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Inquiring minds want to know:
Most acoustical stringed instruments do not have pick ups or jacks for amplification, especially bow stringed, so just wondering what method is used to capture the sound with this new guitar amp? Retro-fitting the instrument with a pickup? Or is it just for use with more modern acoustical guitars that come from the factory with pick-ups and jacks? Thanks.
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I would be almost certain that Bruce is intending his new amp for acoustic instruments that have pick-ups and feeds installed... Like my acoustic TAYLOR guitar. They sound quite different to solid-body 'electric' instruments. -SONDEK
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usually (bowed) instruments will work with an piezo pickup under the bridge. Guitars sometimes utilize a microphone in or above the soundhole. Both can be bought to retrofit such an instrument.
A Banjo can be equipped with a magnetic pickup. For a magnetic pickup to work the strings need to be made of some kind of ferrous metal (or have a center element of such with other material wound around it).
Other stringed instruments like harps use similar solutions, depending if solid body (only piezos can be used, one for each string) or hollow body (here microphones do the job easy and cost effective).
For the amp it does not matter if the instrument is acoustic or solid body. Input voltage is input voltage.
There is an increasing market for acoustic instrument amps. Such amps usually have notch filters or phase change to eliminate acoustic feedback (that is hardly present with solid body instruments) and a much wider frequency range with either multi way speakers or fullrange speakers.
The main point is that a guitar or bass amp and their speakers just do not get it "right" with acoustic instruments. Therefore many musicians just use microphones for stageplay or recording of acoustic instruments as this sounds closer to the real thing. Or they go direct to the PA or mixer if they have some pickup in their instruments.
Usual guitar and bass amps with their speakers do a perfect job for solid body instruments, for acoustic instruments they are suboptimal.
That is, I think, what the new amp is intended for, to capture this special timbre of acoustic instruments that is lost with regular amps.
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Thank You for the explanation. I am not a musician, hence the curiosity.
I can't tell you how many times musicians, once they discover I'm an amp builder, ask if I build guitar amps. Much more than people ask me for stereo equipment. But who knows, if I was a guitar amp builder maybe people would then ask me if I built stereo equipment. I guess its good to have both bases covered, and IMO I think the effort towards musical instrument amplification is going to end up being a very worthwhile endeavor. I find this direction much more exciting than another rendition of the Beast. As long as it is not priced astronomically it should be very successful, keeping in mind that most musicians I know, with the exception of some electric guitar players, would rather spend $1K? on a new instrument than a new amp, so we'll have to see how that goes.
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tube amps are widely used by guitar players, top brands like Mesa, Orange, PRS, Revv, Victory, Marshall, .... even chinese manufacturers have popular tube amp models in the 2.000 to 8.000 USD price range that are in the 100 to 150 Watt category.
To my observation 40% of guitar tube amps are in the 200 to 1.000 USD category, another 40% 1.000 to 2.000 USD and the rest above.
Their disadvantage is the weight, so the average gigging guitarist (that has not enough fame to have a couple of roadies) might seek another solution, but I doubt that there is any recording studio (even the smallest semi pro) that does not have a Peavey 5051 or later or something comparable.
Musiciansfriend has 68 tube heads and 8 solid state heads.
From the designers point of view they are easy, no channel imbalance as there is only one channel, distortion is a feature not a bug, 100 Watt are way enough and nobody cares about a linear frequency response or a 20Hz to 20lHz range, ....
Bass amps are different, the desire is 300+ Watt so the output tranny makes them very unpracticable. Still many models feature a tube preamp section.
There is a lot of competition so I think it is a really clever decision to go for the acoustical crowd as they have been ignored for a long time. Building up a reputation with these guys might be the key to a general purpose guitar amp, 50 to 80 Watt OTL ...
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Thanks for your input. My OTL is much lighter. It will come in under 30lbs. That's a huge advantage. When used with a solid body electric guitar, it produces a completely different sound. Since there is no transformer, bass response is much stronger and clearer than other tube amps. I have a 32 ohm speaker that will transform any bass guitar and has enough punch for medium size venues. You will have to hear it to understand, but it's truly a new sound.
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Any status update? Was hoping to build one to give as an Xmas present.