Hey, all--

I'm sure this question has been tossed around more than once, and I'm also sure it's even harder to find an answer, haha.

The subject says it all: does anyone have any good tips on distorting an acoustic? I play in an acoustic-driven pop rock band. While that's a very broad classification, any fingers in even the most remote directions is going to help me quite a bit.

Live, I run my Ovation acoustic through a little M-Audio Audio Buddy to clean up the tone, but even with my acoustic, drums, piano, lead guitar, and bass, it feels like a chunk of the mid ranges is still missing. I'd like run one of those A/B/Y foot switches so that I have my raw acoustic tone running on one channel, and at the same time a very smooth, yet thick distortion. The only problem is that every setup I've tried has been very "clanky" (and obviously that's due to my bright acoustic) but I was just wondering if anyone had successfully pulled a good distorted tone (through any means at all) from an acoustic?

Anything on the subject matter would be of great assistance because there's only so much I can try out at Guitar Center before they start denying my requests, haha.


You might have thought of this already, but some acoustic guitars have a pickup over the strings, kind of like an electric?
I'm think I'm a bit unclear as to what exactly you meant, perhaps if you rephrase yourself it'll be a little more clear to me.

But if I DID understand correctly, did you mean attempting to use a little condenser pickup for it? Because it has an electric jack right out the back that works just fine for it's acoustic tone. I just haven't been able to find an amp, pedal, or really any distortion effect that sounds right when you use an acoustic guitar.
Before the electrics stopped working I used to just run mine through my amp. I'd have one channel distorted, one channel clean and just muck around with the EQ and drive until I got a good enough sound out of it. The only problem I had with running it through distortion was whilst it worked really well and sounded great it REALLY over-powered the clean, something which wasn't a problem on my electric. I dunno if anyone else has found that.

If I could remember the EQ settings I'd give them to you, but it's just trial and error 'til you find something you like. Dunno if that's been any help :S.
Again, any advice is welcome!

I've tried MULTIPLE amp settings with TONS of different amps, and so far I haven't found anything that's really what I'm looking for yet. I was kind of hoping that someone would just have a magical solution, haha. Either way, I'll keep chipping away at it until I get it, I guess.

Anyone else wanna take a shot at this? :-P

I just saw a band where a guy used his acoustic through a TON of pedals. A couple of delays, an EHX POG, a volume pedal, a reverb pedal, a chorus pedal, and also a ZVex Box of Rock.

I believe he had a soundhole pickup, which is why it worked I think. So if you use a soundhole pickup, perhaps just an OD pedal is a good idea?

I saw a guy who had a piezo pickup, and he fried his phaser with his acoustic...
Last edited by forsaknazrael at Feb 8, 2008,
I reckon your best bet is a boss bass overdrive.

The reason for this is distortion on the highs will result in feedback and the harmonics of an acoustic guitar are more on the low side, the key is to try them out.
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