#1
Yes, it's that time of year.. The question has been asked oft on the web in general and I did some Searching on these forums as well, but found nothing to my satisfaction.

Here's the deal:
I want the option of putting some distortion over an acoustic guitar without losing that specifically acoustic sound (for examples, scroll down), as well as a few minor effects. I don't want to count on having a PA available, as I want to be free to do coffeehouse- and livingroom concerts and such, so ideally I'll have all that I need with me, BUT for playing larger stages I'll need to be able to run the same setup over a PA (which, to the best of my knowledge, means going from either the effects or from a mic'd amp into a DI).

I'm by no means a tech-wiz (been playing vanilla acoustic for most of my days), but the way I see it, I basically have two options:
- Buy an acoustic amp, hopefully with some reverb/delay options built in, and get a separate dist. pedal + whatever else I need
- Buy a multi-effect pedal / separate effect pedals and plug that into any ol' (electric?) amp

Any options I've missed?

My questions:
Does the different setup of an acoustic amp interfere dramatically with the use of effects, especially distortion? Can this be overcome?
Should I focus on getting a good amp and only then finding effects to match, or vice-versa? Or should I buy them in tandem?
Multi-effect vs separate pedals (quality, budget, versatility)?

Any other thoughts, opinions or experiences on the matter? Any advice is much appreciated!
(I know there are a bunch of guitarists who pull this off, but I've never managed to figure out how they do it - any insight into other players' setups is appreciated, as well)


Cheers,
P

Some examples:
Song starts at 1min20, dist. around 2min. I believe he uses a double output, one clean and one with effects

Xavier Rudd - Fortune Teller (live)

Song around 0min50. No amp but just effects, it seems?

Jon Gomm - Passionflower
Last edited by Philip Xander at Oct 9, 2014,
#2
Sure you can do this. I often play my acoustic through my Zoom Multi-effects Processor. You can tune in different effects: reverb, delay, chorus, compression, overdrive, whatever.

The trick is not to overdo it - keep the level of effects pretty low so you still have the acoustic sound.
#3
Effects can be used with an acoustic, I played one through an Ibanez SD9 distortion pedal for years, along with a Morley Power Wah, and it worked great, but you have to be careful. Get a sound hole plug, that helps stop a lot of feedback, and tinker with it a lot at home to get to know how to set the levels before trying it onstage or in the practice room if you decide to jam with a band.

With a distortion pedal you have to be careful about the gain level and overall volume, feedback can really cause problems if you overdo it. But I've always found that I have to pull back the gain onstage anyway, it gets really muddy really fast if I set it at the same levels I use at home doodling.

Use it plenty at home first, and learn how it reacts to whatever you do. Keep the amp as far away from the guitar as you can, to minimize feedback. Don't turn around and face the amp...
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
#5
Quote by Philip Xander
Yes, it's that time of year.. The question has been asked oft on the web in general and I did some Searching on these forums as well, but found nothing to my satisfaction.

Here's the deal:
I want the option of putting some distortion over an acoustic guitar without losing that specifically acoustic sound (for examples, scroll down), as well as a few minor effects. I don't want to count on having a PA available, as I want to be free to do coffeehouse- and livingroom concerts and such, so ideally I'll have all that I need with me, BUT for playing larger stages I'll need to be able to run the same setup over a PA (which, to the best of my knowledge, means going from either the effects or from a mic'd amp into a DI).

I'm by no means a tech-wiz (been playing vanilla acoustic for most of my days), but the way I see it, I basically have two options:
- Buy an acoustic amp, hopefully with some reverb/delay options built in, and get a separate dist. pedal + whatever else I need
- Buy a multi-effect pedal / separate effect pedals and plug that into any ol' (electric?) amp

Any options I've missed?

My questions:
Does the different setup of an acoustic amp interfere dramatically with the use of effects, especially distortion? Can this be overcome?
Should I focus on getting a good amp and only then finding effects to match, or vice-versa? Or should I buy them in tandem?
Multi-effect vs separate pedals (quality, budget, versatility)?

Any other thoughts, opinions or experiences on the matter? Any advice is much appreciated!
(I know there are a bunch of guitarists who pull this off, but I've never managed to figure out how they do it - any insight into other players' setups is appreciated, as well)


Cheers,
P

Some examples:
Song starts at 1min20, dist. around 2min. I believe he uses a double output, one clean and one with effects

Xavier Rudd - Fortune Teller (live)

Song around 0min50. No amp but just effects, it seems?

Jon Gomm - Passionflower


For overdrive or distortion you need an amp or a sim. Overdrive and distortion direct into a PA will sound terrible. You're best bet is to find a decent small amp that you can overdrive with a pedal.