The fun of effects pedals and acoustic guitars

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preston61preston61 Frets: 473

For the past 4 months or so I've been playing live without a band (occasional cajon) and wanted to try add some variation to the sound, some texture etc.

Now I know most people seem to think that acoustic guitars shouldn't be messed with and there is something about that which I do agree with, however effects pedals are a lot of fun.

I've taken a little journey trying out lots of different types of effect and have found the following:

Overdrive/Distortion just doesn't seem to sound right in to a PA or acoustic amp (I know the That Pedal Show guys did a good job using an acoustic in to an Electric amp, but I don't have one of those)

Chorus is very much an acquired taste, I both like it and don't like it at the same time. I like the extra thickness that it provides but I don't play Message In A Bottle live so, I can't see another use for it (kidding). Like with most acoustic effects it appears that subtle amounts is key.

Delay, I love it. Currently enjoying using dotted eighths for that galloping type sound when playing more upbeat stuff, and a modulated delay with a heavy blend for more spacious stuff.

Reverb, I love it even more than delay. I never saw myself as an ambient type of guy, but have been using 2 reverbs and a delay a couple of times for some background stuff. A modulated reverb is my go to when I need one and have started adding shimmer in to that as well, which has lead to even my wife saying "that sounds nice". When the non muso's start to compliment stuff you know something's going right.

Tremolo hasn't really worked for me. I just can't seem to get it to sit right, and so for now I'm going to leave it. I think like chorus, it probably needs to be a subtle every now and then effect, but I haven't found a use for it in the stuff I do.

Looper, though not an effect in and of itself, I'm just starting to get this sorted, to the point that I'm still impressed with myself when I get it perfectly sync'd up. Looking forward to seeing where I can take this one.

So those are my findings, any one else experimented with effects and acoustics?

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Comments

  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 2949
    The Electro-Harmonix Pitch Fork does some interesting pseudo-twelve string tricks.

    Their Lester G pedal can introduce subtle overdrive and stereophonic Leslie cabinet style modulation - including footswitch control over Fast/Slow/Brake.

    Bit Reduction distortion would be handy for your Nine Inch Nails cover versions tribute.
    I fear the Geeks, even when they bear GIFs.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 31123
    preston61 said:

    Overdrive/Distortion just doesn't seem to sound right in to a PA or acoustic amp (I know the That Pedal Show guys did a good job using an acoustic in to an Electric amp, but I don't have one of those)
    You need something with speaker emulation - one of the Tech 21-type pedals, or the Digitechs like the Bad Monkey/Screamin' Blues etc with the 'mixer' output - if you don't it will not only sound terrible, you may blow the tweeters at higher volume. A Pod or most modern multi-FX also have emulated outputs.

    Feedback can be a problem though...

    Phaser sounds really nice on an acoustic.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • thecolourboxthecolourbox Frets: 2905
    Or a Keeley 30ms double tracker for those Across the Universe moments

    And if there's anything good about me, I'm the only one who knows

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  • SporkySporky Frets: 12905
    Fuzz on 12-string acoustic is ace. 
    Be your own evil twin. 
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 2949
    Sporky said:
    Fuzz on 12-string acoustic is ace. 
    By that logic, two Teletronix LA-2A compressors in series should also prove interesting.
    I fear the Geeks, even when they bear GIFs.
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  • DulcetJonesDulcetJones Frets: 388
    My current band is two acoustic guitars, a hand drummer, a lead vocalist and a "minstrel" of sorts adding harmonica, extra hand percussion, tin whistle  etc.   I'm the designated "lead" guitarist, we both amplify.  The other guitarist uses very little and is a pretty consistent strummer.  I use my amps light chorus, light reverb and a channel switch  to a "lead" setting for solos that  adds a slight volume boost and a touch of delay.  My experiments with other effects in this setting have yielded no good choices.  Sometimes when I'm working on my "scary music" project I step out a bit but that music isn't meant to be played live.  

    Whoever called it "rush hour" should not be allowed to name anything else.

    Dulcet Jones Creepy Music Blog http://dulcetjones.blogspot.com/

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  • crunchmancrunchman Frets: 3497
    The Electro-Harmonix Pitch Fork does some interesting pseudo-twelve string tricks.

    Their Lester G pedal can introduce subtle overdrive and stereophonic Leslie cabinet style modulation - including footswitch control over Fast/Slow/Brake.

    Bit Reduction distortion would be handy for your Nine Inch Nails cover versions tribute.

    If you start getting into Electroharmonix digital trickery, the POG can be fun.

    I saw someone the other day who split his signal.  He had a dry sound that was predominant, but had a wet sound underneath it.

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  • hubobuloushubobulous Frets: 1992

    I use the Helix when doing acoustic sets and also enjoy the ambient side of it. Given that sometimes an acoustic duo can sound a little sparse I like using effects and its a bit different to a lot of other acts out there.

    Looping is the next hurdle.

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  • Strat_a_tat_tatStrat_a_tat_tat Frets: 2010
    @hubobulous what settings are you using on the Helix? Thanks.
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  • hubobuloushubobulous Frets: 1992
    I've got a few different patches. All use the mic pre, and then some compression. I have a wah in one, delay and reverb controlled by expression pedal and then some with Kinky boost or Minotaur.  I'm away from the Helix at the mo but can get some settings next week
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  • paganskinspaganskins Frets: 92
    crunchman said:

    If you start getting into Electroharmonix digital trickery, the POG can be fun.

    I saw someone the other day who split his signal.  He had a dry sound that was predominant, but had a wet sound underneath it.

    Like this? 

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  • preston61preston61 Frets: 473
    crunchman said:

    If you start getting into Electroharmonix digital trickery, the POG can be fun.

    I saw someone the other day who split his signal.  He had a dry sound that was predominant, but had a wet sound underneath it.

    Like this? 


    I love this video, I've watched it a fair few times in the last couple of months. I was originally looking up LR Baggs stuff, but stayed for the playing
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  • paganskinspaganskins Frets: 92
    edited June 29
    preston61 said:
    I love this video, I've watched it a fair few times in the last couple of months

    Me too, very good example of layered guitar tones working well. I think that's the key wth acoustics and effects – keeping some the natural tone (or as close as possible with pickups etc) in the mix.
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  • preston61preston61 Frets: 473
    preston61 said:
    I love this video, I've watched it a fair few times in the last couple of months

    Me too, very good example of layered guitar tones working well. I think that's the key wth acoustics and effects – keeping some the natural tone (or as close as possible with pickups etc) in the mix.


    Yeah, I really like the organ style tone he gets with the POG 2, but that pedal would cost almost as much as the rest of my board combined. I like the idea of being able to loop an organ/synthy style sound, with the mix set to have all effect, to go behind what I'm playing.

    It also helps that Charlie is one heck of a good guitarist. After watching this video I've listened to some of his stuff, there are some parts where he's a bit too country even for me (I like Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, Chris Stapleton) but he's got a nice style of playing, especially on Mississippi In July (which he plays in the vid)

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  • paganskinspaganskins Frets: 92
    preston61 said:

    It also helps that Charlie is one heck of a good guitarist. After watching this video I've listened to some of his stuff, there are some parts where he's a bit too country even for me (I like Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, Chris Stapleton) but he's got a nice style of playing, especially on Mississippi In July (which he plays in the vid)

    Shame he got killed in that one episode of Bones though


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  • preston61preston61 Frets: 473
    Haha, I thought he looked familiar
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  • richardhomerrichardhomer Frets: 18139
    Quite like effects on acoustics:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=UMZtkqenvNg
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  • Strat_a_tat_tatStrat_a_tat_tat Frets: 2010
    I've got a few different patches. All use the mic pre, and then some compression. I have a wah in one, delay and reverb controlled by expression pedal and then some with Kinky boost or Minotaur.  I'm away from the Helix at the mo but can get some settings next week
    I've been wondering about using a Helix for acoustic. Would be interested to know if you need any special IRs... what type of Helix modelled amp (if any)... etc.  I'd be looking to plug the output into the PA.

    Details of settings would be lovelier than lovely.

    Thanks.
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  • ToneControlToneControl Frets: 4040
    I have patches on my AxeFx2 dedicated to specific acoustic guitars, and also some extra ones with loads of Cloud-style delay/reverb, Big-Sky stylee
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  • hubobuloushubobulous Frets: 1992
    I've got a few different patches. All use the mic pre, and then some compression. I have a wah in one, delay and reverb controlled by expression pedal and then some with Kinky boost or Minotaur.  I'm away from the Helix at the mo but can get some settings next week
    I've been wondering about using a Helix for acoustic. Would be interested to know if you need any special IRs... what type of Helix modelled amp (if any)... etc.  I'd be looking to plug the output into the PA.

    Details of settings would be lovelier than lovely.

    Thanks.
    No amp, just using the mic pre and effects before/after then going direct to PA. No special IRs
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  • KebabkidKebabkid Frets: 1353

    I use the Helix when doing acoustic sets and also enjoy the ambient side of it. Given that sometimes an acoustic duo can sound a little sparse I like using effects and its a bit different to a lot of other acts out there.

    Looping is the next hurdle.

    Hi David,
    The Helix has several inputs and outputs. If doing the acoustic stuff and there's vocals, do the vocals also go through the Helix as it's capable of doing that and even having a bass, too, all at the same time and with separate settings.
     www.cairoeast.co.uk - Madness Tribute band (Bass Player) and guitarist elsewhere
    Feedback - http://www.thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/57885/
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  • hubobuloushubobulous Frets: 1992
    @kebabkid - we don't pass vocals through but we could. It's something to ponder for the future, but Helen has a vocal harmoniser so for the moment it's easier to keep things separate
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  • Strat_a_tat_tatStrat_a_tat_tat Frets: 2010
    I've got a few different patches. All use the mic pre, and then some compression. I have a wah in one, delay and reverb controlled by expression pedal and then some with Kinky boost or Minotaur.  I'm away from the Helix at the mo but can get some settings next week
    I've been wondering about using a Helix for acoustic. Would be interested to know if you need any special IRs... what type of Helix modelled amp (if any)... etc.  I'd be looking to plug the output into the PA.

    Details of settings would be lovelier than lovely.

    Thanks.
    No amp, just using the mic pre and effects before/after then going direct to PA. No special IRs
    Thanks.
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