In the first of three articles on how to get an electro-acoustic guitar and an acoustic amplifier on a budget, we are working to a strict limit of £500. That doesn’t include accessories like leads, cases or covers, so the 10 suggested combinations below are simply a guide, rather than any offer of a package deal.
There are just as many discussions to be had amongst guitarists about the optimum ways of amplifying or ‘micing up’ an acoustic guitar as there are about pickups, effects and amplifiers in the electric guitar world. For this miniseries, we have had to discount the option of playing the guitar into a microphone – that’s another world entirely and will be the subject of another blog. Right now, we’re talking about finding an acoustic guitar with a pickup already installed and a specialist acoustic combo that’s good enough to gig with.
In the last few years, nearly all the big amp manufacturers have introduced an acoustic combo into their range – some have several models to suit both performance criteria and budget. They nearly all have dedicated speaker design and usually include anti-feedback controls and effects, as well as DI or recording outputs. Pickups pre-installed in acoustic guitars have also come a long way too – most now include a pre-amp of some description, and many electro-acoustics also have on-board tuners as standard.
It seems that all the issues that acoustic guitarists used to have to overcome when attempting to plug in – like actually installing the pickup in the guitar as well as subsequent problems like controlling feedback - have largely disappeared. In addition, acoustic pickup designers have all but eliminated the unpleasant piezo rasp of the old systems and produce pickups which have a more natural and realistic acoustic tone. Even at the lower end of the price spectrum electro-acoustics now come with respectable pickup and pre-amp systems - so it’s never been easier to simply plug in and play.
Here they are:
1. Yamaha CPX700 Electro Acoustic in Black and a Line 6 Micro Spider Portable Combo
2. Takamine EG5013SVFT Electro Acoustic in Antique Sunburst and a Laney LA20C Acoustic Combo
3. Tanglewood Rosewood Reserve TRSF-CE Electro Acoustic in Vintage Sunburst and a Laney LA35C Acoustic Combo
4. Epiphone John Lennon EJ-160E Electro Acoustic in Vintage Sunburst and a Behringer ACX450 Ultracoustic Acoustic Combo
5. Ibanez AEL10E Electro Acoustic in Mystic Blue Sunburst and a Marshall AS50D Acoustic Combo
6. Fender Sonoran 67 Limited Electro Acoustic in Natural and an Ashton AEA60 Acoustic Combo
7. Tanglewood Evolution TSJ CE VS Super Jumbo Electro Acoustic in Vintage Sunburst and a Behringer Ultracoustic ACX900 Acoustic Combo
8. Yamaha APX500 Electro Acoustic in Dark Red Burst and a Laney LA65D Acoustic Combo
9. Fender Standard Stratacoustic Electro Acoustic in Black and a Laney A1 Acoustic Combo
10. Fender CD-140S CE Electro Acoustic in Natural and a Vox AGA70 Acoustic Combo
In part two, we’ll be upping the budget to a healthy £1000 and attempting to squeeze in one or two pro-standard electro-acoustics and acoustic amps.