So you wanna be LOUD? Jake shows you how…

Amplifying your acoustic guitar to get a usable sound doesn’t have to be a compromise (other than monetary expense). If you have checked out the Video Series on amplifying acoustic guitars on you have probably learned that technology has caught up with the needs of discriminating musicians, and now there are systems that sound so good that they can be used in the studio as well as the stage.
 But, which system is best for you!

In trying to sum up this series I’m now going to go into full editorial mode. Basically, this is the subjective, opinionated, conclusion by a guy that some say doesn’t play with a full deck of cards.


Others may (and quite likely will) have different recommendations, and you may be well served to listen to them as well before making up your mind and shelling out the Robert De Niros.


The brand names I mention are not specific endorsements, but rather representative of a type of system.


The reason I mentioned the brand is that it is a system I have personally used, and therefore have first-hand knowledge of it. There are usually similar systems by other manufactures that are worthy of being investigated by the buyer.

If I were a solo finger-style guitarist who rarely, if ever, played in an ensemble, I would invest in the L.R. Baggs’ Anthem system. This is a combination system of both an under-the-saddle piezo pickup with a newly designed microphone that is mounted inside the guitar on the bridge plate.

Regardless of how much microphone is included in the mix, the pickup is still present to provide the low frequencies.  In short, both elements of the system are doing what they do best.


There is soundhole accessible fingertip controls that are almost inconspicuously (but frustratingly, not totally) visible that gives the guitarist enough control to sculpt the sound to their preference.

For the more jazz-oriented artist, whether as a solo artist, accompanist, or ensemble player playing a flat top acoustic guitar, I’d look at the Duncan SA-6.  The SA-6 is an active magnetic pickup that has a built-in microphone with its own blend control, as well as an overall volume control.

The magnet pickup, on its own, provides a mid-range and bass response that’ll mimic a conventional jazz guitar and the mic will provide the acoustic “air”. It’s the high end sweetness that the mag pickup is unable to produce.

In Part 2, we’ll check out all your options for different venues.


Jake Kelly is a man on the constant search for enlightenment, if anyone finds it let him know so he can get some. For more of this hombre’s ramblings and the rest of L2P check out L2Pbandspace and

Originally posted 2012-08-24 22:36:30.