its own power supply. Battery-powered acoustic amps with separate input channels, built-in effects as well as feedback controls are recommended. When selecting an amp for busking purposes, try lifting it and walking a few paces with it. If you feel it’s too heavy for you, look for something more lightweight. You can also start working those muscles and building your endurance so you can be physically fit for the street.
If you’re looking for an amp for your home music studio and plan to use it for recording, you will need an acoustic amp that comes with special features such as multiple effects, USB connectivity, mic modeling and the like. These features give you the ability to reproduce your acoustic sound with different sonic textures and greater depth.
As with buying an acoustic-electric guitar, choose the best acoustic amp within your budget. There are plenty of models to check out, so get busy! Don’t forget to bring your guitar to see how it sounds plugged in. Have fun and we hope you the amp that’s a perfect match for your needs.
ADDITIONAL READ: GUITAR REVIEWS