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  #1  
Old 02-14-2017, 09:34 PM
pohjonen pohjonen is offline
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Guitar amps for dummies

I have always been an acoustic player, and have recently gotten into electrifying.

I have looked some of this stuff up, but my eyes glaze over before I am able to absorb any useful knowledge.

I figured out that the Voices (Like Tweed) are replicating types of amplifiers. Is that right?

So what does the Tone do? The special effects are self explanatory.

What is Gain?

What are Cabs?

What is the Tap?

I recently bought an acoustic/electric, and want to know the difference between a regular amp and an acoustic amp. I don't want to buy another amp just to entertain myself in my bedroom at night.

What settings are best for acoustic if just want to use the electric amp that I already have?

If you answer, please remember you are dealing with a moron is this area.

My amp is a cheapie Fender Champion 20.

Thank you if you can help me out here.

Last edited by pohjonen; 02-14-2017 at 09:36 PM..
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  #2  
Old 02-14-2017, 10:33 PM
Snowboarder Bo Snowboarder Bo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pohjonen View Post
So what does the Tone do?
It's basically a kind of treble control. You'll notice that wide open tone settings have a lot more treble while lowered ones sound muddier and less crisp.
Quote:
Originally Posted by pohjonen View Post
What is Gain?
Gain is the most important part of any audio setup. This is how open the microphone is/pickups are. Wide open gain will catch every little sound or nuance; lowered gain simply picks up less of the original sound.
Quote:
Originally Posted by pohjonen View Post
What are Cabs?
Speaker cabinets. A Marshall 4x10 half stack sounds different from a Fender Deluxe, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pohjonen View Post
What settings are best for acoustic if just want to use the electric amp that I already have?
For your acoustic guitar to sound most like an acoustic guitar, you prolly want to keep the gain relatively low, the tone about in the middle of the knob's range and the amplifier at less than full tilt boogie, so that the amplification itself doesn't distort the sound.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pohjonen View Post
If you answer, please remember you are dealing with a moron is this area.

My amp is a cheapie Fender Champion 20.

Thank you if you can help me out here.
You got the voicing right, btw. The Tweed setting will prolly approximate the sound of an old Fender amp, etc.

The Fender Champion 20 is a good little bedroom amp; you made a good choice for a 1st amp IMO.

The thing that I can recommend most is to set all the knobs to their lowest setting and play that way for an hour or two. Then start turning them up a little bit, one knob at a time until you fully grok how they affect what you hear. I find it's great fun to experiment with amp settings and see how that affects my playing style. Eventually, you'll find a setting that seems to fit how you play and what you want to hear, in that order. When you do, take or draw a picture or mark the amp with a paint pen or something so that you can still change things around but always get back to that one sweet spot you've come to think of as "my sound".
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  #3  
Old 02-14-2017, 10:45 PM
pohjonen pohjonen is offline
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Thank you. I'm retired now and my interest in playing has reignited after a lapse where I didn't play at all.

I just bought a Yamaha APXT2 and I'm just loving that thing. I had picked up a Daisy Rock Electric 12 string off Craigslist for a song, and it is suprisingly good. Even the luthier who set it up for me said he liked it better than the Ibanez 12 semihollow he had in his shop.

I am having the time of my life. When I was a young squirt trying to figure out how to play stuff, I didn't have youtube and I've learned more in the past year than I had figured out in the previous 50.
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  #4  
Old 02-15-2017, 04:24 AM
Richard Pearse Richard Pearse is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pohjonen View Post
I have always been an acoustic player, and have recently gotten into electrifying.

I have looked some of this stuff up, but my eyes glaze over before I am able to absorb any useful knowledge.

I figured out that the Voices (Like Tweed) are replicating types of amplifiers. Is that right?
Yes.

Quote:
So what does the Tone do? The special effects are self explanatory.
Looking at your amp's manual I don't see a control specifically labelled "tone". The tone controls are the ones labelled treble and bass and they affect how much bass or treble is present in the sound. There is only so much they can do. If you plug a bass guitar into the amp it will never sound as trebly as your 6 string acoustic/electric no matter how much treble you wind on. Think of those controls as accentuating or diminishing sound qualities that your instrument already possesses.

Quote:
What is Gain?
It's basically a volume control. An amplifier like yours has a pre amp, a part of the amplifier that provides initial boost of the very weak guitar signal, and a post amp or power amp, this bit provides the final boost. The gain knob controls how much boost the pre amp is providing while the volume knob controls the overall volume. If you have a high setting on the gain control then you will get distortion (which many guitarists find pleasing!). To compensate for the high gain you will need a low volume setting to keep the overall volume at an acceptable level.

In short: High gain / low-moderate volume means a distorted sound while low gain and moderate - high volume means a clean sound (no distortion).

Quote:
What is the Tap?
For rhythm based effects such as delay, phasers, flangers, and anything else that has a pulsing feel, you can set the timing of the effect, how fast it delays or pulses, by tapping on the tap button. Personally I prefer to just know that for such and such a song I want a delay setting of 200 millisecs but many find the tap feature usefule.

Quote:
I recently bought an acoustic/electric, and want to know the difference between a regular amp and an acoustic amp. I don't want to buy another amp just to entertain myself in my bedroom at night.
An acoustic amp is designed to provide an exact replication of the guitar's sound but at a higher volume. An electric guitar amp is designed to turn the electric guitar's naturally tinny sound into something with oomph that can cut through the rest of a band. For an acoustic guitar you want an amp that does not distort the sound in any major way, for an electric guitar the opposite is often true. An acoustic amp needs to be much more powerful in order to be able to amplify a clean sound to a high volume.

Quote:
What settings are best for acoustic if just want to use the electric amp that I already have?
What ever sounds good, but generally you want low gain, high volume, and treble and bass adjusted as well as you can to mimic the guitar's natural sound. It's been a long time since I played an acoustic through an amp but I'd probably start with tone controls in the middle then adjust to taste. You don't have a middle tone control so your options are limited. The most important bit is low gain and moderate to high volume (just to get the desired volume, the low gain means the pre amp is not doing much work and so the power amp must do more.)

Have fun! And listen to WordMan when he comes along, he has great guitar knowledge.

Last edited by Richard Pearse; 02-15-2017 at 04:25 AM..
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  #5  
Old 02-15-2017, 06:24 AM
WordMan WordMan is offline
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Good luck with your exploration!

Bo and Richard Pearse do a good job, so I don't want to muddy the waters.

Classic amps have their own distinct tone - dialing up Tweed, or Plexi (Marshall), etc., uses a computer chip to impart that tone profile onto your sound.

Once you have a Type dialed up, setting the Gain is basically how much "crunch" is in your tone.

If you are playing an acoustic, you don't want crunch - you want your acoustic sound to be louder, but without a lot of other stuff added to the sound.

With an electric, if you are playing a song that has distortion in the guitar tone, you get that by turning up the Gain and/or by adding a Distortion/Overdrive Pedal between your guitar and the amp.

I know it makes your head spin, and you do NOT need to worry about this stuff right now, but here is an old thread about Tube amps vs. Solid States with a bit of geekery

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/...d.php?t=513411
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  #6  
Old 02-15-2017, 08:34 AM
Robot Arm Robot Arm is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Pearse View Post
It's been a long time since I played an acoustic through an amp but I'd probably start with tone controls in the middle then adjust to taste.
Controls in the middle; so that's what, 5.5?
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  #7  
Old 02-15-2017, 08:51 AM
BubbaDog BubbaDog is offline
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I just dropped in to let you know that there is a nice guitar resource thread in the Dope if you didn't know it

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/...0#post20001280

The link goes to the end of the thread so you can join into the latest conversations if you'd like.

The more serious guitar heads here are very friendly to us beginners, novices, and bedroom musicians. I picked up a lot of good info in that thread.
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  #8  
Old 02-15-2017, 10:35 AM
Richard Pearse Richard Pearse is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robot Arm View Post
Controls in the middle; so that's what, 5.5?
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  #9  
Old 02-15-2017, 01:15 PM
pohjonen pohjonen is offline
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Thank you guys. This has been very helpful. I've never been a fan of the distortion sound, my musical tastes were acquired in the late fifties and early sixties so I won't be using that much. The acoustic/electric sounds best to me with just a little reverb. At least most like an acoustic guitar.

I also have one of those Behringer V-amp devices. The settings on that thing really makes my head spin.
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  #10  
Old 02-15-2017, 01:57 PM
Mister Rik Mister Rik is offline
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If you're amplifying an acoustic guitar, I'd suggest getting a bass guitar amp. It will more faithfully reproduce the sound of your guitar.

It's a matter of the difference in approach. With electric guitar, the amp's speaker itself, along with the cabinet, plays a large role in a guitarist's "sound". Bass speaker cabs, not so much. They're typically designed to be as neutral as possible. As a result, I've always found that my acoustic guitar consistently sounds more like itself when I've played it through my bass amp than when I've plugged it into my guitar amps.
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  #11  
Old 02-16-2017, 08:33 PM
Weisshund Weisshund is offline
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Originally Posted by Robot Arm View Post
Controls in the middle; so that's what, 5.5?
Only if it comes with a nice 12" stone henge
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