Which amplifier to buy: acoustic-electric guitars


Every year at Christmas time my desk gets buried in several acre feet of letters and requests concerning guitar purchases and guitar related gear for beginner and intermediate guitarists.

Probably, in a future post I’ll outline some decent beginner instruments. Today’s post however, will be part 1 of a short series surveying quality amplifiers in the low to high end price range

Where to start? Well, to begin with, what kind of music are you into? Most folks fall into one of two categories: Rock or Country. Let’s start with Country. Guitarists who fall into this category may play either acoustic electric or solid body electrics as their primary instrument. Thus, each instrument requires its own specialized amplifier. Acoustic electrics can be played through any guitar amp. But you’ll find that an amplifier built with the acoustic in mind will give you far more satisfaction as an acoustic player than one which is built for solid body electric guitars only. Let’s start with the lower end as far as price goes with these amps.


Acoustic Amplifiers

At just $217.99, the Behringer Ultracoustic ACX450 Acoustic Guitar Amplifier is a great value for the money. It is “a 45W, 2-channel amplifier that features an original 8″ speaker for true acoustic fidelity. It includes 2 independent FX processors and an ultra-musical, 5-band graphic EQ for each channel plus the revolutionary FBQ Feedback Detection system to reduce feedback in an instant. The guitar amp also comes with a dual footswitch FS112.”

In the midprice range ($699.00), we have the Marshall AS100D 2×8 Acoustic Combo Amp. “Specially designed for use with a variety of acoustic instruments with or without pickups. Its four channels give you the flexibility to handle piezo transducers or magnetic pickups, a mic for vocals or instruments, and external audio equipment via a phono input channel. Channels 1 and 2 have separate EQ and level controls but also may be linked. 2x50W stereo power gives you plenty of oomph for stage performance, and a balanced line out allows direct connection to a PA. The Marshall amp has a built-in digital reverb, delay, and chorus that add dimension to your sound, and a balanced parallel effects loop with level is included. Anti-feedback controls include a phase switch and notch filters for each channel with selectable extra notch depth for channels 1 and 2.”

And last but not least in the highend price range at $1239.00 is the Genz Benz Shenandoah Series Shen ProLT 300W 1×12 Acoustic Guitar Combo Amp. This is an “an acoustic guitar amp that offers a Class D amplifier module included with the 12AX7 tube preamp and Genz-Benz’s heralded 3-band Active EQ with variable mid range control. This combination enhances your acoustic guitar’s timbre with the tonal characteristics, warmth and compression of the tube but without distortion when driven hard. This innovation is combined in the Shen Pro LT with a highly efficient and lightweight 300W neodymium 12″ />

The power amp platform is Genz-Benz’s high-current 300W Class D amplifier that provides tremendous headroom for full-bodied, clean tone. It’s also the foundation for the high-level output of this professional acoustic tool. The Shen Pro LT amp’s cabinet is strong, yet lightweight and constructed from sustainable plywood and Baltic birch. The cabinet is rear ported and uses a bottom-mounted tilt-back stand that will angle the amp up towards you while you play. Along with the tube preamp, the Shen Pro LT acoustic amplifier offers 2 identical channels, each with an XLR and 1/4” input, 3-band EQ with sweepable mid-range and a separate digital effects processor for each channel. Each DSP offers 15 studio quality programs for complete flexibility.”

That wraps it for my short survey of quality acoustic guitar amplifiers. I hope you found it helpful. Next post I’ll give a brief survey of quality amplifiers for solid body electrics in the low, mid, and high price range.

Editor’s Note: All descriptions for these amplifiers are from our affiliate Musician’s Friend.

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