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Old 06-24-2009, 01:44 PM
derecola derecola is offline
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Default Acoustic Amp Vs. Electric Guitar Amp???

Ha guys what is the difference between a acoustic guitar amp and a electric guitar amp?Is it ok to run a acoustic guitar threw a electric amp?Do any of you guys do this and how does it work?
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Old 06-24-2009, 03:51 PM
lofapco lofapco is offline
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Hi derecola....

The biggest difference is the presence of a tweeter in good acoustic amps. It helps to give a more natural sound to the acoustic. When I plug any of my acoustics into my Genz Benz Shenendoah acoustic amp, it is a very true reproduction of the acoustic (unplugged) tone.

I do enjoy pluging them into my Peavey Delta Blues tube amp, but for a different, more gritty sound that works well for blues. The Delta Blues is the first electric (tube) amp that I have actually liked the tone that much on and I attribute that to the 15" speaker somewhat. That plus I don't ever turn it up too loud with my acoustics as that is reserved for messing around in the house. If I am playing out on acoustic, I will either play through the Genz Benz or the PA system. PA systems are great for playing through as it gives a very acoustic tone as well. I actually think of my 200 watt Genz Benz as a mini PA system. My wife loves to plug her Ipod into it when cleaning or during a party. 200 watts of power driving through an Ipod is something to hear!!!

I am sure there is much more to it, but others here will have to add to what I have said. I am mostly an acoustic player so my limited information on amps and such pretty much all came from here or playing out.

Lover of fine wood & steel instruments.....
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Old 06-24-2009, 03:55 PM
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ljguitar ljguitar is offline
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Originally Posted by derecola View Post
Ha guys what is the difference between a acoustic guitar amp and a electric guitar amp?Is it ok to run a acoustic guitar threw a electric amp?Do any of you guys do this and how does it work?
Hi derecola...
Acoustic guitars sound generally crappy through most electric amps - particularly the open backed ones. Open back amps tend to be harsh sounding, but even the closed back amps are 'slanted' toward reproducing magnetic pickups tone not acoustic tone. they also tend to manifest the most extreme sensitivity/propensity to feeding back.

Keyboard amps with coaxial or speaker/tweeter/horn combinations on the other hand sound pretty good with acoustic guitars.
Larry J

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Old 06-24-2009, 04:29 PM
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Herb Hunter Herb Hunter is offline
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An acoustic amplifier has a wider, flatter frequency response. It is also likely to have lower distortion before the onset of clipping and greater dynamic range. In other words, an acoustic guitar amplifier is designed to be more neutral. By contrast, an electric guitar is specifically designed to color the signal it is amplifying.
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Old 06-24-2009, 04:56 PM
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pdks pdks is offline
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Default To Each, a Purpose

To add to what Larry & Herb, in particular, have said:

Plug an acoustic guitar into your electric amp and you'll be one disappointed rocker. Unless your 'acoustic' is a Taylor T5 (with its humbuckers), of course!

Herb used the word most often used to describe the electric amp's role in producing music: 'color.' To many guitarists, the tone that the electric amp adds to the music is relatively more important than the electric guitar itself.

A good acoustic amp (or PA) is often described as 'colorless.' You want the vocals or acoustic guitar's natural tonal characteristics to be reproduced accurately - nothing added; nothing taken away.

The corollary to this is that plugging your electric guitar into an acoustic amp will leave you cold, lifeless ...and without reason to go on!

I know some people who try to replace the need for an electric amp with by placing a distortion pedal in front of their acoustic amp (or a modeller like the VOX Tonelab or Line6 Pod). Again, you will be disappointed - a weak sister to the real thing.

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Old 08-26-2014, 05:27 PM
Bob E. Bob E. is offline
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Smile Acoustic vs Electric, etc,.....

One of the "things" that seems to be overlooked in these exchanges and also on video demos is basic but important, electronically speaking: "impedance matching"! An electric guitar amp and electric guitar pick-ups, are low impedance devices, around 600 ohms and the signal voltage is a lot lower than acoustic guitar output signals. Acoustic output circuits are on the order of 10k-ohms - quite a bit more impedance than electro-magnetic coils from an electric guitar. Also, most acoustic-electric guitars have battery powered circuitry that amplifies the output signal quite a bit more than electric. So if you plug an acoustic-electric into an electric & vice-versa, you get distortion or low volume if you plug the electric into an acoustic amp. It's akin to the older phono inputs in the rear of your stero tuner-amp. A ceramic (crystal) cartridge, puts out a stronger voltage at a higher impedance but has less frequency response, than a magnetic cartridge - which puts out less voltage but a much better frequency response, at a much lower impedance. You had to use the correct input for the type of cartridge you had. In a nutshell: you need an electric amp for an electric guitar. You need an acoustic amp for an acoustic guitar, for best results - unless someone makes a combo unit.

Last edited by Bob E.; 08-28-2014 at 02:14 PM.
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