Thursday, October 1, 2009

Acoustic Guitar Rig

I finally put together a pedal board for my acoustic guitar and it has made me very happy. Check it out:

I know, it's not really pretty.

Here's what it does, from right to left:

ART Tube Pre-amp - This was recommended to me by Pierce Pettis, last year. It warms up your sound through a glass tube and gives you nice controls to keep your instrument balanced. It's only $30 and it immediately made my acoustic guitar sound better. Every note is warmer and individual notes have an easier time filling up the room. It's the difference maker.

2 - Behringer EQ Pedal (EQ700) - I use this for a volume boost. I'd like to replace it with a sturdier model but this very cheap one from Behringer does the trick. When you have to play a guitar solo on the acoustic it can be difficult to be heard, so a pedal to boost the volume can be a must. I enjoy boosting my volume by adjusting the individual frequencies to keep the volume change from being too obtrusive.

3 - Dean Markley Chromatic Tuner (PT13) - Sometimes, the "purists" tell me not use gizmos and gadgets on an acoustic guitar, but I don't know how they get around using one of these. Maybe they know the secret to not getting out of tune, but the rest of us must be able to tune quickly during shows. (I've seen people completely screw up their show by getting out of tune and failing all evening to get it worked out.) This one will work on my mandolin and my guitar, it has very solid construction, and it is the only high quality tuning pedal under $99.

There you have it. Nothing flashy, but it works very well. What kind of a guitar do I play? I'm glad you asked.

The Aspen Luthier guitar is no longer made by anyone, but it retailed from $790 - $1500 in the 80's. It has a cedar top and lots of "character." I bought this one from an older musician who had too much gear and had to unload some things. The best part is that years ago he ripped out the old electronics and installed a sweet Fishman pickup.

My previous acoustic guitar sounded great - until I plugged it in. With my new setup and my old guitar I am enjoying my acoustic performances, again.


Brian said...

Very cool. I've never really caught the performance bug, but reading your common-sense, "I'm not a rock-star" thoughts about it makes me want to try some things out.

Allan Hubbard said...

I don't consider that to be a bad set of pedals. Enhancing the sound, not flavoring it, is OK and has a blessing from the Purist. You're not adding effects like chorus and all that ... I had one of those ART tube things for the studio but it was too noisy.

I like your cedar-topped. I miss my Takamine which was nice for that sound. I'm still on the hunt for anall mohagony/mohogany (sp?) from the 70s or 80s. I have a '76 Alvarez, a mid-80's Korean Sigma, a '75 Yamaha (which is the best tone of all) and a newer Washburn Cumberland jumbo.

I've never liked the Fishman sound. Of all the pickups on the market, B-Band is my favorite. Electret condenser. I put them in all guitars I need to amplify.

Amp: Ultrasound 50 watt with 2 8" speakers.

Adam D Jones said...

That's a nice amp! I saw an acoustic player using a nice Roland amp to push his acoustic and vocals through an actual '57 bassman and it sounded great.

A few people have complained about noise from the ART Tube Preamp so there must have been a bad set of those that made noise.

I love fishman pickups and haven't actually heard a B-band, yet.

Dustin Cade said...

not a bad rig at all. the tuner is the most important thing you can have in a performing rig. not only can you tune with it, but it's a mute button. it's the very first thing i recommend to ANY and ALL people starting a pedal board for any stringed instrument. EQ as a boost, perfect. i didn't look as your curve and i haven't heard your guitar, but i use mine at the end of my pedal chain on every board and leave them on all the time. (with 3 pedals you shouldn't have the problems i have, esp with the TUBE MP) i set them up to make sure that i have the same volume and sound after running thru my pedals that i did just plugging straight into the amp. I do agree that the crown jewel of this rig is the TUBE MP. as a YORKVILLE GROUP dealer (A.R.T., Traynor, Apex, Alto, etc.) it is one of the best preamps on the market for almost any inst or mic. it's amazing that they are able to sell something of that quality for under $50. they also make two other versions that have usb and firewire outputs, for a very slightly higher cost. We do a local music radio show thru the store and record all of the voice on an Apex 435 thru the TUBE MP USB. i have a friend who records everything that's not electric thru one in his home studio. THe only thing that i like better for acoustic guitar is a Tech 21 Paradriver D.I., but we are talking about 4 times as much money for a very small difference in sound quality. WAY TO GO ON THE TUBE MP!!!!!

Dustin Cade said...

i just read the comment about b-bands. they do sound better than most acoustic pickups, but we have found that constant hard gigging will beat them up. i love them too and other than a fishman aura or lr baggs i mix system, they do sound as close to using a mic as possible. b-band's drum pickups seem to hold up better (we have never seen a problem with one) as far as the acou guit pickups go i have seen 5 go bad on one of my coworkers guitars and one on mine. we do beat the living crap out of them tho. both of us constantly have an acoustic guitar in surgery. usually broken braces, but i've cracked my top and exploded a rosewood bridge. we claim to be the torture testers for crafter guitars. our rep loves it and we've both spoken to crafter usa countless times about how and why we beat up all of the fine instruments they give us. b-band has replaced the pickups every time for no charge and we sell a lot of them. so far dave and i are the only ones that destroy them. i don't know why i decided to type all this, i guess i'm just glad that other people are using and recommending products that i sell and use. we consider our shop to be for "working" musicians and don't have a lot of really high end stuff, but our "upper middle class" gear is our bread and butter. many of our customers are working musicians and give us a lot of feedback on what we sell and recommend. that's something that local music stores thrive on. that i don't think you get from guitar center. if you are gonna go mass market go to or call them. AMAZING service and KNOWLEDGE or every product.

support your local music store

Tito said...

Heeey. What happened to the blues overdrive?

Adam D Jones said...

Tito, that's on my electric guitar pedal board and I'm using at church every Sunday. (And, this Saturday on our special night of worship.)

It's working out well, I really appreciate it.

Tito said...

Oh.....well, that's good, then/

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