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Thread: Recommend me: sub-$400 acoustic guitar amp

  1. #11
    Senior Member guildman63's Avatar
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    If you already have the 120 and want something else the 60 won't do it for you. I like that it is very portable in its padded gig bag, and through this amp my acoustics always sounded very natural. It also doubles as a decent monitor. I don't have any acoustics these days, but I use this amp occasionally with my archtops for jazz and I get a nice airy, acoustic sound.

  2. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by guildman63 View Post
    If you already have the 120 and want something else the 60 won't do it for you. I like that it is very portable in its padded gig bag, and through this amp my acoustics always sounded very natural. It also doubles as a decent monitor. I don't have any acoustics these days, but I use this amp occasionally with my archtops for jazz and I get a nice airy, acoustic sound.
    Ah, OK, that was my suspicion. Also, it's not that I haven't enjoyed the 120 in the past; it's just that I'm looking for warmer sounds these days. Most of what I play is kind of weird psych-folk with metal influences, and I find the Roland crispness is just not suited to it.
    1978 Gibson Les Paul Custom
    1980 Guild D46
    80s? 90s? Epiphone 12 string
    90s? Ibanez AEL-50
    2012 Guild GAD M-120

  3. #13
    Senior Member jthrel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Errant Tiger View Post
    I was talking elsewhere about what I'm looking for in an amp, and I mentioned that I would like to use some fuzz/distortion. Obviously this is difficult with an acoustic (my Ibanez has an undersaddle pickup) but I'm convinced it can be done. Anyway, it was suggested to me that I look into non-acoustic amps such as the Hot Rod Deluxe (which is currently out of my price range) that will provide a good clean sound and also take pedals well.
    Hello Errant,

    I've tried a number of non-acoustic amps with my collection of acoustic guitars. I've used both tube and solid state/modeling amps. The sound can be pleasing but is heavily colored - it doesn't sound like the acoustic guitar unplugged.

    In an effort to get the true acoustic guitar sound, I used a Fishman Loudbox Mini for a year. This amp can't render the depth of the bass in a 6-string and really falls apart with a 12-string.

    On Christopher Cozad's recommendation, I recently acquired a Dean Markley Ultrasound DS-4. This amp is great at reproducing the true wooden acoustic sound of both 6- and 12-string instruments. I have also tried a compressor pedal, reverb pedal and the Fishman Aura Spectrum pedal. All work well with the amp. Note that the Aura Spectrum does a great job of compensating for the brittle sound produced an undersaddle transducer. I have not tried a distortion pedal with my acoustic.

    The Ultrasound is difficult to find on a showroom floor. However, I demo'd a number of other acoustic amps including the bigger Fishmans, SWR and Fender. The sound is much less "transparent" than the Ultrasound. The deficiencies are really apparent when you plug in a 12-string. The special effects on all of the acoustic amps are not high quality compared to the available pedal effects.

    Particularly in your price range, I think the Ultrasound DS-4 is a great choice.

    Happy Shopping,

    Al
    Guild
    Acoustic
    '72 D40-12
    76 F-512
    '87 D-25
    '09 F-47M
    Electric
    69 Starfire XII
    79 S-300D
    '13 S-100

  4. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by jthrel View Post
    Hello Errant,

    I've tried a number of non-acoustic amps with my collection of acoustic guitars. I've used both tube and solid state/modeling amps. The sound can be pleasing but is heavily colored - it doesn't sound like the acoustic guitar unplugged.

    In an effort to get the true acoustic guitar sound, I used a Fishman Loudbox Mini for a year. This amp can't render the depth of the bass in a 6-string and really falls apart with a 12-string.

    On Christopher Cozad's recommendation, I recently acquired a Dean Markley Ultrasound DS-4. This amp is great at reproducing the true wooden acoustic sound of both 6- and 12-string instruments. I have also tried a compressor pedal, reverb pedal and the Fishman Aura Spectrum pedal. All work well with the amp. Note that the Aura Spectrum does a great job of compensating for the brittle sound produced an undersaddle transducer. I have not tried a distortion pedal with my acoustic.

    The Ultrasound is difficult to find on a showroom floor. However, I demo'd a number of other acoustic amps including the bigger Fishmans, SWR and Fender. The sound is much less "transparent" than the Ultrasound. The deficiencies are really apparent when you plug in a 12-string. The special effects on all of the acoustic amps are not high quality compared to the available pedal effects.

    Particularly in your price range, I think the Ultrasound DS-4 is a great choice.

    Happy Shopping,

    Al
    Al, thanks for the thoughtful advice. I'll keep an eye out in my travels for one of those, and look into them on youtube if I have time. Sounds like it could be a good deal.

    I really don't like those Loudboxes. And yet they seem to be practically all any of the dealers around here sell.

    I'm off to test some amps!
    1978 Gibson Les Paul Custom
    1980 Guild D46
    80s? 90s? Epiphone 12 string
    90s? Ibanez AEL-50
    2012 Guild GAD M-120

  5. #15
    An update!

    I spent about half an hour with the Peavey Ecoustic 112, and liked it pretty well. The effects were pretty good for what they were, the clean sound was pretty fine. Ran my Muff into it and it hated it; ran the Rat and was able to get an OK, not great sound, but feedback wasn't an issue.

    Then on a whim I plugged into this weird amp I had never heard of that was sitting right next to it: a Barcus Berry SXL15. Solid state combo from the 70s that nobody at the shop knew anything about, and that I can't even find a picture of online (here's the bass version: http://www.njuskalo.hr/glazbena-opre...-oglas-5655754) This thing sounded amazing. Clean, not brittle, seemed perfectly balanced. And the acoustic into the Rat into the amp sounded great! Unfortunately I couldn't devote much time to it so I put a deposit down and went to my next destination.

    Tried the Trace Elliot that I had high hopes for; was disappointed. Good features (XLR, channel blending) but the reverb was a joke and it just sounded a little thin. Tried an old Heathkit just for the fun of it, and went to my next stop, where I played a Fender Acoustasonic SFX. It wasn't bad; compared to the Peavey, the cleans were a little better, the effects a little worse and a lot less flexible. It did generate a lot of sound, but I was still left feeling kind of meh.

    After that I was feeling overstimulated and hungry, so I decided to cut the gear mission short and eat a burrito. Had to race home to take care of the dog, so I probably won't get back to the shop to play the BB more, but I'm pretty certain I'm gonna steal it (not literally) for $325, not including whatever I can get for my Roland.
    1978 Gibson Les Paul Custom
    1980 Guild D46
    80s? 90s? Epiphone 12 string
    90s? Ibanez AEL-50
    2012 Guild GAD M-120

  6. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by twocorgis View Post
    I bought my Genz Benz Shenandoah 60 for $300 off Craigslist in basically new condition, and have been very pleased with it. Another great company that Fender destroyed
    That was the model Sandy, The Genz Benz Shenandoah 60. Probably one of the Best acoustic amps I ever had the privilege of playing through. They used to be The company for Acoustic amps before Fender got a hold of them. It is a shame that they did that to so many wonderful brands over the years.

    TX
    Guilds
    Hoboken-1960 X175, 1961 SF-II
    Westerly-1971 F612, 1976 G41-NT, 2000 SF-V, 1984 S284, 1993 JF100-NT-CRV
    Nashville C.S.-SF-IV-3 P90's w/Trem
    Corona-2003 Fleming F47-Brz RW, 2003 D55 50th Ann. Brz RW #10 of 50, 2003 X160 Rockabilly, 2003 SF-III-90
    Conn.-2011 GSR D50 Coco, 2013 R-30S, 2013 Orph 12 Fret Slope, 2013 Orph Jumbo, 2014 Orph Burst 000-12 Fret 12 String S.H. RW, 2014 Orph 000 12 fret SH MH, 2012 F50-DTAR, 2013 F50R-DTAR, 2014 F512-DTAR, 2014 D55-RS
    70 T-bird 2x12 Amp
    93 Sequoia Amp

  7. #17
    Senior Member davismanLV's Avatar
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    I'm watching this post because .. I need an acoustic guitar amp. I'm watching... thanks for debating.
    Tom in Vegas

    Use the good china. Life itself is the special occasion.

    Guild D65s, 1994
    Guild DV72, 1994
    Taylor GC8, 2011
    Washburn EA-20 "Festival Series", 1995

  8. #18
    Looks like there are a couple of used Genz Benz Shenandoah Amps on Ebay for under $400. A jr. model, a couple of 60 watt versions, and one 100 watt.

    http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw...oah&_sacat=619
    Guilds
    Hoboken-1960 X175, 1961 SF-II
    Westerly-1971 F612, 1976 G41-NT, 2000 SF-V, 1984 S284, 1993 JF100-NT-CRV
    Nashville C.S.-SF-IV-3 P90's w/Trem
    Corona-2003 Fleming F47-Brz RW, 2003 D55 50th Ann. Brz RW #10 of 50, 2003 X160 Rockabilly, 2003 SF-III-90
    Conn.-2011 GSR D50 Coco, 2013 R-30S, 2013 Orph 12 Fret Slope, 2013 Orph Jumbo, 2014 Orph Burst 000-12 Fret 12 String S.H. RW, 2014 Orph 000 12 fret SH MH, 2012 F50-DTAR, 2013 F50R-DTAR, 2014 F512-DTAR, 2014 D55-RS
    70 T-bird 2x12 Amp
    93 Sequoia Amp

  9. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by txbumper57 View Post
    Looks like there are a couple of used Genz Benz Shenandoah Amps on Ebay for under $400. A jr. model, a couple of 60 watt versions, and one 100 watt.

    http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw...oah&_sacat=619
    This one looks like a very good deal, TX, and those 100 watt models can be really loud without distorting when you need them to. I'd offer $350, and the seller would probably accept. Free shipping and 14 day returns if you don't like it too.
    Sandy

    '59 X175AB, '68 SFII Bass (Green), '73 D50NT, '82 Mark V, '87 Pilot SB602M, '88 Pilot SB602M
    '10 F512NT, '11 F50ce Std (Sunburst) '13 R30S (Resonator), '13 Orpheum Jumbo Prototype

  10. #20
    This amp is mine!

    I brought the wife (who is also the musical collaborator) in to the shop this morning and first I played the Peavey Ecoustic 112 combo. She was like "Hey, this sounds really good!" Then I plugged into this amp and she was like "Oh."

    They were asking $325, which was right in my price range (and cheaper than a few of the acoustic options I considered). After all was said and done, it was a dead even swap for my JC-120. (I'm sure I could've gotten more had I sold the Roland privately, but the hassles of doing so combined with my lack of luck thus far made it worth it to me).

    To our ears it sounds pretty awesome. The reverb hisses a bit but I'm sure that could be fixed somehow (right?).

    Here's a few minutes of me dicking around with it in my living room upon getting home: https://soundcloud.com/erranttiger/e...ba-barcus-demo

    (We plugged in a mic and did the duo thing and it sounded like a pretty awesome reverby muddy mess - not my goal, but worth investigating).

    Thanks to everyone for advising on the matter.

    And now, pictures!




    1978 Gibson Les Paul Custom
    1980 Guild D46
    80s? 90s? Epiphone 12 string
    90s? Ibanez AEL-50
    2012 Guild GAD M-120

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